Thursday, January 17, 2019

Why I've Been Away (An update and an encouraging word)

I've been MIA for a while now and I want to apologize for not being in touch or getting back to readers in the comments. The last month has been challenging for our family and I am just now coming to a place where I can wrap my head around it. I will get into all of that soon but first I want to say that my purpose for this post, other than updating you, is to encourage you. The past month has taught me so much about what it means to have to put "us" on hold, meaning J and me. And I want to tell you if you're at a place in your dynamic where you just have to shelve it for a while, I know it's hard because I've been there but I promise you, it won't last forever.
 After having the experiences we did over the past few weeks, with the holiday season thrown in and responsibilities to keep up with, the last thing either J or I had time for was to keep up with all the nuances surrounding our relationship. For a time we had to put that on hold and I don't mean just the physical parts of our dynamic. Even some of the expectations that we have for each other had to be shelved for a time just to keep up with everything else. We made it through it all and we have had a chance, now that the waters have settled, to reconnect.
 I have learned through this that there are times when we have no choice but to put things on hold for a time. There are times when even modifying the way we execute our dynamic in order to accommodate our situation isn't workable. There are some situations that just force impromptu breaks from how we operate with each other.
 As submissives, generally, we do not do well with this. We fear it. Often times even our dominant partners struggle when things are put on hold in this way.
I want to tell you that if you are struggling through something that has caused your relationship with your partner to come to a halt, keep heart. Things will get better, they will go back to normal. You won't be going through what you are now, forever. It is temporary.

This is what happened to us...
One of our children recently became sick and was admitted to the children's hospital (you can read about that HERE) After coming home she did well for about a week but then went downhill again. She had to go back and be admitted a second time and this last time was far more difficult to get through then the first. This time I couldn't stay with her. I had to leave her so I could care for our other children.
 She was there for a week and everyday J and I drove to the hospital to be with her. Sometimes we took shifts, other times we went together but during daylight hours one of us was always with her.
 J took time off work and family members helped with our other children.
 Again we sat with her, held her through every poke, watched the bites she took, encouraged her to eat. After meeting once again with the team of specialists that had cared for her before, our daughter finally got a diagnosis. Our little girl was suffering from PANDAS. You can read an article on that HERE.
Through the ordeal, our other children missed us and became clingy. I felt terrible leaving them each day, just as much so as I felt leaving our little girl at the hospital without us at night. Studies were put on hold, work was put on hold, even Christmas got put on hold. When the holidays came our baby was still in the hospital and though we had a little surprise put together at the hospital for all of them (we brought our other kids to see her that day) we saved our traditional family celebration and dinner for when she came home. Luckily it wasn't too much longer she would have to stay. She was discharged on the 27th but she had to come home with an NG tube because she still wasn't eating enough. J and I learned how to care for her and spent a good deal of money on accessories to make the tube more comfortable for her. 
As soon as we were home with her we threw ourselves into making the holiday come alive for our children. We had explained to them that Santa would be making a late stop at our house for when their sister was able to come home. We celebrated on the 30th and had family over. The holiday was lovely but it wouldn't have even been possible to celebrate without our little girl. The best part about it all was seeing her home again and seeing all our babies happy and together. 
Our other children were aching for time with us. While our 5-year-old was in the hospital, we did our best to give them what we could, but they really didn't see much of us while she was so sick. 
They were clingy for a while and it took a couple of weeks for them to feel secure again. They needed to know their sister would be okay, they needed to know we would all be home again, they needed life to be normal again. We did our best to meet their needs, putting ourselves on hold again because that's what parents do. 
Finally, when our children settled into their routines, J and I had to rest. We were exhausted. Even then our dynamic remained pretty lifeless while we tried to bounce back. 
I had to make other hard decisions as well. Some of my own personal goals had to be laid to rest indefinitely. I still won't pick them up again because I want to devote all my time and energy towards my family and now finally towards recovering the routines pertaining to our dynamic. 

On a side note:
Thankfully our daughter is doing much better now. She was put on antibiotics and many of her symptoms have disappeared. She no longer needs her NG tube and she is eating well again and regained the weight she lost. 

How this affected J and me:

During this ordeal, it was very difficult for both of us to have to put our relationship on hold. At one point J told me his hands were fairly itching to take me in hand just to reconnect with me. 
I completely understood. Sometimes I just looked into his eyes and said, "I miss you, Daddy." No tears, I forced myself to be a big girl, be strong. Just truth. Just acknowledgment. I missed my Daddy, but I knew we had to be on hold so we could give our energy to our daughter. Whatever else was left had to go to our other children who were missing us and longing to be with us again. 
Each time it seemed we got through one hurdle, another was there waiting to be tackled. Once our daughter was better we tackled recreating our traditional holiday celebrations for our children. Once the holidays were over we were still caring for our daughter's medical issues and our other children's needs and making up for lost time with them. Once they felt secure again we were taking time apart for rest and self- care because we were literally exhausted. During this phase I found myself getting snippy with J. I needed us to have our turn. I needed our relationship to be normal again. He still needed rest. 
J gave me a lot of unwanted grace while I battled with my attitude, while I waited for him to come around. A few times I tried to talk with him about my need for us to return to normal but one of us was either overtired or our children's needs took away from what little time in the day we had left. Finally, the night came that we were able to talk and that talk led to a Re-connection or what we also call a Role Affirmation Session. The kids were asleep, the house was quiet for the night. J led me downstairs and held me close. Then he bared me, placed me over his lap and gave me the spanking we had both been needing for weeks. 
Afterward, we cuddled up and watched a movie and were actually able to have a date night together.  Finally, I felt like I was with my Daddy again. Although I knew he was Daddy all along, it didn't feel the same. So much of what we share was missing because we had to reserve our energy for what was most important at that moment. We had to sacrifice our relationship for a time to be the most helpful to our little girl who needed us and then to our other children. We had to put our relationship on hold further so we could nurture ourselves enough so that we had enough reserve to give to the other.
That night was healing to both of us and we both felt more ourselves. Our roles began to flesh out again. The next day I felt more attentive to J. I noticed him more, felt sparks again when I'd look at him. I began to anticipate his needs and do the things expected of me in my role.

Although I felt restored in our relationship, after our session I wound up giving J a bit of an attitude the next evening. He diligently took care of things and placed me over his knee that night once our children had fallen asleep.
 By the following night, I was back on the straight and narrow once again.
It really is no surprise to me that I had another hiccup after being reconnected. I think there is a part of us as submissives that need to test the waters with our Doms after we have had a disconnect. We need to be sure of them again and sure that they really do have us. Once J proved to me that he was back on, I was able to trust and fall gracefully into my role again. 

Something else I learned while all this was going that is also worth mentioning is- there is no cookie-cutter Dom. What I mean by that is that every Dominant has their own unique gifts that make them the Dom they are. I think sometimes as submissives we form expectations of what our Dom should be like. We want the Alpha, the top- dog, the one who can snap his fingers and make lesser men do his bidding. You all know what I mean, especially if you've read the kinkery available in the romance section.
The truth is all Dom's are their own person. Like anyone else, each has their own strengths and weaknesses.
How many times have you heard a submissive say that they aren't actually submissive in real life? Their submission is a gift they give to one person, their Dominant.
I would argue the same for a Dominant. Every Dominant is not an Alpha. J certainly isn't. He is manly, he is rugged, he's a beast of sorts and I love that about him, but he certainly isn't competitive nor is he in a leadership role in every aspect of his life. However, is he Dominant in our marriage? Very much so. Is he Dominant with every person he comes across? No.
His role of Dominant is pertinent to our marriage. It is a gift of himself he gives to our children and to me and he performs it within his own sphere of strengths and weaknesses.
There was one point at the hospital when I had been throwing myself into the role of caregiver to our daughter, that I noticed how opposite J and I are when it comes to handling our stress. As a mom, I deal with stress by jumping in and doing what needs to be done. J tends to stand back, observe, process, and then make his decisions. My decisions are made by doing, his are made by observing. Many times his way of doing things has made him the right man for the job as my Dominant. In this instance, Where I needed to fluff pillows and decorate our daughters room to deal with what was happening to our daughter, J needed to sit back and observe, process and ponder in order to process everything happening with her medically. By doing that he was silently the calm that kept my storm at bay. While I tend to throw myself into whatever needs to be done and go at it full force, J tends to observe the situation for a time, processing information and applying himself as needed to whatever needs his attention.
When I  noticed our different responses at first I felt like I was being the typical "dominant partner" and he was following my lead. It made me uncomfortable. What I came to realize is that he was very much still the dominant partner. Although we had different ways of handling the same situation, no decisions would be made in regards to our daughter without his approval.

So I tell you all this to say- hey, if you are struggling, hang in there. It will get better. Try to be patient, try to hold on. Give each other grace right now so you can get through the hurdle you are facing. Remember that your dynamic will be right where you left it when you are able to pick it up again and in the meantime let it bear the fruit in your relationship that it is intended to create- healthy communication, understanding, passion, love, security, attentiveness, faithfulness, servitude and humility. Remember that absence makes the heart grow fonder.