My family was chaotic, growing up. My parents divorced when I was six, and my dad left for good when I was around fourteen. In between that time, it seemed as though my parents were always battling. I had two younger brothers and a younger sister, and there was a lot of just general chaos. Four kids, all close in age, one single mom struggling to hold it all together, plus a stepfather who didn't know quite how to handle four extra kids. It was loud and crazy and emotionally turbulent - especially as we all got older and started adolescence. I don't have a lot of really positive memories of all of us together. Lots of individual times when things were great - I'm still incredibly close with my mom, stepdad and my sister, and have relatively positive relationships with my brothers - but as a unit, it was really hard for all of us to be together without someone screaming at each other. Family dinners were a disaster, most nights seemed to be clouded with battles over who was in control of the television or when the lights were going to go off at bedtime.
I've found that the one thing I value most about the life that I've created with Marc and these children is just the peace of it all. Not that my kids don't fight, because they are kids and that's what they do - but it's not the same. Marc and I rarely fight - and never have huge screaming battles. As a rule, we like each other and do our best to make the other one happy. It's... calm. It's easy and loving and peaceful - and I value it more than you can imagine. There was a lot of love in my house when I was a child - I always knew that my mother would do anything for us - and for what it was worth, I knew that my siblings looked up to me and trusted me. But there wasn't a lot of peace - there wasn't space for that. Too much effort went into just surviving - we were broke most of the time, trying to figure our way thru a messy divorce. In the early 80's, divorce was nowhere near as common, and nobody knew what they were doing. Everything felt tenuous and fragile. Marc and I aren't rich, by any financial measure, but we're relatively stable, money-wise. More importantly, we're a unit, and in total agreement of where we are as a family and what our goals as parents are.
My life is peaceful. It's happy and content - not perfect, my kids fight and yell and sometimes my husband makes me crazy. I wish for a maid, an extra car and more disposable income. But I'm happier than anyone I know - and incredibly thankful for the life that I lead.