I became a mother at the age of 16, married my daughter's father, and was getting divorced by the time I graduated from Columbine High School in 1993.
I spent the next 8 1/2 years as a single mom until I married my husband, Roland, at 26.
We suddenly started learning how difficult a blended family can be, with his 3 girls and my daughter...and 2 exes.
Less than 7 years later, I thought I was living my dream life until Roland and I suddenly separated, due to circumstances I had been unaware of. We'd had 3 kids together, the youngest was only 3 months old.
I started preparing divorce papers when something spoke to my heart: "Wait. Let's see what he does with this".
I became a single mom again, with 4 kids this time. Meanwhile, Roland and I were rebuilding ourselves and our relationship.
I began to recognize that even though I grew up in a happy, loving family, Roland did not; and I started to gain an understanding of the effects that childhood trauma has on a person. And I noticed that the trauma my kids and I were going through was having an effect on us, individually, in our own ways -- and as a family.
After a 3 year separation, we were able to fully reconcile. We had so much to navigate. We had to learn how to communicate, how to get vulnerable, to have compassion, to forgive, to let down walls.....and so much more.
Working through these things is what's made our marriage a success. We've both spent the last 15 years studying, reading, listening, getting trainings & certifications, but above all else -- a whole lot of trial and error -- figuring it out.
Figuring ourselves out individually and figuring out our marriage together.