living love out loud with kids

When You Become #relationshipgoals in Your Child’s Eyes

Last week was all sorts of crazy. With it being the first holiday without my mom, emotions ran high and we were all in overdrive driving to fill her shoes.

Additionally, I decided that we definitely need to go “all out” with our Christmas decorations this year, unlike in years past, because it’s my mom’s favorite holiday and I owe it to her.


So, between Thanksgiving, Christmas decorating, feeding the homeless, and every day life, I was completely worn out yesterday. I laid down on the couch and fell asleep.

When You Become #relationshipgoals

I drifted in and out of sleep throughout the evening until Colby woke me to send me off to bed around 11pm. I got dressed for bed and was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow (totally unlike me) and slept another 10 hours in my bed.

Upon awaking though, I remembered a short conversation I had yesterday before completely passing out.

Colby was sitting on one end of the couch while I sat on the other with my feet across him. He and Jaci were watching Superman while I read a book. I looked up at him and he winked at me; I didn’t respond.

I looked up again, he winked, I looked back down. Upon the third glance, I looked up, he gave a dramatic, whole-face wink, and I smiled.

Jaci caught this and immediately responded with,


I looked at her and asked, “Why?” (For reference here, Jaci just turned 12 in October.) She then proceeded to tell us that she often captures what we call her “paparazzi” shots of us.

When I asked of what, she stated that she has pictures of us holding hands in the car, holding hands while walking together, us cuddling, different pictures of Colby and I together.

It reminded me of how we, as parents, remind ourselves that there are always little eyes and ears both watching and listening. And it goes beyond the language we use or the emotions we show.

They see everything.

living love out loud with kids

I have to admit, I actually felt a bit proud. Colby and I have accomplished to do exactly what I dreamed of when we began this marriage journey. Well, sort of.

We never planned to separate for almost three years and then get back together. That was completely unplanned… but it all worked out in the end.

Colby is my best friend and loves me even though he knows all my faults. And there are plenty. But, the guy sticks by my side anyways. He’s pretty awesome.

Back to the subject at hand though, Jaci words yesterday helped me realize that Colby and I have been able to build a marriage—a family—I, at one time, never thought was possible.

The challenges of dealing with his family (whom we haven’t seen in 11 years this next month), the real struggles of marriage, childhood scars that remain a part of who I am, and the every day trials of doing life together make some days tough.

Anyone who has been married for even a minute knows that marriage takes work.

Colby and I at Las Islas Marietas

Considering I didn’t come from a home where love was lived out loud (my parents have always been extremely modest in their public display of affection), I wanted to show my kids something different.

Colby and I believe in the “gross your kids out” way of parenting. And we do—almost daily. But, it seems that it’s working. They are not afraid to show their emotions and we share openly, as a family.

So, when Jaci told us that we are her #relationshipgoals, an overwhelming sense of pride filled my heart.

Even through the heartaches and trials, the good times and the bad, we had somehow managed to construct a marriage that our children could use to foster their own relationships.

We have successfully shown them how to love and give of themselves. At least in the eyes of our 12 year old, this is what we’ve learned. And today, that is enough.

Having our children look to us for an emotion as great as love is truly enough.

“Kid’s don’t care how many sermons you preach to them. The only sermon they’ll hear is how you live your life in front of them.”
― Bruce Van Horn