Our Family Beginnings
Not many know our beginning story of how Jesenko and I began our 20 years of journey of marriage. I am confident that some can relate to the very early times of not making enough to fill our first apartment together. Our only piece of furniture was the queen bed my parents gave me. I still remember collecting change and going to the grocery store to convert it to dollars. At that time, we both worked as cable technicians 2001. We had no living room furniture. There was a cheap computer table that we bought later to put our first few low-priced laptops, where we upgraded later on as part of our computer learning. I remember sitting on blankets and a few pillows and having the bare necessities for the kitchen for Jesenko and me to cook food and eat our food.
If you knew us, you might have shared used furniture and accessories as part of our housewarming. In 2002, we had a very minimalist and budget-friendly wedding in Niagara Falls, New York, USA, while I was 8 months pregnant with our eldest son Gabriel. Only six (6) people were at our wedding: the priest, his assistant, our best man, best woman, Jesenko and myself. We could not afford a luxurious wedding and did not want it. In our minds, we were not getting married to the world or other people. We were getting married to each other. We saw no reason to be in debt or make a show of our wedding. This was personal and intimate for us. It’s a vow between a couple, and that’s it!
Throughout the years, we continued to be as frugal as possible. We then had our second eldest son in 2005, Camiel, and our twin boys, Mikael and Uriel, in 2006. There were tough years, including bankruptcy, when the economy spiraled on us. We used up whatever cash we had and loans on our own 401K to keep our family together and have a roof on top of our heads. We still have not stopped recycling clothes for our boys to wear and donating to organizations like Vietnam Veterans. Occasionally, there are house items we also donate or give away to neighbors, like bicycle parts or the bike itself. We also donate our time to support others or just be there. I’ve lost count of how much time I’ve put in to support women empowerment programs, whether through other organizations, work, or mentorship I give.
Our family has survived several deaths from my father and mother in 2021, Jesenko’s Dad over 5 years ago, and several good friends and relatives around the world. Jesenko and his family are refugees from the Bosnia-Herzegovina war. He escaped death to live in the United States. My family has traveled to a few 3rd world countries for the United Nations, and we all started almost poor when we moved to the United States. I still remember being made fun of because my Dad drove a very old Chevy Nova. When I first moved here in 1989, we lived in a poor neighborhood. I was socially demeaned in middle school just because I didn’t have brand new clothes. This was when I missed wearing uniforms in school. I could not understand why there were no uniforms in public schools. It was prone for bullies to take advantage of others through social status.
Our family’s story is like many. We are still working hard to support our family. We didn’t start with much to build our Habito Plecic family. There are many ups and downs. If you are embarking on living with a life partner, you may start with a honeymoon stage. You learn who are truly your friends and loved ones. Family doesn’t mean they need to be your blood relative. Trust is not given; it is earned.
There are plenty of lessons to be learned when supporting your family.
- Keep it interesting and add some mystery to it. The spark that was there to start needs to be rekindled often.
- Unimaginable patience and foresight to always be prepared for the worst!
- Ask for help because we are not alone.
- We will all continuously make mistakes, forgive or put up with things often, and try to rebuild new things that may be broken or need to heal.
- Just because you got married doesn’t mean you left your previous identity. You got married or fell in love with each other because of your unique individuality and to the person who was not in a committed relationship. So why throw away your own identity after marriage completely?
- Get married to each other and not with the world. Try not to follow unrealistic cultural, societal, and family expectations.
P.S. I don’t know of any perfect families. We all carry burdens, challenges, and so much pain. Take it one moment at a time. Keep moving forward towards reaching your happiness.