Posts Tagged With: marriage

A Celebration of Family

It’s Gratituesday! I’m feeling incredibly grateful today for my oldest daughter and her husband.

They found each other a few years ago and their friendship blossomed into a family.

Photo By JAKeeran (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

The historic Pioneer Museum of Colorado Springs. Photo By JAKeeran (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

The two of them invited friends and family to a wedding celebration this past weekend that they put together themselves. They wanted to share the incredible joy they’ve experienced! What a great job they did in communicating that exuberance.

Few things feel as good to a parent as seeing their child loved and cherished and happy. I saw that in phenomenal ways during the reception as friends and family embraced, literally and figuratively, this generous and loving pair.

Two extended families, his and hers, radiated and received love. In addition, the unique family that close friends become also encircled and shone, illuminating clearly what kind, caring, fun, generous, smart and wonderful people my daughter and my son-in-law are.

I feel honored and blessed to be part of the intersecting circles that bind and surround and enclose them. I feel even more blessed because their union has brought me a joy-filled granddaughter with an endless smile, who adds meaning and wonder to my already overflowing life.

Family brings a sweetness beyond imagining.

Family brings a sweetness beyond imagining.

To make the weekend even better, as if that were possible, my other three children and their spouses and children were all there as well. Knowing it’s the last time in a long while that our entire family would be together like that, I basked in the glow like a sunbather on a beach. I found myself soaking in the goodness of every moment, every laugh and moan, every child’s cry and whine,  every inside joke, every bit of family angst and craziness. It felt so perfect. Even the two granddogs and the grandcat were around for some of the weekend’s plans, if you can imagine that.

Happiness overflowed and leaked out my eyes for days. Who knew joy was such a messy, handkerchief soaking thing?

Thanks Jen and Jef for a phenomenal weekend. You are so loved! You’ve blessed my life immeasurably!

~~~~~

“A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.”

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Ring Dings

It’s Gratituesday! When we first moved to Arizona we had very light, almost white carpet on the stairs just ten steps from the front door. The bedrooms and hallways also had the same impractical carpet. It was a no-brainer that we’d be one of those families. You know the ones. We became a family that didn’t wear shoes in the house. So right next to the front door a shoe pile grew.

I tried all sorts of ways to keep them organized and neat. Mostly, about once a week, everyone had to haul all their shoes to their bedroom closets and only leave one pair by the door.

Dirt Happens

The carpet still managed to get dirty.

The shoeless habit stuck with us. We’ve lived in four houses in eighteen years and shoes still come off and go on at the exit door. Not so much for the clean carpet, ours is dark beige now, but for the comfort and routine of it.

What does this have to do with gratitude today? I’m getting there.

Look closely at this photo of my wall by the front door.

photo 2-3 copy 18It just looks like a paint job needing repair I suppose. Or little pencil marks. We have dorky paint in this house. It was at one time a repossession by the bank and got a cheap paint job before we ended up living here.

This is the kind of paint that comes off if you take a damp sponge to it to wipe away fingerprints. Why do they even make that kind of paint?

Cheap Paint Happens

The only way to “clean” a wall in our house is to very carefully dab at a spot and hope the paint sticks. Otherwise there’s a can of touch-up paint I use sparingly to keep the fingerprints and such at bay.

But if you look at the wall photo I pointed out, those aren’t fingerprints. Nope. I’m not even sure what to call them. Dings? Nicks? Marks?

It took a bit of thinking but I figured out what they were and how they got there.

You see, every time MSH slips his feet into his shoes by the front door, he puts his left hand on the wall to steady himself. And often, if not always, his wedding band taps, dings, or touches the wall. Given the nature of the paint it invariably leaves a mark. There’s quite a collection of the dings in a small area.

Rather than painting over them in frustration, I’ve decided to leave them there for a while as a sweet reminder of MSH’s travels to and from our home.

Honestly, sometimes I’m glad when he leaves, but I’m also really glad that he always returns. When he’s traveled for work there were weeks and months when the departures happened often and arrivals were brief and coveted.

I see those marks as the adult version of sticky fingerprints, I suppose. Every once in a while things like that get cleaned up and taken care of. But in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the ring dings. I’ll count them as a blessing, since they’re really just evidence of MSH and the thirty plus years we’ve shared.

Strange, I know. But hey, paint is cheap.

Photo by Jeff Belmonte from Cuiabá, Brazil

Photo by Jeff Belmonte from Cuiabá, Brazil

 

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Found: The Music to Your Dance

“Humorous but very intelligent words to live by: Do not argue with a spouse who is packing your parachute.”

Friday Letter to My Kids – Sept. 5, 2014 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

I gotta tell you how happy it makes me that you’ve each found and married the perfect person for you.

You’ve found the music to your dance, the glove to your hand, the screen to your keyboard, the horizon to your sunrise and the ocean to your beach.

That’s so happifying!

A couple of you took a long and circuitous route in locating that person, but the journey seemed a necessary part of the finding for you. A couple of you found love early and without hesitation. Either way, I’m thrilled to see you each content and loved and cared for so well.

Original art by Kami

Original art by Kami

I lucked out too because I totally adore each of your spouses. They’re cool people, confident, calm, easy-going, and fun to hang out with. It’s like I got a set of bonus kids just for showing up.

I love seeing how your spouse loves, cares for, admires, helps and cherishes you. Even better I’ve observed a synergy where they make you a better person, a richer, more well-rounded, more vibrant human and you have the same effect on them. Your eyes light up around your sweetheart. Your whole countenance brightens. You seem more you.

I’m not delusional. I know marriage isn’t all roses, chocolate and champagne. Each of you and your spouses each seem well suited and well matched for the challenging and occasionally uphill path of the commitments you’ve made. That fact alone does my heart good and lets me rest easier. Knowing you’re loved and in love and in it for the long haul makes me smile.

Already it seems you’re light-years ahead of where your dad and I were even twenty years into our marriage. It’s like you figured out the right way to pull off a marriage by watching us stumble around like dingbats. From what I can tell, you’re doing an awesome job at this whole married thing.

I can’t seem to get this scene out of my head from the movie “Princess Bride.” Maybe it’s simply to remind me to laugh more often at and in my own marriage.

Here’s the quote:

“Mawage.

Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam…

And wuv, twue wuv, will fowow you foweva…

So tweasure your wuv.” ~Princess Bride

I hope you laugh often with each other. That’s definitely served as my saving grace over the past few decades of married life.

Here’s the one really great thing I figured out: it only gets better over time. You think you can’t love them any more than you do now, but you will. And in a ways that’ll surprise you.

I’m excited for what awaits each of you as couples. You’ve picked the scenic route and that will make all the difference in your travels together. Enjoy the ride!

Love found you all and in that finding life begins again and again and again.

 

Lots of love,

Mom

"Bluebird of Happymess"

“Bluebird of Happymess”

(Happymess with an “M” – not a typo.)

~~~~~

“A good marriage is where both people feel like they’re getting the better end of the deal.” ~ Anne Lamott

 

 


			
Categories: Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Yin and the Yang

It’s Gratituesday! Today I find my heart filled with gratitude for a sweet companion. I often wonder at his patience with me. I marvel at his resilience when I’m criticizing, nitpicking or complaining. I’m amazed at his willingness to stick around.

Seesaw

Seesaw (Photo credit: nzgabriel)

At first we were both equally antisocial, avoiding double dates, making friends, making connections. But over the years, very slowly, I’ve picked away at my shell of shyness and found that I need and want people in my life beyond family. Friends have become part of who I am. And he has occasionally, and carefully, waded into a few social puddles with me.

I tend to seek the limelight and he will be mortified that I wrote about him here, so publicly. I try to respect his privacy while still writing, honestly about my life and that is why I refer to him as MSH, My Sweet Husband.

The Joy of Flying

The Joy of Flying (Photo credit: caribb)

Just as he said he would when we were dating, he has traveled far and often for work and I’ve been left to tend to hearth and children. Not quite as often we have followed him across the country, crisscrossing it, then settling, sort of, here in the heart and heat of the desert.

I joke that all his traveling is what has kept us together. It sounds funny, but it’s been the reality. And, I’m afraid that cuts both ways. for the two of us. And yet, that old missive that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is as true as any fact you can hold and touch and taste.

He’s kind of my opposite, which is probably a good thing, but doesn’t always feel like it is. His willingness to take chances probably balances out my complete and total lack of desire to risk much of anything. We’re still working on this one. And many other things.

The idea of Yin and Yang, seems to describe our relationship better than almost anything I’ve ever run across.

“two complementary principles of Chinese philosophy: Yin is negative, dark, and 

feminine; Yang is positive, bright, and masculine. Their interaction is thought to

 maintain the harmony of the universe and to influence everything within it.”

The harmony of our universe has been a constant flux of give and take, up and down, sorrow and joy. It hasn’t always been fifty-fifty. But we have become an interesting balance of and with each other.

The man I married wasn’t interested in things that got you dirty, like camping, or the outdoors. But that changed as I embraced that part of my life and pulled him into it. He became the avid camper, the rock climber, the rappeller, while I became afraid of heights and decided I’d prefer a cabin to a tent. His ideal home would be in the wilderness and mine, somewhere between wilderness and civilization.

Yin and yang blue

He has always looked forward to the future, and I have always been firmly settled in today.

How we’ve managed to stay together so long is more a testament of what weathering a storm or two or three will do to a relationship than any other thing we’ve consciously done. I’m grateful he hasn’t given up on me. And I’m glad I haven’t given up on him.  We are a pair, oddly matched, but strangely well matched.

We do have some things in common.

We share a love of music. We share a passion for knowledge and learning. We love to dance. We share a love of our children. We share similar spiritual values.

We share a love I didn’t think was possible. In that I am more blessed than I deserve.

As Robert Browning wrote, I repeat to MSH, my love, my sweet companion:

“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.”

Thank you MSH, for the ride so far!

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday, Love, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Awash in a Torrent

It’s Gratituesday! Today gratitude washes over me when I consider my children. All four of them were in town to celebrate at the wedding reception this past weekend. A whole lifetime of sweet memories, struggles, laughs, sorrows, silliness, sadness, good times and the insanity of family life flooded over me in wave after wave of remembering.

waterfall

(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

When the house emptied out after a weekend of overflowing joy I recognized more than ever what a blessing each of them have been.

Let’s be honest, with parenting, it’s sink or swim. So you flail your arms about, kick your legs, gasp for breath every chance you get and eventually you have something that moves your through the water of parenthood. It wasn’t all roses. It’s a ton of hard work and sleepless nights, worry and tears.

But, there is a flip side.

rain dancing

(Photo credit: amboo who?)

We had some great times that surely balanced out the challenges. Swings, and slides, sandpiles and diving boards. Cooking and organizing, camping, rock climbing, hiking. Summer crafts and  road trips, summer library challenges. Sidewalk chalk, sleepovers, baking. Hide and seek, shooting baskets, building blanket forts, picnics, parks and playgrounds. Camping in the rain, puddle jumping, dancing in the rain. Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow walks and snowmen. Car rides to lessons, activities, games, practices, friends houses, camps. Let’s not forget story time and bath time, movies and barbies, hot wheels and ninetendo, legos, dress up clothes, sliding banisters, cats and parakeets, tire swings, singing, exploring. And so much more!

From that first dark-haired baby boy that I was clueless about, to the golden-blond independent caboose baby, I’ve learned how to be a real person from all four of them. They’ve shaped who I am today.

And them? Wow!!!  In spite of all the parental goofs, gaffs, trial and error and outright mistakes, they’ve become wonderful, kind, thoughtful, hardworking beautiful adults that I’m happy to treat as equals, friends and confidants.

Monsoon

(Photo credit: lokenrc)

This weekend felt like much more than a celebration of a marriage. It felt like a commemoration of life. The monsoon downpour of rain we had as we sent the blissfully wedding couple off into their happily ever after was a grand metaphor of the blessings of my life showering down on me.

Awash in blessings beyond anything I deserve, here’s a toast to the four of you! Thank you J, J, L and L. Being your Mom is an honor and the greatest joy of my life!

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

For My Dancing Daughter

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful that we’re adding to our family tomorrow. We’re getting a son-in-law! My youngest daughter gets married on Wednesday!

As predicted years ago, this happens before my oldest daughter ties the knot.

Not that it was ever a contest. It’s all about personalities and differences. They’re both unconventional in completely different ways, so we all knew it would play out this way. It’s kind of fun to watch things unfold. This daughter getting married is the very one I wrote about in my Beanie Baby post.

This daughter loves dancing. She always danced her own steps and made up her own moves. She’s been that way with her whole life. Free spirited, wanting to do things her own way, confident, independent, persevering, determined. What a beautiful young woman she’s become. What a stunning bride she’ll be!

Since there isn’t a mother-daughter dance at a wedding, I’m taking a moment here for a mother-daughter song. So here it is:

“When you get the choice to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance!”

You might be saying to yourself, wait a minute, didn’t you just marry off a son a couple of months ago? Yup! Sure did! What vitality and light our new daughter-in-law brought with her. Lucky us! And my son? I’ve haven’t seen him smile this much since he got his Big Wheel at three years old.

Fireworks

I suspect something similar of my daughter, once the jittery, excited, nervous, busy, chaotic ride of the wedding day events unfold, I’m pretty sure her smile will be unending and blissful. For now, she’s holding it all in, like a firework, keeping things in check and under control until the last possible moment. Once she lets that smile break out, showing her real emotions, we’ll all bust out in contagious laughter and smiles.

I have to admit, I’ve definitely let my emotions run amok lately. Lots to do to prepare, plenty of everyday stress mixed in, plus the record-breaking heat we’ve had.

I’m sure I’ve been motherzilla-of-the-bride lately.

But, now that I think about it, I’m sure I can blame it on the denial I’m in about her moving out and moving on. Sure, I’ve been ready for it, praying for it, happy for her, for this next big step in her life. But at the same time, she’s my baby!

What’s next?

Holy mackerel, what isn’t next? It’s not like, once she leaves I’ll have nothing to do, hardly so.

But there’s this sense of loss when children progress, and this one I haven’t really addressed, until now, strangely out loud and in public. But I’m only acknowledging it briefly, to remind myself to think about it later. After all, Thursday will be just another day.

Wedding cake.

(Photo credit: THEMACGIRL*)

Or not.

Sigh…

Sniff…

Until then…

Wednesday is Wedding Day, a joyous occasion, a new beginning, a day for laughter.

A day for cheers.

A day of dancing,

A day for tears.

Here’s wishing my daughter a beautiful marriage with the love of her life!

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Joy, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pencils, Batters, Sewing, Music and Typing?

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful for do-overs. Something about second chances fills me with hope.

Eraser

Eraser (Photo credit: plounsbury)

All kinds of second-time-around opportunities surround us that we might not even see as do-overs.

  • A batter taking a swing gets at least three chances, more if a couple swings send foul balls flying.
  • Pencils are built for second chances. An eraser on top implies that mistakes happen and rewriting occurs. That’s not a weakness in the pencil design, it’s a recognition that we humans inevitably goof.
  • Sewing tools include seam rippers that help you take stitches out when something has gone wrong. Tiny snippets of thread undo a bit at a time until the entire length of stitching is removed. It’s then ready for another go at the needle.
  • Practicing piano, or violin, trombone, drums, flute, guitar or any musical instrument serves as many second chances to get it right before a performance.
  • The delete button on my keyboard makes do-overs easy and quick. When I first learned to type the second chance required back spacing then messy white-out followed by drying time, then a retype.

Repairs Ahead

Second chances abound. They serve as reminders that I am a work in progress and so is everyone around me.

My daily do-over starts with the beginning of another day where I have a new chance to get something right today that I made a mess of yesterday. Maybe that’s another reason I like mornings so much.

English: Pencil Eraser Deutsch: Radiergummi mi...

Second’s the Best

Remarriage after a divorce is a blessed do-over. I don’t know the stats but logically you’d think that things would go better in that new relationship because of lessons learned the first time around. Not to mention, there’s that appreciation factor, having lost something, then found it again, you cherish it more, care for it more, keep an eye on it better.

My son ties the knot later this week. This second chance at marriage bubbles over with joy and promise and so many good things. I want to dance across the park, shout over the tree tops, run like a banshee and sing at the top of my lungs.  Don’t worry, I’ll remain dignified and just smile as the happy tears run down my face.

Ah, the blessedness of a second chance.

Pencils ready?

A great song to go along with this idea:

Enjoy a song all about second chances.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Joy, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Electric Love

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful for one of the most brilliant gifts I ever received.  You can’t imagine how surprised I was several years ago to unwrap a twin-sized electric blanket as one of my Christmas gifts from MSH.  We have a king-sized bed. A twin-size anything made no sense.  But then it did.

Master Suite - King Size Bed with Jungle View

The vast expanse of a King Size Bed! (Photo credit: Grand Velas Riviera Maya)

The blue fluffy wire-lined blanket fit perfectly on my half of the bed. I discovered that very night the wisdom of such a gift.

MSH slumbers in a well chilled, open windowed bedroom, fresh air pouring over his overheated, restless body. For good measure he runs the ceiling fan as well.  In such an environment I can only toss and turn and freeze, no matter how many blankets get heaped on top of me.  But now, ah yes, now with my gift of electric heated bliss, I can choose to have the warmth of a cat snuggling up to me, or I can bask in the heat of a Sahara summer, or any climate in between.

This isn’t a winter only gift.  Oh, no not at all. It is after all Phoenix, complete with heat islands and asphalt. Summers here are a sweltering desert. To survive we have air conditioning everywhere.

(Except for my car, usually the AC goes out on the first day of July.  Not sure why.  The infamous Tilby family car curse? But, I digress, that is another post.)

Unlike most households, we don’t just bring the temperature down to cool. MSH chills the house to the point that we all wear sweaters inside, except him. It’s comfortable for MSH and that is important.  We love him and want him comfy, too. At night, the thermostat gets set even lower.  As a result, my electric blanket often gets used in the summertime as well. Ah, sweet slumber.

I do think the electric blanket saved our marriage. Or at least it keeps me from finding another room to sleep in. Which would have made MSH feel sad and lonely, which would make me sad.  His inspired gift to me makes me love him even more, and reminds me nightly of his consistent thoughtfulness in so many other ways.

All hail the lowly blue blanket, plugged in and enhancing relationships a few precious degrees at a time.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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