Posts Tagged With: friends as family

tenacity in her DNA

Been thinking about Thing 2.
Concerned she’s not really getting her life together. She’s employed, sometimes happily, sometimes miserably. (But, aren’t we all?) I’ve been concerned about her emotional well being. And the well being of Boyfriend J. I worry for them. I know what it’s like to feel trapped. To feel defeated and how easy it is to let that consume you.

And then the other day, she shared that her dear friend Jimmy is going through so much with his mom and her health, and then suddenly she suffered a stroke and is in a vegetative state with no real hope of improvement.
Thing 2 expressed how hard it is to feel helpless when all she wants to do in the world is help her friend and his sweet mom through this moment in their lives.

I began to consider everything my baby daughter has been through in the last year or so.
I’ve seen her hold the hand of her dearest friend after the sudden and surprising suicide of his father.
I’ve seen her rush to the home of her sister and brother in law because the latter specifically requested her presence after the loss of their baby.
I’ve seen her be there for Jimmy even though she’s not sure how to be other than to “throw hugs and beer at him”.

This young woman has demonstrated a level of strength and support that most seasoned adults don’t always successfully handle. She is handling her own complicated emotional feelings, as well as for the people she loves. She’s been tremendously responsible for the people she loves.
So I feel like I need to stop and breathe a little bit. I need to realize she’s doing things with her time and life that are important, even if they’re not actively furthering her “getting it together”.
The thought she’s using these things as avoidance for dealing with getting her life together crossed my mind, and it’s a very Thing 2 sort of way to function, but after talking with her today I feel like she’s working hard to get herself together as well as supporting and loving her people.

She’s learning how to ‘adult’ and I think she’s kind of digging it!

I told her not giving up is hard af but it’s more worth it than she even understood. And this superhero feeling is why!

Of course there will be days when she’s not feeling especially superheroish, but now that she has, she’ll remember it and be more inclined to keep going when the going gets tough. Not quitting when life gets hard is part of growing up. Feeling accomplished and empowered when you persevere is the reward. She’ll remember that now that she’s experienced it.
She doesn’t remember fighting for her life as a new baby. She doesn’t remember how hard she worked to stay healthy. My girl is a fighter! She’s got a strength and tenacity down deep in her. She’s seeing evidence of that now. This time, she’ll remember.
Everyone needs their ‘I did it!’ moments.

I told her I knew she had it in her, that she knew she had it in her and just needed to be reminded.
She wrote: “Really I didn’t want to “brag” to you about how everything is working out (albeit in its own silly Thing 2 way) and make you feel, well, I don’t know what I was afraid of, but it’s nice to hear that you’re rooting for me (and us)” (Us being her and Boyfriend J)
“And I know you always are and will be, but I feel like recognizing it.
You gave me my tenacity.
And I am eternally grateful (heart emoji)

I told her that her tenacity is in her very DNA and I’m just here to remind her.

She replied: “I love you. Thank you for being the best momma, and for being an incredible human aside from your fierce momma-ness”

I shared with her that YBW and I had been talking about how she’s doing, and I shared with him about where and how she is and what she’s doing for her friends. That he’s been loving and supportive in our conversations about her. That even though they’re relationship is a bit tricky, he’s on her side.

She replied:

(This is one of my new favorite Robynbird/YBW analogies. I’m totally the cereal and he’s absolutely the fruit and nut mix.)

That’s the second time this week one of those girls told me they appreciated me.
Thing 1 did it on Thursday in a text message that read: “You’re a great mom. So you know”
And that creates nice warm fuzzy feelings in me.
My own ‘I did it!’ moment!

I built the foundation.
They’re in charge of construction now.
I’m going to worry…I don’t know how to not…but I see what’s being built, and I’m feeling comfortable and confident for them.

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Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Little D’s Christmas

Little D is coming today and spending the night!
It’s actually his Christmas gift.
You see, Little D more enjoys spending time with the people he loves than he does toys and stuff. Partly this is because he’s an only child, and partly because he lost his mother so young. But mostly it’s because he’s a social kid that likes to be around the people he loves.

One of the people he loves most is Thing 2. Born on the same day fourteen years apart, they are our birthday twins. A fact each of them absolutely adores. Thing 2 and Little D are also “daughter and father” this comes from a time when he was just three, Little D took Thing 2 by the hand and lead her all around our old preschool telling everyone, “Dis my daughter Thing 2.”
Apart from the Nutcracker, and probably the Cathedral visit, what she was most looking forward to was spending time with Little D and his folks.
They built trains and played hide and seek and then settled down to color.

(I was standing on the sofa to shoot this pic and sadly lost my balance so it’s out of focus, but that’s OK I still love it.)

During that visit, Little D found his gift under the tree in our front room.
It was an invitation for a very special sleepover with YBW and me. In which a detailed plan was laid out for us to play, watch a movie, (with popcorn of course) then for breakfast we’ll make his favorite, french toast and bacon.
The first thing he said was, “When!?!”
His mom and I quickly got out our calendars and picked today!

Of course he’ll have another gift.

Batman jammies, a truly amazing book, and a movie I know he loves.
Y’all I don’t even like Batman, but I freaking love those jammies!

My local bookshop didn’t have the book in stock and it took forever to ship, so I must stop writing and get on the wrapping of his pressie! Then YBW and I will head out to meet their family for lunch and bring that kid home to play and be goofy!
I’m so excited!

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love and sadness deep in my bones

When there occurs a misunderstanding big enough to end a friendship, your initial reaction could quite possibly be to blame the other party. As far as I can tell, this is perfectly normal human behavior. You’re hurt. You’re sad. You’re confused. But then you’re angry.
For me, anger jumps in to protect sadness. I suspect that’s a fairly common phenomenon.
Blaming begins because anger is irrational. Anger is trying to make sadness feel better, so it lashes out. Well, let me assure you, that lashing out benefits no one.
Anger can turn a situation that’s tricky, but possibly repairable, into a situation that there is no coming back from.

In my experience, no matter how close a friendship, there is a line of truth you simply cannot cross. And that’s when you know that particular truth will create a shift in the other person.
Of course, we all long to believe if our friendships are close enough…that if you’re so close you’re “friends as family” there is nothing that cannot pass between you.
I’m here to tell you, watch what you say. Because you can wound deeply without knowledge. You can wound deeply without intent.

I recently experienced this scenario. And truthfully, it’s just a big bag of suck.
In a half-assed attempt to explain one of my long and delicate thought processes, I wounded a friend.
Without intent, my words were hurtful.
I believe I wounded his pride.
Pride is a double edged sword, too much or not enough can sometimes kill you…or others…

Each of us became frustrated. Then reactive.
There was no being mindful in this conversation.
I know the words “behaving like a petulant child” were involved…
When the conversation ended abruptly, we retreated to our corners to lick our wounds.
I honestly don’t remember who reached out first to begin the rebuild.
But after that, in true Robynbird fashion, I wrote a long and emotional email in which I completely over-explained my point of view.
To say it went over like a lead Zeppelin is…well…the truth. I have a tendency to overthink and overtalk my thoughts and feelings…normally my friend can sort through my words to extract the important information. But not this time.
Apparently, I triggered a hot button in him and anger came back via email. Blaming and (possibly deliberately) hurtful words on the screen caused two simultaneous reactions in me.
My hackles went up and I felt compelled to argue point for point. (and) I knew in my gut it was time to break the cycle.

This may seem terribly dramatic, to talk about a friendship this way. But here’s the thing, it was a terribly dramatic friendship. When I say “terribly dramatic”, I mean it this way.
We became friends with a quickness out of the clear blue. Differences in gender, culture, generation, time, and distance held no meaning. We were as close as siblings. (Not the ones you grow up with, but the ones you get to choose in your adult life.) We talked each other through some seriously tricky situations, and loved without question. If you’re fortunate enough to have this kind of loving friendship with a person of the opposite gender, you’re blessed beyond belief. That other point of view is invaluable.

I sat with my dueling reactions for a while before I moved forward.
When I chose to act, I was mindful. I used “I statements”. I expressed my love and gratitude for everything our friendship gave me. I wished him well.
I send only love and light to him. I’m hopeful he’s doing the same for me.

Can our friendship be healed from the hurt caused by this misunderstanding and our ridiculous reactions?
I honestly don’t know.
I do know this:
I have sadness deep in my bones.
But I also have love.

Categories: loss, me | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

it’s time to create new traditions

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I don’t like Thanksgiving.
I’m not really going to get into the whys and wherefores of why Thanksgiving and I don’t quite fit. Just know this, I love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and that’s about it.

As you may recall, my dear friend and mentor lost her beloved in the spring. Thanksgiving is the first holiday she will face without him. Now, you need to understand she can do it. She can do Thanksgiving alone. She can do anything, and she will do it with a grace that I can only dream of achieving. But she shouldn’t have to.
Her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson are celebrating Thanksgiving with other family. I couldn’t bear the thought of her facing this first holiday alone, so I had an uncomfortable conversation with YBW and came to the conclusion that I would go to her for Thanksgiving. We’ve planned a very Charleston Thanksgiving and I’m actually rather excited about it.
I’ll even get to see my Charleston family while I’m there!

I know it’s hurtful to YBW. I think he takes it personally. I don’t know that I can really do anything about that, but I assured him that it’s not personal. I’ve been close with Jessica for twenty years. Even though she is no real kin of mine, she is my family.

YBW took his mother to the grocery store last week and when they talked Thanksgiving plans, she said to him that she couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be with my family for Thanksgiving.
I’m ashamed to admit I responded like this, but I looked at him and I said, “Because it’s not my family.”
I didn’t mean it the way it may have seemed, only I kind of did mean it too. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to say, but it was sort of how I felt.

Consider this: I am an orphan who is never around her own children. The only thing I have of my family of origin and the family I created is traditions. But they get lost because one girl isn’t an entire family.
I love the people in his family. And for the most part, they seem to love me. But they’re not terribly adept at seeing past the end of their noses.
I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to grasp the concept of friends as family, especially when I have no family of my own.
I suspect it’s because none of them have ever been in my shoes. They’ve got one living parent, they’re with their children regularly.
My family is my friends. My friends have always been my family, but now that I really have no family of my own, my friends are even more so my family.
That’s just how I am. I know that’s a different concept for YBW’s family.

A few days later, I was alone in the car and had a thought.
It’s not that they’re not my family. It’s that those are not my traditions.
My God, that was the most freeing thought I’d had in ages! And it finally began to make sense to me! And if I could express myself in a way that he could understand, it just might create a truly positive shift in our life.

I came back to YBW and said that what I said surely felt hurtful, and for that I was truly sorry. I didn’t intend hurt him. I told him that I’d been thinking about it and shared what I thought about family and traditions. His family has traditions they’ve been sharing for nearly fifty years. And while they’re extremely important to them, they’re not as important to me.

I told him that it was time for us to create new traditions.
He agreed. He asked good questions. We talked about traditions briefly.
But then nothing more was said about it…

Now is not the time. I’m leaving Tuesday afternoon for Charleston. He’ll be here getting ready to host his family.
When I get home, I’ll be ready to start getting the house ready for Christmas. Perhaps that will be a new way of creating new traditions…with the exception of the “big” tree that goes in the front room. He won’t want to do that without the boys and that makes sense to me. That tree will wait until they come back from their mother’s. But I’m not waiting to make with the Christmas merry. I’ll start the moment I get back into town.

If only there was some way to move straight from Halloween to Christmas and blow right past this obligatory giving of thanks…it just fits me ill.

It’s not that I’m not thankful. It’s that I’m thankful every day.
I’m thankful for the traditions I was given as a child and the ones I created as an adult.
I’m thankful that I have a strong bond with my friends as family people.
I’m thankful I am able to be with someone I love so dearly when she’d otherwise be alone.
I’m thankful that I am strong and have great love in me.
I’m thankful that I am loved greatly.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

specific example of love and strength

I’ve known Catherine since I was eighteen years old. We developed a deep and everlasting friendship. She was a bridesmaid in my first wedding. She has woken up at my home on Christmas morning almost as many times as Thing 1 and Thing 2. She would have been the one to raise my children had something happened to me and their father.
We know each other’s families, have been there for each other through thick and thin. Laughed and cried together, and loved like crazy.
We sometimes go months without speaking, but that never matters. We simply pick right back up where we left off as though a moment hasn’t passed. So when I got a message from her Thursday that said, “Bob passed away this morning, will you please come to the service with me?” My only answer was, “Of course I will!”

Catherine was married to Bob for twenty years. They’d been married a year or two when I met her. They were a curious couple, but that old adage about opposites attracting seemed truly embodied in these two. The girls said their names almost as one long name: “CafferineandBob”. To this day, if I say something to one or the other of them about Catherine, they’ll say, “Cafferine Catherine?” To which I smile and reply, “Yes, Cafferine Catherine.”
As I say, they were happily married, and they suited each other. And they were an important part of our life.
But one day twelve or thirteen years ago, Bob disappeared. I mean that literally. He just left. No explanation. No information. He literally disappeared off the face of the earth. Left Catherine holding the bag of their life. She suffered from the unanswered questions. She suffered with the pain of loss. She suffered doubt and confusion. She suffered from the barrage of questions coming at her that she simply couldn’t answer. Then she suffered financially as folks came out of the woodwork to collect on random Bob debts. She was blessed to have good people around her. She suffered, but she had love and support to keep her safe and sane.
What that man did to her was inexcusable. I could never accept his behavior. I never forgave him for what he did to her. He had no idea what she went through. That woman is made of the toughest stuff. She moved forward in grace and gained strength from that pain, but never got hard. She has a deep and all-encompassing love inside her.

Then, a couple of years ago Bob showed back up. He’d been on a soul searching journey. He’d suffered great pain and loss and didn’t know how to deal so he simply disappeared.
He showed back up on the arm of the widow of his recently deceased cousin announcing they were to be married and wanting his things.
Catherine provided his belongings and promptly told them to…well, I’ll just say she bid them adieu.

She had real love.
She had real pain.

Bob was sick with cancer and died quietly at home Thursday morning.
Catherine not only went to his funeral, she spoke eloquently about love and life and peace. I have always been proud to call her my friend. But in that moment, standing in the tiny cemetery in the warm sun and cool breeze, I was witness to another specific example of the love and strength inside Catherine.
She is and extraordinary woman. How fortunate for me that we love each other.

Categories: death, loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

pretending the bed is a raft

I once had this book called Pretending the Bed is a Raft. It’s a collection of short stories written by Nanci Kincaid. I remember the stories were beautifully written but devastatingly sad. I’m not sure what happened to that book. A quick scan of my shelves and I don’t see it. It may have gone to the used bookstore during one of my annual book purges.
What I have to say isn’t really about the book anyway. It’s about the title.

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I love this concept! Let’s pretend the bed is a raft.
I feel like it’s a game of make believe we might have played when Thing 1 and Thing 2 were little. They would have wanted to be pirates on that bed raft. They would have had us all dressed up with scarves and eye patches and Thing 1 would have wanted to be the captain, but Thing 2 probably would have been calling the shots. I would have been the dutiful first mate, responsible for the safety of the crew while the captain(s) lead us into death or glory. I can hear Thing 2 in her ‘little old man’ voice saying, “Storms a-brewin!”

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I feel like I’ve done this my entire life, only I never used that phrase until I’d seen this book. It stated simply the concept I’ve always understood.
With absolute certainty, my most fundamental belief is: When the going gets tough, get in your bed.

I’m a big fan of getting in my bed when I’m feeling…well, anything actually. I mean, obviously when I’m tired. But, I’m thinking about all the other things I feel. Emotional exhaustion, frustration, or illness. These could all be considered fancy words for depression. Some people use ice cream. I use my pillows. Because nothing comforts me like my bed.
Loneliness and heartache send me straight to my bed.
When I’m craving peace and quiet. If I’m overwhelmed or overjoyed, I take to the comfort of my bed.
That bed is my raft in the seas of all feeling.

My perfect bed is a dark wood farmhouse canopy, made with the most crisp white cotton known to man. This bed is my cocoon. I bought it to keep me safe the first time I ever lived alone. Newly separated, children part time at my home, part time at their father’s, I knew I would need a haven that made me feel safe and sound.
This bed carried me safely through the feeling seas for many years.
Sweet Izzie kitty, so grouchy with everyone but me. She would curl up next to me in that bed and her soft purring would match my breathing and we’d sleep happily together.
My girls snuggling in that cocoon with me. Thing 2 coming in every night for months with her pillow and sleeping with me. Thing 1 didn’t sleep with me that often, she’s an active sleeper, making full use of her bed. But when she came for a snuggle it would be an event.

YBW was invited into my cocoon.
He invited me into his bed, he named it serenity.
The first time I came here, we went to bed and he told me to close my eyes…when I opened them there were stars all over the ceiling. He told me on the phone that when I came to his home, I would sleep in serenity in a sea of stars. He made that happen for me. We could be together in the cocoon or in serenity and it was lovely.

When I moved here, the cocoon moved to the guest room.
We bought new mattress and foundation and I began to sleep full time in his bed. I’d lived here for almost a year when we had a little mishap and broke the bed. I fell in love with a bed and took him to see it. He agreed and the new bed came home to our room. The bed we share is a beautiful dark wood, with a very high headboard and drawers in the footboard. It is made with crisp white bedding.

When I’m in need of pretending the bed is a raft, I don’t often take to the bed I share with YBW. I’ll go to the cocoon. It’s not that that I don’t feel comfortable or safe in serenity. It’s just different. I think it’s tricky when you share a bed with someone. That bed is our shared space. Where we have conversations. Where we make love. Where we occasionally keep the other awake. The bed is lovely, especially when properly made, but it’s not a bed I’m inclined to pretend is a raft. I think it’s because it doesn’t fully belong to me.

In the old days, my bed was a place where everyone just kind of piled in and we hung out. Small children all in it together with story books or soft toys. Grown up girls doing each other’s make up. Sometimes, if they were very lucky, little girls having their make up done. It was a place for snuggles and giggles and opening birthday gifts first thing in the morning. It was a place to simply be. And to feel loved.

My sister in law’s bed is like that too. We all just go in there and pile up on the bed. Sometimes the TV is on. Sometimes there are books or computers or tablets or smartphones. Sometimes we just all get in and talk and talk. Kids, grown ups, boys, girls. It doesn’t matter. We get in her bed and without even knowing it, pretend it’s a raft. It is one of those rare places I feel nurtured without having to do the nurturing.

When my heart was freshly broken, I came to be with Sundance. Her sweet husband went to sleep elsewhere in the house so I could sleep in bed with Sundance. She helped me heal as we talked quietly in her bed. We poured each other into that bed after we’d had way too much to drink. Her bed was a raft that I didn’t have to be in alone at the lowest point in my life.

I have a friend who has the unbreakable rule that no one is allowed in his home. He never shares his bed. I sometimes wonder if he feels like his bed is a raft in a safe way, of if it’s a raft in which he drifts, lost at sea. I respect the desire for privacy. For boundaries. No one in your sacred space ensures safety, but it seems to me a lonely life.

Pretending the bed is a raft means something different to each of us. Our bed means something different to each of us.
Your bed can be a haven. Or your bed can be the place where you live your life. Your bed can be a playground for children. Or a sexual playground for adults. Your bed is a place to rest your weary head.
You can share your bed or choose not to share it.
The bed I share with YBW is the place for us to be together.
But, my bed is a sacred place. The place I feel safe and sound. It is the raft on the feeling sea.
And even though it’s now the beautiful and comfortable place for our guests to lay their heads, it will always be my cocoon. My space.
If you’ve been invited into that bed, know how much you are loved.

Categories: around the house, love, me, on being a mom, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

inexhaustible love

I wrote about a precious young man I love in loving yourself.
I found out this week that he has testicular cancer.
He is twenty-one years old.
He’s had the tumor and one testicle removed but the cancer spread to one (and only one) of his lymph nodes near his right kidney.
He will start chemotherapy on Monday.

When his mom told me she asked that I not tell the girls, that he would want to do that in his own time. Today she asked me to share the news with them, he mustn’t have wanted to go over it again and again.

Thing 1, who calls him her brother, took the news better than I could have hoped. I expected her to fall apart. She didn’t. She held it together, asked intelligent questions, expressed her love for him, his family and for me. I apologized for being the bearer of bad news. She told me she was glad it was me, that I always give it to her straight, answer all her questions, and do it all with so much love.
I sent her a text a couple hours later to see how she was holding up. She already spoke with his boyfriend and was actually talking with him at the time.
She has enough stubborn love to keep him healthy by sheer force of her will.

Thing 2 listened and was uncharacteristically quiet. She asked about his siblings and boyfriend. We talked about him losing his beautiful hair but she decided he’s going to rock the bald! Then she joked about medical marijuana. She chastised herself for cracking wise. But in our family, we laugh at all things, good and bad. It’s a way to keep everything in perspective.
I told her the high percentage rate of curability and that I honestly believed he would be cancer free after his chemo. She was relieved, explaining that she was using my belief as her barometer of concern. She told me she’s learned that I know exactly how much to worry or be hopeful about every situation and that she always takes her cue from me.
However much she thinks she ‘hates people’, she’s one of the most positive human beings and he will be basking in everything she can send to him.

My heart aches for my dear, dear friend and her husband. The fear they must be experiencing. She’s so brave. She loves her kids with such ferocity. But this isn’t something she can sort. She has to wait while God and modern medicine sort it.
Being a parent is simultaneously the most wonderful and horrifically difficult experience. This is one of those times difficult takes center stage. But wonderful waits in the wings in the form of family and friends lifting each other up with love and light.

My love for this young man is inexhaustible.
I know love doesn’t really conquer all. But in this case, I’m going to believe that tremendous amounts of love and a little bit of chemo will kick cancer’s ass!

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loving yourself

My much loved friend in Arizona has four children, the eldest (a boy) is exactly two months younger than Thing 1 I’ve known him since he was four. The second born (a girl) chose me to be her Godmother when she was about eight years old, I’ve know her since she was two. She’s about eighteen months older than Thing 2. The third, (another girl) was born when Thing 2 was in my friend’s two year old preschool class. I taught the baby of the family, (a second boy, who is now thirteen) for two years in a row between the ages of one and three.
I love this family as though they were my own. My own children consider these children an integral part of their family life.

Earlier this week, a simple facebook conversation with the eldest boy that started as comments and replies on a photo of his parents moved me to tears.

Him: I can’t wait to see you pretty lady!!! You’re getting hitched, and I get to be a part of it. I am so honored and unbelievably excited for you 🙂 Can’t wait to meet the family!

Me: My heart is near bursting that you’ll be here! I love you!

Him: I love you too! You’ll always be a big influence in my life as to who I am and how I must be myself, love myself and be happy to go my own way. I see this in you and it is a true inspiration to where I hope to be one day.

This young man went through terrible emotional struggles his second year of college. He was deeply confused, depressed, and on the edge of hurting himself. His Dad went across the country to support and love his son. This time was sacred for them and because of this time, he was able to build up the courage to safely come out as gay.
We all could see that him saying it out loud changed everything for him. He was at peace with himself. He was as content and carefree as he’d been as a little boy. Our joy was huge. His own joy was too.
And then he met a really wonderful young man. They are such a precious couple! They compliment each other beautifully, bringing out the best in each other. I’ve not seen this boy I helped raise this healthy and peaceful since he was about ten years old.

I say all of this because I want to explain the magnitude of his words. I am truly humbled. This is a child I loved because he was one of my brood. I loved him as my own. For him to share this with me was overwhelming.
To know that my actions have made that kind of impact was so powerful!

It took me thirty-odd years to learn to “must be myself, love myself and be happy to go my own way”. To make the choice to get out of what was categorically, the least healthy situation I’d ever been in. I trusted myself for the first time in my life and loved myself enough to go my own way. It was the most difficult and scary situation I’d ever experienced. It changed nearly every relationship in my life. And I was stronger than I’d ever been.

Never did I feel like a role model. Never did I feel like a positive example. I was afraid every single day. I never stopped looking over my shoulder. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other because I knew if I didn’t the last little spark inside of me would go out.
But the spark grew into the long lost fire in my belly and fueled my independence. Fueled my confidence. Fueled my ability to love and be loved.

I love this young man ever so dearly. I wish him all the success of love and life without too much of the struggle.
To know that I’ve been inspiration to him is almost more than I can even bear.
My heart is overflowing.
We all deserve to feel this much love and gratitude.

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

for this is the recipe of love

I found this when I was going through my mother’s things.
20150818_163556
It’s my Grandaddy’s handwriting. I’d recognize it anywhere.
I suspect it’s the toast he made at my parents wedding.
Now, my parents were an ill suited match, but they made me so I’m not going to complain. They were terribly unhappy together, and after my father left us, Mommie remained unhappy deep in her soul. Perhaps that unhappiness came to her when her mother died. I don’t know. I just know that it seemed to me that even though she would express real joy, she was always miserable down in her soul.

Grandaddy didn’t especially like my dad…but that could have been for any number of reasons.
My dad was only likable when he chose to be. Most times he was a right bastard. Of course, a childhood of abuse and a lifetime of hiding his sexual orientation contributed to that.

Grandaddy was a grumpy old thing. But he was helping to raise kids in his sixties and seventies. Oh! How I adored him. He was the first man I ever fell in love with. And quite possibly he was in love with me more than he had ever been with my mom. I think she knew it. I think she was jealous of that love. But, I don’t really care. That love was sacred and nothing will ever change that.

I’m being tangential as all get out…this post started out differently in my head…I’m going to try and make my way back to the reason I’m sharing this photo.

YBW and I have asked my niece, Girlie Thing, to read this at our wedding. Sundance was with me when I found the tiny envelope with Grandaddy’s writing. I knew then I wanted it to be a part of our wedding day.

As I go through the invitation and response lists, I realize my only blood family is Thing 1 and Thing 2. The family I made: Sundance and her babies, my darling friend in Arizona and her family, my friend and mentor, and my former husband’s little sister and her family, will be with me the day I wed the man I waited forty-four years to marry.
I have great sadness that Mommie never even met YBW. That my dad didn’t live long enough to be a part of this day, he adored YBW and our relationship.
My sadness about Grandaddy isn’t so much that he won’t know YBW or be at our wedding, it’s more that everyday missing him that resides deep in my heart.

All this said, I have wonderful people that I love who will celebrate with us on October 24. But with this tiny envelope, a bit of my parents and Grandaddy will be with me too. And that makes my heart happy.

Perhaps that’s the recipe of love…
The family from which you come mixed with the friends who become your family and a dollop of your own babies on top. I’ll mix these with YBW’s family. The one from which he came and his fraternity brothers who became his family and a dollop of his babies.

Whatever the recipe, I am chock-full of love. I’m grateful for those who taught me to love when I was a little girl. For those whom I befriended and taught me how to expand my love. For the man who showed me that love was something I never even imagined. And for the gifts of daughters who taught me new and awe-inspiring ways to love.

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