Ah…

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Thankfully, I have been able to string together a few days at work that have been rewarding, productive, and enjoyable.  Although I didn’t get home to stay for the night until after 10:30,  I did sneak out for a few hours late this afternoon to spend some time with the family.  The next few days are going to be full, and I am trying to take it in stride.  It is what it is, and all I can do is hold on tight and make the most of it.  We are in the midst of our summer season at work, and that means we are hosting ten concerts throughout the summer.  So far, the weather has been wonderful.  The volunteers have been happy, and the concert-goers have had a good time.  It’s our fifth season with the summer concerts, and although it takes  time and means extra work, we have gotten things down to a science. Continue Reading »

A Moment of Normal in the Midst of Uncertainty

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The past week has not been easy.  Not at all.  Some of the reasons are part of normal life.  While other contributing factors to an already difficult time, I place the blame squarely on myself.

Of course, it has not been easy to have both boys gone.  It’s such a big change, and I feel myself resisting ANY adjustments to this change.  I don’t like to think of this as the “new normal.”  I have been critical and grouchy to T.  I’m not going to place any blame on him.  Who knows?  Maybe he hasn’t been the greatest either, but I certainly haven’t been responsive even if he has tried.  I have been introspective and unapproachable.  T simply avoided me.  He watched TV and slept.  I retreated to my room each night.  I have been lost in my own world, my own thoughts, my own depression.

I took some time today to think.  Strange that I have to go to work to clear my mind enough to think things through.  I have some choices.  Of course I have choices.  Wallowing in self-pity is certainly something I can actively choose to improve.  I need to stop feeling sorry for myself.  Plain and simple.  Sometimes I wish I could have a small dose of electroshock therapy.  ZING!  Negative thoughts?  ZAP!  I think it would work wonders.

I did some reading tonight about how to “snap” yourself out of negative thinking.  I read something interesting about Shunning.

shuns, shunning, shunned –  to avoid deliberately; keep away from

To shun.  It’s a verb.  It’s an action word.  Shunning is something I can DO.  Like a mental exercise, I can deliberately replace a negative thought with a positive thought.  I can deliberately replace negative actions with something more positive.  I can ENGAGE myself in activities that encourage me rather than discourage me.  Duh!  While it seems like a simple concept, anyone who has allowed their life to spin out of control, anyone who has found themselves at the bottom of an abyss, knows that even taking the tiniest baby steps to regain normalcy is fraught with struggle.  Being positive feels foreign.  Taking care of yourself, liking yourself, takes tremendous effort.  When you no longer place much value in yourself as a human being, it is difficult to do what is best and healthy.  It’s easy to give up.  It’s much easier to consider giving up than fighting and struggling to find your way back.

“Fake it til you make it.”  That’s a phrase I have heard often lately.  It sounds horrible, but I am beginning to see some merit in the concept.  If I am depressed, what do I want to do?  I want to lay on my bed.  I want to allow the endless movie in my head to play the same tired scenes over and over.  I want to WALLOW in the depression.  It is seductive.  Put on some sad songs, pour a drink, turn the lights down low.  It’s time for a good cry.  UGH!  If that is what I want to do when I am depressed, then I think that I am a hell of a lot better off to be “faking it til I make it.”

Tonight I tried the shunning.  I shunned the direction my depression was leading me.  I shunned the thoughts that triggered the depression.  I faked it.  Even if that meant that I stood in the kitchen like a mindless blob, I refused to sequester myself with my sad thoughts again.  For a few hours, I refused to allow those thoughts to control me.

I was doing well until Emily went out with friends for dinner.  Then Lola left for Brownies.  That left just T and I home for dinner.  We filled our plates and sat down at the table.  I was aware of every noise I made as I chewed my food.  I was aware of the emptiness of the house.  I was upset with myself, too.  Many people have no one….ever.  I have so much to be thankful for.  Yes, the boys are gone now, but they are happy, doing well, and I am so very proud of them.  The girls are happy, busy, and wonderful.  I looked at T.  Oh, the poor guy!  How in the world has he put up with me for so many years?  I asked him, “Did you ever think we would still be married at this point?”  He just laughed and said, “Yeah.”  I knew he meant it.  He always has believed it.

We talked for a little while, and I told him so much in a very short time.  I don’t want to grow old and settle into some kind of “old person’s routine.”  I don’t want to eat dinner earlier and earlier like my grandparents, who eventually dined on their evening meal at 3:00 p.m.  T said, “Yeah, but I get pretty hungry by 3:00.”

T suggested that we could travel, and I freaked out again.  I don’t want to be a couple of old people looking for the cheapest hotel, the cheapest restaurant, figuring out how many miles per gallon our car gets.  I told him that I wanted to travel with purpose.  I wanted to hunt fossils or follow a historic route.  Once again he laughed.

I asked him if he ever considered flying a plane, and he said that he didn’t think I would get into a small plane.  I was touched to think that he hadn’t learned to fly a plane, because I wouldn’t be willing to go along with him.  I asked him if that was the reason he had never learned.  He looked at me with a big smile and said, “You are f****** crazy!  I haven’t ever flown a plane, because we don’t own a plane, Dipshit.”  I started laughing, too, and for a moment I remembered who I am…or who I was.

Not Good News…And Alone

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I am exhausted.  I don’t remember the last time I went to bed at a normal time.  I don’t remember what it was like to sleep through the night or to feel rested.  Tonight, I’m just feeling cruddy and worn out.

I’m not sure when things will ever settle down and feel right in my world again.  I try so hard to keep a good attitude.  I have been trying hard to place value on the things that are good and true in my life, but every time I turn around,  LIFE is waiting right there to slap me in the face.

Work is exhausting me.  The more staff I have, the more I delegate, the more responsibilities and duties are piled up around me.  Shit.  I am just so tired of having to maintain professionalism.  I want to slump back in my chair or crawl under my desk and take a nap.  Hey, or read a good book.  I remember when I used to enjoy reading.  I used to read over 300 books each year.  I kept a spreadsheet of author, title, date read, and my opinion of the book.  I used to write pre-publication reviews for a major publishing house in exchange for free books.  Oh, how I looked forward to each new shipment of books!  Did I really used to be that woman?  I would say I miss her, but I don’t.  She made a huge mess of my life and left me to dig my way out of it all.

I spent the day juggling.  I have issues.  I have a job to do.  My mom is still in the hospital and not doing well.  Yesterday, her doctors did an endoscopy and a colonoscopy.  There were problems.  A blockage was found.  Today Mom had an ultrasound and a CAT scan followed by a biopsy.  It was not good news.  She has ovarian cancer.

I received this news once I was already home from work, after visiting the hospital.  I pulled into a driveway full of cars.  My kids’ cars, T’s car, and my kids’ friends’ cars.  Oh, lucky me!  Everyone was going to be here for dinner.  After a day like today, I had to feed 9 people.  I actually took my plate of food out to the patio to eat.  The kitchen was crowded, and I just wanted to be alone.  Once the dinner mess was cleaned up, I went upstairs to call my mom to see how she was feeling.  That’s when I got the news.  I stood there alone.  T was on a bike ride.  The kids were all settled in.  Some were in the living room watching a movie.  Others were in the TV room playing video games.  I had made sure that their evening was going to be nice.  T was out enjoying the warm summer night.  There I stood, alone with my bad news.  Really?  Who gives a shit?

Those moments felt so damn lonely.  I’m an only child.  While I have never been terribly close to my mother, she is my mother.  Dad is gone.  I have no siblings still living.  My children, while they would be sad to lose Grandma, are not close to her.  It will not be a huge blow to them.  Their lives will go on as always.  T won’t care.  In fact, it will be a burden lifted from his life.  No more dealing with all of the issues that have been plaguing us since my father’s death.  So, I am alone in this, at least in these moments.  This does not touch anyone in this entire world in the way it touches me.  I am the daughter.  Soon, I will have no more parents.  Soon, I will have no family to fall back on, just the family that falls back on me.

Tomorrow will come….tomorrow.  I have to work.  I will be emceeing a concert tomorrow night.  I HAVE TO BE THERE.  No matter what goes on in my life or in my heart, there are so many things that I HAVE TO DO.  How will I juggle all that I HAVE to do?

Even now, I want to sleep.  I just want to pull the covers up and sink into blackness.  I can’t.   There are guests in my house.  T is watching TV on our bed, so I don’t have a place to sleep.  Andrew is still out, and I can’t settle in for the night until I know he is home safely.  There is laundry to be done.  I need to vacuum.

Yeah, I am in a shitty, complaining mood.  I just want the trauma, drama, and pain in my life to end.  I want to run away from my life.  I want to run away from being ME.  BEING ME  SUCKS.

Just Say Goodbye…

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I have been remembering a scene from my childhood.  For the last few days, this particular moment has been nudging me at the oddest moments.  The memory is so vivid, I can almost smell the dinner waiting for me on the table.  The memory is set in my parents kitchen.  I was probably an eighth-grader, 14 years old.  Dinner was on the table, and we were about to sit down and eat.  I was standing next to the table talking on the corded phone that was mounted on the wall next to the counter.  My dad was looking at me, and he wasn’t very pleased.  He had asked me to finish up my phone call so that we could all sit down and eat together.  I don’t remember who I was talking to.  It was probably my friend, Kara.  (Ugh….I hate to even use the word friend in association with that girl!)  Well, whoever it was…they were not too happy that I had to get off of the phone in the middle of whatever extremely important middle school tale they were telling.  I kept saying, “I have to go, Okay?”  And my dad was saying, “Don’t ask OK.  Just say Goodbye.”  I was trying to please both this demanding teenaged girl AND my father all at the same time.  It was impossible, and I was stuck in the middle.  I kept telling Kara (or whoever) that I had to go (OKAY?) and she kept talking.  Meanwhile, my dad, who NEVER got mad at me, WAS getting madder by the second.  If I remember the story correctly, my dad walked over and flicked down the silver bar that hung up the phone.  I was horrified.  I could imagine Kara calling up all of the other girls in our little group.  “Pam hung up on me.”  Or…”Pam’s dad is psycho.  He made her get off the phone to EAT DINNER.”

My middle school years were a turbulent time.  I was in the “most popular” group, and it was horrible.  Girls are so darn mean to each other at that age, especially at that particular social echelon.  In eight grade, there was a vote among the student body for a number of silly things:  Best Couple, Cutest Boy, Cutest Girl and so on.  I was voted “Most Popular Girl.”  When I came home to tell my mother, she said, “The way you treat people, the way you act, I can’t believe you have ANY friends.”  Well, that’s my mom for you!  What she said rang true, though.  It made me think about what kind of person I really was.  What kind of friend was I?  I attended all the right slumber parties, but I hated it.  I had a cute boyfriend, but he was a mindless jock that didn’t even interest me.

The summer before high school, I realized how unhappy I was with my friends and with MYSELF.  When I look back on that summer, I look back with pride.  I was a young girl who was on the brink of a major change.  I took my life back into my own hands.  I realized that my dad had been right.  “Just say Goodbye.”  It was as simple as that.

I spent the summer before my freshman year in high school doing what I enjoyed.  I didn’t go hang out at the baseball diamond with the other girls to watch the jocks.  I hated that kind of thing.  Instead, I remember playing a LOT of piano that summer.  I planted a garden.  I went to spend a couple of weeks at my grandma’s house.  I cultivated friendships that summer based on the people who I truly liked, not their level of popularity.  I remember calling a girl named Kim and explaining to her that I wanted to hang out with her because I liked her.  How weird is that for a 14-year-old?

I have good memories of that summer.  I think of it as the summer I re-positioned my life.  The changes I made that summer impacted all of my high school years.  When I went back to school that fall, I was a new, more self-confident person.  I joined choir again.  I joined the Drama Club.  I spent my time with people who were like-minded and who were actually nice to me.  I had friendships based on friendship, not popularity.  Yes, some of my friends were out-and-out nerds, but they were wonderful friends.

I have been thinking a great deal over the past few months about what true friendship really means.  Having horrible life experiences really weeds out the REAL friends from the casual acquaintances.  Once again, it makes me think of orbits.  Some friendships sail out of our daily orbit from time to time, but when a friend is really needed, they come back like shining stars.  Other friendships are part of the orbit of daily life, but when the going gets tough they speed out of the orbit and are nowhere to be found.

I often remember my daughter Grace’s funeral.  It was a cold winter day very close to Christmas.  The funeral was in a remote country church an hour’s drive from our hometown.  It still hurts my heart to remember the number of friends who were not able to give up an afternoon during the holiday season to be by our side as we laid our dear daughter to rest. On the other hand, there were others, who I would never have imagined even cared, who made the trip and touched our hearts.  I will never forget a dear man from our town who made a cross from pine bows to lay on her grave.  I saw him as I sat in the pew waiting for the ceremony to begin.  One of the few memories I have of that day is seeing him pass by the window of the church with a cross of pine bows carried on his back.  I looked past Grace’s casket and out through the window.  I thought of Jesus carrying the cross as I watched that man trudge up the hill to the cemetery behind the church.  This one good deed has lasted a lifetime in my heart.  It’s almost 24 years later now, and that good man is no longer alive.  He died two days after my father’s funeral.   I spent Christmas Eve morning crying at his funeral, but my heart remembered with love and kindness how he touched my life.   While I had not seen him often over the years, his act of friendship will forever be special to me.

Through the years, I have been amazed time after time by the people who have proven to be true friends.  Often times, it has not been those whom I most imagined would be there when I needed a friend.  Thankfully, my best friends don’t let me down, and while we may lose touch from time to time, they are there, a part of my life like family.

I’m feeling a little bit like that eight grade girl again this summer.  I have been trying to please too many people.  I’m not sure if some of them are worth my effort.  Are they really my friends, or I am once again trying so very hard to be liked or to be popular?  Thirty years later, and again I am feeling like that 14-year-old girl who was so afraid of rejection.  Once again, I am hearing my dad’s words ringing through my head.  “Just say Goodbye.”

I wish I could plant a garden, but I don’t have time.  I wish I could go spend a few weeks with Grandma, but she is no longer there.  This summer will be different from that summer so long ago, but I am determined to once again make this a summer of change.

And So It Goes…

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I am really beginning to feel at home in the new office.  The bowl of lemons were a hit.  I enjoyed watching the reactions of people as they noticed the bright yellow lemons in the bright orange bowl.  Some people stared at them, but didn’t say a word.  Other people asked, “What’s with the lemons?” as soon as they walked in my door.  I would seriously recommend that everyone have a bowl of lemons in their life!  They smelled wonderful, like a citrusy burst of sunshine.  I could feel my spirits lift whenever my I glanced in their direction.  The color was beautifully refreshing amid the drab muted colors of an office.  Thank you, Seasweetie, for this bit of spiritual advice.

I like the color of the new office, too.  It isn’t a very pretty color, kind of a dark taupe, but it is a good color to sink into.  It feels calming.  I never liked color of the old office.  It was light blue, and I always felt bad vibes from that color.  Weird, huh, but whenever I really looked at that blue color, it felt hectic.  It was a busy color, better suited for a surgical suite or an IRS office.

The coolest thing of all is that my new office is in the portion of City Hall that was once the city jail.  The picture above isn’t from my office, but it was taken in the office on the floor above mine.  The upstairs still has a couple of the original jail cell doors in place.  I’ve done a little research about the history of the building, and my office space is in what was once the women’s’ holding cell.  I love that! I wonder what would land a woman in jail in the early 1900’s?

Other than adjusting to the new office, there wasn’t a lot of  good about my day.  My intern is truly about the stupidest girl I have ever encountered.  I could do a “Post a Day” on the things that girl says and does.  The crazy, angry man was at it again today, too.  He would also qualify for a “Post a Day.”  I had a good long talk with the Chief of Police this afternoon.  I feel a lot better after talking to him, although there isn’t much that can be done at this point.  The Chief did offer some great advice to pass along to the concerned business owners.

The gloomy skies and cold weather have been  mirroring my mood these past few days.  Unsettled weather is what you would call it, and it fits.  What I need is warming sunshine and soft breezes.  I have been working too hard, not feeling well, not sleeping well, thinking too much, and it is taking its toll on me this week.  I was so tired driving home tonight. It frightened me as I struggled to stay awake.   Most days, I enjoy the drive home, but today it felt lonely.  The sky was gray.  The songs on my iPod were depressing.

My phone rang when I was almost home.  It was Emily.  My spirits lifted the moment I heard her voice.  My Emily.  My sunshine.  She was all in a dither.  She had plans tonight with the new boyfriend.  She had just found out that the plans included swimming.  She was freaking out about him seeing her in a bikini.  (REALLY…how reassuring is that!?)  This is probably the first boy who has ever made her act like this.  I’m not sure how to explain it.  She glows, giggles, frets, and worries.  This boy is sweet and cute….AND he’s an older man.  He just turned 20.  While that made T and I cringe initially, they are following our rules.  Em met him while volunteering at the Red Cross.  He is an Eagle Scout.  His mother even stopped by and talked to T at work about the “situation.”  She wanted to make sure that her son had our blessing and to let us know that she was also going to monitor things, too.

I talked to Em until I pulled into the driveway.  One thing is for sure, no matter how tired I am while driving home, I wake right up when I walk in the door.  I have no choice.  Most days, someone is out the door of the house before I’m even out of the car.  Lola ran out.  Pepper the Wondercat was sitting in the windowsill meowing at me, and Em was waiting right inside the door.  She looked so beautiful, excited, and happy.  There was nothing special to have made her so beautiful at that moment, but I was in awe.  She wasn’t dressed up, and her hair was in a messy bun, but she was glowing with happiness, which made me feel happy for the first time all day.  I took a deep breath and walked into the kitchen.  LOUD.  My house is always loud.  Everyone was there.  What’s for dinner?  Who is staying here for dinner?  Who will be coming over for dinner?  I never know from one day to the next who, what, or how many.

Andrew was leaving to play a show at a coffee house.  Em was leaving on her date.  Luke’s girlfriend would be here any moment. Tonight there were five of us for dinner.  It’s  a different mix each day.  It keeps things interesting.  There is never any monotony in this house.  I long for a day or two of monotony.

After dinner, I crept upstairs to lie down for a while.  The house had settled down.  Luke and Shannon had taken Lola into the TV room to watch Indiana Jones.  The TV room connects to my bedroom by the back staircase, and I could hear them in the room below me.  As I listened to the three of them in the TV room, I thought about what wonderful parents Luke and Shannon will someday be.  They are two amazing young people.  Best friends, first and only loves, they have been inseparable for four years now.  Shannon will be joining Luke at Marquette in the fall.  They will be living in the same dorm.  I’ve been teasing them all summer about getting married since they’re attending the same school.  It would save us a bundle in tuition!  Of course, I don’t mean it.  I’m proud of the plans they have in place for their lives.  They have it all charted and planned out.  I hope it works for them, but I also know that life rarely goes according to our plans.

Exhausted as I was, I merely drifted in and out of sleep.  I was dreaming dreams that only added to my exhaustion.  I was unable to find the peace I was seeking.  I had wanted a quick, refreshing nap while everyone was occupied, but instead my solitude only magnified  my worries.  A text from Andrew.  He was on his way home, so I went back downstairs to wait for him.

Andrew came home in a good mood.  “Want to watch a little King of the Hill before bed, Mom?”  I poured a  Special Pepsi (Bacardi and Pepsi with a nice slice of lime) and made some popcorn.  Shannon went home, and Luke joined us.  Emily wandered in, too, happy from a wonderful evening.  My kids and King of the Hill, T sleeping in a chair, that is my life right now.  Once again, I settled in and allowed Hank and Peggy to relieve my stress and lift my spirits.

So much is unsettled.  So much is confusing.  So many things are on my mind.  And so it goes…

Visualization, Part I

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This will probably be one of the strangest blog posts I’ve ever written, both in this current blog and in my previous (more soul-searching) blog.  Whatever happened, and it was strange, had a fairly significant impact on me, and I wanted to share the experience.

Do you know the feeling of having your mind circle back to the same thought or idea over and over?  That can be either good or bad.  I’ve had it work both ways.  If a productive, creative idea is forming, the process of revisiting, replaying, and turning the newly shaping idea over a few (or many) times can be part of the process of growth or success.  On the other hand, an idea or thought process that is purely detrimental circling around and around in your head can keep you stuck in one place for too long.  Sometime we can truly be our own worst enemy. 

I have been stuck in this negative replaying process for a very, very long time.  I have revisited and replayed these negative thoughts out to the point where I can barely even remember that I’m doing it.  This negative “loop” running through my mind has become such a part of my life this past year that it has become me.  Realizing that, the fact that this negative loop-playing is controlling me, has been a major breakthrough in the healing and repair process.

Other than having a slightly sick child last weekend, the result of which was a major change in my plans, I had a very relaxing weekend.  By relaxing, I should say that I accomplished a great deal.  My June Cleaver side was shining through.  I organized drawers, shampooed carpet.  I bought new curtains for the girls room.  I baked brownies. 

I enjoyed my life.  I loved my family.  I had moments of pure happiness.  Until…the blasted loop would rewind and begin its cycle once again in my mind.  It feels like I have brain damage!  This isn’t the kind of brain damage caused by a blow to the head.  It feels more like I need a swift kick to my head. 

I had a crash on Sunday night.  I had been so busy for most of the weekend.  I hadn’t had much time to think, but Sunday night while I was alone, listening to music, and ironing in a quiet room, the loop began again.  I was thinking about the weekend.  It is so lovely to have all of the kids home for the summer. T and I had enjoyed a dinner with only our sons.  Both girls had other plans.  It was so amazingly enjoyable to be at the dinner table with all of my men.  I had smiled from ear to ear even as the tears were near to the surface.  Later as I ironed, I allowed myself to get  a bit melancholy and sentimental. 

Instead of allowing myself to grow sad, I did something different.  T was downstairs at the computer.  I went to him and climbed on his lap.  I wrapped my arms around him and laid my head against his neck.  As I sat there squeezing him, he calmly put his arms around me.  I sat there on his lap, just squeezing him and breathing fast as I fought back the tears.  Why was I crying?  I had been happy!  WTH??  (Is this menopause???)  Finally, I was able to take a deep, deep breath just as the tears began to flow.  T said, “Do you feel better now?”  That’s when I began to laugh even as I cried. 

We sat there for a moment as I wiped the tears that were now streaming down my face.  I was so happy to have the boys both home together.  I am so proud of Luke.  Andrew is so happy to have him home, too, and I think having his brother around will be good for him.   The time I had spent cleaning and working with the girls this weekend had been so wonderful, too.  I didn’t have sisters, so I feel like I am finally experiencing something that I’ve missed my entire life.  I felt so full of love and so blessed.  I was overwhelmed with emotion. 

T understood.  Without words, he understood what I was thinking and feeling.  He didn’t judge.  In fact, he didn’t react much at all.  He accepted.  He wrapped his arms around me and held me.  As I took that deep, cleansing breath, he knew I was “feeling better.”  Ah…longterm marriages are so complicated.  There is no flash or romance, but there is such comfort and strength and knowing.  Why isn’t that knowing what we adulate instead of sex and romance?  I think it’s because it is so subtle.  It’s almost hidden.  You have to look for it.  You have to be able to recognize it to be able to place value on it.  I’m learning. 

This is what I want.  I want this happiness to last.  I want to be able to value the subtle goodness in my life.  I want to remember this goodness during the times of stress and downright WORK of raising four kids and being in a marriage of 27 years.  The loop of bad thoughts needs to end in order for these pure and good things to take center stage in my life.

Here is where the visualization and auras come into the picture.  I was (am?) a firm believer in visualization.  I used it each time I gave birth to my children.  No stitches.  No medication.  No pain?  HA!  Yes, there was pain, but I was in charge of how the pain controlled the situation. 

When my son, Luke, broke his femur at age three, I taught him to use visualization. The doctors had put him on Demerol, but each time he fell asleep, he had muscle spasms that jolted his entire body.  He went from tense pain to sleep, then was jolted back to excruciating pain with each muscle spasm.  I spent an afternoon watching my little boy suffer while under medical care until I intervened.  I knew there was a better way.  I refused to let the doctors medicate him with anything stronger than Ibuprofen.  Instead of narcotics, I taught my three-year-old son to use visualization and breathing techniques.  It worked.  I laid next to him for hours helping him breath through the pain and find a relaxed place in his mind.  Yes, there was still pain, but there were no more of the jarring muscle spasms. 

How have I forgotten these lessons?  How have I forgotten that we have more control over our minds, our lives, and our thought processes than most even realize?

27 (well, 31) Years Across The Table

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T and I have been married for almost 27 years.  We dated for four years before getting married.  I was 15 years old when we started dating.  He was 17.  You can do the math on that one.  I often wonder how many times we have done certain things, said certain things.  How many meals have we shared? 

Meals are very important to us and to our entire family.  From the beginning of our marriage, we have shared the evening meal together whenever possible.  As the kids began coming along, that evening meal became even more important.  It was the one time each day when we were all gathered together without any distractions.  We shared our days, and our lives, with each other. 

Now with our kids growing up and having busy schedules of their own, we never know from day-to-day how many people will be at our dinner table.  Some days, it is just T and I with little Lola.  Other days, our table is full with all of our kids and a variety of their friends.  Either way, there is a daily gathering at our table each evening.  During good times and bad, our family shares the evening meal each day.

T and I have been finding it increasingly difficult to have private conversations.  There are always interruptions, second opinions, and distractions when we try to talk to each other at home.  By the time we find ourselves alone at the end of the day, we are often too tired to care about talking.  This past year, we have started meeting each other for lunch a few times each week. 

This has been a stressful week for me.  I am juggling way too many balls at work right now, and preparing for work-related travel next week.  Tonight, I am giving a presentation at City Council, and I will miss that important evening meal.  I was engrossed in my work this morning when my phone buzzed with an incoming text.  T asked me, “Do you have your hat on?”  I just smiled.  I had told him this morning that I had on my “Bitch Hat,” and I wasn’t even out of my robe yet.  Before I was even out of bed, I was responding to work emails via phone.

It’s kind of an amazing thing to me whenever I get a text from him.  I know the effort it takes him to compose a text.  T is NOT a techno geek.  🙂  He sent another text asking me to meet him for lunch, but that I better not be wearing the hat around him.  T always has a way of reminding me of who I am and where I come from.  He brings me back down to Earth.  T is my past.  He is green grass and days spent fishing.  He keeps me grounded and reminds me of the things that I truly hold dear in my heart. 

I enjoy the lunches T and I share.  We are two different people when we meet during the work day.  We are both in “work mode,” not Mom and Dad or Husband and Wife mode.  We don’t talk about the kids.  We don’t talk about household matters.  We talk about our mornings, what we did at work so far, or what our afternoons hold.  We are T and Pam.  We meet for a few moments several times each week just as ourselves.