Did I do something bad?? *wink*
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I have teenage daughters, and the advice I give them is to treat their boyfriends the same way they treat their friends. They worry if they haven't heard from the boy in a few hours, or they get mad if he doesn't call when they think he should. I ask them, "Does it bother you when your girl-friends don't call?" The answer is invariably "No". It shouldn't matter anymore or less when he doesn't. (This example applies only early on in a relationship) Ladies, we are all guilty of this at one time or another. We shouldn't analyze everything to the "nth" degree. (I know I do this, so this is therapeutic for me to write.) Sometimes our problems are caused by worrying that there's going to be a problem.
I have learned a great deal about healthy relationships since I've been with Randy. (This is where it is helpful to be married to a man who is older or just insightful) He has taught me how to trust my own judgement, love things about myself I once hated, and best of all, how to be a better parent. In our home, we do not allow the children to jokingly insult one another. It tears down self esteem. Trying to soften the blow of a cruel comment with "I was just joking" does nothing for that little voice in our subconscious that says "you aren't good enough." If anyone out there has ever played on a sports team of any kind, you know what we do to ensure that we get the best out of our teammates. We high-five, or hit knuckles. We tell each other "good job, nice hit." If you want something for yourself, do something for someone else. Building each other up instead of tearing each other down helps us achieve our own personal goals in life. We all need someone in our lives to be our cheerleader. Randy is mine.
I think the "secret " to our marriage is that we really, truly "do" for each other. We don't keep track of who has done what. Sure, there are days and sometimes, weeks when one of us will do more than the other. It always works out. I prepare, and serve him his dinner. Before I get my own. Not because he's "the man" or because my needs are less important than his own, but because I love him. It doesn't hurt me to do that. It doesn't cost me anything. It is a small token of my love and appreciation. In turn, he lets me sleep in and brings me coffee. In bed. Almost every morning. (I do not cook every night.) I will offer him the last serving of my favorite food instead of eating it myself, for all the same reasons. And I love him even more because when he found out that I do that, he now insists that he will not have that last serving of my favorite food.
We argue. We get our feelings hurt and I'm sure there are times when I'm sure he'd love nothing more than to walk out the front door and never look back. Randy is the one person who can cut me to the quick with his anger, and he is the one person who can make me feel like I am the most intelligent, beautiful, sexy woman in the world. That is what happens when you love someone. You are sometimes vulnerable, and sometimes invincible. The people you love, whether they are your parents, children, best friend or spouse, help to mold you into the person you are. Randy, in so many ways has helped to mold me into the person I am today. I love him with every ounce of my being every minute of every day. Most importantly, Randy has taught me how to love myself just as much.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
First, a little background. Randy and I had been business partners, dating, and living together for a couple of years prior to our marriage. Our lease was up on our old salon, and it was time to move on to bigger and better things. I found commercial condos for sale very close to our home, in a growing area, without competition nearby. We bought it. (Did I mention we decided to set a date, in the middle of construction???) We had to take this empty shell and turn it into a salon. The build out was brutal. Who knew that getting construction done during hunting season is a bad idea? (They can't work on Fridays, because they have to prepare for the weekend. They can't work on Mondays because they just got back from a weekend living in a tree fort.)
Our salon was designed to look like a comfortable place to visit, while still functioning as a salon. We also decided to get married in the salon after it had that comfy feeling, but before it had "salon stuff" in it. The contractor promised that construction would be on schedule for the wedding. HAHAHAHAHAHA. (oh, sorry, I got a little hysterical there)
Can you see that this is not going well??? Needless to say, the salon, uh, I mean the wedding venue was not as ready as they had promised. Fortunately, I wasn't hung up on the perfect wedding, the marriage was much more important to me. Seriously. (But I would be lying if I said I was totally Zen about the whole thing.)
Back to the day of.... I had cousins in town from Pittsburgh helping to decorate on the big day. I stopped by early that morning to see how things were moving along. My cousin, Sarah, pulls me aside to ask if I have a strapless, low back bra she can borrow, as she forgot hers in Pa. I am half listening and I tell her, "Sure, I'll take one out and leave it on my bed." I wasn't going to be home, I had all my "bride stuff" to do. Now, you have to realize, I forget most things as soon as I'm told them. (It makes it much easier to keep my stylist/client confidentiality agreement.... I know secrets!!!) So, I go home, pull out my dress and all of my underthings , lay them out on my bed, and go to get nails, hair and makeup.
Do you see where this is going, yet?
The wedding is at 5pm, and I know that I should get back home to dress by 4:15 or so.
Plenty of time to put on my dress and get to the wedding.
Unless, when you get back home.......
There's the dress.
And the shoes.
Where is my bra?
And my Spanx?
Its getting late.
I do not have anything else that works under my dress. I frantically start making phone calls... I can't leave the house. I can't get to my own wedding without those undergarments. I finally get Sarah's mother (my favorite cousin in the world, Becky) on the phone, and she says,
"Oh, didn't you set that one out for Sarah?"
And that's why I was 45 minutes late for my own wedding.....
Monday, November 2, 2009
Apparently, I have no life.
Since I have no life, I thought I'd show you some pictures of my girls. This is Goldie:
Yeah, she'd have you believe that this picture captures her exactly.
To that , all I can say is....Uh, no. This is more her personality:
A little sassy, but fun.
Kay is a little different. For the most part she is serious and wants to make a good impression, so she'd choose this pic:
Yeah, that's her....if you're her teacher and she needs an "A". Otherwise, it's this:
Sabrina should be a sweet girl. Here she is:
Most days, though, she's a little more like this:
Overall, the love is there.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
So, back to saying yes more. Three times in the last month, the girls have come to me wanting to go to neighborhood parties. The first party was a few blocks from the house, I was going to be home, and Son One was going to stop by. (He's my step-son, but I'm too lazy to write that everytime. From now on he is Son One. There is also another step-son, Son 2) So, I felt pretty good about letting them go. Because they were going to a party, I told them they needed to be home by eleven. The evening passed uneventfully, and the kids were home five or ten minutes early. I knew this was going to be their first "real party" and half expected them to avoid eye contact and run straight to their rooms when they got home. (not that I did that....) Instead? They came in, excited, and they talked to me. After a party, where there were no adults! I detected not one bit of scheming or hiding.
Early last week I was informed that there would be a Halloween party Friday night. This one was a still in the neighborhood, but further away than the last one. I took a deep breath, and tried to remember how to form the word yes. Son One would not be there to check up on things, and I had a softball game. I would not be right around the corner, I'd be in another city. I had to consider that the girls behaved responsibly last time, and with college coming up next year, I figured I'd better let them try again. So I said yes.
Then I got the kick in the teeth. They also wanted to stay out until midnight. My husband told me to say yes, to trust them. So I did.
The girls? Home at 11:00. Because they were too tired to stay out longer. (Huh? How old are they????)
When K asked if she could go to a party on Halloween night, I didn't even hesitate. Yes. Go. Have fun. Be home by midnight....
Not only was she home by 11:30, but they decided not to go to the party after all. Her boyfriend's parents were hanging out in their backyard, and they stopped to talk to them before heading out. They had so much fun with the parents, that they decided to just hang there all night. (And no, they aren't the kind of people to be the "cool" parents.)
I admit that I am in a state of shock. I feel lucky and blessed that they are as responsible as they are.
The only problem with all of this?
When they come home early, they are interrupting our (ahem) party time...
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Whatever happened to personal responsibility? There are so many people who just believe that everyone else should take responsibility for them, and that they shouldn't suffer the consequences of their own poor decisions. For example, I have known many, many people who ting that the world is out to get them. These very people have chose not to finish school, they choose to speak, dress and behave poorly. And they wonder why they can't make it on their own. They don't want to hold down any job that requires them to show up on time, dress in a professional manner,and god forbid, the be held accountable for making sure the job is done properly. To them, it's everyone else asking too much of them.
I grew up along the coast in the southeast, with my grandparents. My mother had me at the age of 14, and was never able to care for me. Of course, as a child, I didn't know the difference. I guess I assumed all parents were like her. My father was young as well, but not allowed to see me or my mother. (I don't agree with that decision, but I can understand my grandparents not wanting the boy [who got their fourteen year old daughter pregnant] around. It was the '70's after all and these things were embarrassing to a family. So, instead of my mother doing all the things a mother should do, my grandparents and my mother's best friend, (Aunt Sharon) were my caretakers. Aunt Sharon picked me up and treated me as her daughter. When she married and moved away, she tearfully begged my grandparents to let her adopt and raise me. I have had wonderful role models, and been loved deeply in my life. I now enjoy a close, loving and (most importantly) a healthy relationship with my father and step-mother. Those who have loved me have saved me. As a young girl I looked up to my mother. I thought she was pretty and she was definitely cool. The mothers of all my friends were...well, old. I had no idea what a mother was really supposed to be like.
As I got older, I started to see the advantages of having a real mother. I wished for one. My grandmother was emotionally unavailable, my grandfather was a gem, but he had no idea how to be open emotionally. Aunt Sharon had married and moved away. I retreated into books. I planned out the kind of life I wanted to give my own children someday. I saw then, that my mother wasn't the kind of mother I wanted to be, nor was she as cool as I once thought. She found out she was pregnant at seventeen, got married, had a total of three children by the time she as 20; She was on her merry way with a new boyfriend by the age of twenty-one, without one child in tow. My brothers were raised by their paternal grandparents. I always found a reason to excuse the fact that she didn't raise us. Being as young as she was, she didn't know any better, right? I actually thought that way until I became pregnant and had my first child at seventeen. My mother was pregnant at the same time. She was thirty-one. Just over two years later, she had another child. It was after this time that I realized that she had no concept of motherhood. To my mother, children are accessories that she discards after she tires of them.
I am lucky enough that I had the desire and the drive to run as far from that tree as possible. I have learned many, many valuable lessons thanks to my mother:
1) I have learned that you will never get anywhere if you spend your life blaming other people for all of your failures.
2)You can not give your children advice if they don't respect you. If you have learned something from a mistake that you would like to pass onto them, do not continue to make that mistake over and over again yourself.
3) Sometimes, through no fault of your own, life hands you lemons. Make lemonade, or get over it. Don't sit and whine. Nothing will change if you whine.
4) Making a mess of your life does not obligate your children to bail you out constantly.
My children are almost grown now. They know how important they are to me . I am also raising my youngest sister, K. She is nineteen days older than my oldest daughter. She is a great kid. For the first twelve years of her life, she lived with our mother and her various boyfriends. The nice ones were discarded in favor of the "bad boys." K saw our mother doing drugs and was nearly homeless several times. She was made to be responsible for our youngest sister, mothering and raising her. At the age of twelve, K decided she'd had enough. The next time I was asked to take the girls "for a few days, until I can figure things out," she said she wasn't going back. She hasn't. (She is amazing and I will do a post on her sometime.)
I will often read advice columns for fun. Most of them advise the people sending in questions to try to reconcile with family members so that there are never regrets. Sometimes however, those relationships are damaged to the point that they are poisonous to those involved. My mother is poison to me. Whenever I have to talk to her about anything deeper than the weather, I am a wreck, and it affects my children and marriage. So, I have made the decision to completely cut her from my life. I will no longer be responsible for her. I will not protect her from the anger and resentment that she has caused her children. I will not allow my life to be turned upside down by her neediness.
And whether I like it or not, I will always love her.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Religion is a hard subject for me. It is one that I avoid most of the time, mostly because I'm sure to offend someone. I grew up in a Presbyterian church. The minister we had while I was growing up was fantastic. His name was Larry and he was someone who always seemed to understand the real life sometimes meant making decisions that weren't always covered in the bible. He also allowed his beliefs in humanity and compassion to lead him to make decisions that were deemed "wrong" in the bible.
Case in point, a young hardworking couple with a young son came to our church, needing a place to live for a few months. A series of events had occurred in the preceding year that took them from a family who were completely self sufficient to homeless. They were willing to work around the church to pay for the ability to stay there. Larry agreed. The members of the church were so against his decision, that they called for Larry to step down. Why were they so against this family staying there? They weren't married. (I can not stress enough that they were not irresponsible people.) Larry did not want to place this family, and especially the young son, under any more stress. They could have rented a motel room by the week, but they wouldn't have gotten ahead. Larry wanted this boy to have a chance at a stable home once again. It didn't matter to Larry that they weren't married, that young boy didn't know or care that they weren't married. They were Mommy and Daddy and he loved them both. Larry understood that to evict them based on their marital status would be more harmful to their family unit than it would be damaging to the church for allowing them to stay.
I give you that story because to me, it represents everything that is right and wrong with religion. What is right, is that we find that loving others is a sure way to show and spread God's compassion and love. It is wrong, because we sometimes use God's expectations and guides as a way to inflict cruelty to one another, simply because we don't believe someone else is living their life the way we think God says they should.
My controversial statement today is this; I do not believe that the bible should be a literal interpretation of how to live life.
I believe in God. I think that a lot of the lessons we learn in church or in the bible are good, valuable lessons, but I also think there is a lot of hypocrisy there, too.
My next controversial statement is this; I am not a fan of organized religion, for the most part, today.
If I could find a church that would practice the positive things in the bible, and leave out the condemnation of anyone who doesn't do exactly what they say you should do, I'd go faithfully.
If I could find a church who lived by, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" I'd go. I hate that there are people out there who think that because they are spreading the word of God, they get a pass for being intentionally cruel.
We all have the right to live our lives the way we want to. We have to raise our kids with morals and values. We all deserve to know God and feel His love. Those who may need it the most can't find it. They can't find it, because when they look for it, all they find is someone telling them how disgusting, evil, wrong and, in some cases, how unnatural they are.
Its kind of hard to feel love for someone or something that makes you feel like you shouldn't have ever existed.