Celebrating your 28th birthday made me reflect and want to share some well-earned wisdoms with you. You know, the kind of stuff I wish someone had told me when I was your age? Yes, I know you didn’t ask, but we both know that has never stopped me before.
First up, turning 28 is NOT approaching mid-life. Your young years are far from over, and, no, you’re not “old”. But you’re right, time does goes by way too quickly. Best to make the most of it each step along the way.
As you grow older, I hope you will live your life with the spunk and audacity you were born with. Those gifts were bestowed upon you by a higher power. Use them every chance you get and never let them stray too far away from you.
Try not to criticize yourself, second guess your feelings, doubt your abilities, or be too hard on yourself when you think you’ve failed. The world does all those things for you and it is your job to stand up to it, not give in to it.
Know that failing is a required curriculum to life. Without it, it is doubtful that you will ever truly succeed. Don’t be afraid of it. You don’t have to like it, you just have to get good at it. Failure is success turned inside out.
Take chances. Be bold. Be silly. It’s okay. Living in the box has never been where the magic happens. Align yourself with the unordinary, the risky, and the spectacular. It’s where you were born to be.
Friends will come and go, but the good ones stick. Value them. And while your husband and family will always come first, never lose sight of those friends that have seen you through some of life’s rough spots. You will need them again, and they, you.
Try hard not to worry so much. It causes wrinkles, stomach aches, paranoia, and the worries seldom materialize. And stay off of WebMD. No good has ever come from general internet diagnosis.
From time to time, you may become self-conscious of your body. Don’t. Your figure will never be finer, your hair will never be fuller, your skin will never be as refined and you will never have as much energy as you do now. Appreciate it.
Life doesn’t end when you become a parent. You know I can’t wait for the little bundle(s) of joy to come into your life, but there is no hurry. I will admit that life as you know it will never be the same. But the secret is, the ties you are afraid of binding you, will in fact set you sailing into a world of wonder and perpetual love. Trust me on this one.
As a wife, you are going to make mistakes. You may at times be judgmental, critical, temperamental, and perhaps a tad dramatic. It’s not just you. It’s how we are hard wired. But know that once spoken, harsh words can never be taken back. I hope you forgive freely, hug strongly, cry often, and let the little things go. They are almost all little things.
There will be times that you find yourself impatient or angry with your mother. It’s more natural than you might imagine. But please understand that she is doing the best she can and she is doing it for all the right reasons….for love of you. At times, I know I can be exasperating. But there will never be anyone that walks this earth that loves you like your mother. Respect it. It will one day be you.
Make time to spend with your family. We would like to think that our family is forever. But it’s not. We grow old, we get sick, and we die. It’s the natural course of things. As your Tia always says, “we are just visitors here”. Make sure that you don’t pass up too many offers to spend time with them, to laugh, joke, eat, drink and make memories. You will treasure those memories, and one day they will be all that is left.
Know that being strong doesn’t always mean not crying. I fear that in my zeal to be strong for you as you were growing up, I didn’t allow you to see the tears, the heartache and the disappointments. Shame on me. They are all a part of life, and you will not be able to avoid them, no matter how hard you try. But never, ever confuse tears with weakness. They will cleanse you of your hurt, and your heart will follow.
Be kind with your thoughts, gentle with your words, generous with your actions, and forgiving with those who love you and fall short from time to time. None of us is perfect and more attention and gratitude should be given for the trying.
Life is hard. Love makes all things bearable. You will endure the hard knocks so much easier with someone who loves you by your side. Return the favor.
Complain less, be grateful more.
When you start your family and think that you have gotten in over your head, when you think you will never be able to be the perfect mom you envision yourself being, stop and breathe. There is no such thing as a perfect mom. You and that wonderful husband of yours will find your way. Lay your fears at the doorstep of your love.
Nothing worth having is easy to get. Everything has a price. Think about what you will have to pay for something before you act. Half the time, the acquisition is worth far less than the price paid.
In the days that you do grow old, I hope you will realize that it is a privilege not offered to everyone. I wouldn’t look down my nose at it. When the time comes, believe me, you will be happy to be there.
As for me, my darling daughter, I have loved you with the breathe of me since the moment you were born. Being your mother hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been good. These days I am more of a spectator than a player in your day to day life. It’s as it should be. I’m grateful that we are wonderful friends and companions of the best sort. I will always be, no matter what, your biggest fan. And I am here should you ever need me for anything. It is my life long vocation.
Before I end my euphony of wisdom, let me say thank you. For so much. For your loyalty, your choices, your sweetness, kindness, compassion, and humor. For trying even when you didn’t think you could make it. For making me proud every single day that you live.
I know that you’re not perfect. None of us are. But truth be told, to me, you are pretty damn close. Happy birthday SweetPea.
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Fearless? Me? Oh, I don’t think so!
I’m afraid a lot of things. Yes, I have a list, and I’m thinking that the chances are pretty good you share at least one of these fears with me.
Spindly legged spiders. If I see one of the spindly legged spiders methodically climbing up my wall, I’m reaching for the car keys. I used to keep a can of Raid in the house until, one day, I sprayed it on the spider and he jumped two feet into my face. I thought I was going to die! I adopted two cats to take care of the spiders, but instead, they just bring mice into the house. I can’t get rid of the cats because I love them now and truth be told, they are the bosses of me. Luckily, I’m not afraid of mice.
Stupid people with important jobs. There should be a standard rule that if you are a doctor, nurse, real estate mogul or a big shot lawyer, you should be smart. Many aren’t. Some of the smartest people I know are not credentialed professionals and some of the stupidest people I know are. I’m scared to death that I’m going to end up trusting one of these morons with my life one day. Yes, I’m definitely afraid of stupid people.
Hair in my food. There is something about seeing or tasting a hair in my food that completely and utterly freaks me out. It gets worse. If I see a strand of wet hair clinging to my sink, I want to jump up on the counter and scream “Kill it!!” Clearly I have fear issues with unattached hair.
Bigots. The thing about bigots is they are so convinced that they are right. They are often very articulate and have a personality that wins people over to their side. Bigots make sense out of hate and present their solutions towards the destruction of someone else. The leaders usually have nice smiles and pleasing mannerism. Their followers are just a bunch of droid hoodlums carrying sticks. I have a healthy fear of bigots.
Pit Bulls. I see the sweetest looking Pit Bulls in the park playing with little children and rolling in the grass all sweet and cuddly, but all I can think of when I pass one on the street is that they are about to rip my throat out and I will be on the news at 11. I see a Pit Bull – I cross the street and get my mace out. I’m not going down without a fight.
Politicians. There isn’t one out there that I trust or that I think is in it for the common good. Each and every one of them has a self-serving agenda. Many that hold office also hold a tremendous amount of power and influence. Every time I have trusted one, I’ve lost benefits and paid more in taxes. If I ran my business the way they all run the country, I’d be behind bars. My feeling is if you don’t fear politicians you might be a blithering idiot.
Clowns. I really have no explanation for this, but I can honestly tell you that I never go near them, I don’t like them and there is something about them that creeps me out big time. Watching that movie years ago called ‘It’ doesn’t help matters much. I’ve passed this endearing fear onto my daughter. I’m sure she will thank me one day when we read about a crazed mass murdering clown in the news.
Aside from these fears I’m just your normal red blooded American girl who likes bubble baths (wearing a hair net), old movies (no clowns!), lovely strolls in the park (with mace and Raid), eating from the local hot dog stands (watching for hair) and enjoys watching the stupid people walking their Pit Bulls while they talk to bigots about politicians.
Yup, I’m just your average girl.
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I have recently been chided for my vigorous pursuit of it. It seems that my edict of always trying to monetize what I do is offensive to some.
Really? Bite me.
Money makes the world go around. It feeds us, clothes us, keeps the lights on and the gas tank filled. I should apologize for vigorously trying to do that? Yeah, I don’t think so.
Many years ago my lack of money resulted in me losing my home in foreclosure and having to file for bankruptcy. You never forget that.
I greatly appreciate what money buys. I love the security it brings, knowing that if I, or someone I love gets ill, I can pay for that. And you know that roof over our heads? It’s good to know I can pay for that too.
I’ve never been into jewelry, fancy clothes or fast cars. I’m more of a family, pets, home and books kind of girl. So even when I had more money than I had a right to, I wasn’t generally the one who spent it. That job belonged to my husband.
Or should I say my ex-husband.
To this day, money seeps through his hands like sand through an hourglass. No matter how much he has, it will never be enough. Fortunately for him, his father left him quite a tidy little sum to live off of for the rest of his years. You would think he would be thrilled. But he expected and wants more. I can honestly say that as long as he has money, he is happy.
I understand wanting more. But I’ve noticed that when we do, we often are not thankful for what we have. Truth is, I’ve had money and I’ve been broke. Having money is better.
But does the want of more money make me greedy?
I’ve seen people file fake insurance claims because they needed money. We’ve all read and seen stories unfold in the news tabloids of how people kill people for their insurance money. Is it really all that important?
I think you’d have to ask the person who has none.
I grew up in a financially challenged home. Raised by just my mother, we shared a 400 square foot one bedroom apartment most of my childhood. My clothes and shoes were bought at Newberry’s and there was always just one of everything. One pair of shoes, one bra, one dress. It didn’t affect me until I got into high school and I saw the wealth that others had. It didn’t make me angry, it made me motivated.
I see a want for money to be a good thing. But that is because I don’t equate it to happiness. I’ve lived that lesson.
Over 10 years ago, I willingly gave up my 6,000 square foot dream house on an acre of prime land, my country club membership, and my Mercedes Benz for a 1,800 square foot condo in the city and a used BMW. I did it because I found myself miserable with my life choices and I was willing to exchange the possessions and the money for some peace of heart. Many have called me a fool for it.
Today I share a 2,100 square foot track house on a postage stamp lot with a wonderful man who has my heart. I drive a Lexus (not too shabby) and we have a modest life. I couldn’t be happier. Funny how that works.
All that being said, I would be untruthful if I said I didn’t want more money. I do. I’d like to spread it around. Give it to my kids to help make their life easier. Share some with some friends who are a bit down and out. I’d like to donate more to causes that help me feel like I contribute to this earth. I’d like to know that if I’m lucky enough to live to be 90, that I have enough money not to be a burden to anyone.
I’ve chosen writing as my encore career. I doubt I could have chosen a more poor paying occupation if I tried. But these days I go with what makes me happy. And writing makes me very happy.
I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to parlay it into quite a comfortable career (who knew?). I am the pudding that the proof is in. Do what you love and the money will follow.
I admit that I go to whatever lengths I need to go to, to make the money find me. I do not call that greed. I call that good business. I am left to wonder if I would be receiving this criticism if I were a man.
I make no apologies for letting money have an important place in my life. I’m always finding myself striving for more. It is, after all, the currency that buys what we need to maintain house and home.
I’ve figured out, however, that maintaining heart and soul have pity little to do with money. And since I value them more, money takes a secondary position.
I know a lot of people who do not share this sentiment. Their friendships are income based. They boast their travels, purchases and adventures on social media for all to envy. To them, money, and excess is their measuring unit of success. Flaunting it is garish but vital to their happiness and the visibility they crave. Strange, when I think about it, so very few of the wealthy people I know are actually happy.
They have yet to learn what many already know: it’s not in the wanting and flaunting, but rather in the having and sharing that makes life and its relationships have real value.
If the want of money makes me greedy, then I am guilty. But if you measure what I value and what matters most to me, then you will find me to be everything but.
Money is awesome. Happiness is better.
Personally, I’m shooting for my fair share of both. Judgment be damned.
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Jeffries proudly proclaims that his stores are strictly for the thin, pretty, and cool kids, which serves as his explanation as to why Abercrombie & Fitch will never carry a pant size for women larger than a 10, and why women sizes XL and XXL are out of the question.
It’s hard to accept one person’s vision of beautiful, especially when the individual spouting the judgment is a 68 year old man who has puffed up fish lips, a face rigid with Botox and fillers, stretched skin and dyed blond hair. Just an observation.
An interview with Mr. Jeffries by “Salon” in 2006 was recently resurrected by “Business Insider”. In that interview, Jeffries arrogantly observed, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
To make matters worse, (can they get any worse?) Jeffries strictly adheres to a policy of only hiring good-looking people in his stores, saying “good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we don’t market to anyone other than that.” Who died and made him the boss of beauty?
I’m not sure what appalls me more; the insensitivity of it all, the ball face prejudice, or the fact that it is illegal as all hell.
Mr. Jeffries is well aware of his legal infractions, or he should be if his memory is still intact. In 2004, A & F paid a $40 million settlement towards a class-action suit brought by minority employees who claimed that they were either denied employment or forced to work in back rooms, where they wouldn’t be seen by customers. And yet, the man persists with his ridiculously outdated judgment of our young women.
This entire stance makes me beyond angry. How dare anyone tell someone else’s kid that they aren’t cool, pretty (or thin enough for that matter), to shop in his stores just because they happen to wear a size larger than 10.
Why, in this day and age, do we as a society, put up with this kind of destructive marketing, prejudice mindset and bigoted posturing? When did this become okay?
I get that this is America. People can sell their wares any way they choose, so long as they don’t break any laws. But something must be said about decency, respect and an acceptance that our children are all beautifully different.
Real beauty comes from within, plain and simple. It’s a message every parent tries to hammer into their kids head. It also happens to be the gospel truth. It has nothing to do with what you wear, how much it costs or what size it is. But peer pressure is a wicked reality and our kids get it by the bucket load. Enough!
American’s have seen many a career go down the spiral drain because a celebrity, or CEO couldn’t keep their mouth shut or zipper zipped. Here we are again watching a man suffer a self-imposed bullet wound because he can’t seem to find a way past his ignorance and arrogance. I would offer that he deserves every sale that he loses because of it!
The solution for me is easy. Shop somewhere else.
American Eagle Outfitters stores are the largest competitor to A & F. Their clothing line is forever trendy, well made, and wonderfully affordable. Even better is the fact that they embrace all sizes offering XL and XXL for both men and women.
I will tell you that it will be a cold day in hell before any of my hard earned money goes to feather the nest of a hate mongering CEO such as Mr. Jeffries.
I further believe that we should have an intervention of sorts. It might do Mr. Jeffries some good if the mothers of the world united and had an old fashion “come to Jesus” talk with him. Of course this would be after we withheld all cosmetic procedures for 6 months and force fed him liquid chicken fat for a few weeks.
After which we would let him lose to shop in his own stores where he would certainly be banished for being less than thin, pretty or cool.
It would serve him right.
Click here to see how one of my favorite talk show hosts dealt with the matter. I share it with you because it’s priceless.
Ta-ta until next week. I’m off to go shopping at an American Eagle Outfitters store!
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It is your ultimate satisfaction, your elusive dream come true.
It will give you everything you’ve ever wanted. All you have to do is pursue it with passion and desire. It will want you to work your fingers to the bone, sacrifice and take chances. When it rejects you, you only want it more.
Ah, sweet success; it is the most predictable mistress.
As a writer and coach, I’ve heard a million recipes for success. Most are generalities that just make common sense; work hard, keep your eye on the goal and never give up. Good advice.
But the real secret to success is (drum roll) failure. I’ve never met a successful person who hasn’t failed at least once.
I’ve owned 5 successful businesses in my life time. But it’s the 2 failed business ideas that taught me the most. I can still feel the sting, like a sharp slap in the face. You never quite get over your first failure. And I’m not at all sure that’s a bad thing.
I remember having a conversation with my daughter in which she remarked how courageous she thought I had been in my many careers. She marveled at my ability to try new things and succeed at them. I told her that the only difference between the two of us was that I had a lifetime of learning how to fail, and a solid resolve to get up and eventually try again. She, at the tender age of 24, had not yet been educated in the field of hard knocks.
I have no doubt that her turn is coming. At least I hope so. There will be no greater teacher and no more sure way to know that she is on the right track. If you never throw the ball, you’ll never make the hoop.
I think we try way too hard to protect our kids from failing. We give out trophies and ribbons for achievements in sports and spelling bees, badges for accomplishments and prizes for everyone. There should be a badge for people who tried like hell and failed. To come back from failure is success in itself.
The truth is, we don’t have to wait long for life to teach us the difference between success and failure. It has a way of knocking us around until we figure out what it is we want to be when we grow up. Then it mockingly challenges us to be it.
Of course success is different for all of us and it takes on different faces as we get older. Years ago, success for me meant owning a company with 20 employees and having a big market presence. Today, success means being able to work on my own terms (which is code for working in my fuzzy bathrobe with curlers in my hair), being able to write for prestigious publications, speak at notable conferences, coach wonderfully talented people and ghostwrite amazing stories. It means doing what I love and doing it wherever I want. I push the boundaries of failure every time I walk out onto a stage, take on a new client, promote my web site, write a new book or have a new article published.
I’m not going to lie, fear of failure still plays a part in my day to day. I listen to it a lot less these days but respect it all the same. We are old friends.
Failure didn’t just plague me in my career quests. It presented itself to me when my 27 year marriage ended. That failure eventually led me to the man I know I was meant to be with. It taught me the things I needed to know to make a success of things this time around. I respect that and find myself grateful for the lesson.
I’d be curious to know what failure has done for you and to you. If your fear of it has ever stopped you from doing what you wanted to do, or if it has impacted your life, your dreams and your aspirations. Do you think it has worked for you or against you? Does it drive you on or pull you down?
I have a feeling I have a few more failures left in me. That’s okay. I will just pick myself up, dust myself off and offer to buy failure an Apple-tini at the local pub.
I figure it’s the least I can do for something that has given me so much.
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You could always pick my kid out in the Halloween parade lineup as the only child with a store bought costume. I’m also the mom who brought in Safeway brand cupcakes when it was my turn to provide snacks. Mother Teresa I’m not.
I likewise confess to apologizing to my daughter on more than one occasion for making a judgment call that turned out to be less than stellar. In addition, an occasional curse word would slip loudly from my lips in her presence.
I would then smile and tell her that she was my practice child, and I would be so much better with the next one. We both knew she would always be my one and only, so we both made allowances for my mistakes along the way. And there were plenty of them.
That being said, I never missed a play, an award ceremony, a field trip or a back to school night. It also warrants mentioning that I was the class party helper for 12 years running. Candy canes, pipe cleaners and glue guns progressed into Indian costumes, ‘50’s dances, hero week, science projects, dioramas (man, I hated those things), and D.A.R.E. programs. We both happily survived pajama parties, teenage angst, dating drama and college calamities. I was up front and present for each and every one of them.
So when Mother’s Day rolls around I figure I’ve got a bit of good karma coming my way. When you’re a 59 year old mother, with a daughter that is fully grown, Mother’s Day becomes mostly about memories.
Visions of silly string wars, sleep-overs, kissing boo-boos, reading books, singing her to sleep, birthday parties, board-games, roller skates, glitter artwork and Play-Doh projects. And then there were the outings. I don’t think that going to a Disney movie can officially be called an outing, but when you see “Snow White” 8 times, I think you get to call it whatever you want.
One Mother’s Day morning, as my 8 year old daughter served me crunchy eggs and burned toast for breakfast, she asked me why there wasn’t a “kid’s day”. I responded that every day was kid’s day. She didn’t buy it.
I guess it’s hard to imagine that every day is your special day when you’re being given curfews, nagged about homework, asked to clean up your room and told to feed the dog. But the cold hard truth is that when you are a child of loving parents, every day IS your day.
Nearly 20 years later, I’ve often shared with my daughter that I hoped that one day she would know the joy of having a little girl just like her. She winces at the thought. The kid is smarter than she lets on.
Motherhood is tough business. I believe that the reason labor pains are so agonizing, so gut wrenching, so bloody and endless is because its purpose is to toughen us up for the hard part. Labor is a piece of cake compared to the actual raising of a child.
I’ve always said that the easiest part of childrearing are the ages between birth and 2 days old. After that, you’re out of the hospital and on your own … for the rest of your life.
Our life, for the years that we are raising our kids, revolve around them. It’s just the way it is. But, as every empty nester knows, all things come to an end. All things except motherhood.
Today’s picture is home grown. A 27 year old snapshot of a time long ago still very fondly remembered. She is every bit as adorable today as she was then, just taller, sassier and with more teeth. I am shorter, less sassy and have fewer teeth. I am not amused at the comparison.
Our children may no longer live with us, or call with any dependable frequency, text daily or even visit often. It matters less than it should. Because moms forgive pretty much anything. No matter how old we are, if our kids are okay … we’re okay. And if they’re not, neither are we.
If you ask me (and I know you didn’t) being a mom is often a thankless job. It’s never ending, unconditional and all encompassing. It’s not optional and it’s not always received with gratitude. It’s still a mystery to me why it feels like the best damn job in the world.
The lovely little cherubs whose diapers we changed and running noses we wiped will at some point or another be rude, angry or disrespectful of the parent that brought them into this world.
That’s okay, because there will come a time when they will learn about the sacrifices, worry, tears, hurt, and the joy, pure rapture and complete love of it all. That day will begin when they tell you that you are about to become a grandparent. Proving once and for all that God does have a sense of humor.
And, just for the record, that crunchy egged, burned toast breakfast I had those many years ago; well, it was the best damn breakfast I’ve ever eaten.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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To my ex-husband who hooked up with a little Russian chick half his age and yells to the hilltops that he is not too old; you can sit down now, we hear you.
But, for the rest of us who still have our sanity and are considered by many to be over the hill (man, I hate that expression), sex generally plays a less important role in our lives.
Or does it?
I recently had an informative (drunken) and frank (loud and boisterous) discussion with my peers (girlfriends) about this very subject. In our in-depth (raunchy and crude) dialogue, we all came to the same conclusion: sex is alive and well in our relationships.
It is however not without its challenges, complaints and restraints (pun intended).
Since most of us aren’t particularly feisty about our naked bodies anymore, prancing around the house wearing a thong, heels and a hairband is pretty much off the table. Instead we camouflage our bodies, accentuating the good (cleavage) and hiding the bad (everything else). We depend heavily on candlelight, black out curtains and sturdy mattresses.
These days sex is more than an orgasm, it’s an adventure. It’s also a lot noisier than it used to be. The grunting, moaning and heavy breathing begins way before we do. It’s all par for the course.
I find that in this stage of my life, intimacy holds a great deal of importance. I’ve also learned that intimacy is not always the same as having sex. I appreciate the closeness, the holding, kissing and I keep my expectations to a reasonable level.
But, being a girl, I want what I want. Good thing for me, we are both good communicators and great listeners. Together we have learned what works, what doesn’t, and how to talk with each other about both.
I have to confess, sex is a little less important to me than it used to be. At this stage of my life I’m more centered on the bigger picture, the overall need to satisfy my partner and myself in all areas of our lives. Conversation entertainment, friendship, travel, our kids and the events of the day.
Unlike our younger years, our libidos can be affected by our stress, weight gain, medical conditions and the meds we take for them. Okay, fine. So sex may not be as sweaty or frequent as it once was years ago. That’s okay, because sweat is highly over-rated and the years have taught me that frequency is trumped by quality, hands down!
That’s NOT to say that sex is on the back burner. Oh, hell no. Fact is, the opposite is true. We are actually more adventurous. The kitchen table is not just for meals and the car is not just for running errands. Now that I have totally grossed out my fully grown daughter, let me say out loud … bravo for us!
Being cheeky (do the puns never end?) is something I’m far more comfortable with now than I ever was in my 20’s and 30’s. As I approach my 60th birthday this summer, I realize that while 60 is not really the new 40, it is a far cry from what it was in my grandmother’s generation!
I remember reading a quote somewhere many years ago that cautioned women to choose their mates carefully. It claimed that passion would wane but the ability to maintain good conversation, share loyalty and enjoy someone’s company would last a lifetime. I scoffed at the notion. Silly me.
We’ve also heard it said many times that waiting for something will often make you appreciate it more.
Of course, I do have a 2 week limit on the whole “waiting” part. After all, without some sense of reasonable decorum, the world could easily plunge into mayhem and anarchy.
Trust me when I tell you, the last thing this world needs is a sex deprived menopausal woman. Do I here an “Amen”?
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Today, we are all Bostonians. Just as we were Newtowners when the school shooting occurred, just as we were New Yorkers when 9/11 hit.
As I’ve grown older, it has become painfully obvious to me that much of mankind is far from kind. For a few years I held that focus, feeling sickened by the man-inflicted cruelties to children, animals, and each other.
But I also began to notice that with every tragedy there was extraordinary goodness. With all the sadness and tears, somehow came glory and triumph. A wretched exchange, to be sure, but a brilliant lining to a very dark cloud.
It’s enough to know that the evil is there. We don’t have to dwell on its presence. It does, after all, make itself known to us sooner rather than later.
I listened as a runner in the marathon said that God’s grace spared her. I reject that. Loudly. To believe that, would be to believe that God had less grace for those who fell victim to the horror. That is not a God that I would follow. It is just by horrible circumstance that these things happen to us. Life is a crap shoot and our control of it is fictional.
The tragedy in Boston is just the latest of a long list of atrocities we, as a nation, have had to bear. We all know it won’t be the last.
It doesn’t stop the wondering. What kind of person could do this to innocent people? What kind of person lives to kill and maim? The reasoning will forever escape good people.
A mind that deals from logic, and a heart that works from love, cannot fathom the objective of such vile acts as the one we saw this week in Boston. There will never be justification for the murder of an innocent child or the maiming of innocent bystanders. We just can’t wrap our heads around it. So instead, we wrap our arms around each other.
I read this morning about Michael Groffenberger, the VP of the nation’s second oldest jewelry store, Shreve, Crump & Low. Just hours after the tragedy, he nailed an American flag to the balcony ledge of his shop because it wouldn’t hold any other way. His silent stand against the carnage that occurred just one block away from his door. I admire his “in your face” thinking. And I also admire what he did next.
He called his staff and made sure that they would show up for work the very next day, when all the other merchants in the small sector would, understandably, be closed. He told them that it wasn’t about business or sales. It was about being open, not allowing the beasts of terror to shut them down. It was about prideful belligerence. I respect that.
And so, once again, we, as Americans, stand united. Stunned, hurt, bleeding, and crying for our dead and wounded. All of us. Together.
We are a wonderfully stubborn lot. We don’t give up, we don’t give in. We do give to one another our love, prayers, a place to stay, a meal, a helping hand, and a shoulder to cry on. We don’t need to know your name to help you. We are a gracious collection of citizens who are quick to donate our money, time and sometimes the shirt off our backs. Americans are stronger than we appear. A lot stronger. I take tremendous pride in that.
I also take a fair amount of pride in knowing that our law enforcement agencies will pursue with a vengeance the vile scum who inflict harm on our citizens.
The perpetrators had better hope that our citizens don’t get to them first.
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Let’s just call it like it is. Women take pain, panic, worry, anger, hurt and fear without missing a beat and all the while, wearing a smile. Not to mention the fact that we deal with bloating, bleeding, hot flashes, failing bodies, fickle children and wandering husbands, all with a grain of salt, a dose of drama, and a nicely prepared meal on the table. Bam! We are nothing short of amazing.
What brings this topic to the forefront, you ask? My fiancé is facing a small surgery this week. He took a tumble while out walking and it resulted in a torn rotator cuff. Ouch! After a series of x-rays and an MRI, the surgeon was scheduled and the procedure arranged.
I love this man, but you would think he was going in for open heart surgery or an arm amputation. There is severe angst, planning, building panic, and more planning. There is no question that this is a painful condition to suffer (you’d be surprised how many times you rotate your shoulder). But, this surgery is an outpatient procedure and he will be home safe and sound tucked in his bed the very same afternoon. I’m thinking his job is easy; he sleeps through the procedure and rests in bed for a few days to recover. And yet the anxiety mounts. His, not mine.
As for myself, I am tapping into my immense but dwindling supply of patience and understanding. The former running a bit low as the big day approaches. My job will be to take care of him, feed him, change his dressings, and make sure his pain meds are taken regularly. All the while, not allowing his demanding neediness to provoke me to want to suffocate him in his sleep with his pillow.
Just as a point of reference, when I had foot surgery, he placed juice and food bars on my nightstand and disappeared for hours. But I digress.
He has spent hours on the phone with the insurance company to secure the EZ Ice Therapy unit. A wildly expensive contraption that amounts to two old fashion ice packs secured in a sling. Really. This is where I mention that I managed just fine with multiple one gallon zip lock bags filled with ice. Just saying.
In his defense, I don’t think his reactions are exclusive to him, but rather a standard response of the male species towards anything that may involve pain or require that they relinquish control. How many times has it been said that if men endured the pregnancies, the planet would cease to be populated? Or the fact that when a woman catches a cold, life goes on. But when a man catches a cold you would think he is walking the Bataan Death March. Men are babies, plain and simple.
Still, one has to wonder. If men are the weaker sex why do women need them to kill spiders, catch mice, take out the Christmas tree, and solve internet access problems? There is some poetic justice there.
Every woman knows that I’m telling the truth and nothing but the truth. Every man will know it in his heart but will offer reasonable and good explanations as to why they are the way they are. We love our men, but many of us wish their mothers had done a better job at toughening them up for the inevitable sniffles, bruises and breaks that life brings to us along the way.
In the meantime, Steven and I have come to an agreement to better help us get through this major trauma. I’ll try not to commit homicide if he tries not to provoke me.
Wish us luck.
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I don’t have the most agreeable dog. She chooses who she likes and the people and animals that make the grade could probably be counted on one paw, um, I mean, hand. She doesn’t suffer idiots, phonies or overly exuberant people. Much like her owner.
I recently took a bit of flak from a dear friend of mine for my dog parental skills which may have led to my pooch’s lack of acceptance of the human race.
It was brought to my attention (rubbed in my face) that Maddy and I had a bit of a co-dependent relationship and that it was most likely my fault that she was less accepting (ill adjusted) of the outside world and very unlike a “normal” dog.
I gave the idea some thought. And then I started fuming.
Before I accept any criticism about how she was raised and her less than normal dog personality, let me share a few little known facts.
This little dog came into my life as a 10 week old gift to my daughter on her 16th birthday. Two years later, when my one and only left for college, all that was left at home was Maddy, me and Figgaro, the cat. Truth be told, Maddy wasn’t all too fond of me. Frankly, the feeling was mutual. In the 2 years that she lived with us she gave me little regard, belonging exclusively to my daughter. It was clear she liked it that way. It was in the grieving and loss of her mom, (my kid), to college life that bonded us….eventually.
I’m the first to admit that if you are not a member of my family, Maddy will likely not have much to do with you. It won’t matter how many treats you bring her, she has a mind of her own and is quite comfortable with her decisions. I’ll also admit that she is my perpetual shadow, my company, and my best friend. She would describe herself as my protector, my defender, my comfort and my ally. Both assessments would be correct.
This little dog was at my side when my 27 year marriage crumbled. My daughter bore witness to the pain, the betrayal and the tears. But it was Maddy that bore the brunt of the many sleepless nights of sadness and sobbing into the warm neck of this little scruffy dog. Maddy muffled my pain, licked my tears and brought me her bones to cheer me up. That was the beginning.
Newly divorced and living in an empty nest, I found myself alone in a big house, and searching for a purpose while trying to build yet another career. I was befuddled and floundering. Maddy made certain that I never ended the day without doggie hugs, kisses and the inevitable goofy dog antics that would always make me laugh. She was with me when I had to relearn how to live my life, sleep alone, and manage the solitude. She was with me when I sold the big house on the hill and traded it for a small condo in the city.
A few years later, this little 12 pound ball of puff saw me through the loss of my father. That was a terrible time for me. I isolated myself, grieved and stopped working for a few months. Maddy forced me out of the house (occasionally in my pajamas) three times a day to walk her, keeping me in touch with my neighbors and life in general. Once again, she tempered my tears, fears and anxiety. A burden I would think too large for such a tiny little dog, but one she bore with tremendous grace and giddy cheerfulness.
My wonderful daughter did what she was raised and meant to do, she forged a life of her own. I’m grateful that she has kept me a big part of it. She fell in love with a wonderful man who happened to live in Australia. A bit of a quandary seeing that she lived in Denver, Colorado. There were long trips in her future and a very real worry from this mom that she would eventually move a continent away. More tears. More fear. After a couple of years, her wonderful young man moved to her and a lasting love blossomed, not to mention a grateful mother relieved. My little dog helped to keep me grounded during that time of inexplicable dread.
Life served up another unwelcome surprise, as life does, and I found myself battling a major illness that eventually led to major surgery. Maddy was allowed in my hospital bed every day and, once again I found myself grateful for her company and comfort. We managed together to get me back on my feet (literally), all the while welcoming the kindness of our new friends and neighbors who helped to feed us and walk her.
For a few years after the divorce, my best friend was my ex-husband. That ended when he found himself a 31 year old Russian girlfriend and fell into a massive inheritance. It wasn’t long before I became old news. Hurtful times tempered by a sweet little dog.
Love found its way to me again. It would mandate that I move from the solace of my little home and return to California to embark on a new life. With my little dog in tow, I committed to this wonderful man and packed up our lives. I was excited, afraid, worried and confident. I have a sneaky feeling she was too.
Maddy will be 12 years old next month, and while we’ve endured our fair share of tribulations, we’ve also celebrated the best that life offers up. Fabulous new friends, a book deal, a writing and speaking career, traveling together, the welcoming of a son-in-law and his amazing family into our lives and, of course, our new love, my wonderful man, Steven. Our life together is pretty awesome.
Before anyone ridicules my dog for being abnormally dependent on me, they should know that there were many times that I was abnormally dependent on her. And while she is only 12 pounds, I know she would not hesitate for a moment to fight a lion for me. Loyalty and devotion like that is pretty hard to find.
She is my friend, in the truest sense of the word and I will stand by her as she has stood by me; relentlessly.
If you have some judgments about my dysfunctional dog, you best keep it to yourself. So she doesn’t walk up to every stranger and lick their hand. She failed doggie obedience school, will only allow people she approves of to pet her, and if you move in too close, too fast, she will deliver a snarl. So what? It’s her choice and I defend it.
I hope that you, too, are lucky enough to have a friend that will stand by you through life’s trials and tribulations with unwavering love and loyalty.
If you have, it’s a pretty safe bet that your friend is a dog. Consider it your job to be worthy of such adulation.
I try to live up to it every day.
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