Thirty-three Years

Has it been that long?  And yet, who are those two kids in a couple of grainy photographs, getting married.  Eighteen, no jobs, no higher education, no car, no place to live.  No wonder Mother was so upset.

But, that feeling we had for each other would not be silenced.  We had to be together, no matter what.  And I didn’t want to start out living together without a license.  If we had, we might not have stuck it out.

A month later, Pasadena.  A perfect little apartment upstairs on the end.  I remember how he smelled when he would come in from work.  Like sunshine and clean sweat.  He had long brown curls and no mustache, then.  We laughed and played and fought and made up like the lovers we were.

Along came pregnancy and a lay off.  Finally, Uncle Sam put him to work and we took our baby son to California.  Our baby girl came along while we were out there.

We hadn’t been back from his service duty long when an industrial accident took most of his left hand.  People forget he has, I hate to use the word disability, but that hindrance.  After he got that business settled, we set in to making a home and raising our two little ones.

Adventure on the river during a few summers was the main thing. Then, he found a passion for longhorn cows.  The reconnection Mother made to her cousin during this time sustained me through many difficult years after Mother passed away.  She had longhorn cows and we got going with the Butler Sale the year we lost Mother.

I wasn’t long, it seems, Daddy went on to be with the Lord, our son graduated and moved off to school.  He hasn’t resided with us since. Then, our daughter graduated and moved off to school, only coming to reside after graduating and during a couple of job transitions, totally only a few months.  During, he lost both his parents a few months apart.  His father’s was sudden and unexpected. This was a dark and difficult period for those two young lovers mentioned at the beginning of this passage.

He started taking me to the deer lease with him.  Riding in the woods and learning how to hunt with him pieced our hearts back together.

Our son fell in love and got married.  Just that fast.  Our daughter married and then figured out he was not the right man.  So, we all went down and loaded her up and brought her home.  That is the night I realized my little family was going to be strong, after all.  She married the right man a couple of years later.

Our son and his bride have taken me on adventures in Hawai’i and California.  And after several years of wondering if they would, they produced a grandchild for us.  Five months later our daughter and her honey produced another grandchild for us.  Two girls.  Two suns to rise and set each day.

We are officially middle aged.  Grandparents.  We still like to have adventures on the river and in the woods.  Our favorite thing is playing with our girls.  I have a couple of great-nieces we love to play with, too.

We work hard to make sure we don’t take each other for granted.  We don’t want “settled” love.  We want to keep the passion growing deeper and sweeter with time.  I don’t know where I end and he begins.  And, yet, I am still shy to share some things with him.  His is the only opinion I truly care about.  He is the only person who can actually hurt my feelings.  He is the only person who has walked through the fires of hell with me and hauled me through the rough places not letting me quit.

So when I say Happy Anniversary to him, I really mean thank you; I love you; I can’t breathe without you; you still make my heart skip a beat; I am still trying to make sure I am pleasing to you; I need your love to keep me warm; you are my Rock. Happy Anniversary.

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Christmas Cards

Let me preface the following with a few statements.  First, I love Christmas cards.  I love getting them in the mail.  Second, I love the cards themselves.  They are mini works of art.  I love that someone took a moment to include me in their ritual of sending cards.

I used to send Christmas cards to every person in my address book.  You know.  The address book in which folks used to keep “snail mail” addresses.  Every year, a couple of boxes of cards, signed, stuffed in envelopes, addressed, stamped, dumped at the post office.

When we first married, I enjoyed the process.  Picking out the right cards, addressing the envelopes, making the trip to the post office.

After a few years, it became just another item to do on the Christmas list.

Then, it became a chore.   I felt obligated to send cards.

Next, it became a burden.  After all, I still received many cards in the mail each year.

Finally, I stopped doing them.  And the feelings of guilt set in. We were still receiving cards by the bucket full.

After a few years, I got over that.  I realized I have a choice.  I can choose to participate in whatever I want.  I owe no one for anything.  I am grateful for the love and support I have received from friends and loved ones.  I still receive love and support from many, including him and the children and Him.

But, I have given my love and support over and above.  At times, nearly losing my health, sanity and economic stability to do so.  I still have love and support to give.  Resilience.  My friend and I spoke of this today.  Mother instilled resilience in me.  He reinforces it.  Life continues.  Through illness, death, dismemberment, divorce, parting of the ways, life continues.  Meals need to be cooked.  Washing has to be done.  The light bill has to be paid.  The garden needs planting and the grass needs cutting.  People pass into and out of our lives.  Some are here for many long years.  Some for a few short months.  Life continues.

No one owes me anything.  I have given whatever I can of service, time and money from the feeling of love and a bone deep desire to serve.  Parents, children, other family, friends, church, co-workers, neighbors.  Whoever He put in my path to touch, I have tried.  I have failed many times.  But, I have succeeded some, too.  I am choosier now about what I will agree to do.  I want to be able to commit completely and in depth to things I do these days.

Someday I may resume sending Christmas cards.  When I do, the list will be select.  I will send out of love and a desire to express it.  If someone is sending cards to me or anyone else, I just hope they are sending them out of genuine positive feelings and not out of guilt or obligation.  If it doesn’t make one happy, don’t do it.  There are enough chores that must be done in this life without this being one.  Of course, this sentiment could translate to a million other things our society members do as well.

“I just want you to be happy.”  Ten thousand times he has told me that over the last nearly 32 years.

So, I say to my reader, if sending Christmas cards makes you happy, please continue.  Please don’t be offended at mine missing from your mail box.  Should I receive one from you, I will send good thoughts your way and prayers upward on your behalf.  If I find out you have a need, I will try to help.  That will have to be my Christmas greeting to you for now.

In a musty trunk, my Grandmother’s and Father’s sentiments to me are stored.  “Dear Molly Darling” begins one from my Granny Arie……………..

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Diversion

I have a simple diversion tactic. Keep pushing stuff around in the house.  Makes me feel like I have done something.  All I have done is move junk from one place to another.  Purpose?  Diversion.  For twenty years, I have done this.  If I am pretending like I am getting organized and getting rid of clutter, I don’t have to think about other things.  Things like how much I miss my children.  How much I miss my parents and my grandparents. How much I miss other relatives either gone from this world or living too far distant.  How little I seem to have to do other than go to my 9 to 5 and do a little housework.  Yes.  I need to read last week’s post. But……….

I am at a loss as to what to do with myself right now. My mind rushes along, but my body can’t keep up.  My thought processes are not focused.  I have found myself working through another cycle of grief.  It is different from cycles in the past.  It is more than true about each person having to grieve in their own way and time.  I never expected to deal with this so many years later.  I am just sad about all of it all over again.  Yes. There have been some private issues surfacing that may have triggered this.  First one thing then another.  Then, something else.

But, you know what? I can get through this.  I will feel better soon.  He will help me.  I am letting go of some material things and some irrelevant ideas.  I am letting go of things that are holding me back.  What am I being held back from?  My cousin knows.  She told me what I should do.  I am about ready to get started.

Meanwhile, a certain little girl and her baby sister occupy my happy thoughts and bring me great hope. I found the thing to make her giggle.  My Hallowe’en decoration:

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The fish don’t seem to mind!  The cat looks surprised!