Musings and Amusings

Posts tagged ‘love’

All Changes Have Their Melancholy

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” Anatole France

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That quote is a tad dramatic for this topic, but back in April I was feeling a loss too keenly to write about it. I’ve read many a post by a parent or grandparent experiencing this normal life transition. I suspect knowing it’s normal didn’t make it any easier for them either.

Raqi has always been ‘our’ grandbaby.

As is often the case in step-families, we had to wait our turn. A first granddaughter was born to Hub’s older son. Next a first grandson was born to Hub’s younger son. Naturally parents are very protective of their first-borns, and naturally the biological grandmothers expect to have those babies to themselves. While Hub and I visited and occasionally babysat, we didn’t have the luxury of much one-on-one time with those two babies.

By the time Raqi came along, her older brother was three; both parents were tired, stressed and steeped in career paths; and biological grandmothers had “been there; done that”.

Raqi seemed ripe for the taking!

raqi baby

 

When she was two weeks old, she had her first overnight with us. That quickly became two overnights a week, and even more when Mom and Dad could stand the guilt of relinquishing her. It gave them much-needed relief; gave three-year-old Sparks time alone with his parents; and gave Hub, Raqi and me an opportunity to bond with each other in a way I never imagined.

Not only has our bond flourished for eight delicious years, but we have become closer to Sparks and his parents than we would have otherwise. I will always be grateful to my stepson and daughter-in-law for making us such a welcome part of their home and their family.

In April we took our first spring bike ride to the pond near our house. After we circled the pond several times, Sparks and Hub headed home to get the football, but Raqi wanted to stay at the pond.

She normally chats non-stop and is always in close physical contact with us. So it was unusual when she left me with the bikes; walked over to the tree and stared quietly at the water.

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After about five minutes, I walked over and leaned against one of the other trunks. I didn’t say anything and eventually she began telling me how sad she felt that their family was moving to another house. When I asked her why, she explained that she had lived in that house since she was born, and all her memories of her life are in that house. She went on to talk about her bedroom and how much she loved the color and the wall decorations and how many times she and I played with her dolls in there.

She talked about the living room and playing ‘Hot Lava’ and doing the Hokey Pokey and learning to turn cartwheels. She talked about the basement and how much fun we had playing in our ‘family band’ and dancing to music videos.

She cried, saying she’d never be happy in another home.

It broke my heart.

Or should I say it added to my broken heart. For months Hub and I had been dreading the changes that were coming – not just the physical change of their home which, indeed, held so many memories, but the loss for the two of us as Sparks and Raqi move into adolescent/pre-teen preoccupations, and baby/toddler absorption fast-fades in the rear view mirror.

Even though they will always be with us; they won’t.

I know I don’t have to explain that to most of you.

It’s our job, as parents and grandparents, to prepare our children to move out into the world beyond our arms. The beauty is we do it well. The melancholy is we do it well.

That day, I tried to reassure Raqi that we will – as a family – carry memories of that home in our hearts, and we will help each other remember. I also promised her (and myself, although I don’t quite believe it) that we will make just as many good memories in their new house.

Within three days of moving, Raqi had fallen in love with her new next door neighbor Em. Those two girls became inseparable for the rest of summer, Raqi going so far as to write Em a “love poem” when Em left for a week on family vacation. My heart beams for both of them.

Hub and I are learning to find joy being interested observers as Raqi’s world widens, thankful we have front row seats.

“Two Misfits. One Extraordinary Love.”

Eleanor & Park

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This is the description on the inside cover of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I loved reading this book. It is designated a Young Adult (YA) book, and the writing is concise and uncomplicated. But Eleanor’s and Park’s emotions and actions are universal as they try to find their niche in a confusing, sometimes inhospitable world.

When I look through my library of favorite books – the 5-star books I read again and again; the books I lug with me every time we move; the books I never lend because I can’t bear to lose them – I find many that could be succinctly described as “Two Misfits. One Extraordinary Love.”

Not all are about romantic love. Love between a parent and a child, two siblings or two unlikely companions can be just as palpable and endearing as a romance.

Defining a “misfit” presumes we have an accepted definition for “normal”.  That’s a discussion for another day. The characters in these books affect me because of their circumstantial or social struggles.

Sometimes the misfits dominate the plot; sometimes the extraordinary love is what lies at the heart of the story.

Here, in no particular order, are my favorite “Two Misfits. One Extraordinary Love” books:

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  • God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
  • How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo
  • The Flawless Skin of Ugly People by Doug Crandell
  • Love Is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Next in my stack of to-read books that might end up in this category:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Am I missing any “must have” books in this section of my library?

I Do at Iao Needle

Today is our silver wedding anniversary. My deepest appreciation to my trusty sidekick and dearest love for 25+ years of support, companionship, adventure and laughter.

Our beginning was a fairy tale; our decision to marry a tad unconventional; and our wedding day a joy to remember.

We got married on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui.

Alone. As in, no relatives or friends – just us. Getting married was very emotionally charged for me, and I needed to do it alone with Hub.

My dream, of course, was a romantic beach setting: kicking off our shoes; waves lapping gently; sun slowly dipping below the horizon; and a warm glow radiating between us.

The reality?

Beach weddings were highly regulated, commercialized and unromantic. We could buy the basic, premium or deluxe package for a set rate; a set number of flowers; and “our” 15 minutes on the beach before the next couple stepped in for their unromantic 15 minutes.

No Way and No Problem.

We discovered Iao Valley State Park, a pristine barely-used gem in the middle of the island. While hiking a trail, we located a perfect spot – under the towering Iao Needle – from which the rising sun would bless our ceremony if we got married at dawn.

Iao Needle

 

We obtained our marriage license and a recommendation to call “Marrying Bob”, a kindly ordained minister. He met with us and agreed to perform the ceremony at 6:30am, shortly after the park gates opened. Marrying Bob recommended we hire Dave, a carefree freelance photographer, who could serve as one of two required witnesses. A quick call to Dave confirmed he’d meet us at dawn at the park. If no one else was at the park to witness our ceremony, we could repeat our vows later in front of Marrying Bob’s secretary. It was all low key, low stress and private – just the way I wanted it.

I brought my self-designed dress from Colorado. The evening before the wedding, we selected our leis; bought Hub a Hawaiian shirt; and hugged and cried while writing our vows.

When we arrived at the park gate at wedding day dawn, there was a single car in the parking lot – a convertible with the top down, and a dark-haired man sitting in the driver’s seat. It wasn’t Marrying Bob. We assumed it was Dave, the photographer.

Hub approached the convertible: “Hi, are you Dave?”

Dark-haired guy, doing a double take and frowning at Hub: “Yeah. Why?”

Hub, holdng out his hand in greeting: “I’m Bob. You’re here to photograph our wedding, right?”

Dark-haired guy, still frowning and pulling back from Hub’s proffered hand: NO!”

It turns out THIS Dave was from California on his honeymoon and came to the park to watch the sunrise while his new wife slept in. After figuring out the confusion and sharing a “what’re the odds” laugh, Honeymoon Dave agreed to be our second witness.

So, our wedding party consisted of:
Bob, the groom
Bob, the minister
Dave, the photographer
Dave, the honeymooner
Me, the blushing bride

The sun rose; we spoke our vows;

Maui wedding 1

 

we sealed our marriage with a kiss; and we are living happily everafter.

maui wedding 2

A is for Anniversary

 

A Letter (2)

Yes, I’m breaking my own Theme selection on the first day of the Challenge. Anniversary is not an object, unless you count it as an object of affection. Let’s go with that.

May 14, 2014 will be my 25th wedding anniversary. No one is prouder than I am to own that milestone.

Soon after we met, Hub began talking about marriage, certain very quickly that we were the real deal. While I fell in love with him within months of meeting, I was content to live together; to share our lives without taking that formal step called marriage.

It was so perfect already, why not enjoy that stage indefinitely? Why mess with perfection?

As two years went by, I continued to resist his requests to marry, assuring him I’d marry him someday, just not now. Eventually we reached an impasse. He needed my commitment of marriage, and I couldn’t give that to him.

My hidden truth was I didn’t trust that I could follow through with the “forever, till death do us part” promise. My first marriage lasted only seven years. It took me another six long years to recover from that sadness. No matter how much I loved my new partner, I couldn’t vow “forever” when I had already failed to keep that commitment.

One day, both of us in tears about our impasse, I admitted my fear about not being able to actually follow through on “forever”.

His response?

“If you can’t promise forever, how about 39 years plus options?”

Now THAT sounded like a commitment I could make. AND fulfill. Reasonable, measurable and renewable if I succeeded with the initial term. I eagerly and wholeheartedly said, “YES!”

And that’s what we vowed at our wedding: to marry for 39 years plus options.

If you asked me today, 25 years later, if I could make a “forever” commitment to Hub, I’m happy to say I could; I would. But it took his love, patience, understanding and creativity to get me here.

A to Z Anniv pic

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Save the Last Dance for Me

Finding true love on Valentine’s Day?

Only in fairy tales.

Except for that one year…. during the last dance ….when his witty comeback tickled my funny bone….

I met my husband in 1987 on Valentine’s Day. No, not love at first sight, but a light-hearted beginning with just enough spice to pique our mutual interest.

It was the typical fundraiser….stately mansion, tuxedos & fancy dresses, music, gambling, gourmet food and champagne…

Except this fundraiser had a unique twist. Tickets were sold only to women. Each woman anonymously invited 5 men.

So men showed up, unattached and full of curiosity. Women showed up, knowing they’d be surrounded by handsomely dressed single men. LOTS OF ‘EM !

The atmosphere was electric and upbeat and oh-so-comfortable. Not at all like the dreaded singles bar.

I danced, gambled, mingled and occasionally glimpsed a certain man in the crowd smiling at me. The kind of smile that says, “I know something you don’t.”

Toward the end of the evening, I was dancing with a partner when a woman approached me. She discreetly handed me a man’s business card with some writing on the back. I glanced quickly. It read, “Please call me. Let’s go skiing.” I finished the dance, thanked my partner, and turned to walk into the crowd.

Waiting for me was the man with The Smile. He took my hand and led me back to the dance floor. A slow dance had begun and our conversation – each of us grinning madly – went something like this:

“I don’t ski.”

“Why not?”

“I’m pretty busy at work.”

“Do you like movies?”

“No, I’m pretty busy at work.”

“What about dinner some evening?”

“No, I’m pretty busy at work.”

(Aside: I WAS very busy at work. I was also very happily single with plenty of friends and activities. I hadn’t come to the party to find a man; I had come to dance!)

“Please, I’d like to take you out. Is that possible?”

“No, I’m sorry. I work from 6am until 6pm, then I work out, then I go home and crash. I’m in bed by 10 every night.”

Suddenly he stopped dancing, placed his hands on my shoulders, bent down to look me squarely in the eye, and said,

“Don’t worry. I WILL have you in bed by 10.”

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