Not my first rodeo! (or why getting married at 60 is better than at 20)

Well, obviously, I’m a lot smarter than I was 40 years ago. I’ve made a lot of choices, and in spite of some of them looking bad at the time, I have no regrets.

As I muse, on the eve of my marriage to the man who will be my third (and last?!) husband, I do ponder my life with some amazement!

I married my high school sweetheart at 19. What babies we were! I thought it was forever, certainly planned for it to be forever. We had a roller coaster ride, and along the way seven wonderful little lives were created and birthed into this world. Certainly can’t regret that!

Midlife came along, and until you are there, and then well beyond, you don’t understand what a midlife crisis is really all about. For me, I had the first realization that life was short and I didn’t want to keep living the life I was living. And the only way I knew to change it, because of the rather narrow vision I had at the time,  was to change husbands.

Now I know that I created my world, and I could have created change in a different and more healthy way. But that’s not what happened, and I got just what I thought I wanted. At 43 I divorced and quickly married again, tried to make it work for 12 years. I had wanted more pizzazz in my life, and I got it, but not in a healthy way. What got birthed through all that was an older and wiser woman! I learned to take responsibility for my choices and learned to make better ones! I don’t regret that!

And I was done with marriage! I was 56 years young, feeling strong, and made plans to have a whole lot of fun that I had missed out on in my pursuit of living the perfect marriage. I minimized and moved, and started living the exciting single life.

I joined meetup, because I only wanted to meet people, not date. Oh no, I was done with men! I went to parties, happy hours, restaurants, went to running groups, did all kinds of things I’d never done. I did get involved with someone, but it was always known that it was just for fun. I  went out with a few guys, but it was more out of curiosity then wanting a real relationship.  Then, only a year after I was divorced, I met Robert.

I’d gone to yet another meetup, at the wine bar down the street. He was there, along with a bunch of other people, and there was no love at first sight. Just another guy. But we met again, at another meetup a week later, and that is when something magical happened. I had this moment when we were sitting at the table talking, and the rest of the world just kind of faded away, like in a movie.

So, long story short, that was four years ago. A year ago Robert proposed to me right before my fabulous 60th birthday. (He threw me a great party, btw!)  I’ve had enough time and experience with him to know that he is the real deal, for me. I know what I want, and don’t want.

The biggest deal is that I am entirely safe to be who I am in this relationship. There’s no big drama, no narcissism. There is a constant love and acceptance, and an understanding that love isn’t always FELT. Rather, love, the marriage kind of love, is a knowing. Knowing that you feel good with this other who is a mirror of your true self. Knowing that life is great lived without a partner, but somehow, with this person, life is a whole lot better.

So, never say never. Be open, be careful, be ready to be surprised!

Am I saying “til death do us part” ? No, not this time. Said it twice before, broke that promise. I fully expect it to be til one of us leaves this body, but saying that just doesn’t seem to be necessary.

I am getting married tomorrow!

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Remembering my grandparents

As I held and rocked one of the twins (9 month old boys!) today, I started feeling such strong love and emotion. These grandbabies, and my 3 year old granddaughter, are so very precious to me.

It brought back memories of my own grandparents, and what they did to have a relationship with us. It was back in the 60’s and 70’s and they lived 2000 miles away – no internet, no cell phones, no social media.

I was born in California, near San Francisco. My father’s parents lived about 40 miles away, in Sonoma, where he was raised. From what I gather, they were very involved with their three granddaughters. I was the middle sister, and when we were five, two, and six months old, my father’s company transferred him to Houston, Texas. This was in 1959. They packed us all up and drove us all that way. I imagine my older sister and I in the back seat, loose, and my mother holding the baby. Glad we all survived.

Anyway, looking at it from the grandparent’s view, it must have been pretty difficult. But it seems that they made the best of it.

Every summer we would meet them somewhere between here and there for a great camping vacation. The most memorable one for me was somewhere in Arizona, where we camped for a month and my father broke his leg.

When I was about 12, my parents went to Europe and Grandma Mae and Grandpa Howard, as we called them, and their dog Mike, came and stayed with us for 6 weeks! When I think about that- wow, I’m impressed! They would have been in their early sixties, and took on us girls plus my then 4-year-old brother. I’m sure we drove them up the wall, but I have only good memories of that time. Except for having to eat boiled squash.  I am exhausted after 2 days with my granddaughter, so no doubt they were VERY happy to see my parents. I remember going to the airport to meet them. Good times.

Long distance phone calls weren’t cheap, but I think they called us about every month or so, and I remember the excitement of knowing that Grandma and Grandpa were on the phone. We’d take our turns on the extension in my parents bedroom and talk for maybe two minutes apiece. I have no idea what we talked about, but the memory of sitting on my parents’ bed talking to Grandma brings a sweet thrill of love to my heart.

They’d always send us presents for our birthdays and for Christmas. I still have a book they sent for my sixth birthday, Happiness is a Warm Puppy, with characters from the comic strip Peanuts. I treasure it now simply because it brings warm memories of my grandma.

They would come and visit us occasionally, too, in between camping trips. I think they did a lot of traveling around the country after Grandpa retired, and they pulled a travel trailer behind their car. At least once they parked it in our driveway and stayed awhile.

This picture was probably taken around the time of the trip to Europe. That’s me in the hideous blue glasses.

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Now that I’m a grandparent, I get it. It’s quite possible that I may experience long distance grandparenting in the future, and I know it will be much easier for me to keep in touch than it was for them. I am so glad they made the effort that they did. I hope Hazel, Hudson, and Sebastian (and any future grands) remember me as fondly as I remember Grandma Mae and Grandpa Howard.

 

A lot can happen in a year.

I love Timehop. It would be so cool to have my whole life on it. Year by year, the journey unfolds. On Jan 3, I got the notification of what I wrote about 2015, and I thought wow, where has the time gone? So much has changed in the last few months that writing has been on the bottom of my list. But, here I am now!

New Year’s Eve, 2015: I was in a cottage in the country, drinking champagne and making intentions with my partner, Robert. I said I was going to leave behind “I can’t” and make having more compassion be my main intention. I believe I have been successful with the former and hope that I am making progress on the latter.

New Year’s Eve 2016: I was home, babysitting my three-year-old granddaughter while her now single mother worked. And Robert was also at work. Making intentions was the farthest thing from my mind. After the little one finally went to sleep, I was glad to just sit and watch a movie!

Caring for a young child twice weekly so her mother can make ends meet was not something I anticipated a year ago, or ever, for that matter. But, when circumstances change, what are you gonna do? Although at times it exhausts me, I am glad that I can be there for my daughter and have a special relationship with my granddaughter.

Speaking of grandchildren, 2016 brought me two more! The announcement came in early spring – my second oldest son and his wife were expecting twins! And they arrived, two healthy boys, in mid-July, right after I quit my job. And, with that freedom, I make a weekly 120 mile round trip across Houston to spend the day with them and give their parents a bit of a break. wp-1483928846636.jpg

In other very major news, Robert and I are now engaged! After three amazing years together, “in spite of it all and because of it all” (as he and I often say), we have taken this step of commitment. He asked me on November 29, on bent knees, and I said yes. I never thought I would want to marry again, but when I thought that, I hadn’t met Robert!wp-1484019838009.png

Then in early December, I got my birthday wish! I turned 60 and my deepest desire was to have all my children together. Robert threw me a wonderful party, and all seven of them were there,along with some of their spouses and all the grandchildren. It was quite a feat! My dear sister Ellen and her husband drove down to celebrate with us, and my closest friends were there as well. It was wonderful, marvelous, unforgettable!wp-1484019648440.pngwp-1484019669518.png

Biggest plan for 2017: we are going to move house. Going to go north of Houston, away from the city and the refineries I’ve lived by all my life. Going to where the air is cleaner, but close enough to the grandkids to continue the current relationships. It’s a leap of faith in many ways, but I’m ready for this next adventure!

I am continuing to study with New World Ayurveda, and applying what I know to my life and sharing with family and friends as much as they are interested and want to know. I  will finish this course in April and take another trip up to Maine for the final intensive. Robert is in this class too, so will travel with me. With the completion of the course, I will be qualified not only as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, but I will also be a Spiritual Counselor and meditation teacher. Since I am also certified and registered as a yoga teacher, I feel a sense of pride in accumulating these credentials over the last two years.

But since the priorities of my life have shifted unexpectedly, I haven’t started a practice as I had expected. And I feel ok about it, and whatever else may change. I am blessed to be able to work part-time from home doing medical reviews right now, because there’s just too much going on right now for me to start a business!

As I was readying the little one for bed tonight, and taking some time to hold and cuddle her, I was reminded that this is what is important. Just being, and loving, not always doing.

The message I have received in my spirit – my intention, my vision for this year and beyond:

 Whatever choices I make on the path of life, as long as love reigns over all, nothing else really matters.

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Pelicans and playdough

I love looking at the world through the eyes of a child.

wp-1478539610438.jpgMy granddaughter is not quite 3. Everything is new and interesting and amazing. We sat outside for a long time watching the pelicans who have come to roost for a while. It is still balmy here on the Gulf Coast, and I think they will leave when the weather turns cool. It is amazing watching them skim the surface of the water, or dive for a fish, or propel themselves to land. (wish I had a better camera!)

“Why?” is the question from her lips today. Why do the birds fly, why are the birds here, why do they want to eat the fish? Then when we’ve exhausted those answers, she asks “why not?” I don’t think she really knows what she is asking, but it certainly makes me think. I’ve always been one to try to answer those questions for my children without being cliche. I don’t like to say just because, or God made them that way. Why  do the birds fly? How do you answer?

wp-1478540617187.pngAfter a while we got hot and came inside for a cool drink and the next thing. I had made some homemade playdough so we had fun with that for a while. She likes to cut and squish and “make pizza” and I made snails, which she thought was pretty cool. This, too, was accompanied by the delightful conversation of someone just discovering the world and learning to use words.

Delightful day.

 

Cars and twins

The week started with my car overheating on Monday. Again.

Well, actually, it started with a yoga class at 9 am Monday morning. It was wonderful. And I’ve gone to four yoga classes this week, and definitely feel more balanced.

But back to my car situation…

wp-1469367557487.pngI’ve been driving a 1997 Chrysler Sebring for the last 3 1/2 years. My father bought it brand new when he was around 70, but when he was 85 decided he needed something new so I was blessed to get the car at a time that I really needed it, and it has been good to me. It only had 52,000 miles on it when I got it. I’ve doubled the mileage on it, and I think its got a few more on it, but decided it was enough for me.

wp-1469283408635.jpgSo Tuesday I bought a 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback with only 10,000 miles on it. I had rented one the last time my car was in the shop, loved it, researched it, and when I found this one I knew it was mine. I had been saving money every month in lieu of a car payment, so was able to pay cash, which was a great feeling! Now I have a reliable car to drive across Houston to see my grandchildren.

And just in time, since  twin boys arrived on Wednesday! wp-1469283351766.png

And babies make three grandchildren for me, all in the Houston area, but an hour across town.  I met them on Thursday, and they are adorable. I will be spending some time with them and their parents next week as they settle in at home. Doing the Grandma thing!