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!

20171027_175635.jpg

 

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.

FB_IMG_1493429179605

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.

 

Affirmations and intentions

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. — Lao Tzu

About four years ago I started writing affirmations on my bathroom mirror. (Use a dry erase marker) The previous year had seen divorce and a move to a new place with new beginnings. I started with Affirmations 101: I am worthy, I am loved, I love you. Without self-love, it is difficult to love others or believe anything else good about yourself.

If you’ve told yourself 70,000 times that you are not good enough, it will take at least 7000 repetitions of a loving affirmation to reprogram the subconscious mind. Say it to yourself, with strong feeling, and it will become integrated into the subconscious mind.

After I did that for a while, I wrote I am beautiful and I attract beautiful people and I am extraordinary. Those were challenging for me, because I never thought of myself as attractive, either physically or otherwise, and thought of myself as just an ordinary person, nothing special.

Writing them where I would see it every day, repeating it over and over to myself, slowly but surely I found myself knowing the truth of these words. I AM beautiful and extraordinary! And I started attracting a different type of people into my life, people who brought positive, bright energy into my life.

Currently on my bathroom mirror: I invite personal transformation into my life every day.

A few years ago I subscribed to “Notes from the Universe”, delivered to my inbox every day. Here are three that I printed and taped to my bathroom mirror.

Live your dreams NOW to any degree that you can. With every purchase. Every decision. Every hello and goodbye. Every assignment. Every conversation. Every meal. Every morning, afternoon, and evening. And never, ever, ever look back. Reframe every thought, word, and deed from the perspective of the person you’ve always dreamed you’d be, as if your life was already as you’ve always dreamed it would be. Die to yesterday’s illusions and be reborn to the truth of your vision.

And let’s just see if you can handle the torrent of treasures I send your way! – The Universe

 

Time out! Time out!

What do you mean, you can’t see it? You don’t know? You aren’t sure? You’re scared?

This is an adventure, you’re an adventurer, and uncertainty, fear, and even setbacks happen. Besides, “easy” has never been your style, and just because you can’t see the miracles doesn’t mean they aren’t happening, doesn’t mean you’re alone, and doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.

The day your ship arrives, and it now swiftly approaches – the confusion, fear, and setbacks will be among your fondest memories. – The Universe

 

It’s easy. Just once a day, imagine the life you dream of. Believe that it can be yours in this world of magic and miracles. Choose to live as if you know of its inevitable manifestation. Don’t compromise. Don’t worry. Don’t look for results. And as surely as spirit crafts one moment after another, so too will it fuse together the life you now lead with the life of your dreams as if they were two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, destined to become one. – The Universe

 

My wish for you is that you succeed beyond your wildest imagination. That you find love in places that astound you. And that you have friends who call you “just because.” I dream that you go barefoot more than you wear shoes. That you play as hard as you work. And that you laugh more than you cry. I want you to set the bar high, but not too high. To reach for the stars, but with your toes on the ground. And to never, ever stop dreaming. But most of all I wish for your happiness.

And these dreams of mine are what started it all.  – The Universe

Hanging these up with intention and reading them frequently continues to bring me inspiration to keep on my path. I truly feel that I am living the life of my dreams, and that there is much much more to come. I can honestly say that I get to go barefoot more than I wear shoes! And my circle of friends who are family is ever expanding.

For years, when things weren’t going so well, I would say to myself and to God “I just want to love and be loved.” And now, I know that I am loving and being loved.  It didn’t happen in a way I expected, rather, it has happened as I began to use affirmations as well as regular meditation of the heart-based kind.

And the love is ever-expanding.

 

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.

 

Through the eyes of a two year old

I spent some time with my granddaughter yesterday. She is at that age where she has started to think about things, but is not yet able to express all her ideas verbally. She is stringing words together, but most of what she says is delightfully unintelligible.

“Swing and slide?” she asked in her sweet baby voice. So I put her in her stroller with her baby doll and pushed her the mile to the park, a green patch in the city. I wonder what she thinks, as the cars swoosh by, and we pass random people. She puts out her hand to touch some hedges along the side walk. We stop to smell some flowers.

She got restless the last quarter mile or so, asking me questions I couldn’t understand, talking and occasionally singing. I was glad she was happy, and I would point out things along the way, telling her we were almost there. Finally, we were at the green, first passing the dog park, which brought on a stream of dog like sounds from baby, then there we were at the playground. There were a lot of other kids and parents out on this warm February day.

wp-1456191076862.jpegI helped her out of the stroller and she headed for the swings. All but one were occupied, so I lifted her up into it, and “swing, swing” she laughed and sang as I pushed her. She gazed in fascination at the little girl in the swing next to her. “Baby!” she chortled with delight.

I spent the next 45 minutes following her around the small play area, guarding her as she climbed ladders meant for older children, laughing with her as she slid down the numerous slides, pleased that she cooperated with other children. Often she would stop and just stare at another child, and I wondered what she was thinking. Another little girl around her age was not having a good day, and as my little sweetie observed her crying, she said “baby cry? night-night?” Good observation, I thought!

I was wearing out before she did, and, anticipating the trek back, coerced her back into the stroller with the promise of a snack and taking her shoes off. Thus settled, we made the journey home, with her chatter and singing delighting me. She tweeted with the birds, and, pointing out a squirrel, “get nuts?” she queried.

Arriving home, I took off my sandals and sat on the tub to wash my dusty achy feet, which turned into a bath for her!  We splashed and laughed and it was absolutely delightful!

It wasn’t until I was leaving that she had a meltdown. She was trying to communicate something to do with a toy car that looks like “Sassa’s car” and it seemed to be important that she take the car outside but since she was naked Mama and I were saying no. So she threw the car and quietly crumpled and threw herself around a bit. This is when parenting is hard. What is it going on in the mind of a two year old that is inexpressible and therefore frustrating? What is a grownup to do?

Fortunately, her mother practices gentle parenting, and spoke to her gently but firmly. She offered to put a diaper on her and take her outside, which was satisfactory. There was still something on baby girl’s mind, but she was less upset, and was happy to see my car, for whatever reason, and we kissed and hugged and I went on my way.

All this to say, a two year old lives moment to moment, joy and frustration being dealt with as it comes, and we grownups have lessons to learn from it. If you have a two year old, remember this the next time they throw a tantrum. They don’t have the words to express themselves yet, so it’s not a punishable offense. And you? Take life a little less seriously, and enjoy each beautiful moment.