Milestones

How do we define milestones in life? What makes one event more noteworthy than another?  I was recently looking on that famous greeting card website for an anniversary year designation, and noticed that there comes a time, after about 15 years, that the designation is rather ho hum.  As if those years don’t really deserve much mention.  Seriously- it said for year 23, the “theme” is air.  Air?  Am I to assume, then,  that I can put a lid on a mason jar and hand it over, for a gift of air?

I have been pondering this because today is my 24th anniversary.  A rather ho hum year according to that famous card company web site.  This years theme is stone.  I wonder, how did we go from a Diamond at year 10 to stone at year 24? Have these past 14 years not amounted to more than a rock?

Let me tell you – 24 years is nothing to sneeze at.  Marriage is so much more than the ceremony and reception.  It is all those small things, those ho hum days and events that never get the recognition they deserve.

The  day he clips a rose from the garden and puts it on the table because it’s pretty.

When she brings him Vernors because he’s been sick, and she knows it will make him feel better.

It’s laughing at your silly jokes, a hug just because, dancing in the kitchen to annoy the children.  Being able to disagree, but know, no matter what, you love them.  It’s laundry and shopping and cooking and cleaning.  Dealing with being sick, aging family and bills.

Marriage is hard, it’s fraught with pitfalls that devour many and  leave many more with bruises unseen.   It’s messy, and stressful and there are three sides to it-his, hers and the truth.

So when I look at that greeting card website that says year 24 is stone- and the big milestone of  year 25 is silver, I can’t help but shake my head and disagree.  Each of these 24 years has been a milestone to celebrate, to shout to all that those ho hum events and days have had as much meaning as that year 25.

So today, on this day of stone for my husband I , I want to publicly shout out to all, that we have persevered through all those ho hum moments.  We have fought and made up, laughed and cried, supported and cheered, and most of all loved each other as we promised we would.  You see, we made a choice, those many years ago, and though it’s been hard at times, I can’t imagine another I would have loved the way I love him.

Happy 24th anniversary my dear love.

Flat Anthony

Funny thing about kids, they grow up. We have 2 sons that are growing into such fine young men, we  are so proud of both of them. For Mother’s day a few years ago,our oldest gave me a pillowcase with his picture on it. Seems kind of funny, but I love it. I bring it with us when we travel.

We have been an RV family for about 6 years, and in that time we have traveled thousands of miles around the country. We have been from the Pacific to the Atlantic, summer and winter. Some of our favorite memories happened because of a chance to buy an old RV..As a parent, it has been rewarding to know that we have been able to give the gift of travel and love for our country to our boys.

Our oldest son is now 22 and, as a young man starting out, no longer has the time to take off for weeks or months at a time. When we travel now, I feel a sadness that he isn’t able to continue to share in our adventures. Our remedy? We call it Flat Anthony- the pillow with his picture on it.

Flat Anthony comes along with us whenever we travel, and this last trip, well, let’s just say he had some adventures.  How could we not take him along?

We didn’t want him to miss beach combing, or climbing on the rocks, the dune buggy ride, whale watching, 4th of July or the evening campfire watching the ships on the river.

It clearly isn’t the same as having him along with us, and I sometimes feel guilty having fun without him. We are so proud of all his accomplishments, and maybe some day, when he is older with a family of his own, he will remember his youthful trips and want to do the same with his family.

Before It All Changed

When we are young and carefree, it’s hard to imagine how life can turn, change and suddenly be something unimaginable.  We all have ideas, or scenarios when we are young, how our life will play out. Those wild unimaginable scenarios don’t ever cross our mind.  I planned, when I was young, to grow up, get married have a family. I didn’t plan on a child with Autism.   I have a friend whose husband is a quadriplegic, due to an accident, and know that wasn’t anything they planned for.

Just recently my friend was sharing some old photos, many of her husband, and it struck me, that at the time of those photos, they were living life, young and carefree, before it all changed.  Right until the moment of his accident,  and maybe in those first moments after, I would bet, they never thought  their life would be anything other than what they planned.

Like a game of pool, you line up the shot, 8 ball corner pocket,  you set your sights, pull back the cue stick,  take your best shot.  Everything is perfect, until that  8 ball hits slightly to the left of the pocket, ricochet’s  off and lands somewhere you didn’t plan.  You know you are still in the game, but the game is different now.  How do you go from being a young couple with a son, with nothing but the typical life issues, to a young couple with a son and now quadriplegic?  Talk about a major life changing event!  Everything in your world changes from that moment.  Your life, the family’s life, your dreams and what used to be your normal.  All changed.

Now there is a new world to learn, one that has immense challenges.  The basic act of getting dressed, eating sleeping, bathing, all those things taken for granted just moments ago, before it all changed. It’s not fair, or easy or anything you would wish on anyone, but it is now your world.   So what do you do?  You do what needs to be done, you learn all about your new world and move on.

It takes great strength and commitment to face these challenges and not give up.  Not give up on yourself or the person now in a wheelchair.  To stand united in this new challenge and continue to be happy.   I see pictures of  my friend before it changed, the smiles the happy times, the love that is there. I see pictures now of my friend, and see that same smile and love that is still there.  I can guarantee it’s been a struggle for all of them, but it says a lot to me that they have faced this challenge and haven’t given up.

Life can be a challenge, and all the plans we make can change in an instant.  No one plans for a catastrophic life changing event, it is too unimaginable.  To do so, would make for a rather negative existence.  Like most people, we go along, making our plans thinking all will be fine.  For those that have had life challenges,  whether they be physical or not, it can be so easy to fall into “what could have been, or should have been ” before it all changed.  I admire your strength to move forward.

Kitchen Kisses

I have noticed lately that much of society has a “throw it out” mentality.  People tend to want the latest, greatest, fancy thing around.  We aren’t often content to appreciate what we have, or fix it if it’s damaged, we toss it and replace it.  It’s rather sad to me, and quite wasteful.  This isn’t exclusive of items, it happens with people as well.

Way back when, in what some may call “the old days”, I don’t think we were such a disposable society. Take marriage for instance. Lately, it seems that people rush into marriage, then, for what seems to be the slightest reason, they get a divorce.  whatever happened to “for better or worse”?  I know, I know, there are reasons why divorce is probably for the best, it just seems a bit too easy these days. I don’t claim to know what goes on in their household, but how do you go from professing your undying love one day, and within a year or two, you are divorced? Maybe they didn’t think through all that is involved in a marriage before they jumped in.  You know, it’s so much more than that fancy wedding and ultimate honeymoon trip.

When I was a teenager, I happened to walk into the kitchen and my dad was giving my mom a kiss and hug.  As any teen might, I made some wisecrack about them smooching in the kitchen.  My father then said ” if you are fortunate enough to find someone, someday, who loves you half as much as I love your mother, you will be very blessed”  With that he gave her another kiss and went on about his day.

Over the years, I have watched my parents do those small niceties toward each other, that keep them happily married.  Little notes taped to the kitchen cabinet,or a true appreciation for even the simplest meal.  I know that my parents have  had challenges over the years, but I also know they didn’t think anything other than working it out was the answer.

After 60 years, they still get caught smooching in the kitchen.

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I have found someone, and I know he loves me.  Is it 1/2 as much and my father loves my mother? I hope so. What I also know is that after nearly 21 years, with all the good and bad, we have worked through it.  And now and then I get a smooch in the kitchen to prove it.

Trade Rumors

My husband loves baseball. I mean REALLY loves baseball.  He’s happy that I love baseball too.  We watch and analyze, cheer and lament.  We talk about  our teams and players like they are our family.  Families are like baseball teams, at least mine is as big as one.

I think any good team starts with its management.  For families, of course , that would be the parents.  In my family the “team” started 60 years ago. Young and full of hope and potential, they said “I do”.  I often wonder how much of their future was planned verses life just happens?  Did they actually PLAN to have 9 kids?

Each player -kid- on the team has a role, a purpose.  The oldest/veteran breaks in the management, paves the way for the future players.  As others are introduced, the dynamics change.  Trying to adjust to the new lineup, so to speak, roles are defined. Each person has their worth.  What good is it if everyone is a pitcher? Who would catch for you? Who would be your outfield backing you up?   Each one  has a job on the team and together they work toward a common goal.

As with any team/family,  there comes a time to shake things up, move on to another team.  In a family the kids grow up, maybe get married,  start their own team.  Sometimes the kids leave on less than  amicable terms and it’s a mutual parting of the ways.  Their time and purpose completed for that team, off to the next step. There are times too, when as much as one would like to stay in that comfort zone ,it is time to take that leap of faith and go for it.

Twenty years ago I started my own team.  Excited for the future, unsure of what would come next.  Am I any less a part of the original team?  Was my time there dismissed when I moved on? Not at all.  I had my role on that team; moms favorite, though she will say the same about all her kids, and truly mean it about each one. We don’t always get it right,  some times we strike out.  But, as in baseball, one inning doesn’t make the whole game.  Sure, one bad inning can devastate THAT game,  there are 161 games to follow.

I wouldn’t trade my team for anything in the world.  Hopefully I learned something from the best managers out there, and can pass that on to my young players.  I do know one thing- When you step up to the plate, life may throw you a curve.  Stand in there, take a swing, you never know- you may just hit it out of the park.