Tag Archives: love

When I Said I Do…

k8edid and Sweet Cheeks – Two Wild and Crazy Kids, circa 1979 (photo credit – my Mom, I think, maybe my sister, I don’t remember).

When I said I do, I meant that I will ’til the end of all time
Be faithful and true, devoted to you…
That’s what I had in mind when I said I do

          – Lyrics – When I Said I Do

by Clint Black

Thirty-three years ago today I said “I do”.  And I meant it.  In the cluttered office of a town judge, with a couple of friends and a couple of German Shepherds as witnesses, we joined our hearts and our lives together.

It hasn’t always been easy, and it hasn’t always been fun, but it has always been the best thing that ever happened to me.  There have been low points, fabulous high points and a lot of mundane times in between that we slogged through side-by-side – sometimes shouldering the load together – sometimes depending on the other to be stronger, tougher, more resilient.  There have been disappointments, setbacks, and challenges.  There have been many lessons learned, periods of intense joy, and an abundance of blessings.

A lot has changed in 33 years.  I am no longer the frightened, insecure young woman who needed constant reassurance – but he provides it anyway, showing me each and every day that I am loved, needed, and wanted.  He endures my moods, laughs at my jokes, devours every word I write and believes in me in everything that I do.

He is not perfect.  He has a preoccupation with sports that is beyond annoying.  The sound of his chewing makes me want to pick up a steak knife  and do some damage to his lateral pterygoid (his manners are impeccable, but his jaw muscles just make so much noise when he chews that I want to scream).  He snores, can’t cook, and his handwriting is legendary in its illegibility.  But in the ways that matter – he is a rock star.

I know that I’m not perfect, either.  I am perpetually cynical, sporadically foul-mouthed, incredibly impatient, and occasionally passive-aggressive.   Okay, maybe more than occasionally.  I sometimes take advantage of his easy-going nature, and a lot of my “jokes” are at his expense.  I like to be right.  And I like to be told that I’m right.  Repeatedly.  Am I right?

I do not know how many more years we will have together, but I know they will not be enough.  I hope he knows that today, and everyday, I meant what I said that afternoon so many years ago.  I do.  And I will.

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How Do I Love Thee? Hmmmmm……

Lenore, you said it was time for a poem – this one is for Sweet Cheeks, of course.  Hope you enjoy. 

Early 20th century Valentine's Day card, showi...

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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love that you’ve been mine for 11,840 days.

I love that you still find me the girl of your dreams.

Despite menopause, depression, and a few primal screams.

 

I love that you adore me, that you think I’m the best.

Even when I’m lazy and “comfortably” dressed.

Your faith in me never wavers – your love is absolute.

Your ability to love me is your best attribute.

 

I love that you think I’m brilliant; you believe that I’m funny.

You overlook that I’m more “vinegar” than “honey”.

I love that you eat whatever it is I have cooked.

I love the way you stay so easily hooked.

 

I love that you cover me up when I’m sleeping like a log.

You check my car’s oil and take care of my dog.

Your Post It Note love letters, your “no occasion” bouquets.

I love that you express your love in so many ways.

 

I love that your heart is mine, of that there’s no doubt.

Your loving gestures are evident – day in and day out.

So this Valentine’s Day, I am happy to recount

The ways that I love you – it’s a freakin’ huge amount.

Valentines heart

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Adrift at Sea on HMS Doldrums

Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean.  (Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

doldrums – noun

1. a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art: August is a time of doldrums for many enterprises.

2. the doldrums,

a.  a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

b. the weather prevailing in this area.

3. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.

(courtesy dictionary.reference.com)

Captain SweetCheeks and FirstMate K8 have been on a marital voyage for more than 32 years. There have been many days of smooth sailing, more than a couple of near-shipwreck misses near rocky shores, and occasional battering by waves and winds that they somehow managed to safely navigate. They enjoyed sunsets, changed course more than a few times, and learned to trust while charting a course of togetherness for all time.

They took turns steering the ship; sometimes standing together at the wheel.  Sometimes one would stand alone at the wheel while the other, with full faith in the ability and skill of the other, rested or pursued other activities, resuming their watch in due time.

They trained a couple of crew members who then set about on their own journeys, on their own vessels. These grown crew members produced new little sailors who popped onto our ship from time to time, bringing great joy, laughter and adventure.

A long voyage was planned, mostly by the Captain, that would take the seasoned crew away from the children and grandchildren, to a warmer climate. He planned a career move that would carry him to full retirement. First Mate K8, reluctantly agreed to the voyage, and planned a semi-retirement that would include part-time teaching and exploring a life-long desire to write. The ship set sail on the newly charted adventure, the crew standing shoulder to shoulder at the wheel, heading into the sunset.

The ship anchored at the chosen southern latitude. The employment opportunity that the Captain anticipated never materialized. An alternate employment path was deemed unsuitable and the Captain obtained part-time employment to get him off the ship from time to time. First Mate K8 was homesick for her home port, missing her former crew members, dockmates, and comfortable assignments. She struggled daily to stay upbeat, fighting (although not always successfully) to keep from blaming the Captain for her unhappiness. She was offered a demanding full-time position.  Given the economic outlook for the voyage and the need to purchase the large quantities of provisions required to make margaritas (for purely medicinal purposes), she accepted it.   The position included a soul-sucking commute and left her little time or energy for her desired creative outlets.

Thus Captain SweetCheeks and First Mate K8 find themselves on the HMS Doldrums – listless, depressed, lacking movement of any kind. Unable to move forward, unwilling to move backward, they find no wind in the sails of their marital vessel.  They feel the presence of the albatross.

The Captain, as always, feels responsibility for the happiness of the crew and success of the mission. He blames himself, berates himself for the stalled success of the voyage, despite his best intentions. He wishes, more than anything, that the First Mate will find some nuggets of happiness. He misses her laughter, cynicism, and teasing. He wishes she did not have to work full-time, commute so far, give up so much. He fears a mutiny, and treads lightly around her – unsure what to say, more unsure about what, if anything, to do.

The First Mate, finding herself in totally new and unfamiliar surroundings and roles, fights loneliness and depression. The support system on which she had depended for so many years and from which she had drawn her strength feels as if it is out of her reach. She floats adrift – immersing herself in work, floundering socially. She wonders why she agreed to the voyage, and more than once reminds the Captain that she had voiced doubt about the advisability of the mission. She finds no joy in being right.  In fact, she is despondent that he, too, seems adrift.  She hates that he has assumed the burden of responsibility for her unhappiness. Unwilling to make him feel worse than he already does, she also begins to tread lightly in the Captain’s presence.

Thus their interactions become wary, stand-offish, tentative. The crew members, accustomed to finding joy and taking pleasure in each other’s presence, now retreat to solitary pursuits, withdraw from each other. Periods of silence, once comfortable and welcomed, now feel dangerous – as if at any moment an explosion will rip a hole in the side of the vessel. At last fears and recriminations are voiced, tears shed, thoughts and hopes addressed, and healing begins.

There will be no mutiny. The Captain is reminded that he is not responsible for the happiness of his crew – only their safety. The First Mate recognizes that she would rather be on this journey, with this Captain, than anywhere else on this globe. Once again they stand shoulder to shoulder at the wheel, facing the sunset, secure in their love – ready for whatever direction the winds take them.

 

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The New Girls’ Night Out

 


“It’s Girls’ Night” my youngest granddaughter told her mother on the phone.  “And we’re swimming.”  She was so excited, as were her cousins.  We’d booked a suite, combining a visit to a sick relative with a last fling of Christmas break.

For me, Girls’ Night has new meaning.  Instead of poker and beer, it was Nintendo and Bug Juice.  Instead of Rocky Horror Picture Show it was Chronicals of Narnia.  Nights at the comedy club were traded for “Knock, Knock” jokes.  Hairspray, makeup, and perfume got traded for hair detangler and chlorine removing shampoo.

 

Justin Bieber at the 2010 White House Easter E...

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Instead of rock bands there were pony tail bands.  Instead of discussions of world events, celebrity missteps and politics, the talk was of Justin Bieber, Codie Simpson, who has a “boyfriend”, and who gets to sleep in the bed with Nanny.  Instead of glitzy outfits, dangly earrings and the elusive “perfect jeans” we partied in damp swimsuits and warm jammies.  Instead of appetizers and drinks we consumed trail mix, fruit and uncaffeinated soft drinks.  Instead of hangovers, there was morning snuggling and giggling.

And it was good.

As I watched them sleep, much as I had watched their fathers sleep many years ago, I was filled with wonder at the love I feel for them.  My pride at their every accomplishment – my heartache at their every sorrow.  Will they ever know just how their simply being born enriched my life?  Will they ever know that as I drove away from them I turned my face to the window and cried halfway to my new home?

Do they know how I savor every minute that they WANT to spend with me because I know that in the natural course of growing up they will soon prefer spending their time with friends their own ages to hanging out with a funny old woman with white hair and sun damaged skin?  Will they know of my secret pride that, in spite of the hundreds of dollars spent collectively on their Christmas presents, that their favorite activity is still “playing school” with Nanny, who presents them with math problems, art projects and yes – writing assignments?

*************************************************************************

 

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Home again – an Etheree

She

jumps up

When my car

Pulls in the drive.

So glad to see me

She can’t contain her joy.

Warm brown eyes seek out my own.

She follows me into the house,

Lies at my feet – asks only for love

And the occasional treat after tricks.

Asleep beside my bed, then bounding

Up at the sound of the alarm

Eager for outdoors, patrols

The boundaries of her world.

Anxious at jingling keys,

Knowing I will leave,

Be gone all day

And then I am

Home again.

Home.

Every morning when I leave, Shelby and my beloved husband see me off.   I see them in my rearview mirror as I drive away.   When I return at the end of the day, they greet me so affectionately.  That makes the leaving hard and the return joyous.  Like them, I cannot wait for that moment of homecoming, the simple joy of seeing the love in their eyes, and knowing I am responsible for the happiness on their faces.

My grandpa told me once “If you ever meet someone who is always as glad to see you as your dog – marry them”.  Good advice.

Shelby waits for Mama

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