Get Real About Relationships

Loving somebody sometimes means letting them go. Not everyone in life is going to accept who you are, what you stand for and your character defects. But at the end of the day, some things won’t change.  And we are created uniquely for a reason. If you have to change for someone to accept you, don’t.

Too often in marriages when people marry young, they are not fully able to understand the commitment involved with forging a relationship with a lifetime mate.  They are twice as likely to end in divorce.  Interesting that Divorce360.com suggests the ideal age to wait is late twenties before taking that huge step.  Younger couples marrying can be more for reasons related more to the stage of development they are in, through no fault of their own. Thus when one changes or grows the other spouse is left in the windfall. How likely is it that two individuals will mature at the same rate?  Even if they do, often times, one looks at the other as they mature and realizes loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean they are a lifetime match.  What’s more, divorce is so easy to obtain. 

Success rates for marriages are compounded by ages, culture differences and so many other obstacles.  Dr. Phil has quoted studies that show women who have came from divorced homes are 59% more likely to divorce. If both parties have come from such a home, the rate increases to 189% per Journal of Marriage and the Family. Many between the ages of 20 and 29 believe they are looking to marry a soul mate. However, soul mates may not be the best criteria for picking a lifetime mate.  A soul mate is usually reserved for people in your life that awaken a deeper sense of purpose to your life, a deeper understanding of you.  Frequently, this encounter(s) or individuals actually leave your life, and are not permanent fixtures, such as a preacher, a teacher, or an author. This word, soul mate gets thrown around like the word love, carelessly and without really understanding what the word implies and means.

Lifetime mates are the relationships that contain mutual respect, being physically present and creating memories.  Your individuality is something that should be created and discovered by you alone. That is the piece you bring to a relationship. Too many use their marriage as one uses a co-worker, to enhance themselves. It should always be about giving and mutually building towards a common goal. It also takes work and is not something that comes easily like lust.

Relationships coming unglued is not limited to marriages, it spills over into families as well. Too many times, boundary lines are ignored and someone encroaches on another’s.  Codependency is said by some to occur to 96% of women at some point in their life. This means needs are often at the forefront of relationships. Thus, women who subscribe to co-dependent relationships can write off family when they feel there is no need for them in their life.  Once the need and attention is gone, the will to retain the relationship is too.

Friendships are easily created and disposed of with no real complications. However, if the relationship is built on the true components that make lasting relationships work; these can be some of the most committed relationships we experience as adults.  Infact, statistics show social networks,  having true friends in one’s live can improve their lifespan as high as 50%!  Grab a friend and go get lunch!

Part of the reason for the strong emphasis on friendships with experts in this area is that they tend to be built on validation of self. Friends show us we are valued, friends support our goals without any ulterior motive and to many, a great friendship is more invaluable than a family tie. It is entirely a relationship built on choice, thereby it can easily be disposed of so the work continues constantly to keep it fresh, intimate and supportive.

The magazine US News & Money, of all publications, put out on article on this topic of the need for friendships in our life. “ At the end of the day, a friend can be the emotional oasis that makes all the difference.”  Friends make you happy and way too often, families make each other sad.  Friends accept you and families are twice as likely to judge you and not accept your frailties.  This is regarding close friends, and it has been proven over and over again, they make a huge impact on our lives.  Have great friendships with even a few people and you are rewarded with living happier and healthier. 

What is surprising is that adults don’t take the skill sets they use to form mutually rewarding and satisfying friendships into the other relationships in their lives. Experts say marriages are so much happier when there is a solid foundation of friendship.  Spouses who lift each other up expounding on positives verses negatives make a union longer lasting.  Noone enjoys being put down and being labeled. 

Within families, too often bygones are not forgotten or forgiven.  Within a good friendship, there is no expectation of perfection.  Whether is it considered more hurtful when it is a family member letting you down or just pure lack of love, many families don’t believe in working things out. It has become a more disposable society we live in and it has transposed to our family unit. Divorce your spouse and cut out any family that makes you angry. The prevalence of negativity and unsupportive regard for one another is breaking families apart.

The good news is friendships, good friendships, survive the test of time and actually enhance as we age.  This is partly because we make time for those we care about, we listen with open ears and forgive them for their transgressions.  We allow them to be human. 

I suppose the take away is to evaluate what qualities you have in your best friendships.  Those are the qualities that should be mandating all of your relationships in life. If someone doesn’t accept you and treat you as a good close friend, don’t let them in your inner circle. This should be a special appointed place for few.   If they are toxic, let them go.  They will only serve to make you unhappy, unhealthy and those around you miserable.  

God intends for us to be loving and kind to each other. Some have that ability and many do not. This world is harsh, our inner relationships shouldn’t be. You are worthy of being loved and in equal standing relationships too. Let those who judge you, hurt you,  or mar you, find a way to make their own sense of peace, or not. You are responsible for yours!  

Make sure the relationships you foster are the kind that build you up and others. When your day comes to leave this earth, your legacy will be the quality of the relationships you had and not those you did not.


Radio Jammin'

I have been asked by friends why I don’t have or like satellite radio. When my husband first got his car, I got another sampling of it, and I never used it when I drove the car much at all! Simply said, I want to know what is going on.

When I am driving, I enjoy listening to music as much as everyone else. I am the person that is rocking to the tunes down the expressway. I also must remind myself, at stoplights, to pull the windows up lest someone hear my off key voice hollering out the words to one of my million favorite songs playing. But, what I don’t want is to be out of the loop of what is going on in the world.

Some days are so crazy, it is awesome on that darn ride to town to hear the news in quick sound bites.  The fluff is gone and the news is covered quickly, local news and only the huge national news stories for the most part.  Who enjoys, on a busy day, being bogged down by scrolling around on the internet or phone or having to watch TV to find out what is going on in our world.

Traffic tie ups are a part of life, in any region.  Who likes landing up in the middle of them with no warning?  Hello, another reason to listen to local news! So many times, I hear suggestions of things to avoid and even suggestions for detours.  What a time-saver.  Or if that black cloud overhead is turning into a tornado. I sure would like to know if I should be looking for a ditch to run to. You can’t get that off of satellite radio.

Most of us have a hard enough time keeping up with our own life let alone the agenda in the city. Local broadcaster’s jobs are to promote venues in the city. Listening to a local channel gives that, the quick synopsis of what is going on, where and when.   I also enjoy hearing feedback from callers or guests about the events in town. Supporting local communities and businesses is what makes our area thrive. I don’t have time to read a local paper so this is the next best thing.

A good radio channel should give you the taste and culture of the city, where you live, where to eat, best places to shop, what movie to watch, etc…  They know better than anyone we all suffer from some level of attention deficit.  A friend in the business told me recently, 6 second messages work good actually!  How many of us spit out what we want to say in around 2-3 minutes?  If so, that is a heck of a lot of wasted time, energy and words! Nobody is listening after a minute folks.You are boring people. I know, I have seen non-verbals aimed at me that say, "land the plane!"

So there you go, listen to the local radio for those of you, like me with some ADHD, interest in hearing more about your city and still having moments to jam to some music on the road!   

*Thank you Anna Marie for your inspiration on this! 


Jake's Dad: A Look Back

With my grandson turning 5, it made me want to reflect on what his father was like, at the same age. So with just a bit of digging I came up with wonderful reminders of his past.  It is always nice to reflect, not only on the joy and pain of motherhood but also to see the similarities they have with their own children. 

I hope my writing this does not embarrass my son. I am proud of the child he was and even more so of the man he has become. Having a mom that kept things together of his childhood and loves to write must be a nuisance of sorts. I often wonder what it would have been like to have had a mother like me.   Oh, I am far from perfect and sure made plenty of mistakes. But, I stayed around; I didn’t walk away and leave my children or stay out of touch for years during their youth. 

I have kept my son’s baby book and included pictures too in an album throughout those first 6 years of life. I wanted them to have it and I wanted to be able to reflect on it at times like this, when their children hit these milestones. Those memories are precious.

Mike was an only child and was doted on quite abit by everyone till he was about 3 1/3.  At that time in his life, his sister was born, Christina who I fondly nicknamed Boo.  I included a picture of him at that age so you could see what a precious face he had, so innocent. Constantly I heard his eyes were big and beautiful and how long his lashes were! Ironic because my daughter’s son is the one that gets those comments the most now.  His eyes are similar to his Uncle Mike’s.

Mike changed so much between the ages of 3 ½ to age 5. He grew up, went from being a baby boy to a little dude.  His interest went to so many things I see his son into, tow trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, and being a thrill seeker outside. He loved riding Big Wheels even though we lived on a hill and our driveway was rather treacherous. 

As Jake is, Mike could care less about getting dirty.  He digged in the dirt constantly, played with the trimmer if his dad let him, and hated with a passion, wearing nice clothes. His choice, sweats, the dirtier the better! I think he is more inclined to this day to prefer comfy clothes any time. But when it comes to Jake, I am not really sure. I see him dressed up so much more than Mike was. If I had attempted to dress Mike up that much, it would have created a World War in our house.  Plus he was very very hard on clothes. The knees went out quickly on everything! And his legs were so long, it was hard to find things to fit him.

Mr. I don’t care what I look like was totally different when it came to his room!
Everything had a place. And for some reason, unknown to me, his sister got such a thrill out of going in there and swiping everything on the floor just to see him get upset.  And unfortunately, since he was the older sibling, he was powerless to do much about it.  And one thing he did do, frequently, which is dead on like his son, is take all his trucks, planes and trains and line them up so that they are hypothetically hooked together in one long chain.  I would see him do this over and over again just like Jake does. (Or maybe his dad is doing it and passing it off as Jake, LOL!) 

Mike had a temper, like most little ones, when he was younger. My notes describe it pretty dead-on like what his dad calls Jake’s meltdowns.  But at age 5, they stopped.  Boy, was that a relief! With two kids, I am not sure how that would have gone over.  I think Jake’s are dwindling now, at least around Grandma and Grandpa. And that is when it matters most to us, hehe!

A really cool trait of Mike’s was his ability to be helpful with his sister.  He would play
with her, support her, and be the man around the house when I got divorced.  However, like most kids, that was not always true.  On days he was bored, he did get a kick out of teasing her!  But let anyone mess with her, she was defended, they had to go through him. 

His passion with Star Wars began at this age. Is that nuts or what?  Age 5!  Yes, that and the love of The Dukes of Hazzard. I have no idea how someone that young could or would like those two things so much but he did and as far as I know, still does.  Is there some gene or something for that to kick in so young?  He also was in love with playing Pac Man and I can admit he could kick anyone’s you-know-what. He was insanely good at video and arcade games.  Therein must lay the beginnings of his hand dexterity and his ability to master dentistry I suppose. Does Jake have that?  I am not sure honestly. He hates drawing and coloring. And Mike was an excellent artist at that age.  He could freehand draw just about anything you asked him to! 

I know his wife will be surprised to learn Mike loved running the vacuum cleaner. However, running it, not using it. So typical of the male gene, right, play house but not commit.  We all know the type and I can recall one day realizing that my son was grown up and a man, complete with qualities I didn’t put there! I think he even told me that, I am a man Mom. Basically that means back off and don’t try to be a mommy, just be a mom.  Good lesson actually!

He, by this age, had developed his love of pizza and meat, something he has to this day. And his hatred for vegetables was present as well. Fighting with him to eat them was like trying to win a war against an army with no one else on your side. He would do anything to avoid eating them, including throw up! So I gave up.  Vitamins was a mainstay for a while.  As even he says now my line, “You have to pick your battles.”

I have often told this story about my son. He was mechanically inclined when he was young. He enjoyed taking things apart. Unfortunately, it was anything; he had no discretion, and loved using screwdrivers. This list included some of the following; the telephone, the closet door knobs, the clock radio, the switch plates, basically anything he saw with a screw. And then, he sometimes forgot how to put them back together! It made life interesting and caused a lot of surprises, and predicaments.

Mike hated loud noises at this age. Most of his friends would find this unbelievable, but even something as small as a cap gun irritated his ears. Balloons, fireworks and such would send him to his room to avoid the loud bang.  But he was not a crier over it and never spoiled anyone else’s fun. He was a very good boy with a happy disposition. Like Jake, he enjoyed making people smile and being pleasant.

He was a great sleeper.  In fact, he insisted on going to bed if I tried to keep him up late!  How many kids are like that?  He just insisted I read him a book every night and then he would want me out of his room and to sleep he went.  His favorite book was one called Joe’s Big Trailer Truck or a a Curious George book. But it never failed, whatever time he went to bed, he was up at the crack of dawn, and I mean, early!  Like 6 a.m. as far back as I can remember! He was and is a morning person. 

Both Mike and Jake are happy boys.  Both were a delight to be around and enjoy typical boy things. It may sound cliche but it is so clear watching Jake, the small things are cute reminders of Mike. Jake has this ability to make you laugh that, anyone that knows Mike even half as well as me, knows that is his dad through and through.  Mike’s favorite song, at that age, was Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield because I think he loved upbeat music. Ironic that he did ‘…find a woman like that’ and no one could be happier for him than I! 


The Magic Trick

Sometimes in life you meet someone and know it was perhaps a chance meeting but it leaves an indelible mark on your life.  Such was the case with our dinner partners on our recent cruise.  What started out as a meeting of strangers grew into a quick close friendship that we will be bonded forever in a very special way.

Dinner time seems to be one of the highlights of any cruise.  Everyone seems to dress well, especially on the formal nights, which on our cruise was two evenings.  The waiters are so service minded, they literally place dinner napkins on the lap of everyone seated for the meal. The service received is beyond compare anywhere frankly. 

Since we were traveling alone, we were anxious to see who we would seated at our table. We wondered how many would there be, would it be people that we would have anything in common with, couples or families, etc.  Much to our delight, on the first night, we discovered it was a table for four and the other couple had the same questions we had, reservations about who they would be seated with at meals.

Quickly conversation ensued between us after they arrived and sat down on the first night.  Each evening, thereafter, we found ourselves looking forward to dinnertime.  We discovered our rooms were literally a few doors down from each other.  Thus, over the seven days, we began seeing each other over other meals and running into each other off and on.  We even went on an excursion together and shopping in a port also.   Sharing stories of our lives during this together time was a wonderful part of our vacation with both of them.

Len and Sylvia had been dating for a few years.  Sylvia had met Len not long after her husband had died in the line of a duty. Tony, her deceased husband, was a police officer who worked undercover often.  He was recognized one day on a motorcycle and killed, ran over by one of the drug rings he had busted.  Sylvia had been devastated but known his occupation put him at high risk.  Her children helped her move on and that, combined with her job, and her circle of friends was a major step in recovering from the loss of her beloved husband.

She met Len partially because they had so many shared interests and had mutual friends. Dating seemed to naturally evolve and progressed into traveling together as they both shared a passion for that as well. Over time, they became familiar with each other’s grown children and life’s stories.  Len was a retired police officer who had moved into detective work and worked high level assignments prior to retiring from the force.  This background really aided his understanding in Sylvia’s sense of loss over her husband.  Their relationship was very cozy, fun and they were just easy to be around.  Both are good people, kind-hearted and interesting lives.

Over our time spent together, we all four shared so many stories of our experiences over the years as we were all close in age.  Sylvia, like me, was a cancer survivor.  After losing her husband and then, soon after starting her relationship with Len, she had been diagnosed with cancer.  Thus, she began aggressive treatment.  Both of them had their share of hardships in life as most of us have as we have lived our lives.  The longer you live, the more experiences you garnish, some good, some bad but all stepping stones to who we become as we age.

Two days before the cruise was over, Len asked us to join them for a special dinner the last night of the cruise at an exclusive restaurant on the ship.  That night, dinner was outstanding and at the conclusion, a magician came to our table.   He put down a small black box and said he wanted to show us a magic trick.  He then lifted the lid to show a numbered die and so, the trick proceeded from there.

At the conclusion of this magic trick with the box, which he had used Len as the participant; we all were amazed at the trickery!   When he left the table, Len made a surprise announcement to us.  He told us that he also performed magic tricks on occasion. He asked Sylvia to affirm this which she readily did with a head nod.  Then he told us he was going to perform one right there on the spot.

He turned to Sylvia and told her she had never seen this one yet. He said he was saving this for a special night.  He went on to say that with new friends they both were so fond of; it seemed a perfect setting to show it.  He pulled out a black box, and said that before he would make anything disappear, he wanted to let her see what was in it.  With that, he bent on one knee beside Sylvia, where he was seated, opened the box and we all gasped. There was a breath-taking sparkling diamond engagement ring!  

Yes, it was magical!  Sylvia began to cry.  Len told her that he loved her so much and wanted to marry her. He said it was important to him that he do it in a special way that was magical and with special witnesses that she would always remember.  

We were speechless.  Waitresses came up with champagne glasses as Sylvia pulled the ring out of the box and kissed Len saying yes through tears! He looked at us asking us how we liked his magic trick.   Pretty impressive I think one of us uttered.

Sometimes on a vacation you meet strangers and experience life changing moments that you will never forget. Our trip was one of them. As we told both of them that night, we were honored to be a part of their story!  And we will never ever worry again about who we might meet at dinner. Sylvia and Len were the best part of the meal and they weren’t listed on the menu!

God Bless their future nuptials!