8/31/2016

Mother's Love Stone

The ring was a gift. It was one that I always wanted. I had seen so many older women with those mother rings with all their children’s stones lined up so beautifully in a row. I could see the gleam in their eyes when they proudly looked down on them, each stone representing a little life they had brought into the world. Each stone held all the memories of a life’s worth of laughter and tears shared.

Then one year, several years ago, on my birthday, my two kids surprised me.  My daughter came to town and I got that gift I always wanted, that ring, a mother ring. Mine was unique, specially designed by my daughter. It was more than just the stones; it was beautiful and represented to me more than just my two kids, it represented years of memories with my children, something I hadn’t been able to experience with my own biological mother who had left when I was young.  I was raised by my step-mother and had always felt cheated. My children gave me that chance to have a biological relationship like I have never had, lifelong. Reconnecting with my mother now, as an older adult is not quite the same.

The ring was beautiful, it has a scroll design. Their birthdays, one in May and the other in Jan were stones that made it look like a Christmas ring, one being a garnet and the other emerald green. It was a stunner and for a long time, I never took it off. Wearing it with pride, I showed it off every chance I got. At some point, I started switching out the ring with others I owned.

Three years ago, my daughter quit speaking to me and cut off all contact with me and disallowed me to have any communication with my grandson. From then on, I quit
wearing the ring. It was a painful reminder of a relationship that wasn’t there anymore. It reminded me of those feelings I had growing up of not really being part of a real family. I have friends with adult children enjoying those relationships and their grandchildren and here, with a grandson Kaleb at age 5, no longer was I allowed being a part of his life. 

One day, after prayer, I begun to think, maybe just by miracle, she would realize she loved me, that I had given her all I had to give and she would want me in her life.  I went to my jewelry box, where I kept that ring in safe keeping.  I had always planned on bequeathing it to her in my Will as it was her stone and her brothers so I thought perhaps it would mean more to her when I was dead. When I pulled it out, I let out a sob. To my dismay, the stone was missing, only hers.  I knew immediately what it meant.

I went outside looking for my husband. I held up the ring and said aloud that a stone was missing with my eyes full of tears. I told him I knew what it meant. She was gone permanently from my life. I knew, after all my prayers that was a sure sign.  The ring had never ever left that jewelry box and the stone is gone.  He came in the house and I sat down in the kitchen and sobbed. He feverently searched in the box but I knew what the outcome would be without a doubt.  He came out of our room, shaking his head and saying he had no idea what happened but the stone was gone. I let him know it was okay, I understood.  I slowly put the ring back, incomplete, like my heart. A piece gone, but knowing I had the beauty of it once.

I still have the ring, minus the stone. Little did I know in just a few short years, the phone
would ring and my son be on the end of it and a similar scene would play out.  This one too shocked me as he knew how hurt I had been but it did not matter to him.  He pushed me out of his life without a so much as good-bye Mom.  Gone now are my husband and I’s wonderful close relationships with our dear three other grandchildren. I went in the bedroom a few weeks later; the green stone is still there, the one for my son, for now.  I thank God for that. Whether it will remain or not remains to be seen. God answers prayers but not always in the way we want but according to His plan.

We must always learn to recognize our blessings while they last, Hold those loved ones close while you can. Not everyone will see a blessing the way we will. Not everyone will accept you; some will judge you and you must not let that control you or your life. You may have to let go or they may push you out and then you need, no, you must move on. Life is a forward progression. Continue with God’s purpose and plan for your life. This is what faith in action is, walking with the light of God.  The incompleteness you feel will be a blessing of sorts because it will develop into a higher level of passion and a deeper understanding of faith.


My ring may be missing a stone, and in the future, maybe God will take away the other, but it will remain circular. This is a reminder to me that my love is complete; it always was and will always be unconditional towards my children.  It is far more painful to not feel loved by a parent than to feel rejected as a parent.  I may not be perfect but I was the chosen one by God to have them and have always been there for them even when it is unrequited love. For that I feel peace, more joy than in the stones.  

8/28/2016

Marriage Minus an Affair


Affair-proof marriages are possible. Affairs are also possible in marriages in any situation, whether you have been married only a few years, have a crazy life, many children or appear on  social media to have what epitomizes perfect marital bliss. It has more to do with the daily rituals of your life than the passion and love you share with your spouse.

Too often people make the assumption that pre-arranged marriages have a zero chance of being happy. How in the world can two people who never met, forced into marriage ever fall in love?   What allows that to happen?

In comparison, ask yourself how in the world marriages by choice can withstand the changes that occur when a child dies, a troubled teen in a blended family, one is diagnosed with a debilitating disease, both partners are forced to work and one hates their job as it becomes demanding, money becomes scarce, their neighborhood develops issues, school problems develop with their children? It is as much of a surprise a marriage can last even with a self-made choice!

Granted many pre-arranged marriages are in not ideal circumstances in underdeveloped backward countries.  Infact, 11% are under the age of 15 according to Statistic Brain’s website. But also listed is the overall whooping worldwide divorce rate, 6.3! Oh and arranged marriages are also done in America too. This compares with US non-arranged divorce rate of somewhere between 40-50%. Some say that rate is too high and could be as low as 3.7 out of 1,000 but keep in mind the number of marriages in the US is 2,118,000.

I am in no way advocating pre-arranged marriages but have to consider what is it that makes marriages work and not work. In reading about the reasons why affairs occur, observation and talking to people that have cheated a few things stand out. Top on the list is the regular needs for affection and attention were not being met.

When we date, we take time to communicate loving messages, give undivided attention, date, and foster a friendship.  We try to win each other over.  These are human needs. Most people want to marry the person that fulfills these needs the most, someone who will meet these needs for the rest of their life. Others will be drawn to eye candy, someone they see a fulfilling their fantasy mate and thinking this will satisfy all the other needs, and even if not, they can live without the other with this awesome looking spouse because no one has it all.

Somewhere between the I do’s and day to day living, life gets in the way.  Gone are some of the things you craved and loved the most about the person you married. We sense red flags, often subconsciously.

Do you know many are surprised to find their spouse is cheating with someone they consider beneath them, someone younger, less accomplished or someone less attractive?  See it usually isn’t about the person’s stature at all, it is about the need they fulfill, the need their spouse once filled. Gone is the spouse’s accountability or feel for responsibility to fill that need. There may be signs all over that the marriage is on the rocks and pushed aside for the kids, the job, the finances, but it is ignored as less important as the challenges in day to day life. And yet is it the glue that holds everything else together. 

Too often, divorce is not even considered at this point. No one really even usually thinks about cheating. They sort of fall into it, by chance.  Slowly someone starts sensing something missing in their life. And someone else starts slowly but surely fulfilling it, maybe without knowing and maybe by capitalizing on it.  Incidentally, of both sexes 66% believe you can cheat online. 

The need most attribute to cheating is quite similar. For men they characterize it by describing it, as I said about, being dissatisfied with their relationship in general and most likely sex.  Women feel emotionally deprived. Many statistics can be found on many websites but all concur that half of cheaters feel guilty but more than half don’t regret it.

Knowing the reasons is the first step towards having an affair proof marriage. The solution is within your marriage, your relationship. No one outside can tell you exactly how to fix it because each of us is unique thus our relationship is. However, fostering our initial relationship as a deep abiding friendship and dating scenario is always important.

In prearranged marriages, they must court a process of getting to know each other and continually work, if they are to create a bond and fall in love. Their goal is create a family that loves and cares for each other. It is very much possible by learning to respect each other and sharing things together, being attentive and meeting each other’s needs. Perhaps that is why, in developed countries their divorce rates are lower. I am not talking about countries where marriage are forced on children under-age!  

Happy older couples will tell you they can easily walk away from their kids and house chores and spend time with their spouse. It matters not what they do. They don’t need an anniversary, or an excuse to get out and away.  This is their marriage and they want to keep it alive and exciting.  We need to take a page from their book, from their history and let our history repeat theirs.  No matter what is going on in life, we need to be that co-worker that stops working to listen, that friend that will take our spouses hand and invite them in for a cup of coffee. If you aren’t willing to find the time, someone else will. You deserve it and so do they.  If a car needs a tune-up and you take time to care for it, certainly take time to do it with your relationship with your lifelong mate!

I believe in the institution of marriage but I also believe divorces are needed. Some make hasty decisions and aren’t ready for the commitment. Some marry, quite simply, the wrong person. But there are many that let the relationship fall by the wayside when it could have easily been fostered. It is like neglect, something not fostered doesn’t feel beautiful or appreciated.


If you can say I do, you must say I will, find the time to love the one I want to be with, and then do it!

8/19/2016

Florida Is Becoming Home


I found ice cream paradise and had to do, a few weeks back, without our usual weekly protocol the
dollar cone night at the local Tasty Cone stand. I kind of missed all the regulars and teens working there. It is a fun bunch, not to mention the best custard at the best price!  
   

But, much to my delight, in St. Pete’s city we found a quaint shop that has homemade fudge, candy, cotton candy and ice cream flavors that change weekly. Advertised as a special that day was Peanut Butter Pie ice cream calling my name. So in we went me without hesitation. Was it as good as it sounded? Hell yeah! I tried to get Jim to try Mackinaw Island Fudge & Vanilla Cream Ice Cream but he thought that was too rich. Too scared to go outside his comfort zone, that far anyways, he did get some bizarre mix.

Shopping in Florida in the summer minus air conditioning is insanity. Only vacationers do this. You can tell by the sweat streaming down their face as they pretend to enjoy this.  Now I am beginning to realize I am a Floridian and no longer have to pretend that part is fun. If I go in a store and it isn’t working my ass is out the door. They could be giving stuff away and I still leave.

Oh did I mention our community has a hot tub? Here is the real kicker, people use it! Yep, I have
gone in it one time, at night. But dang is that hot! I don’t know who sets the controls but I bet if you
didn’t have a suit on your underneath sections will be boiling red! My grandson came down for a visit
and if I didn’t know any better I would have thought his slight burn spots on his little torso area about his waistband were from that. He insisted on walking in there and just went down one step till I made him get out. That was his only portion that hit the water uncovered. Even that little tough guy said “Grandma that is too hot for me!”

 
Chihuly Gallery
Back to our trip to St. Petersburg area, it had beautiful beach!  The town is what I call artsy fartsy.  And pricey for sure. I would never stay in that area, too many other places to stay cheaper and you can simply drive up there for the day. But wow, so much art to see that is so unique. I am still am in awe of how many different directions we can go to experience so many varied things where we live. And people told us we would hate living in Florida. When does that happen?
St. Petersburg, FL


When our grandson Jake came down, his main fascination was the golf cart. Jim had to take it out several times a day and take scenic routes around the community. Even neighbors were taking Jake
on rides. He would flag them down and make them. He can be quite bossy and left them no choice.
How do you say no to a cute face that kinda looks like a big ole tear will trickle down his face if you say no. 


My granddaughter wanted to go to the ocean while she was here. However, going into the water was
not her top priority at all anymore.  She wanted me to insure her there were no sharks in the area we were in and that none would come near. And then, she would only go in for a second and tell me, while we were out there, she was certain they were going to come around us and encircle us in a big pool of blood and then eat us up by attacking us and eating off our limbs. Such a pleasant thought she had me following her inshore, rather quickly. 

Any of you that are Catholic and wondering where all the American priests are, come on down! We found them, they are all in Florida! No longer are Carole Robinson we listening to priests with foreign accents we can’t understand! Yep, we have three where we attend and every single one we can understand. What a blessing from God!

And we have found a wonderful place to shop I have mentioned before except one little tidbit that is so cool. Apparently turtles, we have learned,  are a sign of good luck. Why:  Because they can only go forward, never backward. Thus every time we shop there we are given one at this one chain. 


Thus, if you visit us, we are getting quite the collection. Be sure you leave with one of ours. If you don’t, know that in our hearts, we wish you a lifetime of only forward progress!

8/11/2016

Look Up and Sing Happy Birthday



Happy Birthday to you,
We know you’re not blue,
We celebrate your birth day,
But we still grieve for you too.

2012 doesn’t seem that long ago, and then other times, it seems much too long. March 12th, there was that call, the one no parent should get. Standing next to my husband seemed surreal as I could tell he was getting unfathomable news on the line. His son was deceased. 

The law and order of life seems to be you die first and then your children go. We both have talked a lot since Dan’s death about all the things each of us would have said to Dan. It’s funny because the one thing that would have not passed our lips is good-bye.

We strongly believe in Heaven, in a spiritual life after death.  And saying good-bye has a finality to it that is just hard to do with your own children.  It would have been far easier to have let him know, at least one more time, our feelings for him, individually. Naturally as a step-parent who came into the picture much later, mine were quite different than my husband’s.  But the chance is gone. Just like his life, the merry-go-round of life stopped turning. We had no notice, no inkling he would no longer be here.

I suppose everyone that knows someone and loves them deeply wishes they knew ahead of time they were going to die. Then you could have that final closure in advance. Without it, the hell of recovering is trying.  Letting go and moving on we have done but some days, like tomorrow, Dan’s birthday, are exceptionally difficult ones.

Since starting a Memorial Fund in his name, writing the check each birthday gives both of us, in particular Jim, a feeling we are gifting other young men life, Dan’s life from heaven. We both feel certain he is smiling and proud. He knows our love for him is being passed on to others.  It helps but it is also a knot in our stomachs because we can’t do anything anymore for him, for his children who lost a father.

Birthdays are celebrations of life. They are reminders of the life you are living and remembering to cherish the life you are given and not to take it for granted. Your birthday and those you love may not be here next year. We found that out the hard way. Take time to tell those you care about how you feel. Assuming may lead to singing Happy Birthday to the sky…..                         

Look Up and Sing Happy Birthday



Happy Birthday to you,
We know you’re not blue,
We celebrate your birth day,
But we still grieve for you too.

2012 doesn’t seem that long ago, and then other times, it seems much too long. March 12th, there was that call, the one no parent should get. Standing next to my husband seemed surreal as I could tell he was getting unfathomable news on the line. His son was deceased. 

The law and order of life seems to be you die first and then your children go. We both have talked a lot since Dan’s death about all the things each of us would have said to Dan. It’s funny because the one thing that would have not passed our lips is good-bye.

We strongly believe in Heaven, in a spiritual life after death.  And saying good-bye has a finality to it that is just hard to do with your own children.  It would have been far easier to have let him know, at least one more time, our feelings for him, individually. Naturally as a step-parent who came into the picture much later, mine were quite different than my husband’s.  But the chance is gone. Just like his life, the merry-go-round of life stopped turning. We had no notice, no inkling he would no longer be here.

I suppose everyone that knows someone and loves them deeply wishes they knew ahead of time they were going to die. Then you could have that final closure in advance. Without it, the hell of recovering is trying.  Letting go and moving on we have done but some days, like tomorrow, Dan’s birthday, are exceptionally difficult ones.

Since starting a Memorial Fund in his name, writing the check each birthday gives both of us, in particular Jim, a feeling we are gifting other young men life, Dan’s life from heaven. We both feel certain he is smiling and proud. He knows our love for him is being passed on to others.  It helps but it is also a knot in our stomachs because we can’t do anything anymore for him, for his children who lost a father.


Birthdays are celebrations of life. They are reminders of the life you are living and remembering to cherish the life you are given and not to take it for granted. Your birthday and those you love may not be here next year. We found that out the hard way. Take time to tell those you care about how you feel. Assuming may lead to singing Happy Birthday to the sky…..