Loving the Laughter

Husband always makes me laugh. I rarely get mad at him, but when I do it really isn’t worth it because he’ll give me a little while to be grumpy then make me laugh, and you just can’t be mad at someone who is making you laugh.  Try it.  You’ll see.

He especially loves to make me laugh when we are going to bed. We rarely go right to sleep, we usually chat for a while.  Even now, when I’m here with him all day, bedtime is when we often have our best conversations.  Unless I’m laughing so hard I can’t talk, in which case it’s me gasping and him talking, seeing how long until I need to run to the bathroom.  Hey, I’m mid-40’s, gave birth twice, and it is what it is.

Last night before I got into bed I grabbed one of the water bottles on my nightstand to take a drink. It was the “older” one, and been sitting there a couple of days.  I opened it up, took a big swig, and then the smell of the bottles inside hit me.  I have no idea why it smelled like a sewer, but I wasn’t going to swallow what was in my mouth.  So I spit it back into the water bottle.  Which has that really small opening.  Which meant that the water actually landed on my pajama top, the floor, and the bed.

I have no idea when Husband looked over, but when I looked up he had the “what the heck are you doing” look, and he was off. I was then wet, laughing, trying to put socks on, and unable to do much more than lay there and laugh as he kept going on about this.  I know I’m not describing it well, but trust me, he knows my buttons, when to push them, and how to keep me laughing.

Even now I’m laughing thinking of last night. It’s a good feeling to smile and laugh, and I’m so glad Husband likes to make me laugh.  I can’t imagine our lives without all the laughter and silliness, and I hope one day the Girls, when they are around 30, will experience this with their husbands.  Life is too short to not laugh as often as possible.

Evening Walks

Husband and I recently started walking in our neighborhood. My leg is finally, knock wood, to a point where I can start something to get me active again. My leg is still numb on the top of my thigh, and isn’t quite bending right, so my options are limited. We decided walking would be the best, especially since I could go as slow as I needed. Our second week of doing it I bought a new pair of tennis shoes, as my older ones were not giving the support I need, and all was good.

I am really enjoying the walks. We’ve lived in the neighborhood 8.5 years, but I always see it in the car, driving somewhere. Now I get to see it while strolling through it, and I can see what renovations and landscaping has been done. I get to see the different house styles, and what’s been done (or not) with the one acre lots. I’ve said hello to people on other streets I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I’m making friends with several dogs that run along fences, tongues hanging out, excited to see some humans who will talk to them (they all look quite spoiled, none of them are at all neglected).

Being with Husband is the best part of taking these walks. We hold hands as soon as we walk out the door, and keep holding hands until we are back at the front door. We talk about our day, about the kids, about all sorts of things. Because there are no kids around, no TV or music, or paperwork or computers we are focused on each other. It is wonderful. I look forward to taking these daily walks, and feel sad if we miss a day. Saturdays are hard to get the walks in with everything else going on.

We started walking as a way to get more active, but, at least for me, the walks have become so much more. Come summer we won’t be able to walk around the neighborhood because it will be too hot, and I’ll miss seeing the dogs and saying hi to people. We’ll probably have to drive over to the mall, and do our walk there. Where we walk won’t matter though, as long as we are holding hands and talking, and enjoying being with each other.

Barbie Table Memories

It happened on Mother’s Day when Oldest One was about 5 and Little One was about 2.  The Barbie Table had been problematic for several days.  The Barbie Table came about as a way to keep all the wonderful rooms Barbie lives in (and that Mattel realized was a much better way to go then a simple townhouse that took up a corner) along with furniture and clothes in one place and somewhat organized.  It was still messy, but a contained messy.

Oldest One was in a non-sharing mood, and kept getting mad at Little One for wanting to play at the Barbie Table with her.  So, about a half hour before Mother’s Day dinner with my Mom and Dad, Oldest One lost it and yelled at her sister again, at which point Husband was done.  He went into the playroom with two large garbage bags, swept everything on the Barbie Table into the bags, and told Oldest One she had lost the Barbie stuff until she could share.  That caused a meltdown, and Oldest One went into her room to cry, with my Mom following her.

I had no problem with what Husband did, we had taken toys away for not sharing before, it was just the timing.  Right before dinner on Mother’s Day wasn’t the best timing, but really, with kids, is the timing ever good?  Oldest One calmed down, we had a nice dinner, and a few days later the Barbie Table was back.  My Mom had a completely different take on this.

My Mom called me the next day and gave me a lecture about my supporting Husband over the girls.  She informed me that I should never choose Husband over the girls, and the girls were always going to be in the right.  She proudly told me she never sided with my Dad when it came to my brothers and I, and that she always supported our views instead.  That explained a lot about my parents relationship.  She wasn’t happy when I told her that Husband and I always tried to back the other when it came to the girls, and that we felt working together was the best way, and we weren’t going to side against each other.  Harder to do sometimes as the girls have gotten older, but we still strive for that.

Fast forward to today, when my Mom’s Boyfriend (we’ll call him MB) didn’t like me, or Husband, or the girls, and my Mom never tried to defend me.  Apparently I remind him of his deceased daughter who he didn’t get along with.  Pretty hard to overcome that.  And the things my Mom began to tell me about myself, my life and my family weren’t nice.  What she told my brothers about me was awful.  Never once did I hear her say anything good about me, just the bad.  What happened to siding with the child?  Not that I agreed with that, but it would be nice to think that a guy who has known me less than a year would at least get chastised a little bit for being mean, rude, and just not a good person.

My Mom wants to act like none of this happened, but it did, and it really upset and hurt me.  I know she won’t be here forever, and I know at some point this needs to be resolved.  Oldest One is inviting her to the graduation.  Little One isn’t, but after how my Mom treated Little One’s Bat Mitzvah, and then forgot Little One’s birthday, well, it’s understandable.  But when I think of having a conversation with my Mom about all of this I just get so angry at how she treated me, and how it’s okay for MB to think and say bad things without anything being said to him about how he acts.  I also feel childish thinking and feeling this, but at the same time I just can’t get over it.

This is on my mind at some point every day.  I try not to let it be because I do get so upset, but my Mom and I used to talk every day, and she used to do a lot with us, and was a big part of our lives.  We haven’t seen her since September, we don’t talk anymore, and she has missed everything the girls are doing for over a year.  At my Dad’s funeral an old friend of my parents, whose wife had died many years before, was there with his daughter, who is my age.  My Mom later told me that he had remarried, but was divorced, and during his marriage his 2nd wife hadn’t wanted anything to do with his daughters, so he hadn’t seen them during the marriage, two or three years, and was just building a new realtionship with them and his grandchildren.  She thought that was awful of him, and that he should have stood up to his wife and not abandoned his girls.  Yeah, I think that too.

Future with an Empty Nest

I had a conversation the other day about what life is like when your kids aren’t at home anymore.  The person I was talking to has a son in college out of state, so it is just her and her husband now.  She was saying it’s nice to know they are good together without a child and the related activities.

Husband and I have had trial runs on that this year.  With all the cheerleading and school activities two or three days a week the girls would leave for school shortly after 7a and not get home until 9a, and they didn’t need us to drive them around.  That left a lot of time for Husband and I to be on our own.  Granted, for the first month I couldn’t get out of bed, but that had its own set of challenges we needed to figure out.

What we’ve found is we still enjoy each other, and spending time together.  Sure, the girls are home at some point, but by the time they get home I’m thinking about getting things ready for the morning and going to bed.  It’s what happens from the time I get home from work until the girls are home again, when we are alone, that is important.

We’ve always been the kind of couple that likes to do everything together.  And we’ve found we still enjoy being together, just us, no kids.  We don’t do anything exciting, go to the grocery store, watch TV, talk about our day, but we are happy to just be together.  I hadn’t given much thought to what we would be like when we finally had time without the girls (and I don’t count time without the girls when I am the chauffer, so have to keep an eye on the clock); I think I just figured we would be fine.  In looking at it though, I’m glad we are fine being alone.

We all know the empty nest is looming, and even if the kids come back to live at home after college it isn’t the same, because they are adults with a life of their own.  Next year we’ll be driving Little One to all of her activities, but only for a year and a half.  Then she gets her driver’s license and we are already talking about taking a dance or cooking class.  I’ve always wanted to take a dance class with Husband, but we haven’t had the time (or money).

Husband and I adore the girls, and know we are going to miss Oldest One when she leaves for college, and don’t even think about Little One getting that old.  At the same time, we have our plans and dreams for when the girls are adults and living their lives.  Sure, we hope the girls and their spouses might want to take a vacation with us once in a while, and we hope they want to celebrate holidays with us, and enjoy doing things with us.  But we also want to enjoy each other, and doing things together, and traveling to all the places I’ve never been.  I think this is one of the hardest stages of parenting…letting the kids go while living the rest of our lives.

19 Years

19 years ago today I married my incredibly wonderful Husband.  He quietly snuck out the morning of our wedding and woke me up with a Jack in the Box breakfast bouncing on the bed saying “We’re getting married today!”  I’m not a morning person, so I’m pretty sure my response wasn’t as enthusiastic as his, but by the time we were standing in front of 130 people getting married I was just as excited.

Husband really didn’t want to dress up in a tux, and he said he’d be happy getting married in jeans.  So, although we didn’t know it at the time, we threw the first of many themed parties.  We had a Western Wedding theme, and he got to wear jeans, and I wore a very cute western dress and boots.  We were in our mid-twenties, but looking back today we look so very young in our wedding pictures.

We had a wonderful ceremony and a fantastic reception.  What had started out as eloping on New Year’s Eve turned into a full wedding and reception, and we are both so glad it turned out that way.  Looking back I don’t remember the problems family caused, or the Disaster of the Day (my Dad’s phrase, and now a running joke between us) hours before the rehearsal dinner scheduled at my parent’s house.

When I look back what I remember is how incredibly gorgeous he looked waiting for me to walk down the aisle to him.  He was determined there would be no tears during the ceremony, and he made me laugh so hard during my vows that I actually had to take a second to get control so the ceremony could continue.  We came right out into our first dance to start the reception because we wanted people to relax and have fun.  We danced to the Elvis version of Can’t Help Falling in Love, and then did a second dance to the Turtle’s So Happy Together.  We still dance to those songs today, and even had the DJ play them specifically for us at each of the girls Bat Mitzvahs.  Our tiered wedding cake had chocolate frosting, and that frosting is still smudged on his black cowboy hat to this day to remind us of the fun we had that night.

Our friends had gotten us a hotel room for the night, and decorated it with rose petals and left us food and champagne in the room.  In the morning we both bolted up early because we realized with trying to get out of the house on time we had left our dog outside all night, which we never did, so we ran back home to let her in.  She was fine, and was perfectly happy spending a night outside.  We went together to change my name on my social security card and driver’s license.

I could not have known 19 years ago how much more I would love Husband today, and how that love would just keep growing each day.  I couldn’t ask for a better Dad for the girls.  It hasn’t always been easy, and we have definitely had our share of challenges, but we met them together.  I consider myself lucky, blessed, fortunate and whatever other words fit that I am married to Husband.  Happy 19th Anniversary Baby, I Love You So Much!!!

The Amy Glass Controversy

I just read the Amy Glass article that has generated a lot of chatter.  She titled it “I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m not Sorry.”  I took it to mean she was out to generate discussion and cause controversy, because if she truly sees the world so black and white without many shades of grey then her world is awfully small.  I also don’t really like the term feminist (used in this article and others she wrote).  I know my girls can do anything they set their minds to, and they will be successful at whatever interests them.  I think the same for boys.  I’m glad we women have so many opportunities, and are limited only by our imaginations, and I am grateful to all the women before me who made it possible.  I also don’t see anything wrong with either gender staying home, having an important job, or choosing from the million options available to live life.  That said, here are some thoughts on the article…

I was 28 when I had Oldest One, and I’m not sure if I fall in the young mother category.  Looking back I was young and clueless, but I had no idea.  Husband and I had been married for a year and a half, and it just felt like the right time to start a family.  We have had no regrets because our family has brought us so much joy.

I have a good friend who decided not to have kids.  She and her husband travel, they both have jobs they love, and they dote on their nieces and nephews.  I don’t see her life as less fulfilling, just a different way of being fulfilling.  I don’t think she looks down on me for my choice to have kids.  We’ve known each other since high school, and what is important is that each of us is happy with our choices.

That wasn’t really the gist of the article.  She goes into why we don’t celebrate promotions for women, or women taking the trip of a lifetime.  Ummm, I’ve celebrated promotions.  When my sister traveled to Australia, New Zealand and Asia for a year on her own we all celebrated her return, and wanted to hear about it.  We didn’t celebrate these with a huge reception, but I’ve been to backyard wedding receptions with 15 people and wedding receptions with 300 people in a swanky setting  People celebrate what they choose and how they choose, and whether it is celebrating a wedding or birth, or a graduation or promotion, what really matters is who is celebrating it with you.  If you are alone, or had to grab people you barely know, well, personally, that is a sad life to me.  But if you celebrate with people you love, be it family, friends, whoever, then you have a wonderfully rich life.  I didn’t know until I read the article that there were limited life celebrations.  I’d better get under control and stop celebrating the wrong stuff in the wrong manner.

I also have to say that getting married and having kids may seem like easy tasks, but they really aren’t.  Yes, anyone can go to Vegas and get married pretty fast to someone they barely know.  But being in a marriage, and staying in a marriage and growing together in a marriage isn’t easy.  It takes work.  It is definitely more difficult at times than any job I have had.  And so very, very worth it.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for the biggest most important job in the world.  The same with kids.  Raising kids is hard.  When you first hold that baby you have no idea what you are in for.  You might think you do, and you’ll laugh at that later.  Again, I wouldn’t trade having my girls and raising them for any job.  It’s been hard, it’s been amazing, and it has hands down been the best thing Husband and I have done.

And it is hard to work, raise kids, and manage the household.  I don’t do it alone, Husband does it with me because we do our life together.  I think to say men don’t care to manage a household and equate it to being stupid and not important unfortunately makes the person spouting it seem that way.   “Real work” and housework are both equally important, whether you are married with kids, married, single with kids, single, have a partner, a roommate, whatever.  Maybe laundry doesn’t seem important, or paying those pesky bills, or fixing a leaky roof, or doing the sink full of dishes, but they are.  Little things also make life keep going.  Why is it okay to pay someone to do those things, including raising kids, to have a career, but it isn’t okay for a woman to do them as a career, or in addition to a career?  Looking at a clean kitchen after I’ve finished scrubbing it down is an amazing feeling (but don’t tell my Husband…he usually cleans the kitchen!).

Amy is entitled to her position, and again, I think she was looking to be controversial.  For me being a wife and mother has been the best and most satisfying job.  And I’ve had the big job.  I left it because it was the worst thing I ever did, and I was the unhappiest, most depressed and angry me I had ever been while in that job.  The job I loved best was staying home when the girls were babies and concentrating on them and making edible meals for everyone.  Right now I have a good job, by no means a big job, with interesting people, I smile a lot, and I get to be a wife and mother to the most amazing Husband and daughters in the world.  If it is possible to have the best of both worlds I am pretty darn close.  I hope Amy loves her life and the people in it as much as I love mine and the people who make it wonderful.

Moving the Furniture

My wonderful Husband took Christmas and Hanukkah down from inside the house on Tuesday. He did the outside right after New Year’s, but we just weren’t getting around to the inside. The girls said they would help, but in that mysterious teenage way weren’t around when I was. Then Monday night I had a meltdown about all the stuff that needed to get done right as we were going to bed. Not good. Not that I had a meltdown, but that I did it before trying to sleep. I was all riled up trying to convince myself I wasn’t so I could sleep.

My wonderful Husband took taking everything down a step further. Since I had an issue with my leg in late August that kept me from sitting or walking for a month I’ve been stretching out in our big recliner. Husband and I usually shared the loveseat because we like to be right by each other in the evenings, and it is easier to hold hands and touch feet. But the recliner wasn’t close to the loveseat, and I actually had to look back at him to share a laugh.

When we put the tree up Husband put our chaise lounge on the back patio and brought the extra recliner in so we didn’t lose seating. I said we should put the recliners side by side and move the loveseat so we could be next to each other again. So Tuesday when he took everything down he moved the chaise lounge back in, and it shares a wall with the loveseat, and the recliners are next to each other and we each have a side table. The couch stayed where it was.

It has been so great to sit next to Husband again! Last night we had a school meeting so we got home fairly late (for us), and after I showered we sat down for Husband to watch TV and for me to read (and watch TV…you truly can’t watch enough Friends no matter how many times you’ve seen the episodes). I could look over at him easily, we held hands, he had his foot on my recliner so our feet were touching, and my leg was still stretched out and elevated so I was comfortable. Life got a little better with that small furniture move.