Monday, November 25, 2013

My Life Is a Lifetime Movie

Happy Seventh Anniversary, HoneyBunch.
Being married to you is the easiest, most fun, and most magical time of my life.  I feel as if we have always belonged to each other; the forty-five combined years we spent with others fade into nothing when we are together. 
I never knew what being truly in love was like until I married you.
Baby, you complete me. You are my clone; my soul mate. Scary thought, but true. The person who was just a friend is . . . suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with. You know me better than I know myself.  I, of course, am the prettier one.
It was the million tiny little things that when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together.  It is like . . . magic.  In the movie of our lives, you get to play Tom Hanks and I get to play Meg Ryan.
I’m your density.  You know how to make laugh, how to make me happy, and how to encourage me. I am the only one who gets (and appreciates) your jokes.  I am here to care for you and make sure you get your daily supply of tomatoes and yogurt. Since God’s time-space continuum is different than ours, it is no wonder it took Him fifty-six years before He led you onto my path.  I am not complaining; I am grateful for every minute left of my life I get to spend with you.
When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. I knew when you asked me to marry you after only six weeks of dating, and we married after only knowing each other for three months, that our life would be perfect from the very start.  
I married you so I can kiss you anytime I want.  And I find myself wanting to kiss you often, especially when you shower our children and grandchildren with your unselfish love. I find your kind heart very sexy. You should be kissed and often and by someone who knows how - me.
When I look at you, and I . . . and I’m home. Life on this patch of dirt takes on special meaning because you are here, next to me, only a few steps away, all day long. You give my life peace and joy and safety.
My heart is, and always will be, yours. I may not say I love you as many times as I should, but then, HoneyBunch, everything I do is to show my love and respect for you.

As you wish, my dearest HoneyBunch. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

On November 22, 1963

Sister Mary Gisela was admonishing the eighth grade choir for not projecting loud enough when the Mother Superior of our Catholic school ran in and whispered something into her ear before running out again.

Sr. Gisela looked horrified, then she announced that our President had been shot.  We needed to kneel and pray for his recovery – now! 

She led us in prayer as we wrapped our minds around the incredulity that people existed in this world who would dare shoot a President.  

We remembered the celebration of the day before when President Kennedy had visited our city and the love we all felt for our charismatic, Catholic president.

Soon after, Mother Superior walked in again and we listened as she addressed us.  Our President was dead, killed by an assassin’s bullets. 

School was being called off and our parents were coming for us. 

I was too numb to cry. I was thirteen.  I didn't understand that such ugliness could exist in the world.  Not then.   

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Gift Exchanges

Last year, my three grown up kids asked if they could swap names and do a Christmas gift exchange.  It was so successful that they decided to it again this year.
We number fifteen now in our “immediate” family and that becomes a lot of individual Christmas presents to buy.  We all have blended families so my kids and I have other “immediate” family circles on our Christmas list.
Believe me; the grandkids have done the math, and they may wish we hadn’t.  They are kids, after all, and they love getting stuff. They may not like what their parents decided, but I applaud their solution.
As grandparents, HoneyBunch and I are not included in the name swap, but I have claimed myself the grandmother who always buys the grands a set of pajamas at Christmas.  I might throw in a snuggly or a book, but I stay away from anything more expensive or complicated. I’ll leave that for Santa (their parents or the other grandparents) to buy.  My present may not get oohs and aahs, but I want them to know I care for their needs and not their wants.  
 Everyone wrote their names on slips of paper, and to help their “Secret Santa” find them a gift, they listed three hobbies and three things they wanted that might cost $20 or less.  The couples swapped names with each other and the seven swapped names also. I saw some sad faces, but we were adamant about setting a limit on the greed that comes with the season. 
Everyone was supposed to keep who they chose a secret, but by the end of the day, the only one who hadn’t figured out who he had was the seventeen-month-old baby.  
I prefer Christmas presents that represent the season – games or craft kits that involve the family and bring them closer. I also like gift exchanges with a theme or a common objective. I especially like inexpensive gift swaps where all you have to buy is a pair of cheerful, Christmas socks or a beautiful, new Christmas ornament, or where everyone shares dozens of freshly baked, homemade Christmas cookies.
Our writing critique group does a White Elephant Exchange with gently used books, and I have ended up with real treasures. The thought stays with me all year, and before I donate my old books to the nearby library, I keep one or two that might end up being my Christmas present at the next book exchange.
When I blogged on this last year (You might want to refer to the comments on an older blog dated October 29, 2012.), we had several other great suggestions.  
One family exchanges dollar gifts. (Yes, gifts that cost ONE dollar.) Isn’t that intriguing? Another family donates to a college scholarship or a charity in each other’s names.  It started as a present to their father who didn’t want more “stuff” around his house, and it became a tradition after he was gone.
Christmas is not about greed and avarice; it is about family and selflessness. It’s about spending happy and fun times with each other because at the end of the day, after every box has been unwrapped and opened, and the sparkle of the day is gone, the most precious gift we exchange with each other is love of family.    

Monday, November 11, 2013


When I told HoneyBunch that I am fast running out of time, he scolded me and called it nonsense.  He said if I take care of myself, I should live well into my nineties in good health.
That is exactly my point – the road ahead is much shorter than the road I leave behind.
HoneyBunch didn’t want to hear any more of my morbid thoughts, but then he is five years younger and is still in his fifties. He holds on to his youth as prudishly as a heroine holds on to her virginity in a Jane Austen novel. If I mention his graying hair or his bushy, grandpa eyebrows, he takes offense.
His family putters well into their eighties; mine lives long too, but we sputter and backfire, requiring quite a few expensive tune ups and engine overhauls all the way. Our heredity and genetics differ, and I am glad for his sake.  I do not wish him the ailments that come with age for so many of us.
I tried again to share with him my observation that my “someday” list is limited by the number of days left in my life. When he shushed me, I realized he did so because he doesn't want to imagine life without me.  He wants me to live in a long string of someday’s with no regrets and no cautions.  He sees me with young eyes – for him I am a young woman with a wide, open road ahead for both of us.
He wants us to live like there is no limit to our future, a road full of somedays, and I love him for that, so for our sake, I will try and take good care of myself.

Monday, November 4, 2013

No Pets, Thank You!

I respect any couple (or single person) who decides to be childless.  Hey, breeding is not something one should do without serious study.  It is quite a commitment.
I feel the same way about acquiring a pet.  Don’t get me wrong, I love most of God’s creatures, except for those that might bite or sting me.  Okay, maybe also squishy and ugly things do not make my list.
I am not immune to cute.  I “share” forward plenty of Facebook pictures of cute puppies and kitties, but I have lived long enough to know that the shelf life of cute is short, and the responsibility of having a pet is long.
Cute wears off when the puppy grows up and digs up the landscaping in the back yard. Cute is not how I would describe a kitty who claws and scratches the few nice things you own. There is nothing cute about poop or piss or hairballs.
Pets are expensive.  They have to be fed, taken to the vet, groomed, cleaned up after. You cannot go off on holiday without finding a sitter for Pooch or Tiger.  A visit to the pet sometimes costs as much as a major appliance or the price of a down payment on a car or a house.  
Pets want to go outside, get exercise, and fetch. They shed. They make noise.  They keep you up at night and wake you up in the morning. Not everyone will welcome your pet into their homes. Not everyone will appreciate your dog nosing them when they visit, dusting off cat hairs on their expensive clothes, or sharing the bathroom with a litter box.
Did I mention that pets come with responsibility? Lots of it?
As if that wasn’t bad enough, there is the danger of falling in love with them. Treating them like family. You come to depend on them as much as they depend on you. But they get sick and they die.
And you tell yourself – I am not doing this again. 
You get rid of all the stuff, except for a collar, a picture, a toy, and you vow - no more pets. No, thank you.