July 15, 2013

Now What.

Posted in Life Lessons, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:42 am by openendedcomment

Today marks the two month anniversary of my “official” unemployment.   This is not a post of how poor the economy is, how hard it is to find a job, blah, blah, blah…because honestly, it isn’t all that hard to find a job.  At least it isn’t for me.  I’m lucky in that I have some really great professional contacts and have a few skill sets that seem to be in demand regardless of the economy.   Which begs the question: Why am I still unemployed after two whole months?  Well, it’s simple, really.  I have no idea what I want to do.

I know what I have done.  I have worked my ever-loving ass off since I was thirteen.   Seriously.  In high-school I held a full-time job and babysat regularly and was in debate and theater and speech and a cheerleader.  This tendency to be highly over-scheduled has continued for the eighteen years that have followed.   I don’t do relaxed.   I can’t handle monotony.  I need to dive into something and allow myself to be immersed in a challenge.  I love the thrill of the deal.  For sixty days I have been trying to replace my need to be productive in my career with being productive in my home.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve applied to numerous positions, have had a few good interviews and have had untold conversations with former colleagues, contacts and friends.  I’ve networked like a champ.  But a job search can only use up so many hours in a week and I’ve been filling the remaining sixty hours or so of my weekly time on a treadmill, organizing my home, making my children nuts, dealing with them making me nuts,  cooking, baking, cleaning, crafting, submitting prose to greeting card groups, writing marketing slogans,  taking online courses, gardening, making everything from “Scratch” (including cleaning supplies, baking mixes and breads), volunteering, fund-raising for various political organizations and in general doing whatever possible to make myself feel like a contributing member of my household and society.

It sucks.

As I peruse yet another batch of positions to apply to I am beginning to feel I am too close to the issue to have clarity.  I want the “perfect” job.  No, scratch that, I don’t want a  job.  I want the perfect career.  I do not want a job at which I will do well but spend the majority of my time plotting to leave.  I am too old for that crap.  I am not interested in anything that I can’t see myself doing for the next decade at the very least.  I want the ability to be challenged and creative.  I want to utilize my speaking and training skills.  I want to develop, design and flex my word-smithing ways.  In writing these slogans and marketing content I’ve been submitting online (many which have been purchased thank-you very much) I’ve found I sort of love doing it.  I did write content in my former position, too, but it wasn’t the focus of my position.   I like to and am willing to travel, but not too terribly much.  One offer I had was lovely in all ways aside from requiring 70-80% travel.  I mean, 30% is reasonable but 80%?!?  I think not.   I’d prefer to home-office, or at the very least have a flexible schedule.  I need it, I’m better with it and it makes sense for me to work where I am most productive.   I also want to interact.  I want to sell.  I love to sell…like love, love, love to sell.   Selling is in my blood.  It is a part of who I am.   I have always been in sales of some sort and I’m damn good on the phone and over a webinar.  Really, it’s sort of my thing.  I’m fast, I multi-task like mad, I can read people and manage relationships and I always figure out a solution that works for all involved.   So…now that you know all of that, I put it to you.  What on earth should I do?  If you were me, what would be your path?  Often “fresh” eyes are the best eyes and really,  what could be more fresh than this?

April 4, 2013

Just the facts.

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:02 am by openendedcomment

What do Henry XIII, Jerry Falwell, and the Nazis have in common?  Well, I think I’ll just let the facts speak for themselves.

1533

Criminalizing sodomy began with a proclamation from King Henry VIII. At the time, sodomy was defined as any non-procreative sexual activity.

Really?  King Henry VIII?  The greatest womanizer of all monarchs, a man who clearly had lots and lots of non-procreative activities, a man who actually changed an entire religion and murdered hundreds (thousands?) in order to be able to marry his mistress, a man who killed off wives who didn’t give him sons…this is the morality police who started all of this legal BS?  OK…

1871

Germany criminalized homosexuality with Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code. In 1929 a committee in the Reichstag had voted to repeal Paragraph 175, but the Nazi rise to power prevented any action from being taken and the law would remain on the books until 1968 in East Germany and 1969 in West Germany.

Wow…we’re taking legal advice and moral direction from the 1920s and 1930s Germans.  Brilliant.

1945

Allied troops liberating inmates of Nazi concentration camps do not release those imprisoned for homosexuality. Instead, they are forced to serve out the full term of their sentences under Paragraph 175 of the Germany legal code criminalizing homosexuality.

For shame.  That’s right all you “sanctity of marriage” peeps, you side with…wait for it…NAZI’S! 

1961

According to the Vatican, anyone who is “affected by the perverse inclination” towards homosexuality is not eligible to take religious vows or be ordained within the Roman Catholic Church.

Well, here’s the problem: Lots of Priests are gay.  Lots.  Some of the great ones are gay; one in particular that kind of saved my life when I was only 22.  Further, many preaching against same-sex marriage are also preaching against the Pope and Catholic Church.  So, which side are you on, kids?

June 12, 1967

Decided: Loving v. Virginia A Virginia law against interracial marriages was struck down, with the Supreme Court declaring that marriage is a “fundamental civil right” and that decisions in this arena are not those with which the State can interfere unless they have good cause.

This didn’t decide it?  Sure looks like it did…

1972

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Netherlands rules that lesbians and gays could serve as pastors, becoming the first European Christian denomination to do so. Many other protestant churches would issue similar rulings in the following decades.

The European Evangelicals are starting to come around….

1973

The American Psychiatric Association votes 13-0 to remove homosexuality from its DSM-II (the official list of psychiatric disorders). The APA also passed a resolution urging an end to all private and public discrimination against gays. Conservatives would accuse the APA of giving in to “political correctness” for this decision, arguing that homosexuality should continue to be treated as a disorder.

….or maybe they realized that the weight of empirical data was overwhelming and they were idiots for having this in the books. Just sayin’…kind of like they also removed Learning Disabilities and Downs Syndrome as a “psychiatric disorder” a few decades before.

July 4, 1983

Rev. Jerry Falwell described AIDS as a “gay plague” and decries homosexuality as immoral and against God’s law.

There’s a guy you want to agree with.  Jerry Falwell, a segregationist who spoke out against Dr. King, supported the apartheid in South Africa (he actually sent money to help them during the sanctions against apartheid) and blamed 9/11 on “feminists”…yup, he sure knows what he’s talking about.  HenryXIII, Nazi’s and Falwell…good company!

June 30, 1986 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case of Bowers v. Hardwick that homosexual activity between consenting adults in the privacy of the home was not protected by the Constitution.

Epic Fail

1996

DOMA signed into law.

Again, for shame.

2000

The Netherlands legalizes same-sex marriage

April 19, 2000

Vermont approves same-sex unions, thus entitling gay couples to rights and benefits normally available to married couples.

Better

August 01, 2001

Angelika and Gudrun Pannier become Germany’s first gay couple to legally wed in a civil marriage ceremony.

So, Germany figured this out before us.  Not cool, Americans, not cool.

2003

A letter published by the Vatican’s Congregation for Worship asserts: “The ordination to the priesthood of homosexual men, or men with homosexual tendencies, is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent, and from a pastoral point of view, very risky”

But keeping child molesters in the church is OK…as long as they make confession and repent.  This wasn’t really addressed until 2010.  Way to prioritize.

2003

Belgium legalizes same-sex marriage

2003

U.S. Supreme Court rules it is unconstitutional to criminalize sodomy.

Baby Steps…
November 18, 2003

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4-3 that government attorneys “failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason” to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. The court gave the Massachusetts Legislature six months to rewrite the state’s marriage laws in order to fix this. This ruling was hailed by many liberals but denounced by conservatives, especially religious conservatives, who began to work for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as being between “one man and one woman.”

Many of whom are now changing their view and publicly supporting full and equal rights regardless of sexual orientation. 

February 04, 2004

The Massachusetts high court stated that only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples, not civil unions, would be constitutional. “The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal,” an advisory opinion from the four justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage stated. A bill creating only civil unions, not full marriage rights, would be “unconstitutional, inferior, and discriminatory status for same-sex couples.”

It’s about damn time…and 8 more states fell in line.

2005

Spain, an over-whelming Catholic nation, legalizes same-sex marriage.

July 20th, 2005

Canada legalizes same-sex marriage

2006

South Africa legalizes same-sex marriage

Really, America?  We’re behind South Africa on human rights?

2009

Norway and Sweden legalize same-sex marriage

2010

Portugal and Iceland and Argentina, another very split Catholic and Evangelical nation, legalize same-sex marriage

Wow.  We’re also behind Argentina on this…wake up, America!

2012

Denmark legalizes same-sex marriage

February 12, 2013

France legalizes same-sex marriage

February, 2013

Great Britain House of Commons legalizes same-sex marriage

2008-2013

President Clinton, who signed DOMA into law, speaks out against it and calls for its repeal.  For the first time, a sitting President states his support for same-sex marriage.  Several Republican Senators and Congress Members speak out against DOMA and state that they support marriage equality.  Iowa, Connecticut, Maine, New York, Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia and three Native American Tribes legalize same-sex marriage.   California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Wisconsin have created legal unions for same-sex couples.  In 2012 Minnesota voted against Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Just as it did on the matters of women’s right and civil rights, the United States is moving to equality.

March, 2013

DOMA and Proposition 8 are argued before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Stay tuned…

April 1, 2013

Special Lies.

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 1:23 pm by openendedcomment

You ask how old they are, because that is what people do.  I say 16, 13, 12 and 10.

“Oh cool!  You have a driver!”

And now I say that no, I don’t.  He has special needs and he doesn’t drive.  You are silent, or quickly tell me about someone else’s child who is now “fine.”  Which isn’t the same thing.  At all.

Or I lie and avoid it.

I have learned to lie.

You ask what’s “Wrong” with him

And I tell you he has Aspergers Syndrome (because it’s the one people have heard of) and you say “Oh! I know about that! So he has social issues but he’s really smart.”

I lie.

It’s not that simple.

He also has severe learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety disorders, developmental delays and sometimes, he hears voices. But that’s too much and too personal for casual conversation so I say “sort of”

I lie.

When you meet my family and say “So, a big sister and three little brothers”  I quietly correct you that he is the eldest.  And you say “Oh, I just assumed…”

I say “it’s OK.  Honest mistake.”

I lie.

It isn’t OK, he’s going to cry himself asleep tonight or destroy something of hers.  Maybe both.  Because he doesn’t know how to take it and even though it isn’t her fault, he’s going to blame her for being “normal”

Or take it out on his brother, who has lost trophies and awards and friends.  Because he is afflicted by normalcy, too.

You try to do the “right” thing and tell me how lucky we are to have such a special and great kid and how our other children are being taught so much by him being a part of our family.

I lie.

When most of it is right and mostly I agree, that we are lucky, his parents,  I lie that they are lucky.  They aren’t.  They’re lucky to have him and they love him and wouldn’t ever want to be without him, but they aren’t lucky that we are always fighting the next battle which means spending more money and losing more time.  This means they aren’t getting to go skiing or be in hockey over the summer, or have friends over when he’s having a hard time, or go on the vacation we wish we could take or attend a camp, the money and the time goes to get and give him the help he needs.  Something that sounds and when written seems trivial but to kids this is a big deal. It isn’t even kind of fair to them.  It isn’t lucky for them when we’re so stressed we barely speak for days on end because we don’t know how to get to a place where there can be calm and peace in our home when chaos lives here each day with no warning as to when it will come roaring back…in some new awful way.  Lucky would be to have him and also have a break.  Or at least a warning when the “other guy” is on his way.  No such luck.

When you say that you don’t know how I “do it all”

And I tell you “It’s nothing”

I lie.

I don’t “do it all” I do what I can and what I can control, mainly because there is so damn much I have no control over.

When you say “Well, maybe you just need to….”

And I smile and agree or act like I’m paying attention

I lie.

You saw one weekend or one day or one hour of “good” and you have no idea what the other side is like.  He is Jekyll and Hyde and you’ve met but one.  So no, your advice doesn’t really mean anything to me.

When you say “but he seems normal enough, it can’t be that bad.”

I lie.

I spare us both, and I lie.

And yes, there are things that would and could be so very much worse and I remain blessed to have him and all of them each day…but there are times

Times when knowing I and we are blessed and that I should treasure each moment and endeavor to teach them all about unconditional love and acceptance, times when knowing it and feeling it don’t always agree…times when he and sometimes they ask me why this is the way it is and when he will be “better” and what more I can do to help him, when I don’t know that there is more to do that I am capable of…and still have the strength hold the rest together.

Months and days and hours of hurt and pain that a parent who can’t make it all go away feels and still has to explain…

When all I can do is lie.

March 23, 2013

Why I Bother

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:26 am by openendedcomment

I’ve gotten a few messages this week asking why I feel the need to write about controversial issues.  The simple answer is because I have to, that’s why.

Allow me to explain.  If I had lived 160 years ago, I’d have written and spoken to whomever I could about the need to abolish slavery.  If it had been 100 years ago I would have likely been called a suffragist.  Put me in Germany in the late twenties and early thirties and I would have decried the prejudice and hate that permeated a country and almost took down a continent…the same hate that murdered millions.  In the sixties in America I’d have written to my local paper and pleaded the injustice of segregation and racial prejudice.  At least I’d like to think I would.  I have to believe I could.  I cannot for a moment allow myself to believe that in any of these circumstances I could have sat idly by, waiting for the world to work itself out.  The only way for me to know that I would have made those decisions, controversial in their time and right through my eyes and those of history, is to do what is right today, to stand up to the prejudice, hatred, fear and the violation of the rights of other people.

I do know that in the grand scheme of things my little blog and my comments to papers and friends are rather inconsequential.

But…and this is why I persist…a great man said that one man (or woman) can change the world.  While I am certainly not in the world-changer league, a few thousand or hundred thousand men and women like me reaching a few hundred more, day after day…that is not inconsequential.  I am a very small part of a very large group.   I can do is this, and so I have to do this.  I do it for every family that is devalued under our current laws.  I do it for every woman who has lived in fear.  I do it for each person who struggles and every heart that has broken because of another’s beliefs.  I do it because I’m human, I do it for myself, because this blog is about my thoughts, my struggles, my questions and my way.  And in answering this I have a question, why don’t you?

December 10, 2012

Sugar Cookies and Champagne.

Posted in Life Lessons, Parenthood, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:06 pm by openendedcomment

This is the first Christmas in forty-four years of life my husband will not spend the holiday with his family.  Every Christmas morning of every year he went to his Grandmother’s home.  It is always difficult when traditions change, when childhood, no matter our age, takes its final bow in the known and predictable ways and places of our lives.  Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Birthdays…for each of us there is that one thing, that one person or activity that we always do or always see because we have always done so.  For him, it was Christmas at Grandma Jane’s.   Cousins everywhere and platters upon platters of sugar cookies so thin you can almost see right through them.   It was thirty-plus people in their Sunday best (because when your Grandmother tells you to dress up, you do), it was coffee and champagne by the case,  catching up on who is having yet another child (Irish Catholic family, someone is always pregnant) and an annual time of  simple togetherness.  It was his connection to a man he loved dearly and knew for far too short of a time,  the Father he lost at twelve years old.  These past few years they and it meant even more.  It and she has been the family he felt he would always have, through these difficult past two years they were the people who he knew would never leave him.  His Grandmother is still with us, but for the first time she’s not up for the Florida to Minnesota trip.  As it is also the first Christmas since his Mother passed this makes it an especially difficult year and despite mine and the children’s best efforts, we can’t seem to get him in the spirit.  I suppose it is like this for all of us at one time or another.  I remember when my Grandmother on my Father’s side passed…Chrstmas with my Nana had always meant Norwegian pastries, Lefse, Herring and the Lutefisk my Poppi would drown in butter.  It meant the Moe family and singing and laughter and seeing a side of my Dad that was reserved for Grand Forks, a softer and more relaxed, quicker to laugh version of himself…something I wonder if even he realized.  It has been over fifteen years since my last Christmas in North Dakota and almost a decade since I saw the Moe family.  I make the krumkake and flatbread, the english toffee and the divinity for my family now…there is song and laughter…though I’ll happily admit that the lutefisk is not a part of the tradition I carried on.  I do this to honor the family I miss, to give my children a grasp of their heritage and a piece no matter how small, of the Christmas’ I knew as a child.  I do it to give my Dad a taste of the home he was raised in.  This year I will do this for my husband, too.  I may not be able to provide the cousins, but I can make the cookies.  If I am lucky, having our little family around him will provide the security and steadfast comfort he needs.  In time our own family will surely grow and perhaps much like a Scandinavian Christmas without Lutefisk, while not identical to what we were raised in, it can become something even sweeter- A holiday that respects and embraces what and who we were raised with while allowing us to make it our own.  This year on Christmas morning we will open gifts according to age, youngest first, and on Christmas morning there will be champagne…just like Grandma’s house…but this year, under no circumstances will we be driving in a blizzard in our Sunday best.  Cheers!

November 3, 2012

Censorship.

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 9:13 am by openendedcomment

I feel that there is a disproportionate amount of prejudice, hurt and hatred being spewed these days.  I can’t stop it all but I can end some.  For those that asked, that’s why I declined to approve some comments on my last post.  It wasn’t written as an open debate on religion and politics but rather to explain my own personal view on the matter and to encourage others to examine their own personal view before voting.  I had and have no intention of telling someone else what to think or why.  I don’t believe that’s right.  I have no intention of promoting cruelty and pain be it intentional or not and therefore will not allow it on something over which I have control.  Open discussions are one thing, blatent attacks, comparisons to crimes and name calling are quite another.

I hope that after the dust has settled and the votes are all counted that we are closer to unity and acceptance for all as a society, but that’s just me.  That’s what I want.  That’s what I pray for.

 

October 9, 2012

Hockey Mom.

Posted in Life Lessons, Parenthood, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 12:13 pm by openendedcomment

For the past three nights I’ve watched my son be judged.  A panel of experts, clip-boards in hand, have sat on a  cold metal bench and scored him on his skill and his stride.  I have held my breath, encouraged his performance, felt overwhelming pride in how far he has come and the gains he has made and more than once I’ve cringed when he’s had a move that was les than stellar…wondering if they too noticed, hoping they were focused on some other Mother’s son for those few seconds in time.  I’ve looked into their faces…those Mothers and Fathers all pressed to the glass (the ones that could bear to watch) trying desperately not to look overly concerned while biting their tongues raw…many my friends and easily some of the best people I know, and I know we’re all in this together.

My middle son plays hockey.  Try-outs are a part of the process. No different from many other sports and activities, dance, soccer, football, voice or theatre…to make the cut you have to shine and you have to be judged.  And as a parent, seeing my child judged is one of the most difficult things I do.  I want to run over to those clip-board wielding people whom I try to avoid even eye contact with and explain to them his heart.   I want them to know that the effort he puts forth is beyond anything I’ve ever seen…certainly beyond what I’ve ever managed to do.  For me it was always easy.  If I wanted to do something, I tried out and I made the team or got the part.  If I wanted an “A” I got an A.  I never really had to try.  These “try-outs”, twenty odd years ago, were a formality.  A step I had to take, not a hurdle to leap.  I learned that lesson, that not everything is easy, much later.  I suppose in many ways too much later. I learned it the hard way.  In various areas of my life as of late I’ve not been able to get to my desired goal.  This is new to me and I’m not very good at dealing with it.  I need to refocus and regroup but I’ve been so focused on the fact that something didn’t work for me that I was at a stand-still.  I was being judged by life in general and my scores sucked.  I never learned the lessons my children know so well…and it dawned on me that it was about damn time I started figuring it out.

It is that knowledge, that this is indeed something he and they will have to know and have to face throughout their lives that makes the whole process of watching my little boy be evaluated a bit easier to take.  I know that regardless of how he does or where he lands that he will have pride in knowing he gave it his all to get there.  I know no matter what team he makes that he will approach the season and the next year’s try-outs with renewed determination to be better…to try even harder still. 

Some people have told me that I’m putting undue pressure on my children in encouraging them to be their best or in allowing them to participate in such competitive sports.  I disagree.  There are a myriad of reasons that I feel make these activities not only good but necessary.  The friendships, the self-confidence, the academic effects, the character and the kindness, he is as concerned with how his friends are faring through these evaluations as he is with himself.  He is thrilled when one moves up and feels terrible if someone is brought down.  The bonds these boys are forming are without question a good thing.  When it comes to the encouragement my husband and I give to do well, I believe I am doing them a disservice as a parent to not encourage them to strive to reach the height of what is possible and to attempt even when success is a reach as opposed to the given outcome.  I know  that when they excel it will mean more and instill greater confidence because it was hard, not despite it.  I am endeavoring to raise the type of children our world will need in the generations to come.  The ones that never quit.  The ones that know excellence is an obligation, not a decision.  The future that will understand that each effort doesn’t deliver the desired results and that there will always be someone better and sometimes that just doesn’t matter. 

Last night, watching him strip off that pinny soaked in sweat and effort, I felt ashamed.  I’d been wallowing in the pity and the excuses of not hitting my mark.  Meanwhile, this little bundle of sheer will who should have been exhausted was busy explaining what he could correct for his next skate, bound and determined to try even harder the next round.  I helped make him that way and now the teacher has become the student.  In helping them become these people, they’re teaching me to do it, too.  I’m getting better.  I may not have hit my goal this time around, but I’m laser focused on making sure that it doesn’t happen again.

August 11, 2012

The Times Without Words

Posted in Life Lessons, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 9:51 pm by openendedcomment

I have seen my husband cry exactly three times.  Today was the third.  The prayers went unanswered.  Perhaps what could not be changed in this life will be in the next.  I have always held that everything happens for a reason.  Through divorce, death…always I have believed it.  Today, in this moment and in the past hours as I have searched for what could possibly be a reason for such senseless pain and such fixable broken things I can not fathom even one.

Perhaps someday they will remember.  Perhaps someday there will be a voice that whispers in their dreams; a voice they’ve heard every day of their life, perhaps to nudge their conscience towards putting the hatred and fear to rest and be the men they were raised to be before life got in the way. Today of all days I should not believe it possible…but still…with all of me, for him and for them, I have hope.

July 20, 2012

All the world’s a stage…

Posted in Life Lessons, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 7:05 pm by openendedcomment

Mickey welcomed me into her family when I was six.  It became official when I was nine, the day my Mother married my Step-Father.  She passed away six days ago.

My childhood is filled with her.

Thanksgivings spent helping her in the kitchen and being sent to wake Dale, my Grandfather,  in the TV room where he could always be found on such occasions when it was time to eat.  Listening to her laugh with my aunts and uncles, to someone breaking out in song as the wine poured and the night wore on while I tried to beat Dale in RISK…a feat I never accomplished.

Easter meant The Flynns, a family we were so close to it seemed they were family, too.  They had six children and as an only child for the first ten years of my life I was in awe.  Egg hunts in the rain, Captain of the Hill, lawn darts and deviled eggs.  Me begging my Mother to have just one more child…because The Flynns always did, or at least it always seemed that way…Mickey was on my side in this, too.  The more the merrier.  Those words spilled from her lips not as a “saying” but as her mantra.

The Farm.  Ticks and weeds and fires and wine.  Pontoons breaking down and Mickey looking at Dale as though he had turned plaid or gone mad or both when he attempted to “fix” something. I recall an electrocution and a burning of weeds gone wrong…

Chanhassen, the Guthrie, Nutcracker, Shakespeare, Tennesse Williams, Swan Lake and Phantom.  She brought me to all of them.  She adored the theatre and Dale was an actor, well-known in the theatre circles of this very artsy city.  When he passed his obituary ran a full half page in our Minneapolis Newspaper.  She couldn’t sing like he did, but she sang more.  The music will never play without her there.  Here. With me.

Here, at the church they loved where I performed in the Christmas pageants that Mickey practically ran.  Here where I set out doughnuts on Sundays when she made me come early with her.  Here where my sister sang, standing next to her Grandfather, all of four years old.  Here where my Mother and I performed The Messiah, a time that meant so much.  Here where I became a family when my Mother and Father wed.  Here where until now I hadn’t understood, though I had known how profoundly and permanently she touched and shaped my life.

So much of what I’ve done and so many of the times I hold most dear are with or because of her.

Five years ago, Mickey and I had a conversation about marriage.  She told me that even though she and Dale had good times and bad times it was the good times that mattered.  She said that throughout my life I should always remember that my husband is a good man.  That when he acts like an ass, and she assured me that would happen, that I should take a step back and consider what it would be like without him.  And as long as that always seemed worse, we would always be OK.  She delivered this in her typical matter of fact voice, ringing with conviction and intonation.  Then she grew quiet.  An aside.  “You know, Heidi,” she said “It doesn’t matter how old you get.  You always need your prince charming.  You always need to love and be loved.  I miss mine terribly.”  She cried.  I don’t think I’d ever seen her cry.

She left his voice on her answering machine.  For years.  She held him closer and she waited.  A wait that has come to an end.

I’d like to think that this weekend as I see those I haven’t spent time with for many years, as we gather to remember, that she and Dale are having their own reunion.  That somewhere there is music and he is singing to her as they dance.  That they know that the cast of characters they have left on this stage as a result of their impact on our lives will go on with the show until the curtain draws and we are with them again.

Until then, Dear Lady, I can speak only for myself when I say that I will take your direction…born of decades walking the boards of life, love, marriage, children, womanhood, friendship and joy and I will hold them close to my heart, where you began placing them some thirty years ago.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. -William Shakespeare
Rest in Peace. 
Ann Renee “Mickey” Dunham
July 14, 2012

April 14, 2012

3521 Days…

Posted in Life Lessons, My Five, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 3:35 pm by openendedcomment

Ten years ago yesterday; Glitter got married.  Tonight is her anniversary party.  She has asked that those of us that were a part of her wedding wear our original dresses (if we have them and if we can still fit into them,)  Even though I regularly purge my closet, this is a dress I happen to still own…and, shockingly enough, still fit into.  Sort of.  Ihavn’t worn it in a decade and it still has the original cake stains inside of the bodice…memories of a bridesmaid and me having far too much fun supported by a liberal amount of wine.  Glitter claims to have pictures of this and has hinted at them being part of a slide-show.  Shit.  I mean, awesome.

For some reason, or rather for an obvious reason, I find myself nostalgic today.  And a bit stunned.  In the grand scheme of things, ten yeaars isn’t all that much time…yet I’m amazed at what has happened and how we’ve all changed this past decade.

I’m wearing the same dress; but I have a different date.  I had my youngest son 8 months and three weeks after that wedding.  I met my husband the following July.  We will have been married seven years this June.  One of the original bridesmaids (my ex-step-sister…long story) has gone AWOL and another that met her husband at the rehersal dinner is currently in divorce proceedings.

Rockstar (the cake fight counter-part), also an original bridesmaid, has since been married and had two children.  As has the maid of honor; the sister of the bride.  At her wedding my now-husband then-boyfriend was accosted by the mother-of-the-bride and told he had better put up or shut-up when it came to me and his intentions towards our future.  He proposed within the year.  Note to self: buy that woman a drink tonight.

My 25 year old self had a blast that night.  I loved these girls.  They were my family before I went and created one all on my own.

Looking back, I took it for granted.  I still love them, God knows I’m thankful for each of them,  but I’ve done a piss-poor job of showing it.

Glitter and I are good, though we’ve had our moments of not good.  Thankfully, all has been repaired and I can’t wait to see her and her wonderful husband re-commit to what they’ve built over the past decade.

Rockstar and I also had our moments.  We grew closer than ever through these last ten years and intermittently further apart.  Right now we are in the middle of an apart moment.

I’m not a fan.

Not a fan of what’s happened and even more so not a fan of where we are as friends.  Thing is…I don’t know how to repair this.  I don’t know the right or appropriate way to make that call or send that email.. Would it simply be ignored?  Would she snap back as opposed to ignoring resulting in things getting even worse?  Rockstar is not her real name (duh) but it’s a fitting one.  She is one of those women that when you look up the word “intense” in the dictionary…you expect to see her smiling face…either waving at you or flicking you off.  It depends on where you’re at.  It’s actually a positive trait.  That woman can have more fun in the most random of ways and make you have more fun than anyone else I know or have known.  She’s intensely loyal and intensely fun and intensely…intimidating.  At least to someone like me.  Now, I’m not a scared little mouse, far from, but I do admittedly suck at personal conflict. The closer I am to someone or the more that I care the harder it is for me to talk to them when there’s a problem. I know, I have it all bass-ackwards, but there it is.  The bad thing about this intensity of Rockstar’s is it makes reaching out kind of difficult. The good thing about Rockstar, actually the great thing about her (among many others) is that you always know where you stand.  There is no ambiguity.  I’m not standing in a great place.

I’ve been thinking about her and about our friendship a great deal as of late.  She’s been an important part of my life and of  the lives of my family.  She’s helped me thorugh serious problems (those occur more than anyone likes in the decade of 25-35) and she’s laughed me through some (I thought)  utterly unlaughable moments.  She is great like that.

I’ve spoken about my “five”…and she is one of them.  Even though we aren’t close at the moment, she’s one of those few people that know me…and I’m afraid that is exactly why we aren’t speaking.

We didn’t have a fight.  She saw me at my worst, one of the low points of that lost year from a few posts back, and after that, we just didn’t speak.  I didn’t call.  She didn’t call.  Neither of us wrote.  I was certain that after seeing me in that state she’d never want to speak to me again.  It appears I was right.

I played it off to the select few that knew we’d had a falling out as “we’ve just grown apart…I’m not at all mad, I hope all is well with her”…like it didn’t really bother me.  Total lie.

It bugs the shit out of me.

I miss her and I love her and I have no clue how to fix this.

In the initial few weeks I wanted to call…I even wrote about a dozen emails…but I didn’t send them.  I didn’t send them because she didn’t send them.  I was afraid of the rejection.  Now, I ask you, how pathetic is that?  Here I am, a 35 year old mother of four who is strong and independent and able to handle royally difficult relationships in business without batting an eye…but in my personal life…with someone I should feel comfortable saying anything to…I was unable to make a damn phone call?  The longer it had been the harder it became.

We’ll see each other tonight.  I’m both thrilled and petrified.  Rockstar, being Rockstar, will be working the room and having the time of her life.  I hope that somewhere in the middle of it, I can find some vodka courage and start with something simple…like “Hi”…when really, I’d love more than anything to warp back to 2002, hit the dance floor like a maniac, drink copious of wine, whip some cake her way and fall into a hug while laughing at each other the way only the dearest of friends can.

At any rate, and however this evening turns out, tonight isn’t about me.  I’m privileged and thrilled to know that despite the challenges of all our growing pains we are all going to be together.  Glitter will be gorgeous; madly in love.  Her sister will make sure everything is organized before hand and then cry, because that’s what Virgos do. Her Mother will make us all feel like we’re in high school again and my husband will dance exactly one dance.

It’s going to be lovely.  What better, after ten years of marriages, children, homes, divorce, funerals, careers found, lost and changed, than to remind ourselves that some things, the best things…like love…love between a husband and a wife and the love between girlfriends..that love like that, despite the challenges faced and storms weathered…is worth fighting for?

Thanks again, Glitter…for the umpteenth time since I’ve known you…you managed to point something out to me that I should have seen all along.  Some things matter, other things don’t.  Hold onto and celebrate the ones that do.

Happy Anniversary to one of my five.  Love.

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