working on messy love

Years and years ago, back when The Big Top was scarcely beginning, a friend of mine gossiped confided about what another dear friend had shared about her marriage…that it was work…WORK, she snorted. Love and marriage is not work, at least it should not be…in her humble opinion. Years and years later, the three of us all are still married to the same darling husbands and having been married to the same darling husbands for 33+ years, I would imagine that we all can agree together that there is some work…maybe a lot of work involved in more than 33 years of marriage.

I thought about that a lot a couple of years ago when a certain actor/director/producer accepted a Best Picture Academy Award and acknowledged that his marriage to another actor was the best kind of work, which then cued up all the talk that their marriage was DOOMED! Doomed, I tell you, because he thinks love and marriage is work. Of course two years later it seems that all that talk was correct as the marriage of this Hollywood power couple seems to be over.

Go figure!

Yet, based on my own personal experience, I still sit on the Love and Marriage is Work Team because it is. It’s sometimes easy-peasy, lemon squeeze-y and it is sometimes blood, sweat and tears work because it can be frustrating, exhausting, scary and thrilling all at the same time. Better or worse, it’s messy.

And I was totally going to talk all about that messiness that marriage is when shit happened, as it often does, which made me realize that marital love isn’t the only kind of messy love in my life. Friends…family…so many different individuals that stir up the dust and debris all around us and making a general mess of everything in our lives and relationships….a big, fat mess…a mess that SOMEONE will have to clean up…a mess that is part of our love for each other.

UGH!

I hate messes and chaos and dust and debris and, especially, cleaning up messes and chaos and dust and debris. Always have. Always will. But I do love love and I love those in my life whom I hold dear…my friends, my family, my darling husband. I love them all in spite of all the messiness that is loving them. I hope that they feel the same.

It’s work sometimes, all the messy love in my life.

Worth it though.

Thank goodness I can celebrate that…today and every day.

focus on the kind because sometimes you just have to

You know those days where you just want to punch it in the face?

Yes, those days!

Well on those days I like to focus on the kind and the good rather than the exhausting suckage. So today, right now, I will focus on this right here.

Last week, Zoë’s beach cruiser that she has had for more than five years was stolen. For Zoë this sucked. This sucked a lot because the last couple years she has been trying hard to be an adult even when it was hard to be an adult. The easy way would have been to ask mommy and daddy to help her out but she hasn’t. I know it has been hard, very hard for her but I am proud of her for being the grownup especially when it has been hard.

Come back to the Valley, her family and friends told her. You can start over, they told her. So she did and she has…as hard as it has been…but at least she has people here. It’s so much better to adult when you have people because adult is a lot harder than kids can imagine.

But having her bike stolen was a tipping point. It is currently her only form of transportation to work and, in the Fall, school. In her words, it like her independence had been taken away. But with the determination of her enterprising big sister so as to restore Zoë’s faith in human kindness, a few generous, kind people – family, friends, strangers – did just that raising more than enough funds to replace her red beach cruiser with something shiny and pink to get around the 209!

yay new bicycle! 💕
Thank you all so much. I was so incredibly upset when my bike was stolen, but you guys restored my faith in humanity. There are some really shitty people out there, but there are so many more kind and generous people. I love you all!

Hurray for kindness winning!

this moment

This moment.

So many feels right now as I capture this moment. I’m not the only one either.

This moment we can’t help but be even more thankful for. This moment we wish that we could have shared with more…side eye at some who might not have bothered to check and perhaps respond to text messages. This moment that just five months ago might not have been possible. This moment that will not be a possibility for a dear, old friend whom we have known for as long as we all have been much too young people having babies. This moment we shake our head in shock that someone we share so much history with is gone. This moment we wonder why his family and why not ours. This moment we cry and share our love because life is just too tenuous. This moment we pray for our dear friend, his amazing wife and his wonderful children.

This moment. This moment we give thanks. This moment we celebrate.

sharing, in moderation

If there is one thing that I enjoy while taking a break is a coke, actually a Coke Zero.

Can you blame me especially when my darling husband adds this bottle to my lunch for work? I’d gladly share but my man has never been known to drink a coke. It’s okay. Still, I would gladly share with anyone:

With Lakisha,

Graciela…

Sue…

Cecilia…

Jessica…

or Isaac…

perhaps even Brittany and Matthew…

then again, maybe not because I would much rather share a coke with Daniel!

Sure it’s not the best thing for me. The two people wearing ER scrubs in line behind me at the hospital cafeteria made it clear just how bad that soda was for me as they loudly passively aggressively congratulated themselves for giving up the evil that is soda while completely ignoring their plates with giant mounds of greasy fries and onion rings. Yes indeed, the soda is a bad, bad thing. The artificial sweetener might give me cancer…if I consume as proportionately as much as a lab rat does. Oh, and the caffeine too although I make no apologies for one Coke Zero during a 12 hour night shift because I do need the caffeine to get through the busy night. One could go on, and perhaps be as colorful as Greg Glassman was recently. Even Daniel understands this as he reads the nutrition label out loud to me.  But he also understands moderation when it comes to diet and sharing mom’s Coke Zero with his name on it is really okay…as long as it is not a daily kind of thing.

Come on, it’s fun…especially when you get to share.

Most certainly when you get to share one with someone who isn’t expecting to ever find their name on a bottle of Coke. Hurray and thank you for my coke connections!

Sharing is caring, y’all…in moderation, but of course!

raw deals and their beautiful disasters

The Fourth arrived and exited as loudly as it often does every year and it was good.

I said it was good.

It was.

It was good.

Of course I still allowed myself a little bit of melancholy because I do sometimes.

My little brother he will always be and like every other person out there who has lost a sibling, I am more than entitled to miss him. He would have been 52 on July 4th but he will forever be 41 just as he will forever be my broken little brother who looked for approval that was never going to come…at least from those he sought after. In retrospect I try not to focus on the raw deal that was most of his life because it was mine too and raw deals seem to run in the family. Sadly, even to the next generation.

My sister’s children  have lived through more than their fair share of raw too. Given that which Val tried to survive through and the choices she made, it’s hard not to be surprised. But her daughter, my niece, proved to be a survivor surviving really the only way one does survive and thrive and that is to break away and cut the ties. My nephew, on the other hand, struggles not to repeat his mother’s life…and ends up repeating it anyway because family ties that chafe and rub your heart as raw as ours have done are pretty hard to cut away, at least not without some pain and damage. Some of us just can’t handle that pain I guess. I know Randy could not. Neither could Val. And, it seems, neither is her son able to right now. His sister, so much like me, tries to help, tries to fix and, like me so many times before, is hurt in the process. Right now, she is hurting a lot because it’s hard to watch her own brother, the one who was the person she practiced on, the person who taught her about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way is hurting and lost to her in a way that she can not fix. I know this hurt. I know it too well times three…perhaps times four. But all I can do is remind her that all that she can really do is just love him…even if it means loving him at arms length, or even miles and miles length because she deserves to heal and her son deserves so much more…much, much more than than the raw deals we have survived.

So, together, although separated by 3,000 miles, we cry a little for the little boys lost that are our brothers…and pray that her brother will, like us both, survive. It’s all that we can do.

I also felt some sadness for my own daughter and her friends. When you’re 21 or 22, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll be going to a funeral for a friend, a classmate but it sometimes happens. I met her friend, Josh, just two days before he died. Standing in line with Abby, Jodie and Daniel to see Inside Out (go see this movie), I hear, “Hello Abigael!” Naturally, I turn as Abby does because I am the only one who calls her Abigael and I must see who is this other person who calls her Abigael. Abby introduces me to a young man with laughing eyes and a warm smile telling me that this is her friend, Josh.

We shake hands and laugh a little together, Josh and I, because we are the only people who call Abby Abigael. Abby and Josh talk a little bit more but soon wave their goodbyes because, popcorn and snacks in hand, we are ready to go see Inside Out while Josh is seeing another movie that night. It’s hard to imagine someone as engaging as this young man seemed that night would be hiding so much pain behind those laughing eyes and warm smile as his but apparently there was much pain; enough pain that he would take his own life. So now his young friends gather at “the Hook” to remember and celebrate their friend, Josh and tomorrow will bury him. And I find myself sad again. Sad for the end of this young man’s life. Sad for his friends. Sad for his family.

Three men. Three beautiful, young men.

All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they’ll never know how broken you really are.