And so the Wedding Years Begin

My kids have great friends. I have often thought this and am always grateful that they are surrounded by such good people. A few of those friends have been there all along, sticking it out through the years and along the road of life as they grew up together with my kids.

Justin is one of those friends who has come and gone through our house for many years. He’s been Brad’s friend since they first played baseball together, probably around the time they were in middle school. When he and Brad attended the same high school, their bond grew stronger. Their friendship intensified over a mutual love of the outdoors and countless fishing and hunting trips. They grew even closer when Brad stood by Justin’s side as he and his family endured the loss of Justin’s older sister, Katie to bone cancer when she was barely beyond her high school years. There was that horrible car accident they somehow survived with just a few scratches and bruises. And there were the college years when they went in different directions, but still held tight to their friendship.

Justin is one of those friends we just can’t help but love. He has been a true and loyal friend to our oldest son. And we got to see him this past weekend! I sat in a bright, pretty church on a sunny Saturday afternoon, looking upon a young man standing before family and friends. He was gazing in absolute adoration at the young woman, Jenny, to whom he was about to be wed. He was glowing with such happiness that it brought tears to my eyes.

It was the most beautiful wedding, not only because Justin and Jenny were so clearly meant for each other. They not only celebrated their new life together, but honored the memory of Justin’s sister in their ceremony by making her an honorary bridesmaid. As the congregation stood waiting for the wedding party to process, a cousin first came forward with Katie’s bouquet and placed it in a vase on the altar. Justin stood in his place at the front of the church, remembering Katie and unable to fight back the tears. All of us who knew Katie’s story were in tears at that moment, watching Justin and remembering with him. But a few minutes later, after bridesmaids and groomsmen (my son included,) were in their places, Justin’s tears turned to tears of joy as Jenny’s dad brought her to Justin’s side. Later on at the reception, there were happy memories and toasts, dancing, and an air of pure celebration.

There aren’t many weddings in my memory where such love and joy seemed so tangible. It’s hard to believe that Justin, the “boy” we’ve come to know and love, is old enough to be married. But he is. He’s found his soul mate and I couldn’t be happier for him. Brad had such a good time being a member of the wedding party and he and Heather danced the night away at the reception.

It was such a memorable occasion, one that left some of us hoping for a very similar, very special kind of day in our family’s near future!

Twenty Five Years

Twenty five years has made us who we are. We tend to deal with life and each other with a bit of sarcasm softened with humor. Sometimes minus the humor, but usually with humor.

Due to some significant expenses both recently and in the near future, I declared this a cards-only anniversary. On Saturday, while doing some boring domestic-type shopping, I remembered to look for an anniversary card for my hubby. I thought to myself, “Mark never gets me a flowery, romantic card. He always gets me a ‘funny’ card. I’m not gonna get him a mushy-gushy card. I’m getting him a ‘funny’ card.”

I browsed through the cards, contemplating what said “Mark” to me the most. I finally picked one that seemed the most Markish.

Meanwhile, Mark was picking out a card that seemed the most Terri-ish.

Today’s the big day. Twenty five years. While Mark was still sleeping, I went to get the card I had bought him. And as I was getting ready for work, I found the card he’d left out for me to find when I awoke today.

 

I guess this means we’re compatible.

Anniversary Card

Those three little words? “Let’s eat out!”

Life is Good – December 18, 2011

Everyone wishes their lives were all shiny and perfect. No one really has a life like that though. Not one hundred percent of the time.

Here in these pages, I can write whatever I like. I try to keep it upbeat. Probably makes it look like things are pretty darn nice around here. And they are, most of the time. I can’t complain. But we have our share of imperfections. Today was one of those days that heartily reminded us of our imperfections.

It’s funny how the people in a family can be very like one another, and in other ways, very different. Sometimes different equals difficult. Sometimes different means hard to understand. Come to think of it, sometimes our similarities make us butt heads! (As in we butt heads with each other, not we are butt-heads. Then again, maybe both are true!)

I try to be patient with what I don’t understand. I try to be open. I hope that my kids know they can rely on me, even if they don’t want to talk to me. As a mom, it’s hard when your kids don’t let you inside. But I hope they always know that I love them, even when I am unhappy with them.

When I feel closed out, I try to rise above it. I try to keep being a mother who is able to show her kids that she loves them, no matter what, no matter their successes or their failures, no matter their similarities or their differences. No matter how they feel about themselves or about the rest of their family members, I hope they always know that I love them. But I think I have the right to speak up when someone falls short of being respectful of others. I have the right to say so when someone doesn’t carry their weight around the house. And I think I have the right to say so without feeling disregarded.

Understandably, telling someone else that they are falling short isn’t going to be met with enthusiasm. I get that. But sometimes there are issues that just need to be addressed.

I lost my cool today. I’m not proud of myself when that happens. Sometimes it just can’t be helped. But me losing my cool resulted in others losing their cool. Big time. All I could think about was the fact that we are one week from Christmas and we were having ourselves a rip-roaring, three-way screaming match. Great. Just great. And it doesn’t feel good when you’ve let it all out that way. It just feels like failure. The silence and the walking on eggshells afterward is proof of that failure.

It’s my way to crawl inside my shell after something like this. I need to stay to myself for a while when I feel slammed this way. We’ll all sleep on it and we’ll test the waters with each other in the coming days and hopefully we’ll remember that we are a family with our own unique ups and downs and that when it’s all said and done, we love one another. I hope we can all remember that.

So yeah. Days like this suck. But days like this are bound to happen. And as hard as it is to admit it right now, this was just one day in the broad scheme of days. This is our life. Not all wonderful and perfect, but still … a pretty good life.

I’ll just be happy to put this one behind us.

I haven’t written because I’ve been busy fighting with my husband and such

It’s been requested that I get the lamp shade off my head and write another post. I guess it has been a few days, hasn’t it? What can I say? I’ve been busy.

Things at work are going swimmingly, but busily! Busy is good, right?

And the after-work hours have been busy this week too. I bowled one night this week (very well, thank you!) Another night we took Lucy to meet Mark’s parents. She was extremely sweet and gentle with Grandma and Grandpa. Mark’s dad is recovering from a bout of pneumonia and Lucy seemed to sense that she needed to be extra gentle with these people. She walked right up to where Grandpa was sitting and rested her chin on his knees and let him pet her and tell her what a good girl she was. Then Grandpa showed Lucy where the doggy treat cupboard is and proceeded to feed her several treats.

Oh, and then there was the night that I was home, but I didn’t have time to write because I had to go to bed early because I was mad at Mark. See, there was an issue involving one of our children. Not an extremely serious issue, mind you, but one that needed discussing. I suspected Mark’s reaction would be less than calm. I suspected his reaction would be something like …

No! Not happening. To which I would reply, “Well wait a minute. Let’s talk about this.”

To which he would then say, Fine. But then (child in question) can plan on paying for all of this out of their own pocket! To which I would say, “Can I say something here?”

To which he would respond, Fine. Do whatever you want. I don’t care.

To which I responded by telling him that those three reactions are exactly how he always responds when there isn’t an easy answer to a problem and that he can’t just expect to proclaim his decision and then sweep the issue under the rug.

To which he responded that I always think he should never get angry and that I always cater to the kids. To which I told him “For your information, I am not necessarily in favor of this and I have all kinds of feelings about this but you are so busy making decisions all by yourself that you couldn’t even bother to act like a grown-up and have a reasonable discussion with me.

At which point I shut myself in the bathroom because I was done talking to him and didn’t want to continue. At which point he knocked on the door and said, I’m sorry. What are you feeling? To which I hollered, “ANGRY!” To which he responded, So I’m thinking you don’t want to discuss this right now? To which I said, “Not particularly.”

And being the pig-headed woman who I am, I required a couple of hours to stew about the whole thing (during which time he would ask, Are you still mad at me? To which I would lie unconvincingly and say no) before deciding to punish him by depriving him of my presence and going to bed early. Like 8:30 early.

(May I just take a moment here to give my husband credit for putting up with the emotional tornado he calls his wife?)

And so I slept on it and woke up realizing that the problem was not Mark’s reaction at all, since I knew this to be his typical reaction. The problem was that I took his reaction personally. Again. Twenty-three years of this, you’d think I’d have this figured out by now. So I now know that in the future, I should expect these very reactions from him in the face of difficult decisions, let him get them off his chest and proceed after he’s done pretending he’s in charge of everything. Because we all know that it’s really me who is in charge of everything anyway.

I’M KIDDING! (Sort of.)

So anyway, that’s why I’ve been a slacker this week. Sorry if I’ve disappointed anyone with my lack of writing. I promise to try harder to keep up from now on.

Family Harmony Classes

Kids (and husbands) of all ages are welcome:

Replacing the Toilet Paper Roll 101

3 Sessions Available

March 5, 2010          9:00 – 9:01 a.m.

March 6, 2010          1:30 – 1:31 p.m.

March 7, 2010          3:15 – 3:16 p.m.

Class sizes limited to three. That’s all we can fit in the bathroom at one time.

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Where Do the Empty Milk Cartons Go?

Contrary to popular belief, empty milk cartons placed on the kitchen counter or in the sink aren’t likely to find their own way to the trash. Come join us as we explore the mechanics of opening the kitchen trash can and the proper placement of said cartons. Participants will receive a cold glass of milk as part of their training. (White and chocolate varieties available.)

Bonus training includes an in-depth discussion of reasons NOT to leave 2 tablespoons of milk in the carton so as to “justify” returning the carton to the refrigerator.

1 Session Only

March 6, 2010          1:45 p.m.

Class size is 10. The kitchen is much bigger than the bathroom.

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Guided Tour of the Home in Which You’ve Lived for the Vast Majority of Your Life

Includes a detailed exploration of the mysterious location of the laundry hamper.

March 6, 2010          10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

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It’s a Crummy Life

Come join us as Mom demonstrates several techniques for wiping up counters and tables after food preparation and eating. Also includes instruction on deciphering nasty smells and the frequency in which the dishcloth should be changed. Participants will be shown the location of the linen closet (contrary to popular belief, it hasn’t moved in 22 years) and where to find stacks of clean dish cloths within.

March 5, 2010          6:30-7:00 p.m.  (Right after dinner when we’ll have ample opportunity to provide examples.)

Awards will be given at the end of each class for those able to participate without rolling their eyes or snide remarks.

Register now. Classes are filling up quickly!

Drama Queen

Communication can be a problem at times in any marriage. I sometimes feel that my husband makes it a point to make communication harder than it has to be. I’ve taken to referring to him as “Drama Queen” because of this tendency.
 
Mark likes to notify me that there is something of which I’ll soon be hearing. Then when I ask him what it is, he says, “I can’t tell you. You’ll have to wait to hear it from so-and-so yourself.” 
 
Take, for instance, the other day when I came home from work. I asked where Jake was and Mark told me he was out fishing with a friend. Then he added, “And by the way, Jake has some big news to tell you!”
 
Of course, I gave him the expected response. I’m sure my eyes grew big as I asked him with anticipation, “What? What is it?”
 
“I can’t tell you. You’ll have to wait until Jake gets home so you can hear it from him.”
 
Irritated now, I asked, “Then why did you bother to say anything? Why didn’t you just say nothing and let Jake tell me when he gets home?”
 
Mark just shrugged and couldn’t explain himself, as usual and so I reminded him again of his tendency toward the dramatic. In the end, it turns out that Jake had caught a big muskie and Mark wanted Jake to tell me himself. Before that could happen, Jake sent a picture text to Mark’s cell phone and I saw the fish long before Jake even had a chance to tell me himself. I don’t even think Jake cared about being the one to tell me the story of the big fish.
 
See what I mean?
 
Yesterday evening, Mark was at work and he called me at home. He asked if Brad was at home and I said that he was.
 
“Did he have a conversation with you,” Mark asked me?
 
“Not really, no. He was sleeping when I got home and we haven’t really talked yet,” I told him. “Why?”
 
“I told him he needs to talk to you about something he told me.”
 
Here we go again.
 
“What,” I asked? “What’s going on?”
 
“I’m not going to be the one to tell you. I told him he has to be the one to break the news to you.”
 
“Fine,” I said. “I’m waking him up right now.”
 
With Mark still on the phone, I woke up Brad and asked, “Do you have something you want to talk to me about?”
 
Brad had started work very early yesterday morning, which is why he was napping in the early evening. Looking a little groggy, he confirmed he had something to discuss with me. At that point, Mark told me he was going to hang up and let us talk. I was thinking the worst. I was panicked. I wondered if Brad had been fired from his job, was dropping out of school or worse…if this was a girlfriend-related issue. The word “pregnancy” sprang to mind as I saw my son’s future drastically changing very quickly.
 
“Brad,” I began. “What is going on?”
 
“Ummm…” he looked me in the eye. “Heather (his girlfriend) is going to live with us.”
 
I was confused. I wondered why Heather would want to come live in our house when she attends school in North Dakota. How did her parents feel about this? And why hadn’t Brad asked me if this was OK? Why was he simply telling me this as if I had no say in the matter. I blinked. And then the light bulb went on.
 
“OH! Heather is going to be one of your room mates when you go back to school?”
 
Brad looked cautious, trying to gauge my reaction. “Yes.”
 
“Will she have her own bedroom?”
 
“Mom! What do you think? Of course,” he replied, seemingly breathing a sigh of relief at the fact that I wasn’t going postal on him.
 
“That’s all,” I asked?
 
“That’s all,” he said.
 
I was OK with this news. Brad and his room mates needed one more person to share the rent. I already knew this. I felt that Heather staying in the same house seemed safer than her other options, for reasons I won’t get into. They are good kids and I trust them. I reminded Brad that they are young, and if a break-up were to occur, that would make things uncomfortable, to say the least. So he needed to be prepared for the possibility that things might not to work out as well as he might hope.
 
“Mom, there isn’t anything you can bring up that I haven’t considered. I know.”
 
So that was that.
 
“Your dad made this sound very dire,” I laughed.
 
“I can imagine,” Brad agreed knowingly.
 
“I should call and tell him we’ve got it all out in the open,” I said with a gleam in my eye. Brad smiled while I dialed. When Mark picked up the phone, I laid into him.
 
“So you’re comfortable with this living together business,” I demanded?
 
“Well…. I said I was OK with it, depending on you being OK with it…”
 
“Our son is shacking up with his girlfriend and you’re just fine with this,” I accused!
 
“I…..I….ummm…”
 
“How are we going to explain this to our parents,” I went on, winking at Brad. Brad picked up another phone, turned it on, pressed the mute button and began to listen.
 
“Well, maybe we shouldn’t mention it if you think they’ll be bothered by it,” Mark was saying.
 
“And you think it’s alright that they are sharing the same room? SHARING THE SAME BED,” I ranted on?
 
“Now wait a minute. I…I…I didn’t know anything about that. Brad told me that Heather would have her own room,” he defended himself.
 
I was on a roll. My words were growing more heated. “I told Brad that if he is going to be living in sin with his girlfriend, he damn well better invest in a big old box of condoms. Didn’t we raise him to know better than this?”
 
Brad was nearly in hysterics. I was waiting for Mark to respond. Mark was at a loss as to how to respond. He obviously didn’t expect this reaction from me.
 
Finally, I couldn’t contain myself any longer. With a snort, I burst into hysterics while Brad un-muted his phone.
 
“Dad! You should have heard yourself,” he said. “I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud while mom was talking!”
 
“Yep,” I said. “We talked it out and everything’s fine here.” The laughter continued on my end while we waited for Mark’s reaction.
 
“Who’s the Drama Queen now,” I asked? Finally, Mark conceded and let out a laugh and a sigh of relief.
 
“You guys are toast,” was all he could say.
 
Maybe so. But for now, I’m enjoying my reign as The Queen!
 

I'm sweating the small stuff…

and I need to quit.

Seriously, why do we throw graduation parties for our kids? Wouldn’t it be easier to toss a bundle of money at them and call it good?

A word to the wise. When your son decides he wants stuffed manicotti at his grad party, and your husband suggests making grandma’s home-made spaghetti sauce, you should not say to yourself…

“Self? Wouldn’t homemade stuffed manicotti and Grandma’s sauce be good? Won’t everyone just love all your homemade food? What a great idea!”

No…Instead, pull your head out of your nether regions and just say no. And call a caterer.

Seriously though, I think I have the food situation under control. Gina (the best friend) came over Monday night and we did an assembly line production of stuffed manicotti. I cooked the pasta and mixed up the cheese mixture. She brought some kind of cake decorating tool that looks like a cookie press, filled it up with the cheese mixture and squirted the cheese inside the pasta. We got nine pans done Monday night and I made five more Tuesday morning. I hurt my shoulder filling all those shells. (Don’t ask.) And did I mention that I didn’t think that the manicotti would be enough pasta? I didn’t. I decided to add mostaciolli to the menu and spent the rest of Tuesday afternoon making ten pounds of meatballs and three batches of Grandma’s sauce. Everything is in the freezer and ready to just toss into the roasters on Friday. Now I just have to make a couple more batches of sauce for the manicotti. That’ll be easy enough. It’s just a matter of dumping some ingredients and adding some spices and cooking on the stove for a couple hours. Yes, that will be easy enough if I’m not in jail for killing someone first.

You might have guessed that tensions are running a little high around here.  Some of the big stuff that could have been done, oh… I don’t know… anytime in the past year, as opposed to leaving everything until the last minute… didn’t get done before this week. Divorce court, session two nearly happened last night over the hanging of some pictures. Alright. Nine pictures, to be exact. I’ll explain. There’s a wall in our entryway that has never been decorated to my liking. Using the grad party as an excuse to do all the home improvements that we’ve let slide over the years, I decided to take care of that wall. I had nine of my flower photos printed. I framed them and enlisted Mark to facilitate the hanging of all of these photos. Did I mention the wall in question is a section of wall over the stairway to the lower level? Did I mention this project would require the use of an extension ladder? Did I mention that I had a vague idea of the placement of said pictures, but no solid plan because I was sure Mark could figure out details such as spacing and measurements and patterns? I just may have set my expectations a little too high and let me just tell you it was a recipe for disaster when things were not happening to my liking. Thankfully, Brad stepped in with a great idea for the placement. Tempers cooled and pictures got hung to my liking. Crisis averted.

On the plus side, this house is going to see a level of cleanliness and organization such as it hasn’t seen in a couple of years, since the last graduation party. I wonder if I’ll learn a lesson from this and face the next graduation party in two years with a little more organization and planning?

What?

It could happen!