Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Equal Opportunity Posting

So, as everyone must know by now, I love my cats...Miss Marplestein and Dulcinea.  They are simply adorable and bring so much pleasure to my life.  I posted the other day about Dulcinea getting into my 'unmentionables' drawer.  Well, not to be out done, I must post about Miss Marplestein.  Now, she is much more demure than Dulcinea.  The other night, I looked up, and there she was, just sitting on the wall enjoying the Christmas tree lights and decorations.  Yes, I had to snap a picture or two and yes, I just had to post.  She was so intent she didn't even notice the camera.  I wonder what she was thinking or was she just wishing upon the star?

Both cats have loved the tree this year - have enjoyed sleeping under the pine canopy, especially when Henley is visiting the neighbors.  All is peaceful and quiet.  Merry Christmas to my baby girls who bring me such joy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Great Love Story

Today, sixty years ago, the union of two beautiful people took place in Heilwood, PA ~ it was the beginning of a great love story that would last through the years.  I am thinking of my parents today, with all my heart.  This, of all days, must be the most difficult for my mother. 

They were two young people, from very different walks of life. One was an only child, a latch key kid even way back then, the other one of six from a traditional family.  One was a city boy, the other a country girl.  One grew up thinking she was adopted (as many of us do!), the other grew up the center of attention, the apple of his family's eye.  And yet, they were similar in many ways:  both had lost a parent early in their life; both had a strong, Catholic faith, and both were naive and innocent in the ways of the world

And yet, they managed to find their way to Washington, D.C., meet, and fall  in love.  My mother always says they were 'just two young kids who didn't, know what we were doing!'...Obviously, they knew enough.  After seven children and 17 years of marriage they hit a rough patch that nearly ended the marriage.  But their faith and love for each other kept them going and they found strength in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.  Together, their spiritual life flourished.  They founded a prayer group that grew to over 400 people; they sacrificed their time and resources to help so many; they opened up their home to anyone who needed shelter. And their love for each other, their devotion to each other, never faltered. 

They were a prime example of what love and marriage is all about.  In watching them, I knew what kind of husband I wanted, I knew what kind of marriage I wanted.  I saw and learned that even after 50 years together, there would still be disagreements, growth...that marriage is ever changing and ever sacrificial.  Their devotion to each other is a pure example of God's unconditional love. 

In almost every picture, which are vast, they are hugging or staring into each other's eyes.  Their love was undeniable.  And even in their older years, during Dad's last days, the most precious site was to see them holding hands, loving each other.  I grew up hearing 'Where's your mother?' so often...if Mom was out of sight for even a minute or two, he needed to know where she was.  They left love notes to each other and called each other 'Hon' or 'Honey'...And there were rarely apart.  They each felt their place was with the other...nothing else mattered.

Together they saw their seven children grow and have families of their own. They saw their 14 grand children all grow to young adults/adulthood, and they witnessed the birth of six great-grand children. Yes, sixty years ago today, a great love story began. Death has separated them physically, but the love continues.  I have no doubt Dad looks down and sees his beloved, only he now knows exactly where she is.  How blessed I have been to share in one of the greatest love stories ever...I love you both!  The following lyrics reminds me of them...Ella Fitzgerald's 'Now It Can Be Told':

All the world's great lovers have been glorified
History placed them in a romantic set
In between book covers they are side by side
But the real thing hasn't been written yet

Now it can be told
Told in all its glory
Now that we have met
The world may know the sentimental story

The greatest romance they ever knew
Is waiting to
Unfold

Now it can be told
As an inspiration
Every other tale
Of boy meets girl is just an imitation

The great love story
Has never been told before
But now
Now it can be told





Saturday, December 24, 2011

Distractions and Other Things

So, my 'baby girls' continue to be a delight.  They amuse and amaze constantly.  And today, when I most needed a distraction, Dulcinea provided.  She has taken to scratching at either the linen closet or my underwear drawer...if she does this long enough, she opens the closet or the drawer, and climbs inside.  Today, we came home from our walk and there she was, sitting in my underwear drawer - and she had tossed some of my 'unmentionables' onto the floor!  A good laugh indeed and just too precious for words.

I can't seem to focus on much...everything I think about leads me back to Daddy...and I can't seem to decide what I want to do; my mind switches from one thing to another and I can't make decisions.  Do I want to go to church - but if I do I'm afraid the first note of the first carol will open a floodgate.  Do I want to go to my sister-in-law's family - but if I do, I'm afraid all the laughter and togetherness will make me miss him even more than I already do.  Do I want to just stay home - but if I do I can't stop thinking about him and crying.  My husband is so kind and gracious, so loving and supportive.  I knew it would be rough, but...Daddy, I know you're up there celebrating Christmas with the real thing; I know you are looking down with love upon all your family.  But I do know that as much as we want you here, you are quite happy and delighted where you are.  And I know you know this, but we all miss you terribly.  I think of how much you loved Christmas, loved our traditions, loved your family gathered around you...I love you so much and miss you even more.

Thank goodness for distractions and other things on this first Christmas without you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Randomness

So many thoughts have been raging through my head today, so forgive me if none of this makes sense - it is pure randomness...my thoughts put to paper, or put to blog.

Eleven months today.  I marvel at the complexity of grief.  How is it my mind knows something is real, yet my heart has such a hard time believing, cannot comprehend.  His absence is still surreal.  It's so hard thinking of him in the past tense - I can't.  My heart won't let me just yet.  I miss you so much.

I guess this relates somewhat to my last blog about growing up ourselves.  To my niece who has chosen her own lifestyle:  your choice.  You've chosen to smoke pot, drink excessively, party...you've chosen your sexuality. You've chosen not to keep a job - all the other things you're doing are just too important to hold down a 'stupid' job - seasonal or not.  Just because your parents will no longer tolerate your irresponsibility and don't approve of your choices, does not mean they do not love you.  Be an adult.  You've chosen what you want; they have chosen their lifestyle and beliefs which are far different from yours.  That's okay.  You can still love each other without approving of the choices made.  Maturity.  And you need some fast.

Christmas is fast approaching.  We've decorated outside, and the tree is up with lights glowing.  The manger is on display.  My heart isn't in it.  I know there is more to be done, but it seems so overwhelming.  What keeps me going?  Wanting to have a beautiful Christmas for my niece. 

What makes a life extraordinary?  Is it creating a multi-billion software company, or discovering a cure for aids, or becoming president of the United States?  Sure, all those would qualify as extraordinary.  But isn't the life that gives to the poor, or being faithful to a spouse, or working each day to support a family - aren't all those lives extraordinary?  I believe what we sometimes call 'ordinary' is actually quite extraordinary.

Funny how even as we age we can still make new friends.  And in this day of cyber space, friends are found everywhere.  I've 'met' some great people through this blog, through the games I play...it's a wonderful feeling to 'meet' someone and feel you've known them forever.

Random thoughts, I know...just some ramblings of an old, romantic soul...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grow Up Ourselves

Ah, is there such a thing any more?  Seems in today's world, everyone wants to blame someone else for their problems.  'I'm this way because my parents spanked me' or 'I'm afraid to love because I was jilted 20 years ago' or 'I can't succeed because my teacher gave me an 'f' and it made me feel inadequate'...yadda yadda yadda. So, life isn't perfect...get up and move on, and instead of blaming take responsibility and move forward.

The other night we caught part of a movie - Death at a Funeral.  The original, British version, not the remake with Chris Rock.  It's quite a comedy, as only the British can do.  At one point, the son who feels inadequate in so many ways, gives a speech about his father (a secret life of his father has just been revealed and is quite shocking)...and his speech struck a chord with me.  Below is an excerpt of the speech:

"...Life isn't simple, it's complicated. We're all just thrown in here together, in a world full of chaos and confusion, a world full of questions and no answers, death always lingering around the corner, and we do our best. We can only do our best, and my dad did his best. He always tried to tell me that you have to go for what you want in life because you never know how long you're going to be here. And whether you succeed or you fail, the most important thing is to have tried. And apparently no one will guide you in the right direction, in the end you have to learn for yourself. You have to grow up yourself"

Life is complicated and there are no definitive answers.  There are no specific guidelines for how to live life.   Our parents can guide us, the Bible can guide us, but in the end we have to learn on our own; we have to grow up ourselves.  Grow up ourselves.  Stop blaming, stop making excuses and move forward...grow up ourselves.