Tag Archives: love

My Little Cuddler

We spent the last few days in my parent’s town watching the Greatest Show on Earth. We had great eats, a fun time and shared a snow-cone.

My grandfather is not well and his son and daughters are concerned mainly with getting him to eat and drink. He doesn’t want to, so he probably won’t. We are not a family filled with people who are easily persuaded to do anything we don’t want to. I told that to a pastor once and he came up with idea after idea of times I might do something even though I didn’t want to and he wasted an half hour of his life. I’m “better” now and listen to people such as my husband (sometimes) and as a mom, the kind of mom that wants to do right by her kids, I do stuff I don’t want to sometimes, but not a whole lot of the time. I used to try and let her be free to wear whatever she wanted and dance whenever she wanted. Now those things happen automatically. I know there are some of you out there that say I spoil the girl. I think that kind of put-down is a cowardly sort of persuasion. I left her do what she would like, because a lot of the time it’s easier for me. I try to catch moral situations and I don’t let her lie. (I admit I can’t always catch a lie, though.)

Let’s talk again about re-newing the blog. I think I’m going to try one out and see how it goes. Look for me at: http://thesidekickhero.wordpress.com/. I will probably continue this blog as well, but not as frequently. I do hope you love hearing about all the wonderful things that come with life with all our challenges and joys.


Living your life as art today

Movies and New Generation dolls are Small’s choice of self-expression. She makes movies with her pink Hello Kitty camera and I post them on youtube. Today, in humble observance of Marcel Nunis’ Live your life as Art Day, we went to the park and recorded some takes. There were two little boys there, discussing whether or not their guardians could speak English. The mother of one could. The grandfather could not.

We decided we were done filming for the day and Small, now seven, walked up the steps to go down the slide. One of the little boys asked her in all seriousness, “Will you marry me?”

Tell him no, I whispered to my daughter. “No.” She said.

Then he had a few questions and words of advice. “Is that a doll or is that a baby?” “She should be wearing shoes. It is cold out here.”

“I will put them on her when I find them,” she replied.

After a while I told her it was time to go. She headed back and the little boy ran up to me and asked, “Can I have a date with her?”

I said no, she was too young for that. To tell you the truth, though, I disagree that she is too young. Being twenty-five or forty-five does not make you a more reliable or truer lover than a seven year old. Maybe we will see that little boy again soon. Maybe it will be at the altar while she walks down the aisle. Grandpa may speak perfect English by that time. I have no way of knowing what will happen to him. There are men who ask every woman they date to marry them. Maybe he will become one of those guys. Or maybe my daughter really is special in his heart and he will never forget her.

So Richly Grieved

It’s a simple story – we were friends. He moved to LA, fell in love with a woman that didn’t like me (partially because I drank too much, I think, and I her boyfriend and I were too close.) They moved in together and pretty much that was it. I’ve seen him only a few times since then. They’ve long broken up, he’s moved to Africa and back and married a different woman.

I wish it was that simple.

It’s almost like he chose death. I can’t have my friend back, ever. No one believes me that I never was in love with him – but I was pretty drunk the summer we spent the most time together and we never wound up…. I won’t insult you with going into those details. I thought our friendship was strong. Turns out it wasn’t. I won’t go to any effort to contact him again. My donotcall.mal list is getting longer and longer and I can’t figure out why. It’s men, gay men, married men, married gay men, that either forget about me or decide they don’t want a relationship with me any more. I am naive enough to wonder why.

My bff T has reminded me, under a different situation with a similar end, that people would die to have friends so perfectly matched as the two of us. She is right – and she makes me really happy to think about. She is wonderful fun and kind and oh so generous. If I am wearing something new while drinking Peet’s coffee, it is because of T. I have another great friend, the mighty peridot (greenegem.wordpress.com) and we can talk about everything and do. She is not-bipolar, but has the heart of someone who does. I can even count my husband most of those days. While we are not very BFF we are going to get that way again, I am confident about that. I am so grateful for them! They bring so much light to my life. Today the sky is periwinkle. I am serious. I am not trying to be poet-or (and I never would use periwinkle in a poem anyway.) Thinking about my friends makes me think they are partially responsible for this clear, periwinkle sky. If they didn’t paint it, they helped make it possible for my head to be tilted back so I can see it.

When I’m thinking of my current non-friends I don’t think about my really good now friends. I, naturally, want to think about all the others – and of course they are many – that have broken or fallen by the wayside. They make me yell with frustration. Why do I even let them in to my new brain? I am reminded of Sherlock Holmes who has no idea the way the universe works but can sniff out a murderer with one of her abandoned shoes. If I could fill my little heart only with the people that loved my back, maybe my heart could grow until I truly can love my enemies, not in a way that frustrates me or degrades me, but with a pure, clear love. No mushy stuff – yes Jesus stuff.

BFF and till death do us part

My sister-in-law (husband’s sister) is a vegan and a Buddhist, and an atheist. She came to church with us and was able to say she enjoyed the music. We walked home.

She wanted to have girl time later, so I got my coat and took her out to the berm (levy) near our house. She wanted to talk about sex, so we did. I’m good at talking so people will talk more, so I didn’t reveal too much about our conjugal bed, only to insure her that, yes, things have changed, and yes, I was still attracted to her brother. Her brother is disgusted at the idea of my brother and I having conversations like that (which we don’t.)

More importantly than all of that was her sharing her thoughts on love and relationships. It interested me, yet I felt a little uneasy and since then I figured out why. Her idea is one of living in the moment. Does she believe that, that person is worth it and was worth the time you had together? If the answer is “yes” it doesn’t matter if he leaves you for another man or breaks up with you to move to Alaska and find his fortune. The idea is that you can wallow around in the other, good feeling moments without feeling bitter or angry.

My response was to think about it, and sort the truths from the baloney. This is what I came up with. When I enter a relationship, it is a commitment of some kind. Maybe the commitment is to speak to this man sitting next to me on a bus. Maybe it’s marriage, but they both require something. It’s up for the people involved to figure out what it is. I was reminded of this by T, my bff. Of course marriages require commitment – that’s the point, right? But what about friendships? Are they commitment driven?

Second grade started and Small came home with a new best friend. Her name was M and she is a beautiful, not too bright, little girl. She had been held back a year and she and her equally as intellectually equip brother were in the same class. I did not like this friendship because I didn’t think it was a good match. Also, we had invited them to two consecutive birthday parties where they did not come. It wasn’t that I was offended, really, who cares at a pool party? But I knew something would happen that would cause Small to get hurt. I didn’t say anything about it, who knows, maybe I should have. Small went to justice and bought BFF bracelets. I told her if they break up as BFFs that M gets to keep the bracelet. She agreed that was appropriate.

It was less than a week when I had a sobbing little daughter, crying so loudly and fiercely that she was gulping for air. M had picked another girl to be her partner in a school activity. It was over. M had promised she wouldn’t hurt Small and then she did. There was a commitment on Small’s side to be Best Friends Forever. It wasn’t a necklace for her, it was a way of life. She’s moved on to other BFFs and I like the girls (and boy) she is hanging out with now. They are smart and social and cute.

But what about T. Now, I know you are reading this, Mrs T, but I’m going to write about it anyway. It may have been a misunderstanding on my part, but if it was, it’s an interesting misunderstanding. I was talking away with Mrs T and she was chatting back. We’re a noisy pair, the two of us. At one point she said, “I don’t know if I am able to do this.” I am pretty sure she meant that she wasn’t sure she was able to commit to our friendship. She said that friends in her life were compartmentalized – people she walks with, people she plays Parcheesi with, people she sees at church. I was running over onto many areas of her life. Was this going to work?

I think my sister-in-laws philosophy would be to decide the in the person herself was worthy, believe him to be so, and to love them. She was to love them without expectations and when he leaves, he is gone.

I can’t do that. I am too much like Small. I enter a relationship, I expect, no need something from the other person. It’s not a form of manipulation, although I can see how it might be perceived that way. It’s my reality. If love is gentle, patient, kind and keeps no record of wrongs, doesn’t boast then I have to look at a relationship through those eyes. I think that gentleness can be evident to tall without commitment to a person individually, but I do not think that patience can exist without a commitment. I will be patient – also known as “long-suffering” with you. I may not like what you do, or honestly, always like you, but I will be patient with you. You are you, unalterably you, and, even though I might be as zany as thought possible, I will not be reckless with your soul. That is my commitment to you. If I bind myself to you, and things go south, it will be sad and I will be angry. I think that, in most cases, that is okay. It is part of it, ya know? I don’t have the soul of a reed where water and wind blow through me unfettered.

Feeling strangely centered, considering I am pointing out my own non-meditative state. Good bye for now.

I think things are working with T just fine now, thank you very much. She is busy and happy and lost all her excess weight. I am not the same kind of busy, but I have a lot to do, and some times I even do it. I like my friend very much. We are like teenagers. Once overweight teenagers with husbands who work and don’t go to school. And text each other all the time. And drink Peet’s coffee.

Life is good.

More joy than you can handle? No.

I hate to admit my fantasies. In my up and down mind I think everyone dreams of tropical beaches, drinking mai tais and being rubbed down with coconut oil. That sounds great, but it’s not the way I roll.

I fantasize taking this out and out abusive father, holding him back and letting someone much bigger than him get beaten up. Then, once he falls to the ground I would hit his head over and over again with a 2×4.

I think of how I could run away with Small, or how I could leave permanently without making things horrid for my family or whoever else is involved in our lives.

Aren’t I emotionally healthy? Don’t I forgive people easily? Aren’t I the kind of person who deals with her feelings productively?

I drove the forty-five minutes to the psychiatrist’s office to be reminded she rescheduled and I wouldn’t get to see her today. I burst out in tears. Here I tried to tell myself my beating a fellow brother to death was 1/2 chemical and 1/2 vengeful, really trying to get that under control and I had no one to help me.

And no appointments until October. (It’s 9/19).

Of course, at that point my nose started to gush blood. It’s not uncommon, but that doesn’t make it less of a pain in the arse.

I drove home, decided to let Small eat in the cafeteria, sometime I refused to do my whole life. She loves it because she loves people and wants to spend time with them.

That makes one of us.

Where am I finding joy in this?

Yesterday I went to pick up Small from school. Her little friend, (the only “brown” girl in her class) ran up to see and hugged me first. Small was visibly upset and we talked about why when we got home. She is not really a crier, but she cried when she told me that I hurt her because I didn’t hug her first. “Of course,” I thought, “how else could it be?” On the way to school this morning we tried to figure out the best way to make sure she got the first hug. We decided arms folded across the chest was it. So, later today, I will be hugged by her friend, but not hug her back until I hugged Small first.

I told you before, she is the only second grader that still runs to her mommy after school. From the sadness that she didn’t get the first hug, to the running towards me, all of this gives me joy. I wouldn’t choose sadness, but it is an indicator of how much things are important to her. I am glad that what’s important to her is me.

Believing in the One

For many, many years I worked in youth ministry at an Evangelical Christian Church. Please don’t stop reading – I’m not going to walk you through the Four Spiritual Laws (I have a problem with them anyway.) I’m not going to offer a free Bible if you subscribe. I’m just going to talk about dating, courtship and marriage. Just that.

In our group we discouraged dating in High School. It was a time to be “on fire” for God and to focus on His relationship with us and ours with Him. We should study, have a lot of fun, and do our best to remain pure in every single way. We saw kids who were strong in their faith felled by relationships. I would say to the girls, and I believed it then and believe it now, that the question we should ask is not, “How far can we go physically?” but rather, “How far can I go to be a blessing to God?” I don’t know if anyone ever listened to me, but it’s a good question. I should ask myself that more often.

I heard a lot of stupid things about marriage and dating at that time. One of the kids once told me that relationships were like a pyramid with God at the top. The two of you are on the edge, and the closer they get to the top the closer they get. I didn’t buy that for a second, and I told her so. The unmarried members of the staff were far more Godly and could be committed to God because of their singleness.

I read some books. A lot of them focused on saving the entirety of yourself for your one true soul mate. I wanted (still do) for the to wait for marriage to have a physical relationship, but I don’t think there is a call to wait for that soul mate. I saw relationships continue a lot longer than they should have because they believed since they were both Christians they wouldn’t have been brought together if they weren’t perfect for each other. I’ve also seen young people stay in physical relationships because they believe to be “married in the eyes of God.” They weren’t. (If there is a call for me to write more about this here, or to dash out an email I will). But that’s the danger of one of the “soul mate” designs.

Here is another reason why: Say some kids decide they like each other. They decide to be in an exclusive relationship. The do not have sex of any kind. (This is actually pretty funny to me – do you think you’re fooling God by “just” having oral sex or “just” groping one another?) The couple does share a lot of things with their girlfriend or boyfriend but the relationship doesn’t work out. Not only are they broken-hearted they feel like they’ve dishonored and misunderstood God. They thought that this relationship was going to be their last, but it wasn’t. Their faith in God’s leading takes a blow and guilt sets in. They feel that they did something very wrong.

I think it’s not necessarily true. After I become a Christian, I learned it was possible to love God through a relationship that didn’t ultimately end in marriage. We shared a lot of our lives together and I believe he saw us on a marriage track. I didn’t feel the same, but after a short time, we were able to be good friends. We didn’t belong together and the reality was both of us knew it. He came a long way to attend our wedding.

Some people argue that a heart that is never broken is no way to begin a relationship. I don’t know if I agree or not. In Genesis, the Bible says, “And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.” We can be there for each other, renew our souls and teach us trust. I’m not recommending serial dating, I don’t think that’s healthy either, but there are many rules that we taught that aren’t necessary true or Biblical.

The paths are different for everyone. It goes back to everyone’s Journey. I believe in seeking counsel, but I also believe that ultimately the decision needs to be 100% up to the couple. That said, I don’t think you can be 100% sure. You can be sure about your commitment to marriage, but without some sort of doubt you can’t have faith. Marriage is a huge act of faith. What are you to know about the next five, ten or fifty years? You can’t know what will happen in one year. We were married about two and a half when I was diagnosed with bipolar illness. I’m quite sure my husband clung to the fact he told God and everyone, he married me and would stand by me “in sickness and in health….as long as we both shall live.”

I know that my husband is the “one” for me. Ya know how? Because I’m married to him. I took a huge leap and found myself in love, pleasing to God and matched up. We’ve had quite a bit of troubles sometimes, but we are still together because we told God we would and because He is welding us together. We disconnect sometimes and truly connect other times. We both promised each other, and the people that watched we get married that we would do all we could to serve and love each other. We promised God we would, too. When our pastor asked B why he was sure I was the right one, B said it was because of the sense of “peace”. It’s funny to hear a man I respect and admire ask the question I think is most silly. He has an enviable relationship with his wife and family. For him, there might have been just “one”. I’m okay with that, even though I believe it is not true of every couple.

Don’t pop your gum at a wedding.

It was about 100 degrees at Chris Jantz and Abigail Williams outdoor wedding. They had golf cart driving us from the parking lot to the wedding site and “shade worshipers” under the oak trees. The groom’s mom set up the cake, a five tiered white square cake with black ribbon. Her catering company also prepared the food. I knew it would be perfect.

We sat on chairs that had water bottles underneath the seats so no one was (that) uncomfortable. The sun glared right on the guests, but it really didn’t matter. Relatives were marched down the aisle by the appropriate groomsmen. My favorite part of any wedding, ever, was the look of surprise and joy on the groom’s face and I missed it.

The bride entered and she, of course was beautiful. Her dress was gathered around the skirt with a strapless bodice. I told her later her dress was amazing and she was one of the prettiest brides I had ever seen. It was true – but to be honest with all of you – the reason I say that is I don’t remember hearing that enough at my wedding – People told me how gorgeous my brother’s girlfriend looked about 1,000 times (she was not in the wedding), andhow my bridesmaid looked like Audrey Hepburn. There must have been some people who told me I looked pretty, but I just forgot about it. It is true every bride I see last is my favorite bride, and I make sure to tell her that.

The ceremony was beautiful too. The couple had been friends since elementary schools, and in third grade the little girl wrote on her Christmas tree ornament, “Abigail Elizabeth Jantz”. She had her eye on him for a long time.

The groom owned and ran a screen printing company (Only twenty(!) years old). As guest gifts we were given t-shirts with their Romans’ wedding verse. The food was delicious, the toasts were joyful and encouraging. Everything was wonderful and seemed to go off without a hitch.

Except. Here is when mental illness rolls in. One of the women three rows ahead of me was chewing and popping her gum. I could not believe anyone could be so tacky, who would make extra noise anywhere and be so rude at a wedding. I don’t mind gum, actually, but popping gum turns me in to a nutcase. I was trying to calm myself down, I prayed for peace for myself, I tried to relax, but I couldn’t do it. I started crying (which is okay at a wedding). I couldn’t accept myself or the situation. All I thought of was how this not so terrible woman (see, I’ve made some growth) was popping her gum and I was so upset that I couldn’t enjoy this wedding.

I took an Ativan, something I try not to do, even though I carry it and Xanax. I called B and was crying, trying to get soothed and get cared for, but my metropcs phone had been dropped enough times that it is difficult to make a real call. (Texting is okay.) The call was dropped and we couldn’t understand each other anyway.

I really try not to make things be about me that aren’t. The wedding wasn’t not about me and about poppy-girl. It was about Abigail and Chris. My craziness took over. The Ativan calmed me enough to give me some sort of relaxation and perspective, and it helped me not be so sad at what had been stolen from me.

During the bride/grooms dancing, Small got up on the tiny dance floor pretending to snap picture from all angles. I regrettably,left the camera at home. They looked wonderful together.

I wish I could have been more present, but that’s not what happened that day. I’m needing to work radical acceptance in to my life more. I don’t like it, but it’s part of the package that is my life. I’m growing in this, I’ll keep growing in this.

Abigal and Chris, best wishes.