Tag Archives: laughter

On Marital Bliss: Ten Things

Mr Dreamboat and I have been apart while he’s been on a business trip, and I miss him. He Imageis my best friend and confidant and support team and greatest fan. Of course I miss him. This morning as I was sitting down to write a post, I found marriage on my mind.

While it is likely exactly the value of its name, here’s my Two Cents on the subject of a good marriage:

  1. Hold hands. I know that not everyone is affectionate, but we all grew up holding hands, at least as we crossed the street. Holding hands is like having an anchor, it grounds us even while it makes us feel brave enough to fly.
  2. Express gratitude. Perhaps we don’t want to barrage our partner with “Hey, I’m really glad you didn’t pull the covers last night,” but maybe we do. When we tell our spouse what we appreciate about them we don’t have time to criticize, and they have a map of what pleases us.
  3. Be loyal. It’s just not right to tear the person you’ve chosen to be with forever down to others. There’s nothing that makes me leave a party faster than a room full of women carping about their husbands. That’s just bad juju. It’s one thing to seek advice from someone you trust about a problem, it’s another to claim to be a victim of your partner while you’re actually victimizing them with your betrayal.
  4. Revel in their successes. There’s nothing as gratifying as being able to go to that one, special person and celebrate your joys, the compliments you’ve received and the realization of your dreams. There’s no place for jealousy. It’s a pleasure to be the wind beneath another’s wings, especially when you take turns flying.
  5. Expect to give 100%. One of the best piece of relationship advice I ever got was from a college class, I give it to you for free. No relationship is 50/50. There are times when it’s 20/80 others when it’s 90/10. We go back and forth and that’s okay. That’s healthy.
  6. ImageExpress your needs. I still hear people say things like, “We’ll see if he remembers my birthday.” That’s just not fair if you know he has a hard time with it. Last year, after Mr D spent Mother’s Day and the week after in the hospital, and the following 6 weeks recovering. I was feeling a little tapped out when my birthday approached. I made a point of saying to my Dreamboat, “I know it wasn’t your fault, but Mother’s Day was sort of a bust for me, and I’m in a bit of a self-pity phase, I really need you to spoil me for my birthday. It doesn’t have to be expensive, I just really need you to be thoughtful.” That is truly what I needed, I expressed it and I got what I needed. It’s not fair to the other person if we don’t at least give them the information. And conversely, when we receive the information, we need to be listening and responding as well.
  7. Date night. However we woo, and have been wooed in our relationship, somehow it got us into this marital contract. We chose to be here because of wooing. Well, it makes sense that we’d want to stay because of wooing and that needs to be done regularly. Weekly. Weekly Wooing. Do it. This is a non-negotiable item. Woo. Weekly. With gusto.
  8. Have a sense of humor. It is imperative that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Some of my favorite marriage moments involve irrepressible fits of giggling and usually over something ridiculous that I or Mr D has done. Life is funny and it’s even funnier when we laugh together.
  9. Cultivate your friendship. I think we often treat our friends much better than we do our spouses. We show them courtesies and kindnesses that should first and foremost be a part of our home life.
  10. Pretend. My mom often told me to “Fake it ‘til you make it,” meaning sometimes we don’t feel loving and we don’t want to be nice. That’s okay, but sometimes it’s wise to pretend. We do it with children all the time, we don’t really feel loving, but it’s not okay to act the way we feel, so we pretend to be interested or happy or whatever, and usually we find that we feel exactly the way we pretended we were feeling.

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Goodbye, Friend.

Sunday evening a woman I grew up with passed away. We were not especially friends in high school or now, but there is a familiarity that comes from years of classes together, going to church together and seeing pictures and memes on Facebook that makes us feel a closeness of some sort, to one another.

What I like best about Facebook is that it gives us the opportunity to get to know more people in a deeper way than we could in real life, face to face. This is a complete departure from a former view I’ve expressed about the medium, but I think the two ideas can exist at the same time.

I moved away from my small-town, Idaho home when I was young, while Kendra stayed in the area. She went to school, married and built her life. Not having had any contact for many years, but for one class reunion, our connection was purely, and solely Facebook. Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg.

In a world that is so mobile, so constantly changing from one moment to the next, there is a very real feeling of connection we get through this electronic forum. I think it was especially important for Kendra, as I gathered that the last years of her life, she was not easily able to get around. It gave her a way to keep in touch with people. It gave her a broad window to the world.

Throughout our lives, Kendra and I never really ran in the same circles. Except for on Facebook. I feel very fortunate to have known her. I’m so happy that I saw her “wall”, that she commented on my world, I’m so glad it wasn’t too late to get to know one another.

Things I learned about Kendra:

She was a devoted Auntie

She loved her husband

She ADORED her dogs (she had pugs)

She had a kind word for everyone

She was a good friend

She loved and missed her mom

I suspect that by world standards Kendra’s life was not exciting or impressive. But my take is somewhat different. By all electronic evidence she led a rich life with family and friends. She loved deeply, she gave with all her heart, she found joy in the simple things in life and she laughed. I’m grateful that I knew her. Even from a distance, Kendra added joy to my world. I’m sorry that she’s gone.

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What’s Done Is Done

When I returned home from dropping Aaron off at the detention center, my children eagerly met me. They had spent the morning with my mother and carried on at home though there should have been school to attend. It was not a day to respect routine.

I can only imagine what my children went through. While I was there, and going through my own tragedy, we know from having once been there, that childhood is not for the faint of heart. While we may know what is going on, we have no idea how they may be interpreting it, internalizing it and applying the experience to the rest of their lives, for better or for worse.

I tried to be a solid foundation for my kids. In many ways I think I was successful. But I am always surprised when I talk to them about that time and they use words like “intense” and “crazy” to describe me. It makes me a little sad that I couldn’t have been more for them, but that is the nature of life. We will not be enough for anyone in the end, we must rely on a Greater Being to finish what we inevitably will not be able to complete.

As I walked in the door I heard laughter from the family room. I walked into the house more weary than I’d ever felt up to that time. I don’t think I had any idea what to do or how to feel or act or even exist. But children will always lead the way. Because they know so little about pretense and acting, their authentic reactions are to be admired and emulated.

I followed the laughter to the family room. It wasn’t just the kids, but mom was in a giggling fit as well.

“You have to see this, mom,” came the chorus of children’s voices. If I remember correctly, their faces were all red from laughing and they ushered me to the couch were I, too, could see what was so funny.

Before the video was played, Zoë needed to make something clear to me. “Mom,” she began, “this is really funny, but when you see it you might get mad. I just want you to remember that what’s done is done.” She was earnest, almost pleading. I found this all quite odd given that the tone was jovial as I entered the house. “No really, mom. You have to promise me you won’t be mad when you see this.” She kept using the term “What’s done is done.”

When I had finally convinced the group, and in particular Zoë, that I would NOT be angry when I saw the video, it was started for my viewing pleasure.

On the screen was Zoë, trying to talk into the video camera. I don’t recall what she was saying, but a very Imagegoofy and intense 7 year old Chase was busy making faces and being an annoying younger brother. He bothered her, he made rude noises and finally stood in front of the camera, being a goof. Zoë had apparently had enough. In the background you could see her approaching Chase from behind, and as far as one could tell, with one swipe of her foot, she took out her little brother, who disappeared immediately from the screen with a loud “whuuuump”! With a disgusted look on her face you could hear her say, “You’re stupid,” as she turned and walked away.

It was funny. Really, really, painfully funny, and I laughed with them. As it turns out, there was nothing else we could do.

I think about my kids and I think about the wonderful characteristics they each own. They are kind and loyal. They are funny and intelligent. I have to admit that many of their best qualities were likely born of their greatest pain. And what else can one do than be grateful for that?

I also think about human behavior. I think about the cranky man at the grocery store, or the woman at church who gossips and damages others. What might be the events that have brought them here? I can only imagine.

When we take a step out of ourselves, our best bet is to admit that “What’s done is done,” wonder how it all came about and then laugh.

Ten Things That Made Me Smile Yesterday

1. Laughing loudly, and publicly when Chase texted something REALLY funny. I have hilarious kids.

2. Running in the desert.

3. Exceptional sushi with even more remarkable friends.

4. Having one of the great mysteries of my life revealed and relieved by a friend.

5. Watching my oldest son flourish at CEO SpaceImage.

6. Winning a prize (I love winning things!)

7. Calamari for lunch

8. Having a long conversation with a gifted artist, Jane Marquez.

9. Reading my dear friend’s book and LOVING it (It’s SO cool knowing interesting people!).

10. Falling into a deep sleep in the arms of the man of my dreams.

Perfect Moments

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Today’s painting class was a far cry from the one I described to you from the beginning of the season. My friend, Barbara lives on the Alameda ridge in Portland in a charming home built during the 1920’s.  She recently renovated the home and graciously invited us to paint the view from the deck. It was a beautiful scene.  The day was warm with a gentle breeze and we were all invited to participate in a pot luck lunch.  Her home is charming and she is a gracious hostess.  The food was absolutely delicious and colorful and nutritious.  We took an extra long time to have lunch together, the conversation was easy and it was a little piece of perfection.

After class, I picked Chase up from the Kelly’s, got home and made dinner. Zoë got home in time have dinner as a family and then the two of us went down to my studio to look at the framed art, discuss the pieces and what the pricing should be and just talk after a too long separation.

One of the stories Zoë shared with me was about a perfect moment. Zoë is the head wrangler on a guest ranch in Montana. She spends her summers under the big sky of Montana, caring for the animals and taking would-be cowboys out on the open range.  She loves the work and the people she associates with on a day to day basis.

One particular day, as Zoë was bringing the horses in, she had a Dire Straits song playing as the sound track in her head. “Romeo and Juliet” played perfectly to the events of the wrangle as she ripped a branch to use as a mic, smacked a horse on the tail with it and eventually the music died down in her head as the horses headed in to pasture. It was, as she recalled, a perfect moment.

Laying on the floor and listening to my lyrical daughter share the joys of her day to day summer and feeling so in sync with who she is, was a perfect moment, as was my painting class with truly lovely people, my dinner with the abbreviated version of my family, and, and, and…

As we lay on the floor of my studio laughing and talking, we both agreed that the more we recognize those perfect moments, the more we seem to have them.  Lucky, lucky girls.