Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Marriage’

I Saw Something Beautiful

I saw something beautiful last night.  I didn’t sleep well, and I woke up early because of it. I am feeling a compulsive urge to capture what I saw in words.  The sun won’t be up for a while, but I need to write this now.

Is this how real artists feel?  I always told people I was an artist; they should stop treating me like a normal person.  Artists shouldn’t be expected to do the dishes and go to work is what I have been saying.  Do you think Picasso had to get his own coffee?  It’s hard when you’re the only one who really “gets it”.

Last night we celebrated my Aunt and Uncle’s 55th wedding anniversary.  A lot of years ago, my Dad’s sister, Peggy,  went to a movie with a tall skinny guy she met, named Stan.  These two kids hit it off.  They got married: 3 daughters, 7 grandkids and 55 years later, seemed like a good time to celebrate,

stan peg inviate

My cousins hosted this celebration for their parents in one of my cousin’s backyards last night.  This party was a Pinterest explosion.  My cousins are like that.  If these ladies lived in a cardboard box, the cardboard box would have walls covered in a faux finish; there would cozy lighting and shabby chic pillows cast artfully about so that you’d be jealous of their cardboard box.  You’d wish you could live in a cardboard box too, instead of a dumb ol’ house.

That’s just my cousins; they can’t help it.  They’re not trying to make you feel badly about how every time you attempt style in your house, it looks like you hired a 9-year- old decorator.  Trust me.  These women aren’t doing this on purpose. At least,  that’s what my therapist told me to think about that.

But, we can dig into your insecurities later.  Right now, I want to capture this beautiful thing I was telling you about.

First, I have to go backwards.  My Aunt and Uncle live 2 hours away.  We had 2 hours for Scott (and Zeke)  to hear all the important stuff my brain has been storing.  My family must love our car rides.

I was telling Scott and Zeke about some folks I’ve been reading about in the press lately.  These folks are semi famous for one reason or another.  These folks have always claimed to be hard core Christians.  I mean, from what they’ve told us, this being a Christian thing is their main message in life, and the main thing we should learn about from them.  They’ve spoken about their Christianness with authority.

Recently,  it has come to light, that while these famous Christian people are using fame to convince us of their upstanding Christianness, they are simultaneously orchestrating a heinous private life.  I don’t know why I’m surprised by this stuff anymore.  It’s not a new thing.  I can’t help it though.  I always take it hard.

It isn’t the heinous private life that troubles me.  I’m not in charge of other people.  We are all responsible for our own choices, and the resulting consequences.  What makes it hard for me to recover is the big, fancy, public display of Christian faith.

Do you want to know what super unchristian thought I have when I hear these stories?  I’m going to tell you, because I need Jesus, and here’s how I know it.  When I hear these stories, I think about these people, and I want to say, “Just SHUT UP!  Please.  Stop talking.   Just stop.  Not another word.”

This is what I was telling Scott and Zeke on the way up to my Aunt and Uncle’s anniversary celebration.  I told my family that I was starting to come to the conclusion that people should just quit talking about their faith completely.  Maybe talking about Jesus is the easiest thing in the world to do.  Because, literally, anybody can do it.

I said that I felt like in a world with everyone yammering on (guilty) about how you should live, and what you should believe, there’s nothing new to hear.  I told my family that in a world like this, my actions are my testimony.  My life is my testimony.  I feel disillusioned by all the speeches.

That’s where my mind was at when we parked in front of my cousin’s house.

After we ate dinner, my cousins had a short little program lined up.  My Aunt and Uncle played, “The Newlywed Game”.  That was fun to watch.  Then, my cousins told the crowd what their parents’ happy marriage meant to them in their lives. Everything.

My cousins then asked the five grandkids if they would like to share a few words about their Grandparents.  You could tell this was a surprise request.

stand and peg anniversary

And, this is the beautiful thing I saw.

All five of these grandkids are young adults:  married for a short time, getting married, or going to college.  That sums up where these kids are at in life.  One by one, while holding back tears,  these kids told all of us sitting there how much their Grandparents meant to them.

Each grandchild told their Grandparents that they appreciated all their physical support.  The grand kids said thank you for all the meals they ate  with Grandma and Grandpa,  for the golf games with Grandpa, and for the luxury of knowing Grandma and Grandpa would be there to support them with whatever they chose to do.

The other thing that every single one of these grandkids thanked Grandma and Grandpa for was their faith in Jesus Christ.  These kids explained that Grandma and Grandpa helped them understand that no matter how difficult life became, their faith could carry them.

That’s it.  That’s the beautiful thing I saw.

I saw two young kids who committed themselves to God and to each other 55 years ago.  I saw an imperfect couple who spoke to God privately, daily, asking God for help, asking God  to show them how to raise a family, because they couldn’t do it on their own.  I saw a couple who endured heartache, trauma and their share of disappointment over a lifetime.  I saw a couple who’s faith allowed their hearts to resist bitterness, and to remain content.

I saw a couple who didn’t give grand public speeches about how people should live.  I saw a couple who, in the privacy of their own home,  fell on their knees before God;  Praying to a God they believe is  intimately invested and concerned with the well being of their family and the world.

I saw a couple who  woke up early, without witnesses, and read God’s Word; believing God’s promises were meant for them.

I saw a couple who practiced generosity and kindness every day.  A couple who said they were sorry, who asked for forgiveness.

I saw a couple who’s Grandkids have been watching and listening to their Grandparents.  Those Grandkids received an inheritance from their Grandparents worth more than any amount of money on Earth.

Grandma and Grandpa are towards the end of their lives now.  There will come a day when Grandma and Grandpa will not be physically available to offer comfort and support to the people they love.  But, Grandma and Grandpa’s hearts can be at peace.  Their private lives have been a testimony with impact.  Their grandkids were watching, learning and receiving instruction.  Their grandkids are now claiming their Grandparents’  faith as their own. These grandkids told their Grandparents, thank you.  We will not be shaken.

To me, it’s beautiful.  I can’t know if that’s the life I’m living, but that’s the life I desire.  I can say just about anything to anyone.  But, my family is watching what I do.  I really, really, don’t want to mess that up.

My cousin, Jodi, told me last night that shortly after each Grandchild was born, Grandpa Stan would take the grandchild in his arms and go for a little walk.  On their walk Grandpa would whisper his prayer to God,   committing his new grandchild to the Lord, asking for God’s blessing to cover this new grandchild. Grandpa Stan would also ask God for the favor of building a true and genuine faith in the heart of this new little human.  So that this precious, fragile life would feel security and peace despite what trials may come.

Grandpa Stan performed this meaningful, divine, life altering ritual privately.  Grandpa Stan followed where God led his heart, for the sake of his and his Grandchild’s spiritual lives.  Without an audience, and in front of no one.

It was beautiful.

.

Cheers to a Future…

Hey y’all, give me a little hug around the neck. Ya hear?

Sorry.  “Friday Night Lights.”

I’m heavily influenced by whatever story I am currently following.  Remember when I was Scottish?  I’m a Texan now

I told you, I’m not that good at pacing myself; a pretty standard trait for those of us suffering with some bits and pieces of attention deficit issues. That’s a paradox, right?  People who struggle to apply their attention, actually OVER apply their attention when they’re engaged with something that is of interest to them.  Like “Friday Night Lights”.

Scott said he feels like I’m cheating on him with this show.  I’m always sneaking away to catch a few more minutes with my Friday Night Lights friends.   I half listen to Scott’s stories, because in my head I’m busy trying to solve all my friends’ problems from Dillon, Texas.

Not to worry.  I’m almost done with all these people.  I haven’t been eating and sleeping as much lately; I’ve watched almost 5 seasons in one month.  It’s called commitment.  You might want to try it.  Maybe you could finally make something of yourself.

Other things that have been happening while I’ve been living in Texas are college visits.  Here we are.  It’s time.  Eddie has always seen himself as someone who’s going to college.  When Eddie was in Kindergarten, he would come home from school and immediately put Scott’s videos of the Iowa Hawkeye wrestling tournaments in to the VCR.  I remember thinking that was a little unique for a 5-year-old.  Shouldn’t he be watching “Caillou”?  Eddie couldn’t abide that little Caillou.  Not even for a second.

Poor Eddie. He’s so much like me, I hate to tell him how much. He loves what he likes. Eddie had an insatiable appetite for college wrestling.  He still does.

So, college is certainly on the horizon for Eddie.  Good for him.  Can I be serious for a few lines?  I want to say out loud how much I  appreciate the opportunity to consider possibilities.  I didn’t always believe we’d be here.  Eddie has a future. Eddie has a future.  Eddie has a future.  I’m just going to keep saying it until I believe it.

When Eddie was in grade school, we knew this wonderful family.  This family had a couple of boys who wrestled for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  One of these boys put together a care package for sick little Eddie from the Hawkeye wrestling team.  The package included Hawkeye t-shirts worn by some of the wrestlers, including one t-shirt signed by everyone on the team.  There were also some nice notes in the package, including a short note from  Coach Dan Gable.  If you say you’re a wrestling fan, and you don’t know Dan Gable, you’re busted.  Gable is a wrestling legend;  besides those Olympic gold medals he owns,  he was also the coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes for many years.

This note from Dan Gable gave Eddie a few words of encouragement.  Gable told Eddie that it was good Eddie was getting all this sickness out of the way when he was young, so when Eddie was older he could do all the wrestling he wanted.

This. For sure. This was the best gift Eddie has ever received. Hands down.  No contest.  We framed all of it, and it might be the only Earthly possession Eddie cares about.

I remember reading Gable’s words, and feeling kind of hopeful.  I mean, Gable didn’t know Eddie, or even what was wrong with Eddie.  But, he was Dan Gable. Maybe he knew stuff about the future.  I loved him for pretending he did.

So, the future is now.  Eddie’s looking forward to a college, and, hopefully, more wrestling.  Gable called it.

The first college Eddie wanted to visit was my Alma Mater. I wish this visit had something to do with me; it’s purely coincidence.  Or, I should say, it’s purely about wrestling.

When we were on vacation with Scott’s family last week, we took the opportunity to visit campus.  I have not been to my Alma Mater since I graduated.  It’s funny how quickly you remember things.  I gave my family a tour; I wasn’t half bad.

The kids wanted to know where I stayed on campus.  I told them that their Dad and I were married then.  I lived off campus with their dad while I finished college.  The kids responded to this information with instantaneous disgust.  Especially Olivia.

Olivia is appalled that I did not have the independence nor the dignity to earn a college degree before I chained myself down to a man for the rest of my life.  I told Olivia that while I respect her point of view, I do admit I really liked her Dad a great deal; I think there’s a decent chance things are gonna work out, despite our foolishness.

UNI

Just hangin’ around campus in our Crocs.

zeke uni

Zeke wishes he was as cool as that guy.

la la uni

Her wrestling stance needs some work.

One Complaint and our Happy Anniversary.

You know I don’t like to be mean, right? I hate hurt feelings. I avoid hurt feelings almost always.  Except sometimes.  Like now.  I can’t help it.  I just wanted to say this one thing, and then I’m done.  I’m sorry if it hurts feelings, but sometimes there are things begging to be said.

This one thing I wanted to say was about politics and Facebook.  Right, I know.  You’re already annoyed.  Just hold on a sec.  I’ll be quick about it.  I just wanted to gently point out that there a few things on the interwebs that aren’t actually true.  I’m sorry if you didn’t know it.

Be careful, okay?

There’s more.  The thing is this.  Sometimes, I see viral political posts with inflammatory titles.  Sometimes I click on these posts; usually for entertainment.  Once you are somewhat fluent in interweb-speak, you can identify real news from propaganda.  I worry for folks who can’t tell the difference.

The other day, there was this really outrageous political story posted; the poster was very mad about this political thing.  I looked up the website from where the story originated; it is a fake news website, and I don’t mean “The Onion” either.  Most people know “The Onion” is satirical.   I mean a website that was created to make you think it was a real news website. Only, it isn’t  It’s fake news, written by people who are fake reporters who have the job of coming up with fake stories.  Yep. Real job.

For further entertainment, I looked at the comments below the story.  People were really mad about this thing that never happened.  Some people devoted entire paragraphs loaded with misspelled words and grammatical errors, expressing their anger over this thing that never happened.  It made me feel sorry for humans.  We’re so easily manipulated.

I have to admit, some of the angriest posts with the poorest English had me clicking on the author to get a better look.  Outspoken, angry people with poor grammar intrigue me.  Those kind of people should teach classes on how to improve your self esteem.  I mean, good for them.  They’ve never spent a minute of their lives doubting themselves.

I’m done with that subject.

This week Scott and I celebrate 22 years of freakin’ wedded bliss, baby!  Every day is a honeymoon in our house.  Every day I’m surprised with another love sonnet, a bedroom covered in rose petals, or a lovely serenade.  Wait.  That isn’t what your marriage is like?  Gosh.  Sorry about that.   Maybe you should take some marriage classes or something.

Well.  I might be misrepresenting things just a little.  Things might possibly be a bit less romantic than I described.  But, still, pretty good.  I mean, Scott and I texted each other about a half dozen times this week.   All the texts were about our schedules, but, I think that counts.  AND…we both know our anniversary is this week.  That is also something kind of unusual. We usually remember our anniversary AFTER it happens.  That’s kind of dreamy, right?

Did I tell you that Reggie had surgery this week?  He did.  He had surgery, and he also had 4 teeth pulled.  Reggie has to wear the Elizabethan Collar for the next two weeks.  Otherwise known as the dog cone of shame.

cone of shame

One night this week, Scott mentioned how busy we’ve been; he said he might like to talk to me again some time this summer.  I told him I was thinking the same thing.  I miss him.  I feel like we are living parallel lives that rarely intersect.  We are using all of our mental and physical resources to manage our careers, children and home.  We wouldn’t dream of making ourselves, or our relationship a priority. That would be selfish, right?

Scott and I got into bed that night.   I strained my head to look at Scott over Reggie’s cone of shame as Reggie laid in the middle of the bed; I thought, I just don’t know what comes between us.  How does it happen?

I have been thinking that there are other married people with relatively happy marriages, and busy teenagers, who are like us.  Couples who take their obligations seriously, who are happy to devote their days to serving all the people in their lives. It wouldn’t occur to these couples to schedule their lives around their relationship with their spouse, because they know that is the one relationship that will always be there.  Because all marriages last forever, right?

Maybe some of us need to rethink how we do things?

I don’t know about rose petals, sonnets and serenades, but I’m going to try to turn this ship around.  Here’s my love poem to Scott.  Happy 22nd Anniversary, my love!

I Like You

I like your hair.  I like your eyes.

I like your jokes, and how you’re a cute guy.

I like the way you try your best.

I like the way you rarely rest.

I like knowing you cannot lie.

But when my butt looks big, I’d like you to try.

I like the gentle way you are a Dad.

I like knowing our kids’ pain makes you sad.

I like the way you never brag.

I like when you deny I look like an ol’ hag.

I like the way you like to have fun.

Baseball, ping pong, or going for a run.

I like that you are kind and not angry.

But, mostly, I like that you chose me.

And THAT, my friends, is how you make Emily Dickinson look like an amateur.

scott and miki

43 things I Have learned in 43 years

I know.  That’s a lot of things.  I was trying to think about how to commemorate another year on this Earth.  What I thought of was a really, really big surprise party.  I mean, I’m simple. So, not a formal black tie thing.  Just a couple hundred people (or so) waiting to surprise me  at a fine restaurant.  Special people from throughout my 43-years will be there to offer their kind tributes and special memories.  We’ll have a table set up for gifts and money.  A really big table.

I tried organizing this thing, but it’s weird.  No one was calling me back.   I have a sneaky suspicion they’re organizing this whole thing without me. They probably don’t want me to lift a finger.  I get it.

I keep spying on Scott when he’s on the phone, to see if I can catch him in the act of making plans for my party.  He’s so good.  He always makes it seem like he’s talking to his assistant coach about wrestling.  He’s very convincing.

While I’m waiting for the gala to get off the ground, I thought I’d make a list of 43 things I’ve learned during my 43 years on Earth.  If you don’t have time to read the list now, don’t worry.  I’ll read them out loud for everyone at my surprise party.  You’re invited…to organize it.

43 Things I’ve Learned:

1. Keep your expectations for birthday’s and other holidays low.  Then, you’ll be happy with whatever you get.  I always do this.

2. Beans make you toot.  (I’m sorry.  It’s just that I’m scared I won’t be able to think of 43 things. I thought I’d start with the basics.)

3. Exercise helps almost everything.

4. So does a positive attitude.

5. Exercise outside whenever possible.

6. Being outside helps when you’re sad.

7. If you’re sad all the time,  something is wrong.  Address it.

8. People who know you shouldn’t have to worry about what kind of mood you’re in.  Be predictably pleasant.

9. Happiness = gratitude

10. Gratitude = liking the way God made you, and what you have already.

11. Don’t be hard to please.

12. If you’re thinking a kind thought about someone, tell them.

13. If you’re not thinking kind thoughts, ask yourself why.

14. Hear people.

15. Don’t interrupt.

16. Always bring more than your fair share.

17. The only right place to brag is on your resume.

18. Be curious.  Try new things.

19. Figure out what comes naturally to you, what you’re passionate about. Embrace it.

20. People want you to listen and care.  They rarely need your advice.

21. Root for other people.

22.  If you don’t like Doctors and taking medicine, eat real food.  Don’t eat more than you need. You don’t need as much as you think.

23. Don’t spend more money than you make.

24. Be organized.  If it’s hard for you, you can teach yourself how to do it.  Pinterest.

25. Work hard.

26. Being nice isn’t the same thing as telling people what they want to hear.

27. Be quick to forgive.  Don’t hold grudges, especially against yourself.

28. Say you’re sorry.

29. You know  you’re with good friends when it feels effortless.

30. Read.  A lot.

31. Look your best.

32. You can’t look your best with no effort.

33. Don’t be easily offended.  If things bother you a lot, that’s not things, that’s you.

34.  The more you talk about religion and politics, the less likely people will be to listen to you.

35. Don’t say mean things.

36. Don’t believe mean things you hear.

37.  Some people will never like you.  Like them anyway, and let them go.

38. Figure out what you believe.

39. Little kids and pets.  The best stuff life has to offer.

40. Laugh every chance you get.

41. Wearing fancy name brands for others to see.  Joke’s on you.

42. Quality over quantity.

43. Beans really do  make you toot.

This is my list.  I doubt these things have ever been said before.  I know what you’re thinking.  It’s like you just heard from a modern day Socrates.  I’m not trying to be a control freak about this surprise party, but you might want to think about mentioning the Socrates thing  in your tribute.  Just a suggestion.  But, really, do what you want. Remember? I’m not hard to please.

P.S. I asked Zeke and Scott to listen to my blog as their Birthday gift to me.  I’m not sure those two guys even know I write a blog. Well, they listened, and they gave this post the thumbs up.  Almost.  Scott said he had some slight reservations.  He said he really just doesn’t think beans do make you toot.

Then, he wanted clarification.  Scott said, “I mean, are we talking green beans, black beans, what kind of beans? Because, I’m not sure you can just simply say beans make you toot.  How do you know they do for sure?”

P.P.S. I’m not going to read Scott any more of my blogs.

P.P.P.S. Zeke didn’t like #31.  He thought it was weird that I said looking your best was something I would say I learned.  That IS weird, because mostly I’ve told my kids it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

I told Zeke that I thought looking your best gives you a psychological advantage.  And, I told him it’s good for a marriage to…

“Stop, Mom.  I don’t want to hear another word.”  Zeke interrupted me.

P.P.P.P.S. I didn’t enjoy reading the list to those guys as much as I thought I would.

Your visits here helped make my 43rd year AWESOME! That’s your gift to me, and I want you to know I’m grateful!  Here’s to 43 more great ones, and to staying the heck away from beans.  Tooting jokes always kill.

Birthday 43

I’m actually 43, not 34. I just wanted my age to be perfectly clear to my dyslexic friends.

The Purge

Most married couples have their fights.  After you’ve been married a while, you realize that you’re really  just having the same fight on a different day.  Slightly different versions of the same fight.  But still, the same fight.    At least that is what Scott and I do.

A typical danger zone for Scott and me is when we are in a new place.  He is driving, and I am navigating.  I am terrible at navigation.  He is terrible at patience.   The first time Scott used GPS to navigate, he was alone with Eddie. When they arrived at their destination, Scott called me right away.  He wanted to tell me that the  GPS was marriage saving technology.

Another thing Scott and I  fight about is stuff.  Things.  Objects.  We treat stuff differently.  Scott treats his stuff very carefully.  He keeps it organized and in good repair.  He holds on to his stuff FOR.EVER.

I’m not so careful.  I think it’s just stuff.  Here today.  Gone Tomorrow.  I usually want to get rid of our stuff.

Recently, we were driving somewhere in my car.  Scott was in the driver’s seat.  He found his sunglasses that he had been looking for in the pocket of the door.  They were broken.  He was a little irritated.  He said, “Can’t we agree that you should just use your stuff, and I’ll just use my stuff?”  Then, he added, “If you do use my stuff, could you at least try to take care of it?”

I’m like, “Can we agree for you to  not be so picky?  They’re just sunglasses.   I don’t know what Scott gets all worked up about, anyway.  They work, don’t they?”

sunglasses

 

I thought Scott would never change.  For years we have been arguing about all this stuff.  I try to haul it out the door, he tries to drag it back inside.  He admits that one of his biggest fears is that we will be in need of something that we have given away.  It’s not his fault.  He grew up in the Great Depression.  Well, he didn’t, but he certainly could have.  He would have done well for himself in the Great Depression.

Scott has had an epiphany lately. This summer he is becoming a new man.  He is finally ready to get rid of stuff.  I’m shocked at what he’s finally ready to let go.  We have been tearing through the basement, and hauling away bags of silly, old stuff.

He has had these slippers for as long as I have known him.  He says he’s ready to give them away.  He was thinking to charity.  I was thinking to the incinerator.  Think of the lucky young man who will stumble across these shiny slippers at Goodwill.  The things our family does for those less fortunate.  I didn’t mean to make you cry.  I’m sorry.   Let us just be an inspiration to you and your family.  Give until it hurts.

 

slippers

 

The slippers were a huge indication of how serious Scott is about ridding ourselves of all of these things that are unnecessary.  Something even bigger than slippers happened though.  Scott said we could get rid of this:

dubuque girl

 

You know what that is?  That is a signed poster from the spokes model for Dubuque Star  Beer.   The model signed this for Scott when he was a freshman in college.  Yes, that’s a cornfield behind her.  In Iowa we laid out at the cornfield.

She wrote on the poster, “Dear Scott, you’re the hottest guy I’ve seen all day.  Thanks, Mary”

This was a big moment for Scott.  I know he had a lot of unspoken emotional attachment to this poster.  Mary was a special lady.   Scott spent some quality minutes with her while she took the time to sign this poster.

Over the years we’ve run across that poster several times.  Scott never failed to show me what Mary wrote.

“Miki, did you see what is written on this poster?”

“Yep,” I said. “I read it.  Again.”

I could tell it was a fond memory for him.  I was always impressed.  I felt like a pretty lucky person to have gotten the guy Mary thought was so hot.  The hottest.

After we cleaned the basement and threw the poster in the garbage, I told Scott I was proud of him.  I said that I knew it was a big deal for him to get rid of all that stuff, especially the memento from his special lady friend.  I said, I’m sure you really were the hottest guy there that day.

He was watching TV when I said that.  He didn’t bother to look away from the TV.  He casually replied, “Oh, I asked her to write that.”

This whole thing.  This life of mine.  It’s all been a lie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Treat Your Daughter Like a Princess

I was watching one of those culturally profound reality shows the other day.  You know, the ones that enrich our understanding of today’s culture, and give us a more relevant perspective of the socioeconomic implications in today’s modern lifestyle.  Yeah.  That’s the only reason I watch those shows.  It’s more like research.  Because, I’m more like a scientist. And, more like a liar.

Anyway, there was one man on this show who was some kind of surgeon.  His wife was throwing a giant birthday bash for their little daughter.  I would guess the daughter was 7 or 8 years old.  All the little girls were dressed up as princesses.  So were their moms.  It’s true.  That happened.

If I had a nickel for every time my friends and I dressed up as princesses – just an excellent way to spend an evening.   One of the moms on the reality show even came to the party in a horse and carriage.   Definitely doing that at the next girls’ night out.  Too bad the moms were all screaming at each other by the end of the night.  I never saw that coming.

The Surgeon/Dad asked for the girls’ attention.  He wanted to make an important speech.  He said something to his young female audience about how his family wanted these girls to dress up like princesses on this special day so that the girls could remember that they deserved to be treated like princesses.  He told them they should ALWAYS remember that they DESERVED to be treated like princesses.  He said no matter how old they got,  they should expect to be treated Like. A. Princess.

Do you like that message?  I can see where a person might.  I didn’t.  I thought this Dad/Surgeon, and all the adults in that show could use some parenting help.  This Dad’s message made me think that adults like him are doing young girls wrong.

Have you hung out lately with any kids who feel entitled?  Yeah.  They’re not very fun.  Well, I guess they can be  fun, as long as they’re getting what they want, and everything is going their way.

Parenting 101:  How to make a bad person:   Tell them they deserve to be treated like royalty.

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I was talking to my sons about this show on our long drive to Colorado.  I could tell they didn’t totally understand why it bugged me so much.  So, I switched it up.  I said, “What if I told you boys that no matter what, you should be treated like a King.  You deserved to be treated like a King. You should find a spouse who will TREAT you like a King.”

Then they understood.  They laughed pretty hard.  The thought of what I had just described made them uncomfortable. I hope that if my boys marry some day, that they would expect their spouse to treat them a little less like a King; a little more like a friend.   I was relieved my sons could see the absurdity.

Why would I tell my children that they are superior to others?  Why would I tell them to dwell on their superiority?  Why would I tell them to find someone who will recognize their superiority, and treat them accordingly? Why would I set them up for failure like that?

My advice to my kids is to stop thinking about how people treat you.  Don’t focus on that.  Focus more on how you’re treating other people.  Treat others kindly, and with respect. You’ll see that people will usually return the favor.

Don’t even get me started on this word “deserve”.   I really hope my kids would say that the word “deserve” is rarely spoken in our home.  I feel like they would say that. I don’t like that word.  I can’t picture that word coming out of Scott’s mouth either, unless it was part of a joke.  Not even Royalty deserves to be treated like Royalty.

People who walk around thinking about what they “deserve” are people who spend less time being happy.  What do we really deserve anyway?   Do babies “deserve” to be born into poverty, and countries that are ravaged by war?  They don’t, but there they are.  We didn’t do anything to deserve our place and time in history either.  But, here we are.  Let’s always be grateful.  A grateful kid is a happy kid.

Did you hear that the famous singer Sting announced he won’t be passing his fortune on to his six kids?  You know why?  Because he loves his kids.  Sting wants his kids to find their own passion. He wants them to have to work hard to achieve their goals.  He wants all that, because he wants his children to have good and meaningful lives.  I bet he never once told his children that they are like royalty, and they deserved to be treated as such.  He’s too smart to say that.

So that’s my rant on that subject.  Sorry if I got a little carried away.  I’ll stop now.

Do you like Public Radio?  I do.  I was an intern for a Public Radio station in Iowa when I was in college.  I’ve been a fan ever since.  I have always had this inner nerd thing happening in my life. I like my inner nerd. She makes me think.  It’s my inner nerd that truly loves Public Radio.  But, sometimes those Public Radio announcers are too nerdy even for me.

This morning the announcer was covering a book list.  I like their book lists. I try to write down as many of the titles as I can.  This morning’s discussion was between the announcer and the person who conducted the book review.

The announcer was asking the reviewer about the book.  The reviewer said, “This book is so good.  It is based on realism (big pause.  Wait for the punch line.  Wait for it. Wait… for…it).  Elastic realism.”

Then the announcer laughs so hard, he can hardly get control of himself.  The reviewer giggles too.  You get it, right?  Elastic realism?  That’s so flippin’ hilarious, my stomach still hurts from laughing.

No.  That is not funny.  That’s so unfunny. I think those people should be punished for laughing so hard at something so unfunny.    And that’s why sometimes  public radio is too nerdy even for me.

 

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Fidelity

All right my peeps.  It’s time for some straight talk.  I think we’ve been friends for long enough to be real with each other, right?  Today I  am going to get really real.  Like, you may-want-to-cover-your-eyes real.   I want to talk about fidelity, or marriage,or families, or maybe all three.  It’s hard to separate them.

I was talking to a Realtor/friend this week.  She was telling me that she’s getting her butt kicked.  She’s been working with so many friends and acquaintances who are calling it quits.  They’re splitting one home into two.  Everyone is miserable about giving up on what once seemed like a really good idea.

That’s sad stuff.  It’s sad for the family that it’s happening to, but it’s also sad for everybody who cares about them. Everybody who wanted that marriage to last a lifetime,  is now mourning  the fact that it won’t.  Divorce is just sad.  We all know this.

On the same day my friend and I were talking about sad divorces, I had an interesting grocery store experience.   I was getting my cart, and when I turned around this guy appeared from nowhere.  He was about my age, and he was wearing a suit.  I didn’t know him. He said, “Excuse me.  I couldn’t help but notice how nice you look.”

Well, if you want to know how to scare the crap out of me, that’ s a good way to do it.  I jumped.  I think I said, “Thank you.  That’s nice.”   My heart started racing.  Not in a good way, in a scared way.  I pushed my cart away as fast as I could. I think he may have been  following me for a while, but I couldn’t be sure.  My eyes were locked straight  ahead. I am not used to uncomfortable conversations with men.

I know that  guy probably tried that approach 10 times that day. You might be thinking that I’m flattering myself.  You might be right.  He may have thought I was a nice elderly lady who could use a compliment.   But, if that were true, then I couldn’t make a point here.  Just let me make a point.  Can you at least give me that?

This guy got me thinking about some things.  He got me thinking about marriage.  He got me thinking about how precious marriage is, how fragile it is, and how good marriages don’t make themselves.

Many years ago I was a new sales rep.  I was fresh off of my stint as a stay-at-home mom.  I was participating in some training with other, more seasoned sales reps in a city far from home.  We all went out for dinner one night.  The company picked up the tab.  There was plenty of alcohol consumed, and people were having a good time.    I saw married people exchanging numbers and flirting with other married people.  I was told some crazy stories about how things often played out. It wasn’t pretty.

I know I’m not being very open minded, but I am being honest when I tell you that I was disgusted with humanity that night.

I spoke to my manager about it.  He was a good guy.  He was happily married.  I told him that scene wasn’t right.  He told me, “Welcome to the real world, Laura Ingalls.”   He also gave me some sage advice.  He said, “When you are dealing with people in the business world, and of the opposite sex, you either have your ‘open for business sign’ out, or your ‘closed for business sign out.”  He told me that people can read those signs.  He said I had nothing to worry about, because I had a very clear “closed for business” sign. That’s a pretty crass analogy, but it was honest, and it hit the mark.

People do give off signals, don’t they? I probably am not used to having overly familiar conversations with men who aren’t my husband, because I project a signal.  I project a signal that says there isn’t any amount of flattery you throw my way, money, charm or fame you could possess that would make me forget how awesome my husband is, and how fortunate I am to have him.  So, beat it!  At least, I hope that’s my signal.  It should be, because that’s what I’m thinking.

Kudos to grocery store guy for  being stone cold sober and approaching strangers in the hopes of getting a date.  That’s a confident guy.  But really…me? Read my sign, buddy!  You’re up the wrong alley; quit barking.

I was thinking that married people should think about these things.  Marriage is becoming a risky venture in this day and age; married people should invest in  and exercise whatever measures it takes to lessen their risk.  Here are a few ideas on where to start:

Get your fleepin’ “Closed for Business Sign Out” –    Signals aren’t hard to read.  Flirting is a universal language.  Hair flipping, sexual innuendo, standing too close  and laughing too much are all part of the language.  Avoiding talking about spouses and kids is another sure sign that your hook is in the water.

Almost any non-business conversation I’ve ever had with someone of the opposite sex has been peppered with a story about my husband, kids and/or a cute anecdote  about church/faith.   The church stuff is  a classic just-in-case-you-were-getting-any-ideas-here’s-a-bucket-of -cold-water-over-your-head maneuver.

“What’s that you say?  You want to meet for a drink?  That reminds me of the time Jesus met the disciples for a drink.  Would you mind if I asked Jesus to join us?  What am I thinking?  He’ll already be with us.  In our hearts.  Wait.  Where are you going ?”

You can drink, but you can’t get drunk.  Maybe you shouldn’t drink –  I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you.  I know there are tons of good reasons for getting drunk:  it’s good for your health, it’s a good investment,  you feel great the next day,  and we say the coolest things when we’re drunk.  But, there are some bad things about being drunk too. Being drunk opens the gateway for your inner stupid.

If you ever, ever, ever thought about putting out an “open for business” sign, there’s a better chance you’ll do it when you’re drunk.   If I was at a luncheon with those sales people, and everyone was sober, would they still have been flirting and exchanging numbers?  If they were grocery store guy they would.  The rest of them, probably not.

Some  people don’t know how to drink without getting drunk.  In that case, have some apple cider.

Spend more time in risk free places – I’m sorry to beat this alcohol thing to death, but I think we need to be honest with each other here.  When you put that “open for business” sign out, spend a lot of time at the bar, and have a habit of drinking too much.  You’d better be good at handling fire.  You’re playing with it.

How many affairs have started when you’re on a bike ride with your family, or playing basket ball with the kids in the driveway?  Maybe a few.  I’m not sure how, but I guess it could happen.  How many instances of infidelity start at night, in a bar when we’ve had too much to drink?  A few more than a few.

I’m sorry if I sound like a fun killer.  This is just common sense though, right?

Spend time with people who have gold star marriages  You know how we want our kids to pick the right friends?  If they pick friends with bad habits,  those friends habits are likely to rub off on our kids.  You know why we think that?  Because it’s true.

Scott and I have friends who are 20 years older than us, and they make marriage look fun and exciting.  That helps us.

Make sure your BFF is not of the opposite sex – I know.  You have a best friend who is of the opposite sex.  Well, you’re an exception.  Let’s just talk about the rest of the world here.

Almost every woman knows that the most romantic thing her husband can do is to listen to her, and to care about what she is saying.  In good marriages , spouses talk to each other.  They laugh.  They share inside jokes.  That is intimate.

If  something super cool happens, and your first instinct is to call someone of the opposite sex who isn’t your husband, wife,  or family member, that’s something to ponder.  That me be a sign that at some point your marriage will be in danger.

Call a spade a spade – Speak plainly and honestly.  When I had our third baby I had a wicked case of postpartum depression.  It  snuck up on me slowly.  I didn’t know the warning signs.   By the time I figured out what was wrong, I was in deep.  It was too late.

What I learned from that experiences is that one of the best ways for managing, or avoiding future postpartum episodes is to prepare for it in advance.   Doing so, dramatically reduces the odds of going through it again.  The other way to avoid postpartum depression,  is to not have any more babies.  I chose the latter option.

My point is that we all know that infidelity happens.  It’s a real and possible threat for even the coolest/happiest marriages.  Pretending that it isn’t possible is putting yourself at risk.

Speaking with your spouse honestly about how to protect yourselves, and what’s at stake is healthy.   Not in an insecure/whiney way, in a practical way.

It’s also healthy to acknowledge that life happens.   Sometimes our relationships with our spouses are off.  That’s when we are more vulnerable , and apt to make poor decisions.  Talk about that too.   Talk about how it might look easy to start over somewhere else, but talk about how usually it isn’t.  People will be wounded.  A lot of those people are little people.  People we created with each other.

Take care of yourself like you’re still on the market – This one doesn’t need an explanation, does it?  Remember how you used to care how you looked when you were dating?  Keep doing that. Do it for yourself, and do it for your spouse.

Ask for help –  Are there any marriages out there that haven’t hit a slump?  Mine has.  Be secure and confident enough to know that it’s okay to ask for help.  Not from your BFF of the opposite sex, either.  From a counselor.

Pray for your marriage – Put your spouse at the top of your prayer list.  Pray for your relationship.

Well, I’ve got plenty  more, but you’ve given me enough of your time for today.  I just wrote a book.  I didn’t  even know I was going to say all that, but I guess I  did.   Thank goodness I  have  a degree in psychology, and I’m licensed as  a Marriage and Family Therapist in Wisconsin.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to give out all this free, professional advice.

Nope.  You got me again.  I have a degree in communications.   I have nothing  that qualifies me to tell you how to protect your marriage.  I just have a husband that I like and a blog.   You should probably keep that in mind.

 

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