In The Merry Month of May!

Does anybody besides me remember May baskets on May 1? We moved 4 times while I was in elementary school (another topic for another day), but I think this must have been when we lived in a new suburb of Des Moines, Iowa. We made “baskets” to leave on people’s front porches. I remember ringing the door bell and running, but not what was in the baskets.

This isn’t about May baskets because we don’t do those here and, really, I haven’t done them since the late 1950’s. Which explains why I don’t remember details of the custom, I guess. I just wondered if anyone else did them. And remembers more than I do.

I celebrate a lot in early May.

The retired man I live with was born on May 6. He was a premie and blames his mother’s trying to fatten him up for the number of fat cells he carries around as an adult. He sings the Beatles song “When I’m 64” (here’s a link, with pictures) a lot these days. I always say “Yes, I will and I do.”

I’ve written before about not being good at gift-buying (see here), but this time I had an idea and bought it and wrapped it and had it ready the morning of his birthday. He was totally surprised and said, “You never get me anything. This is great!” I don’t think it mattered what was in the package.

Oh. Lesson learned.

May 9 is my “AA birthday.” It’s the day I picked up a silver chip in front of a lot of people at an AA meeting. That meant I didn’t want to drink anymore. For the 28 years since then, I’ve gone to meetings and continued to learn how to “live life on life’s terms” using the 12 Steps. Look at them sometime (here’s a link).

I keep going back to meetings for several reasons. One, I have good friends there. Two, I’ve heard too many stories from people with long-term sobriety who quit going to meetings, drank again, and then had to come back and start over. I don’t want to do that. Three, it’s where I learned about how to have a personal relationship with God. Four, it’s where almost all of my wisdom about how to wear my life as a loose garment rather than a wetsuit comes from. (And all my clever expressions like that) Five, I am reminded that alcoholism is a chronic illness with no cure. Meetings are my medicine. Also, I feel an obligation to be there for the new person. On the walls of many meeting rooms is this pledge:

I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there.

And for that, I am responsible.

I thank God for the women who were there when I came. They loved me when I didn’t love myself. My home group is a Saturday morning women-only meeting. Sometimes, I think I’m the oldest woman in the room. And that’s okay. I hear young women talk about their mothers (of course!) and sometimes I wince, but mostly I’m glad I got sober when my girls were young. They like me now and want to spend time with me. They let me be alone with their kids. Sober, I’m kind of fun!

May 11 is the anniversary of the day the retired man I live with and I got married. We were 22 and 23 on that sunny May day and didn’t have much of anything except college degrees. The air conditioning wasn’t working at the reception site so my long hair got all big and frizzy. My dress had long satin sleeves and Mike had long sleeves under his tux jacket and we were really hot so we left pretty quickly. His used car broke down right before the wedding so my parents let us go on our honeymoon in their station wagon with wood on the sides. And got his car fixed for us for our wedding present.

We’ve been through a lot in the last almost-41 years. We came close to splitting up a couple of time, but never did. We’re both convinced God wants us to be together. There’s really no other explanation.

I still love him and still think he’s the best-looking man in any room. He makes me laugh and he takes unselfish care of me when I have surgery. He tells people I’m mean as snake and I call him Old Man when he drives. We’re both introverts (that helps) and we live a pretty quiet life. We’re proud of the family we’ve created and are thankful our daughters still like to spend time with us. And now we have 3 adorable grandchildren!

I celebrated Mother’s Day a week early this year. I took both daughters and their families to the beach for a weekend. We had a perfect Saturday playing on the beach and eating and talking. I told them they could have Mother’s Day with their own families this year. I know they love me.

I know they love me, the retired man I live with, my daughters, their husbands (I’m an awesome mother-in-law!) and Adaline, Maggie, and Atticus, my grandchildren. How grateful I am to be able to say that.

 

 

Advertisements
Published in: on May 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Got Purple?

Our wooden front door is purple.  Not lavender or dark purple.  Real purple.  Sherwin Williams “African Violet.”

The retired man I live with has a goofy streak I love.  We picked the door color together.  It looks great.

Our young stay-at-home-mom next-door neighbor emailed us, said she loved the color and asked what kind of paint we used.  She wants to paint her door, too.  I wonder what her husband thinks of that idea.  They haven’t painted yet.  They’re still too young, I guess, for goofy.

The retired man who gets bored easily created a unique sculpture in the living room.  It started life as a wrought iron coat tree.  The arms stick out too far to be useful for coats and the iron arms are at an unsafe eye level for most people.  I move below them, but it’s still a bit scary.

He decided last December it could be our Christmas tree.  He draped little white lights around and up and down.  He hung some colored balls.  It was actually quite cool.  We did get a little bitty real tree for Adaline to decorate.

The iron tree now has an odd assortment of “ornaments”:  A pink and white doll-size baby bottle, an 18-inch plastic star with a painted-on face and green and red striped knee socks, a slightly rusted metal angel, a blowfish about 5 inches tall made from bright orange wire, an old Easter basket, and a set of wooden monkeys that hang on random branches.  He still adds to it every so often.  He could maybe sell it as folk art at some street festival, but we want to keep it for ourselves.

He started working on our front yard when he retired.  He had a big natural area dug out and planted bushes and flowers.  Our daughter and granddaughter planted pumpkins in the natural area a month or so ago. The retired man who relaxes poorly created a beautiful strip alongside our sloping driveway–rose bushes, shrubs, a Celtic cross, and one big sunflower that must have come from a seed dropped by a bird.

He added a full-size flag pole in the middle of the front yard and flies a changing set of flags.  We fly Pittsburgh Pirates, Guilford Courthouse (a Revolutionary War site down the road from us), United States, a Buddhist prayer flag, Ecology (it’s green), and the state flag for NC.  Adaline, 2 1/2 now,  points to the Pirates flag and growls “Aaaaaarrrgh!”

The retired man I live with and I laugh a lot.  Even when I’m really angry, he can sometimes get me to laugh.  Our marriage, like any couple, has bumped over a few rough spots.  We share an appreciation of life’s absurdities and a love of goofy things.  It helps.

PS:  A few months after I wrote this, the next door neighbors painted their front door a bright, almost-neon-y green.  Goofy may be catching.

Published in: on August 13, 2012 at 8:19 pm  Comments (12)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

What Comes After Middle Age?

I’m 59.  I doubt if I still get to claim middle-age.  I have crossed over from young to not-young.

Here’s how I know:

–At the Moses Cone Folk Art Craft Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I watched a potter work.  Her biographic information said she was born in 1960.  She didn’t look young (at all), but she was 8 years younger than I.

–At lunch on a beautiful day in the mountains, we sat outside.  More than one table held a couple with at least one head of gray hair.  It was a Tuesday.  They are probably retired.  So are we.  And my hair is gray.

–As we drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we listened to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.  And knew all the words and even, sometimes, knew what the next song was before it started.  (Hey, it was on an iPod, not a CD.  That should help some.)

–After 39 years together, it’s hard not to repeat stories as they come to mind.  Sometimes we don’t even care if we’ve heard them on every other trip to Grandfather Mountain.  We still think we’re funny.

–39 years together??

Published in: on June 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,