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.

 

 

Published in: on May 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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Why I Don’t Wear Eyeliner

(I used to blame my mother for this stuff.  Of course.  But she couldn’t teach what she didn’t know.  So now do I blame my grandmother?)

I don’t know how to put on eyeliner.  Not the liquid kind like India ink or the soft pencil kind you smudge.  I like my eyes.  They look good behind glasses with eyeliner, like Sarah Palin.  I wore eyeliner for both my daughters’ weddings so my eyes would look big in the pictures.  Someone else put it on for me.  That felt very weird and icky.

I don’t know how to keep a tidy house.  My parents had 3 kids in 3 1/2 years.  (That was before The Pill.)  My dad traveled each week for work.  My mother went into a tidying/cleaning frenzy on Fridays, before my dad came home.  Clutter feels natural to me.  I’d like to be neater and more organized.  It does happen in occasional bursts.

I don’t know how to be a good friend.  My mom didn’t really have friends.  We moved a lot–4 elementary schools in 3 states, 1 junior high, and 2 high schools, 1 in Ohio and 1 in NC.  I always thought, “This time we’ll stay put.”  My dad kept getting better jobs, so we packed up again and moved.  I made friends each time, then said goodbye.

I gave up on eyeliner.  And consistent tidiness.  I won’t do things I’m not good at.

I have friends now, even Facebook friends.  I want to be a more skillful friend.  I’m inconsistent about connecting and I’m very selective about who gets inside my walls.  I need and enjoy lots of time alone.  My friends seem to understand.

I’ve lived in this NC town for over 30 years.  I don’t plan to leave.  It’s home.

We’ve had our house for over 20 years.  It smells like us when you walk in.  It’s home.

How odd.

Published in: on June 30, 2011 at 11:52 am  Comments (6)  
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Does my butt look big?

(Don’t answer that!)

Will I ever look in the mirror and see what I really look like?  Why don’t I see how much I look like my mother or the extra neck flesh?  I see it in pictures and it shocks me.

Will I ever be able to see the acceptable size of my butt?

It’s my mother’s fault.  She was probably anorexic, but I just thought she was mean.  She told me often to tuck in my bottom, but it’s the stick-out kind that doesn’t tuck.  Like Beyonce’s.

I wasn’t overweight, but I thought I was.  I remember the taste of Metracal.  It was like Slim Fast, but worse.  I used to do thigh and butt exercises in my room after dinner.  I tried to roll and bounce off my thighs and butt.  My parents asked me stop because I was directly over them bumping away while they watched television.

I won’t let anyone take pictures of me from behind.

Maybe one day I’ll wear light-colored pants.  I’ve read that white jeans are as flattering as dark jeans.  My snow-white, like-new white jeans are flattering with one loose, long, gauzy black top that covers my thighs.

Mostly I wear black pants or dark jeans.  When I find some that fit, I buy as many pairs as I can afford.

This morning I put lotion on my butt.  I’m trying to be nice to it.

I wonder sometimes what my daughters see in their mirrors.  What seeds of doubt and insecurity have I passed on?