I Could Accept Everybody Else’s

Vulnerability — But Not My Own. (Mae L.)

This was me. I was first in line to offer an ear, a hug, a meal, whatever someone needed, I was there to share what little I had. I was a fixer. Especially for people who might have addictions or excesses. It was part of codependency. Not a good trait when looking for a companion to share your life with.

Once I learned that and consciously decided to stop, I met the Babe. I knew he was a good guy, and I trusted my friend Carla with her description of him. And he didn’t drink. Very funny. Nice guy. And he saw through my walls. (Brick by brick, he removed them. Quite the analogy when you consider he was in the concrete block and brick industry. That year, their marketing department had t-shirts that read, “Building Our Future Together.” How applicable. And ironic! I still have the t-shirt.)

The walls I built to keep me safe. Isolated. I thought, “No one will hurt me from here!” The Babe is the last person those walls needed to be standing up for. He told me, “I just think you’ve been hurt so much you don’t know what to do when someone has no intention of hurting you.”

What? My brilliant disguise is transparent? Slowly and surely, he just kept showing up and doing what he did to earn my trust. Never did I have to wonder what was meant by “I’ll call you.” I never had to wait and wonder when. He’s the first man who called often. To tease me, talk to me, ask how I was. We became friends first. It was wonderful.

The first time he told me he loved me, I said, “Oh, no, you can’t. You don’t really know me yet.” His response? “Yes, I do.” I never expected to be loved. What a vulnerability. No more. I’m so grateful. Honesty, nothing to hide, and a man of his word. Is this heaven? Why, yes it is. My battered heart healed and is beating strong. Our relationship is so very good, there will never be another one like it. There is only one Babe for me.

Today, I met my son Frankie for an early birthday breakfast. We tried to go to one restaurant, but they were jam packed and had a long wait. We went back to a place we’d been before, and I ordered something I’d never had before – a breakfast burrito. It was gargantuan! Half of it is in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s breakfast. I will order this again, it’s that good. Shirley’s Diner never disappoints.

We had such a nice visit. Laughed about a lot of things when our little family was broke but happy, just the four of us; me, Frank, Nick, and Becky. I miss the good times but not the bad ones. And now, they’re all out contributing to the world around them. Frank lives in Omaha, Becky in Ft. Collins, CO, and Nick in Kansas City, MO. So lucky to have the Babe at this stage of my life.

It’s been a long but good day today. I hope to blog earlier tomorrow, and grow that habit. Maybe until NaNoWriMo is over the end of November I should keep blogging in the afternoon/evening. It all counts towards my daily word counts. Decisions will be made when they need to be. Not tonight. Have a great evening, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Thanks for reading. Let’s try and get to #1000followers!

Which Would You Want?

We’ve had such a nice day with Gavin. We had lunch with him, he came home with us and played with the dogs until it was time to go to his basketball game at 4 p.m. Gavin asks a million “would you rather” questions. Choices between a million dollars and your family, between immortality and love of your family, between being famous and having your puppy. Things relating to family, love, and kindness are important to Gavin.

He is a little too polite on the basketball court and is gaining confidence in his abilities at the sport. I believe his true love is still baseball. Preliminary practice for spring ball reveals Gavin is hitting the ball much better than last year; the glasses must have done the trick. Getting his confidence back is huge.

It was fun seeing these young fourth graders play basketball. There were some really scrappy boys who weren’t afraid to elbow their way to the ball, even falling to the floor while holding on. It was interesting watching the boys react to directions from their dads on the sidelines. Sometimes the Dad sounded upset, sometimes the boy seemed embarrassed. It was a time for families today, and we certainly enjoyed the time. People should have a nearly ten-year-old with them to help them remember what’s important in life.

Almost time for Gavin to be picked up, it’s time to make sure he has all his things collected. Tomorrow will be another sunny day, another day for working on getting more organized. Let’s plan to see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.

December 26. Is It Over?

If you view it as only pertaining to gifts, what you got, and what you didn’t get, it’s over. And that’s sad. If you view it as the joy of sharing meals and time with your people, be it bio family, friend family, or a mix of both, it is just beginning. And that’s wonderful.

Why? Because you get it. You understand the importance of building bonds, friendships, and what it takes to maintain them. You get a bigger kick out of giving rather than receiving. You understand sometimes the gift of time is the most important and appreciated in the life of many. You stay later than you plan because you know telling stories is important to some folks who have had drastic changes in life and health in the past year. Ah, the stories. Great from an expert storyteller. I love to listen, because some of them, no matter how many times you hear them, a new twist or turn can be added and there you go; it’s even funnier than before.

The Babe and I, along with our daughter Tracy, TJ, Addison, Gavin, and cousin Beth, spent another beautiful Christmas afternoon at the lake home of Tracy’s Uncle Lou. Lou is the person who brought the Babe to Omaha to work at his company. He’s known him for over 40 years. Through good times and bad. Through their mutual sicknesses and health. And now, as they’re both retired guys who manufactured a *(^$-load of block, brick during those years, and had tons of adventures together. There are stories to be told and lies to be made up. A bromance before anyone was concerned about such things. Two good men who are best of friends and brothers. It’s a joy to share. One time, I talked to Lou regarding a hospitalization and procedure the Babe was having. He said, “I’ll just stay home and pray. Remember, I’ve loved him longer than you have.” Truer words were never spoken.

My header photo today is of our friend, our Christmas Day host with the most, if you leave his home hungry or thirsty it’s your own doggoned fault, Louie! We love you and are grateful to share another Christmas together. Thank you, Lou, for your generosity, your stories, and most of all, your friendship. Let’s have a great 2022, with more visits and more stories. Let’s enjoy! And I believe we probably all need a power nap before the KC Chiefs play football today.

Folks, if you have a Louie in your life, make sure you make time for them soon and often. We all need to make priorities for what is important, and what is more a priority than lifelong friendship? Be safe out there today if you’re traveling or out exchanging gifts. This is a look at mine, I opened those Amazon boxes on Christmas Day and gosh, I’m glad I bought them. More reading and learning for 2022! But I won the book in the middle, “Venus the Monk,” by Cory Swanson. Thanks, Cory! I appreciate winning!

I appreciate you reading today, we are pre-planning our projects for next year, and it’s going to be awesome. Thank you for sticking with me. We’re so close to having some finished books to read. See you tomorrow!

Christmas Eve 2021

Today is another opportunity to have a beautiful Christmas Eve. It is a chance to share beautiful memories, release bad memories, and recognize how we get to choose how the next two days are. There are good and bad memories in everyone’s past. The love that got away. The love that stayed. While I was divorced, this time of year was always hard. I thought the only joy there was at Christmas was in a relationship. Wrong! I went through the motions, and did a lot for the kids, and they were happy, so I was happy about them. My thinking was clouded; I was always glad when it was January 2.

I’m here to tell you a lot has changed. My family looks totally different. There is a wonderful partner for me. There are grandchildren. There are close friends. The change had to take place in my heart. I had to put the bad past Christmases away. Yes, they happened. They are now left in the past.

As a child, Mom really made great Christmases for us. She was a decorating nut (still is), and she put a lot into the gift giving. I’ll always remember when I got my Barbie doll. I was 11, I think. Mom sewed a huge wardrobe for Barbie. Grandma Bobell got involved by knitting some very beautiful outfits. One was purple and green (the dress was awesome!); it had a hobo-styled purse that was purple. My brother turned the purse upside down, plopped in on Barbie’s head, and said, “This thing looks like a football helmet!” So much for fashion sense. It is a great memory.

The next year was not a good Christmas. It haunted us for years. We didn’t go to Grandma’s that year, but got a phone call between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. Grandpa is gone. Died. Massive heart attack. It was never the same. Not for a lot of years. Grandma had no idea Grandpa was being treated for angina. That day, in a hurry to get home after work, he left his Nitro pills in his locker at work. End of story.

Christmas Eve with my first in-laws was fun. The kids ripped through wrapping paper, were loud, happy, and Josephine put her heart into a beautiful experience for her family. It was finally happy again. The year I filed for divorce, I waited until after Christmas to file. Didn’t want to ruin it for the kids. A few years later, I had the best Christmas Eve ever. My sixteen year old son didn’t want to go with his dad. He said he wanted to stay with me instead. We had dinner at McDonald’s; we had one of the deepest conversations we’ve ever had. It is one of the best in memory.

In 2014, it wasn’t a great Christmas season. The Babe wasn’t feeling well after being ill all summer and fall with Chikengunya. He contracted it while we were in Puerto Rico. Danged Mosquito! At any rate, he felt lousy for months. It appeared he also was having heart issues. He ended up needing a quadruple bypass. A few days before Christmas, we were at Bergan Mercy Hospital, him in Cardiac ICU, grumpier than hell. Tracy and TJ, along with the kids, came on Christmas Day, bearing trays of food from the Cafeteria, and we had a turkey dinner together. I love that girl. She makes the best of every situation. She’s like a daughter to me.

As the nurses commented how sad it was we were in the hospital, I said, “I’m just glad we’re on this side of the street.” They stopped a minute. Across the street was the cemetery. I could see the area my Grandpa is buried in. Grandma is there, and my dad is too. I prayed to them, as angels of hope, love, and peace. It was meant to be that we were on that side of the street. I was grateful. So grateful. Still am.

Again this Christmas, we’re spending Christmas Day with a lifelong friend of the Babe, and one daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids. It will be a day filled with love, great food, and stories. A good time will be had by all.

I’m off to finish baking cookies, and making the wonderful nut bread. I have to go boxes to prepare for our neighbors. This is going to be a day of sharing and caring. It will be a wonderful Christmas. I will make it that way. Be positive. After all; it’s my blood type! Take care. Happy Christmas Eve. See you tomorrow!

Monday Musings

Good Morning! After a beautiful day yesterday, it’s rainy and overcast again at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. At least we planted most of the flowers yesterday. Now, I shouldn’t have to water for the next couple of days. The best thing about today?

Today is the Babe’s birthday. Silly me, I forgot to get a card. I can correct that error and will shortly. The pups are fast asleep and the Babe is off doing work at the Post. We’ll meet for lunch later, and do whatever he decides he wants to do. We’ve really gotten hooked on the Netflix series, “Heartland.” It’s a family program (rare these days) and a sweet story line. It is about a ranch that helps traumatized horses. Almost a Horse Whisperer. The scenery is beautiful (filmed in Canada) and the horses are magnificent animals. It’s a great break from news, reruns, and shows with no value (in our humble opinions).

I love reading old quotes. Winston Churchill said, “This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.” Think on that for a while. Have you ever known someone who will hold their version as “fact” even when presented with the real facts? We all have. Too many people believe their own slanted version of the truth, clutching at it long after the truth is told.

Expectations very often far exceed the reality of a situation. Events like Prom, Birthday, Graduation, and other life milestones can pale in comparison to the real event. A five year old may anticipate his or her birthday party as a glorious event, and focus on games, food, gifts, and the like. A parent may look at it differently, especially if they are short on funds. Planning, purchasing, and clean up may be overwhelming.

Have you ever looked forward to something and been disappointed when it’s over? Have you dreaded going somewhere and been surprised afterwards that you had a great time? We do this a lot. We’ve turned into bigger home-bodies than we were before the pandemic. Sometimes I have to force myself to go out during the week. I can always find something to do here at home.

We can all practice loosening up our expectations. If we expect to have a lousy time, it may come true because of our attitude. We need to be open to good surprises. Don’t expect more than can be provided. Everything and everyone has limitations. Just open yourself to enjoy!

Let’s all lower expectations but not our standards. Also easier said than done. Our happiness begins and ends with us, not an event that comes along once a year. If we are constantly rescuing people, we need to look within us and back away from “feeling needed.” It’s a wonderful idea, but can be devastating if the one who feels needed is constantly carrying the load for the other adult in the relationship. You should be equals, each contributing and taking turns caring for each other. This is what adults do. Not slack off because you manipulate your way into someone’s life.

Go out and have yourselves a wonderful day. I plan to. I have the Post website to update and add events. It’ll be a busy afternoon here in Gretna. Be Kind. Be Careful. Be Safe. Thank you for reading today, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

No Place I’d Rather Be

Yesterday was such a great day. I met our daughter Tracy, Gavin, and son-in-law TJ at the ballfield to watch Gavin play. TJ coaches. Despite wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and a down vest under a winter coat, and gloves, we were able to brave the elements and watch his two games. He is a pitcher or shortshop, depending on the rotation. He loves to pitch.

It warmed my heart to see Gavin warming up, and his dad behind home plate, catching. I know Gavin gets his athletic ability from his dad. The first toy he grasped and threw was a ball. It’s in his blood. I thought of his Grandpa Randy watching him, too, from a good seat from heaven. Bittersweet, but reality. He’s watching, Gavin. He’s watching. And proud. So proud.

I’m so fortunate to have the step-kids I have. Tracy’s always thoughtful with me. I use my cane to navigate the field around the ball diamond. She brought an extra chair so I wouldn’t have to carry one across the field, juggling cane, water bottle, and chair. I’m grateful for them and their families. Blake is always at the ready to offer his arm to me if I need it walking, and to open my door getting in and out of the car. They’re sincere and I know they would always be available to us for anything we may need. We are grateful.

From my seat at the sidelines, I could tell how tall Gavin has gotten since the last time we were able to watch him play. Last season, I think it was only once because of COVID. What we’ve all had to miss since last year! I hope we are on our way to fewer restrictions (with caution). I hope we will all remain healthy, too. We appreciate the fact no one in our families has become ill with the virus. It’s still a frightening thing. I think we still need to take precautions until we see how the long term effects of the vaccines is. I’m expecting to have to get a booster shot, and I’ll be there for it! I have a lot of important baseball games in my future to watch. I don’t want to miss any; there is truly no place I’d rather be.

I love his determination, his skill, he’s got an arm on him! And to think, he’s grown into this baseball player from this little guy:

Gavin, about two years old, giving Roxie and Lexie with water from his watering can.

I love being a Grandma! I love being a Mom, too. And wife. And author. There is so much to learn with all of these things. You never stop learning, even if it’s just to learn little known facts about something obscure. The more I’m hearing about the unheralded contributions to science, the military, engineering, and the space program by women the more I want to find out. I tell Addison not to ever “dumb yourself down” to have friends. It used to be preached to girls to “let him be smarter than you. Don’t embarrass him.” Yes, I read it in a magazine for Catholic girls while I was growing up. Seriously.

I am very happy we no longer encouraged to do that anymore. Girls used to be raised as “less than” boys. Boys were valuable. Girls? Not so much. So happy those days are gone. A brother-in-law of my ex-husband had three girls with his wife. He always commented first on their intelligence, not their looks. I loved that, too. The focus was not on anything superficial like looks. They are all stunning women, as well as intelligent. they have done well, and they have the best dad! He and his wife are one of my favorite couples, and I’m grateful to have them in my life after all these years.

The Babe is home today, and we are just going to spend time on the deck or patio. We seem to rarely have a day home together. I plan to make he most of it, so I’m going to hit “Publish” and do just that. Thank you for reading, and have a beautiful, safe day. Be Kind. We’ll get through this. Be Thoughtful. Wear your mask. See you tomorrow!

Mothers and Sons

Mother and sons. I know of no more formidable force in the world. I’m a mother to two sons. Two men, who are such different people. Yet they both came from me, and I love them both equally. Well, I think I do. My older son, the first born, was the child I had at 19 years of age All I ever wanted to do was be a Mom, and he made me a Mom. We grew up together. And I couldn’t have had better company.

Me, and my eldest, of whom I am proud.

Frankie is a good man, as Nicholas is. Nick is in Kansas City, and married to Aaron. Nicholas, far right, is also a good man. Handsome man. Kind man. I’m proud my boys grew up the way they have. And, my daughter, Rebecca, was teased unmercifully and loved so much by her brothers. We were quite a family, the four of us.

I wish this weren’t the last time we were all together, but it is. The Thanksgiving of 2009, when I was diagnosed and after my lumpectomy, October 2009. The time has gone too quickly since then.

Today was St. Patrick’s Day; it was a day for celebrations for those who considered themselves Irish. I’ve never quite understood those traditions of going out drinking all day. I don’t care for those types of recollections of the Irish. I don’t care for any tales of drunken escapades; my mixed Irish, German, English, and whatever heritage has to offer. Preferring another escapade, all I can do is implore anything but drunken escapade!

Kind of a cool thing is to watch these old Seinfeld episodes and it is sort of interesting all the drama that takes place in each episode. And to think, these were ground breaking episodes, and we didn’t think life could improve on them. But it has. And so it goes. Life always improves on itself. I think it is a great thing, and so it goes. Life is always improving upon itself. Yay!

I know it’s a short night, but it’s nearly midnight March 17, 2021, and time to say good night. Take care. We’ll see each other tomorrow. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Thoughtful. Be Kind. Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow!