World’s Wealthiest Baba…

I am a non-mother.  I have been told many times that “you’re lucky you never had to go through childbirth.”  Yes, real mothers have gone through the pains of labour.  I did not.  I have never birthed a child.  I have never had a C-section.  According to my mother, my life is wanting and incomplete because I have never had a child of my own.  After years of hearing this definitive and repetitive chorus of hers, I have decided that I am a mother.  Perhaps, not called “mom” or “mama”, but the functions I have performed would absolutely qualify me as being a mothering type of woman.

My love of children started when I was young.  Coming from a large family there were always children younger than me running around.  In various photos you could find me holding one of the youngsters.  I LOVED holding babies.  I loved playing games with them and making them laugh.  This was not contained to just my family.  At school recess time, I would head over to where the kindergarten children were and play with the kids there.  I became something of a hero to these little tots.  Kids my own age would play baseball or soccer (I was never good at sports).  Then there were the mean kids who just played pranks on people.  I didn’t want to be part of THAT group.  So, hanging out with blissful people (children) was way more fun!

As I got older I started planning for the day that I would have my own children.  I started buying Disney movies.  I collected children’s books.  I was going to have lots of children because all my life I just wanted to be a mommy.  It would be easier buying everything while I had a disposable income and living at home.  I got mommy practice after my sister had kids.  I got to change them, feed them, bathe them, dress them, even potty training was on the agenda.  Yes, I was getting my mom-training hours in.  I would be the best mom ever.  As time passed I realized that you could be planning for your life to go one way and then suddenly there is a fork in the road with a tough decision.  You can decide with your head or with your heart.

When Wiseguy and I first started hanging out I knew he had three children.  He was not planning on having anymore.  I had always wanted many children and now I had a decision to make at this fork in my life road.  Should I choose to be with the man of my dreams who made me laugh everyday?  The man who understood me like no one else had before?  A man who loved to dance and enjoyed living everyday of his life?  A man who adored his children and wanted someone who could share his life as well as theirs? The other path was to leave this wonderful man behind, find someone else who would want to have children.  Would I find someone who intrigued and entertained me as much as Wiseguy?  Was my happiness more important than the prospect of a life with children?  What if I couldn’t have children?  As you already know, I followed my heart.  I chose love.  I chose Wiseguy and his (now our) children.

The kids did not call me mom.  I didn’t want them to.  They already had a mother.  We were (and are) “Dad and Maryann”.  I didn’t need a title.  I was an adult female who would do mommy things.  I would be there to kiss the boo-boos.  I would be there to apply bandaids.  I would be there to teach them things.  I would play with them.  I would guide them.  I would advise them.  Sure, sometimes I would beat myself up for things I said, but I grew up in the house of “tough love” and sometimes being honest is harder than being kind.  The truth hurts, but oftentimes it will get you so angry that you will persevere and move along in life.  Sometimes being hard and honest is what true love is about.

I do not accept my mother’s definition of a “mother” to heart.  I am not short-changed in life.  If anything, I am one of the wealthiest women / moms around.  Not only do Wiseguy and I have his/our wonderful children, but we watch (and happily cry) when we watch these youths (now adults) raising their children.  They do the same things we do.  They parent and worry that they are getting it wrong.  They think that maybe they are horrible parents.  To them we say:  if your child is clothed, fed, and happy then you are an absolutely incredible parent.  Parenting is so harshly judged. It is the the most thankless and difficult job to do day in and day out.  No rewards.  No awards.  No praise. No accolades.  Parents, be kind to yourself.  You are doing a wonderful job! Congratulate yourself on the small things.

As for me, the non-mother who became a grandmother or “Baba” in Croatian, I love and adore these children!  Each one has a special talent, gift, personality, and smile that wins me over.  I do not compare them to each other because each is unique.  They have their own personalities and talents and thoughts.  Ok, I’m getting teary-eyed because I am so captivated watching them become their own individual being.  There is the honour of being able to be their Baba and being able to love them.

As hindsight is 20/20, I can say that by following my heart instead of my head, following love instead of expected behaviour, I chose the right path when I got to my fork in the road.  I can also say that, although my bank account doesn’t show any lottery winnings, I am the World’s Wealthiest Baba.

 

 

 

Passion Is In Fashion!

I like to live dangerously!  The thrill of zip-lining, or the rush of rock climbing.  Running a marathon.  Hiking through Europe.  Bike stunts.  Skateboarding tricks.  My goodness there are so many exhilarating moments!  Hot air balloon rides and white water rafting!  Honestly, the list is endless.  I am quite the daredevil and proud of it.  Hopefully, through my brave, adventurous life, you too will find that hidden childhood desire and live an inspiring and fulfilled life like I do.  Oh, by the way, I have never done any of these listed things, but I do find ways to live on the edge.

I ate bacon four times last week.  Yes, yes, I did and I’m not ashamed to brag about it.  Do you know what else?  I had a sunny side up fried egg to go with it.  There was also toast AND, oh yeah, it was buttered.  Booyah!  How do you like me now?  Uh huh.  I know.  I can almost palpably feel your envy at my exploits into endangerment.  Why am I being so foot loose and fancy free?

As a child I remember being unencumbered by my mortality.  I am sure you have seen kidlets jumping on a bed…up and down, and up and down, and…oops…BANG!  Too close to the edge.  Some bawling, either from actually bumping their head or just the shock of being misplaced.  Other than that they learn that they need to stay closer into the middle.  Lesson learned and more fun to be had.  How about the one year old that stands on the couch pulling at the blinds?  Yup, you know where this is going.  What makes them do such dumb things?

Are they dumb?  To us adults we can all become the Amazing Kreskin and foresee what shall happen (due to our own misfortunes and miscalculations), but to them it’s about exploring life.  That couch is their Mount Everest!  That bed is their trampoline!  Nowadays children have be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is no longer places for them to play alone.   They can’t even go play on the jungle gym at the park without adult supervision.  I actually feel sorry for them.  Sorry that they can’t have that freedom of adventure that we had as children.

I believe my days in the summer went something like this:  wake up and have breakfast.  Out of the house so that my mother could clean.  Meet with kids in the neighbourhood and play until someone’s mother called for them.  Lunchtime!  Rush home.  Eat lunch.  Run out the door again to play.  Someone would hear the holler of dinnertime and again…home to be fed and then out to play.  No adults were with us.  No teenagers were with us.  We got to goof off and do silly things like fall out of trees or go wandering around the forest and be amazed to see a dead rabbit.  (Two little bites in the neck.  We thought there were vampires nearby).  We would come home sweaty, dusty, or muddy… and exhausted.

As we became adults the “fun” goofy things were replaced by order and rules.  School had rules.  Jobs had rules.  Society had rules.  So many rules and so little place to have fun.  We are told, in many different ways, how we should think and what we should believe.  Commercials tell us what will make us happiest.  Buy their product and your life will be full of sunshine, roses, and unicorns.  Ahhhhh…how great our lives will be.

Weird thing is, and you might have noticed this, it seems that this is kind of where we become like children again.  We beg and pine for something and know that our lives will be incredible once we get it.  That “it” could be anything from something expensive like a car or something as simple as a hamburger.  Now, if you really think about it, that lasts for a bit and then suddenly, it’s not good enough.  There is something else you absolutely need in order to make your life the happiest thing ever!  In most cases, the feeling goes away quite quickly.  How can you change this?

Find your inner happiness.  Find your inner love.  Once you find that crazy happy place, the world around you will seem so much better.  It won’t matter what material things you have because the rest of the world will just seem so much more beautiful, colourful, alive.  Those “rose-coloured glasses” of your youth were removed by well-meaning adults, but it’s time for you to put those on again.  The world is a remarkable place, but we tend to look at what is missing in our lives and not what we already have.

Live with passion!  Live with a sense of excitement!  Find out what makes you happy and do it!  Who cares what other people think!  Those who live with a sense of adventure, spirit, and joy are the ones who are finding that gold nugget of excitement in their lives.  PASSION IS IN FASHION!

P.S.  Did I mention that egg was fried in the bacon fat?  Oh yeah…I’m living recklessly.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way into the New Year…

Here it was, a few hours before the New Year and my little heart was going pitter-patter with nervousness.  I am sure everyone has their tradition regarding the coming year, but I have this quirky superstition that whatever I am doing last in the “old year” will be a representation of what my life will be like in the new year.  So, here it was, 2016, and I was having a fantastic time hanging out with wonderful friends.  We were shooting darts or playing Euchre and for some reason, I still felt like there was something not quite right.  Playing games is a good way to start the new year but I felt I needed more.  Then…it happened!

“3…2…1…Jump!” I heard everyone yell.  I jumped excitedly off the couch, waving my hands in the air and landing happily on the floor.  This was my fantastic leap into the New Year!  I was also 7 years old.  My parents had let us stay up late so that we could do this exciting thing!  My mother had made homemade pizza (we weren’t take-out OR delivery people).  My aunts, uncles, and (YAY) cousins had come over for this new adventure.  I recall the big joke my dad had made with regards to my eating habits:  “Ha ha!  It took you two years to eat a slice of pizza.”  Too true!  I started a slice of pizza (I was a super, super slow eater.  Nothing like the Hoover-eater I am today!) and I finally got to finish it after my super bounce.  What a memory!

As a teen, I was lucky to go out with my older siblings.  We went out to fancy banquets / dances for New Year’s Eve.  There would be a fancy three-course meal and afterward there would be endless dancing.  There was the obligatory nervousness due to the desire to find the best dress, matching high-heel shoes, fancy jewelry to be worn that evening.  Quite the show!  Quite the excitement!  Quite the fun for one evening!  Year after year we looked forward to this event.  Then marriage and children came along and the procedure changed.

As new parents, instead of going out for the evening, it was time to invite other new parents over and hang out while the kids either played together or were put to bed early.  A quiet evening with some munchies and chit-chat.  5…4…3…2…1.  Happy New Year!  Quieter, but still fun.

Fast-forward again and you see children breaking away from their parents to do their own thing.  The parents would either have fun continuing their pre-toddler tradition of a banquet hall or they might even stay home.  Parents worried about their children, but pretended they did not.  Children…ahem…adults…not worrying at all since they were invincible. 5…4…3…2…1. Happy New Year!

This is a footnote of what life was like for me every New Year’s Eve.  As I grew older I realized the beauty of life and how incredible each coming new year was.  I also gave up on resolutions.  I found that these best-intentioned goals seemed to dissipate, usually by…um…January 14th.  I finally decided that I would focus on that last hour of the old year to predict my new year’s fate.  Why?  Not sure, but it seemed like a genuinely great idea at the time.  This brings us full circle back to December 31st, 2016 and when IT happened.

We had congregated in the kitchen. Nine minutes to go.  Here we were, all gathered together, awaiting the dawn of the new year.  I sat there nervously, pensively.  Why?  Well, my weird (unique) thought-bend of “last actions of previous year permeating the new year” were beginning to haunt me.  Yes we had had fun! Yes we were surrounded by friends!  Something was missing and I didn’t know how to fix it.  Then, a funny thing happened on the way into the New Year.

“Amanda is still up,” said H.

“Who threw up?!” queried B.  That was it!  I broke out in fits of laughter.

“No,” said H, “Amanda is still up.”  I was done for.  I was laughing hysterically.  Literally laughing out loud (the real LOL).

Suddenly Wiseguy yelled “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!”  We looked at him like he was a crazy man.  The time on the stove clock showed a minute to midnight.  He pointed to the television which showed all these lovely people happily kissing and embracing each other.  Not only had we missed the countdown, but we had missed the actual jump into the New Year.  Were we upset?  Heck no!  We all hugged afterward and wished each other all the best in the new year.

Me?  I was beyond ecstatic.  I had desired a sign to show me what the 2017 year would be like based on my interesting definition of “old versus new” philosophy.  I was so grateful to be laughing hysterically from 2016 into 2017.  This was something very new for me.  So far my jaw is going to need therapy from all the laughing I have been doing.

P.S.  I did feel short-changed a bit in missing the countdown.  Imagine my surprise and supreme gratefulness, when my friends and I got to do a repeat countdown!  We watched as New Orleans counted down (an hour later) into the New Year.  I love this life!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!   May you wake up happy every morning.  May you look out and enjoy what you see daily.  May you appreciate all the good that you have in your life.  May you smile everyday.  Even when your life seems impossibly hard, believe that everything that happens is leading you to something brighter and better.  Life is beautiful and so are you.

 

Cellulite…a love story

I love sharing stories about my life and growth.  In this particular instance, it’s about waist (not waste…as no leftovers were harmed).  I can discuss the long, cold Canadian winters which leads me to over-carbohydrate myself with ravenous amounts of bread:  sliced bread, pita bread, bagels (bread really), English muffins (still bread) and then there are the dunking-into-stew breads like baguettes or French stick or really anything that sops up that lovely stewed liquid.  So, today my topic is about curdled-cottage-cheese thighs, my “over” tummy and how I cope with the gym fever of the world.

I joined a gym once.  It was a long time ago…ahem…super long time ago.  I think there was a T-Rex with a pencil ready to sign me up.  The machines were enormous. There were mirrors everywhere. There was a machine which had me pushing my legs out and focusing my eyes on my hoo-haw.  Why was this good?   After a few months (and a call to the Mafia) I managed to cancel my membership.

Yoga is a two-digit word.  Yes, it is supposed to be about clearing your mind and learning to breathe.  Yoga doesn’t work for me.  I learned to breathe…that is true, but other than that, all it did was lead me to rehearsing (in my head) my grocery list of items that needed to be done.  Yoga was not for me.

Racquetball.  I love playing racquetball!  It’s my favourite sport!  I started playing in University with a friend (for an hour) and have never…ever…played again.  True!  (Note: This is an ongoing joke with me and Wiseguy.)

Cycling!  Yes, I recall my bro and I going for long bike rides around our neighbourhood and beyond.  We were explorers!  We would leave after dinner and wouldn’t be back for at least two hours.  I do recall two bad cycling incidents.  Once was a mosquito in my eye.  Yes, it flew in and I smushed it and I couldn’t see well.  The other was where I was turning around a curve and there were crushed stones.  I wiped out and my elbows and knees were bleeding.  Luckily I was able to walk home and keep up my sniffles in order to be pampered at the finish line.  Milk it baby…milk it.

I belonged to a dance group that met once a week.  We had numerous performances and I was in almost all of the dances.  Yes…I was svelte.  Also I was young.  I could jump and spin and twirl and sing.  I could do almost anything.  (Yes, it rhymes…read it again.)

So, here I am…almost 50 (yes…I’m surviving) and my body has decided that there are renovations needed.  No, I did not get the memo.  No notice.  No meeting.  NOTHING!  My gutsy-trusty body decided to go ahead and pillage me without any notice.  How rude!

Every morning, before I get out of bed, I have learned that I should stretch.  I have been doing this since my early thirties.  Well, lately my stretches sound more like maracas!  One comedienne said it best, “I’m an exotic dancer for the blind.”  I stretch and all of my joints take turns cracking like a bowl of rice cereal.

I have maps of some sort of my legs. There are blue lines which I can only assume are rivers.  Not sure where these rivers are but one day I’ll find them.

Finally there are the bubbles.  Yes, I always find silver linings in everything in life.  My wonderful legs that carry my body everywhere have these pretty little dimples.  Yes…they are everywhere.  These dimples are fantastic FAT deposits.  They are the storage units of my winter solstice and my packing on weight to keep warm in winter.  Yes, I love lying to myself.  I just love food and using hibernation always sounds like a good excuse.  Anyway, I jiggle.  My stomach, by butt, I even have jiggle arms.  Here is my crazy thought.  Follow me on this.  Once I get diagnosed with an incredibly bad illness I will have my 20 lbs of extra fat (like camels not needing water) to help me through any horrible surgery and recovery.  Skinny people have nothing to fall back on.  My excess will assist me in survival and then I will once again be slim and healthy after my horrible crisis. Crazy?  Nah!  I just think ahead.

I am “cuddly”.  My granddaughter came up and poked me in my belly. Oh yes! Wait for it… “Big belly”, she said.   Yup, that is what this almost 6-year old said.  Was she right?  Oh yes…absolutely.  Was I offended?  In my younger days I would have been, but I have accepted my body.  I would like to be thinner, but I am also happy with myself and my life.  I don’t want to diet.  I don’t want to give up foods I love.  I consider myself a chef of sorts.  I have the greatest kitchen in the world and I LOVE TO COOK!  My other favourite motto is “never trust a skinny chef”.

Flashback to my “big belly”.  I looked at Kennie and asked, “Baba has big belly which means I am soft and cuddly and I can give you amazing hugs so big bellies are good right?”  She thought for a bit.  Really, really thought about it and then looked at me, nodded and said, “Yup, it’s good.” Then she moved in for the soft, cuddly, Baba hug.

Cellulite and cuddles…a love story.

 

 

 

 

 

Geraniums and other mysteries…

I do stop and smell the flowers.  However, nowadays with the new everlasting hybrids, most flowers do not have a scent.  You need to go and stalk people who have been planting for the last 25 years.  They have the wonderful originals.  Standing around you can actually smell the lilacs when the wind blows.  I have tried to keep flowers in my house, but to no avail.  Besides aloe plants, everything else either gets too dry or overwatered  a.k.a. drowned.  So imagine my surprise when I realized that I can actually keep geraniums alive.  Yes it’s true.  I learned the secret from my mother-in-law.  It’s a simple trick and yet I find that it applies to situations in everyday life.

My mother had a green thumb.  I am not sure if she always had it, but our house could’ve been a greenhouse.  A botanical garden.  I recall a wonderful green plant (nope…no idea what it was called…all I know is that she used to use kitchen twine to tie this climbing plant to the spindles of the staircase.  Oh yes, this went on for years until my brother and I decided to challenge each other to slide down the bannister.  Keep in mind, this plant started from a cutting and ended up being 12 feet long.  It wound up the stairs and up to the bedrooms.  I will always remember this:

Me:  (whispering) No…mama is gonna kill you!

Bro: (whispering) not unless you tell her!

Me:  It’s a long way down.  You’ll fall!

Bro:  Don’t tell…

NOTE:  This dangerous endeavour was even more high faluting as our mother was sitting precariously around the corner in the family room watching tv.  Daredevils?  Idiots?  You decide.

And then he began his slide.  He started at the top of the stairs.  He straddled the bannister and launched himself down.  Suddenly,  his leg got caught on the foliage halfway down and then he flipped over and fell down onto the ceramic floor.  The only thing that saved his hide was that he had a frickin’ nose bleed!  Otherwise our mother would’ve whipped his butt!  The important thing was to fix him up and make him well…before she could beat him.  Oh…European upbringing…so logical.   The worst thing on my part was that, not only had I predicted the fall, but I couldn’t help laughing when he fell.  Yes, I was a good big sister.

I recall seeing the Giant Beanstalk strewn on the floor.  Not sure what happened afterward.  The fact that little bro lived AND did not receive any punishment that I can recall made this evergreen moment memorable.  The other floral memories I have are African violets.  My mother was obsessed with them.  We had them all over the house.  She prided herself on having these plants thrive and having family and friends comment on how she could make them live and grow exponentially when others could only condemn them to death.  My mother had a gift.

I myself thought repeated drownings were important in order for flowers to survive.  Yes I killed everything until I purchased geraniums.  Beautiful flowers.  Many colours and yet Wiseguy’s favourite were the bright ruby red ones.  Not pink or white.  The red ones were the ones that his mother always loved.  Her reason for loving geraniums was simple…they bloom all summer long and into fall.  A little chilly weather and they still bloom and thrive.  So, after being a mass floral murderer I tempted fate and extended my interest into the daring flora.  I bought and took care of the bright red geranium.

I bought fancy pots.  I purchased the good soil.  I hoarded and applied “miracle grow” to ensure that they would thrive.  I carefully planted these beautiful flowers and watched them bloom and grow.  (Reminds me of “Sound of Music”…”bloom and grow forever…”)  Then something strange happened.  My beautiful flowers started drying up and blowing away.  Did I do something wrong?  What happened?  I felt like a failure.  I slaughtered a living green being.  I felt horrible.    I didn’t know what to do.  My hubby’s favourite flower and I was killing it.

I finally came to the conclusion that I couldn’t keep any plant life alive.  One weekend we ended up visiting the in-laws.   We arrived and walked into the backyard.  My mother-in-law was beside a geranium and was bending branches off the geraniums.  The flowers were already drying out.  I asked her what she was doing.  She replied, “In order for the new flowers to bloom you need to cut off the dried flowers.  You don’t want to keep wasting nutrients on the dead flowers when you can feed the new blooms.”  I wasn’t sure what she meant.  “See,” she pinched the stem of the dried petals and pulled it off.  “Now, the new blossoms can bloom beautifully because the nutrients are going where they are supposed to go.”  I went home and I gently bent and tore away the dried stems.   It was time to feed the blossoming blooms.

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I compare my life to the blooming geranium.  Sometimes you need to cut off the dead blooms.  The dried out blooms being negative people.  They won’t feed you any wisdom, kindness, or goodness.  It is best to just let them go.  Learn how to handle things that grow.  That includes children, grandchildren, parents,  siblings, family, friends.  We are always learning and growing.  So instead of drowning those in order to save them, perhaps it is best to let them go.  It is up to them if they want to survive and move on.  For those newfound petals that are blossoming, be there for them.  They are vibrant, excited, and usually happy.  Those are the flowers you want in your garden because together you can make a happier life.  This is how I view my beautiful geraniums…mysteries leading to life lessons.  Happy growing!

Happy Life Day to Me…

It’s my birthday!  Oh yeah baby!  I am proud to be the owner of a 46 year old body, the enthusiastic spirit of a 5 year old, a few creaky bones and one helluva grateful, happy attitude because I’m alive!  I have lived another year (sorry Wiseguy, better luck next year).  Auld lang syne and remembering old friends…nah!  I’m more the “let’s-keep-the-reliable-friends-but-add-new-ones-to-the-club” kind of gal.  My birthday.  My wishes.  My new perspective.

First of all, I still find it amusing that some people would prefer not to reveal their age.  Why?  Even as a child I recall my mother never wanting to reveal the double digits of her lifeline.  Why?  Growing up in a European village was even better.  You were usually born at home…or a field while shepherding goats and/or sheep and/or cows.  Your official birthday was based on when someone finally found the time to trek into the city to have the birth recorded.  It could be months until that happened.  How confusing for a child.  I guess the silver lining was that at least your birth was acknowledged.

I consider myself to be at the ideal age.  Mid-life?  Maybe.  I don’t see myself living into centennial years.  Not even into the 70s (you’re welcome Wiseguy).  But again, not my game, not my decision.  Yes, I do believe that life is a game.  There are some things that I can control and the OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) person in me LOVES that part of life.  It’s organized.  There is a beginning and an end.  It’s either right or wrong.  No gray area.  But, it is my birthday and according to the horoscope, I am a Gemini.  Welcome to my fascinating double life world.

I do not take kindly to being deemed two-faced.  I do not have dual personalities.  I am unique, but there are many traits and learned behaviours that make me who I am.  The older…ahem…wiser I become, the more I love me, myself, and I.

I am more forgiving of myself in the error of my ways.  I am more tolerant in the behavior of others.  I am more forgiving in the situations that confront me.  I am learning patience.  I am learning to be nonjudgemental. So far, I think I have grown emotionally and mentally.  Old age hasn’t hindered me yet.  Yet…what a word.  It’s a three-letter cliff hanger but it does explain how I feel.

So, back to my original happy thought…”Happy Birthday to me!”  I am happy because I come from a large family full of happy aunts and uncles and cousins.  I love my happy, enthusiastic, intriguing family.   We are all unique and we children actually do get along.

Happy Life Day to me!  I am alive and well.  I am very grateful for that.  Although I do not feel my age (except in my arthritic ankle), I do have my health and that makes my life better.  Thank you.

And now, I have my birthday cake and my candles ready to go.  It’s time for the big wish.  No, I am not wishing for world peace.  I wish that you could feel as happy and joyful as I do today.  I wish that you would smile knowing you do have a good life.  May you look at the sky and find the puffy cloud or even the dark cloud and find the silver lining.  Happy Life Day!  You are here.  You are alive.  Life really is great.

P.S. I blew out the candles on my cake.  Luckily the fire department did not have to be called in.  Or is that unlucky?

P.P.S.  If you are having a great day and you’re smiling…ahem…birthday wishes do come true.

Us

Us seems to be a very short title, but I believe that sometimes less words are more integral in describing a thought than a run on sentence  full of adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs…and nothingness. This two letter word is so full of meaning and definition. It is a concept and way of life that I am finally beginning to fully understand.

We begin our lives as wonderful, dependent, little bundles of cuteness. Some babies are born into loving families. Others are born into dysfunctional families. In the end, there is a beginning. We emerge and grow and learn. Some lessons are taught to us and others we discover on our own. Life lessons. The world is our educator. In most cases we are taught to find our perfect soul mate so that we can live happily ever after.

Poor girls, we try so hard to find Prince Charming everywhere we look.  We can overlook the flaws in order to have someone to hold us and take care of us. Right? Heck no. Nowadays we want the handsome Prince, but he had better know how to wash dishes and do laundry and make  dinner. We are very busy women folk. Not to mention adding child  bearing and raising that child. Who’s going to do all that?

Fast forward in life…career woman,  make dinner, make lunches, attend meetings, get stuck in traffic, driving children to and from school and after school?  Dance or karate or baseball or soccer.  Grocery shopping, clothes shopping.  Hang out with significant other. Who? Oh yeah,  I remember you.

I remember when we used to jump into the two door sedan and just go driving. (Can’t do that now because gas prices are so crazy and we  have a mini van not a cool sporty vehicle). Remember when we would go out for dinner and just talk about nothing. (Dinner out now means going out when we get a coupon in the mail and then talking about bill payments or house renovations). Remember when it was just the two of us? Us.

I remember the early dating days. Money? We were lucky if we had 40.00 between the two of us. We would talk for hours. We would write little notes and letters to each other. There was no texting or e-mails.  It was pen to paper and it was beautiful and thoughtful.  Little things were monumental. A cup of coffee, ready-made, and nice and hot when I woke up. Sitting around on the balcony of our rented apartment and just enjoying the view.  Beautiful.  Calm. Quiet. Some music playing softly in the background.  Bliss.  Us.

Us then became extended us. Children and elder family. Family obligations. Us went from having no furniture to an apartment overflowing with stuff. Suddenly Us took a back seat. Everyone and everything else was more important. Keeping children happy was number one. There were bills to pay and items to purchase. There were future houses and mortgages. New / used cars to be purchased as old ones fell apart.  Schooling and weddings and grandchildren. Work became the most  important thing because money is needed to pay for everything. We were ships in the night….literally…since we ended up working different times of the day. What happened to Us? We talked about date night and once a year, for our anniversary, we could count on that, but otherwise, Us became a non-existent thing…until tonight.

Tonight was special. Tonight you created magic. You decided to cook up a beautiful meal. I came home and did not have to prep anything.  We sat around and talked. Not about bills. Not about renovations.  Not about anything that adults would deem important. We talked about the sky and the perfect weather. We talked about your shopping spree at the grocery store and how meticulous you were in picking what you thought I would enjoy most for dinner. I was your primary concern and nothing else mattered. I want you to know how much I appreciated that and love you for it. My meal was excellent. The flavours were invigorating and the company was my favourite part. We sat outside. Just Us. The two of Us.  I realized more than ever tonight that in the end, we are in the “Us” part of our lives. The children are grown and living their own lives.  Taking care of elders is no longer part of our responsibility. All we are left with is Us.  You and me, as was before, but newly modified.  Husband and wife, grandparents, friends and lovers.  Another new exciting stage of our lives.

I love you, my other half of “Us”. Thank you for making tonight a special time and a special memory for me. I enjoy being able to date you again. The serenity and peacefulness. The non-drudgery of everyday life.  The laughter (including piggy snorts…my specialty).  You refocused my perspective and helped me don my rose-coloured glasses that I had misplaced.  Living in the pink is a pretty nice place to be.