Love

Just when I think he’s no longer my little boy…

B is a teenager now. He is so grown up in his looks and actions:

  • His face is so mature and his body has new hair in so many places.
  • He takes a lot of care in choosing his clothes (he only wants shirts that are narrower at the bottom than at the shoulders to show how “cut” he is (his words, not mine).
  • Girls have crushes on him and he has crushes on girls.
  • He runs ahead and holds a door for a women with a stroller.
  • He takes packages and groceries out of my hands, “I got these, Ma.”
  • He puts himself to bed. Gone are the days of, “Will you just stay with me until I fall asleep? Pleeease?”

And just when I think the boy is gone forever and I start to grieve, Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran comes on the radio and B totally gets grossed out by the line, “…will your mouth still remember the taste of my love…”, and I smile. There he is. That’s my little boy. While I embrace the man he’s becoming with one arm, I’m still holding the hand of the boy he has not yet left behind.

Grace & Frankie

With so many shows on hiatus for the Summer, I’m glad networks have gotten smarter the last few years and are giving us new shows or new seasons of shows right now. Even though there are fewer shows and fewer episodes of Summer shows. I don’t have pay movie channels and can’t watch zombie shows because they will give me nightmares. I tried watching Orang Is the New Black on Netflix, but couldn’t get through more than 15 minutes of the first episode. Scandal is so hard-core, I keep threatening to stop watching, but I still hang on. For that reason, I haven’t watched House of Cards because I’ve heard it’s even more evil than Scandal.

Yesterday, however, I started watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix. And by “watch” I mean binge-watched. I watched 6 episodes yesterday and 3 more this morning! I love it because it is so grey, like real life. Our expectations, and the media’s portrayal, of life being just black and white is not only unrealistic, but impossible to obtain! Why? Because we are humans! Brutiful, fallible humans with good and bad in all of us, the ability to wound each other and be hurt by others. We all have the capacity to use our talents, smarts and tongue to build each other up and tear each other down. No one human is all evil, all good, all worthless, all valuable. There is something to like, love, hate and pity in all of us. And Grace & Frankie remind us of that.

Here’s the plot of the show: two 70 year old married men (played by Sam Waterston & Martin Sheen) have been business partners for as long as they’ve been married, 40 years. 20 years ago, they fell in love with each other and started an affair. The show opens with the husbands finally telling their wives (played by Lilly Tomlin & Jane Fonda) they are leaving them for each other.

Sounds pretty cut & dry, doesn’t it? The men, are obviously the “bad guys”, the ones to dislike in this show. They not only cheated on their wives but also lied about who they are for 20 years! They stayed with their wives while the women raised the children, took care of the house and, now, are leaving their wives all alone at the end of their lives? And to top it all off, they chose to tell their wives in a restaurant, hoping there would be no outburst or scenes made. However, I have sympathy and empathy for all 4 main characters. The writers and the actors get kudos for achieving that!

Because you learn that one marriage wasn’t happy and may have never been. One wife was going through the motions and hadn’t paid attention to (literal) signs that had been in her house for years. Would it have been better for both to continue on that way or for one of them to marry the man of his dreams and the other to be free to find her own? One spouse lost her best friend and had her heart broken so that her husband could be free to be himself and marry the man he loves. It’s hard not to be happy for two 70 year old men, finally free to be who they are, excited and proud to tell the world that they love each other! And come on, who doesn’t love a big, gay wedding?! There is pain, anger and regret felt and dealt by all of them, but there are also the possibilities and joy that can be gained by new beginnings.

But that’s not all! There are also the adult children, who have all grown up together, and the huge family adjustments. Your parents are divorcing, you have more houses to visit now,  and the man who was your “uncle” is now becoming your “stepmother”?! Dealing with that along with their own children, marital problems, the dating scene, their own careers and addiction adds more layers to the show.

Wow, I think I’ve managed to paint a very bleak picture of this show but it’s not! I laugh hard during each episode, as well. Because life is messy and complicated and grey. Grace & Frankie show all of that while making us laugh, cry and embrace all that we brutiful humans are!

If you’re are or have watched it, let’s chat! If you decide to start watching it, tell me what you think!

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My Papa.  He died while I was pregnant with B.  I’d apologize for not going to his funeral and tell him all about his amazing, 12 year old namesake.

I’d hug him.

Take in his distinct smell.

Rub my cheek against his whiskers and my fingers across the buttons of his overalls.

Take the folded up ruler out of his side-thigh pocket, unfold it, measure myself, fold it back up and put it back in his pocket.

I’d point out to him, for the 100,000th time, that all the hair on his head decided to relocate to his eyebrows after he retired.

Complain that I can’t find carrots at any store nor farmers market that taste as good as the ones he grew.

I’d tear up when he called me “honey bunch”.

Let him know that when I look into my dad’s eyes, I see his laughing one looking back at me.

I’d tell him to let Nana know how much I feel her with me when I use her dishes everyday and that I think of her one and only joke every time someone says the word, “quarter”.

I’d hug him again and tell him:

– How much I love and miss him,
– That I will see him again one day,
–  And tell him not to forget his “…hat, coat and runnin’ wutah!”

 

I’m really not screwing him up!

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Last week I was watching the morning news and heard  that Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, had signed a Religious Freedom Restoration Law.  Later that day, B & I were running errands and I could not stop thinking about that law so I had to start talking about it.  You know when you get a thought or song or worry in your head and you just need to voice it, let it out, so you’re no longer screaming it in your head?  That was me.

So I told B about the law and what it means.  I told him why some people support it and why others do not.  And I reiterated to him our view on the whole issue of denying rights to gays (he’s heard it many, many times, poor kid!).  But this time I went further and this is what I told him:

“For some reason, many people who are against gay marriage only focus on gays having sex.  When they think of a gay couple, they think of them having sex and they think it is wrong.  I don’t understand why they go there!  When they think of a heterosexual couple, they don’t usually picture them having sex.  And you know what?  There are plenty of heterosexual couples out there that actually enjoy having sex in the same way that gay couples do!  Yet no one is trying to stop them from getting married.  They’re just stuck on the sexual act of marriage instead of focusing on all the other benefits of marriage, like:

  • “When you are legally married you can file your taxes together and pay less federal and state income taxes.
  • If one of you is not working, you can receive health insurance benefits from your spouse’s employer.
  • You both can legally adopt a child together, instead of just one of you adopting a child.
  • If your spouse is in a serious car accident and ends up in the ICU or CCU or WhateverCU, you can visit them, hold their hand during that scary time, hear what the doctors say is wrong with your spouse and make medical decisions for your injured spouse.

“Let’s say there is a gay woman, Jane, who came out to her parents at the age of 18 and her parents cut her out of their lives.  Maybe they believe being gay is a choice and demanded she choose to be straight or maybe they believe she is an abomination and don’t want to have anything to do with her.  For whatever reason, they disowned her, and they don’t see each other anymore.  By the time Jane is 30, she is in a loving, committed relationship with Suzy, but they do not get married because gay marriage is not legal in their state.  A few years later, they decide to start a family and Jane gets pregnant.  After their baby is born, Jane & Suzy draw up wills, including living wills, and setup a college fund for their son.  Years go by, and one morning while Suzy is taking their 12 yr old son to school, Jane is in a major car accident on the way to work.  Suzy rushes to the ICU only to find she cannot get in to see her wife because she is not “family”.  The doctor cannot even discuss Jane’s condition with Suzy and asks her who Jane’s next of kin is.

“Jane’s parents arrive at the hospital, after not seeing nor communicating with their daughter for 25 years.  They do not share with Suzy that Jane is brain dead; they merely authorize the doctors to turn off her life support and have the body sent to a funeral home of their choosing.  If they had only talked to Suzy, they would have found out that Jane wanted to donate her organs.  As they pass through the main waiting room on their way out of the hospital, Jane’s parents see a woman and a boy, who looks just like their Jane, crying.  They discover they have a grandchild.  They file for custody of their grandson the next day.  Suzy has now lost her wife and her son.  Their son has lost one of his parents and must live with complete strangers unless/until Suzy can fight and win custody of her son.

“And none of this is thought of nor considered by people who want to prevent equal rights for gays!  All they focus on is their belief that gay sex is a sin!”

By this time, we’re sitting in the parking lot of a grocery store with the car off, because I had to finish my “rant” before getting out.  I look at B’s face and feel bad.  “I’m so sorry for getting up on my soapbox, again!  You poor thing, you’ve been a hostage in this car.  Let’s go.”

I get out of the car, open the back door and collect my grocery bags.  When I turn around, B is standing right there.  He put his right hand on my left shoulder and said, “Mom?  Let’s not ever get off our soapboxes about important issues like this.  OK?”

Tears came to my eyes.  I’m really not screwing him up!  We’re raising a compassionate, strong man who, along with others of his generation, will change this country, this world, for the better by never getting off his soapbox.

Oscar-Themed Birthday Fun

Oscar-Themed Birthday Fun

It’s that time of year again!  Time to honor the best and brightest, the most talented, the one who’s given their all and made the most impact on us.  I’m talking about my brother’s birthday!  Last year, we decided to tie the Oscars into his celebration since they happened around the same time.  B and I had such fun planning!

We went to our favorite restaurant for dinner, John’s Family Restaurant in Rippon, West Virginia.  Yes, it’s out of state, but the drive is not that long and it’s very beautiful.  We used to live in West Virginia and go back to John’s a few times a year.  Great comfort food, ranging from burgers up to prime rib and crab cakes, and the owner will come to your table and sing Happy Birthday to you!  She has the voice of an angel and no matter how many times she’s sung that song, you feel her undivided attention and God’s love flow out of her in those words.  I’m getting all verclempt just thinking about it.  *sniff, sniff*

After dinner, we drove back to our house for dessert and presents.  Bonus of having dinner out of state is that the ride back home giving your body time to make room for dessert! (I wish I had thought to take more pictures, but I get caught up in the moment sometimes.)  We decorated with yellow and black balloons and created 3 award categories to present to my brother before cake and present time: Best Son, Best Brother and Best Uncle.  I created envelopes with black construction paper and staples.  On the front of each envelope, I listed the award category and the five nominees on card stock with a fancy font and glued that to the front of the envelopes.  Inside each envelope was the the name of the winner (my brother Neale, of course), also on card stock in a fancy font.  All of this was made up for fun and not to be serious.

Nominees for Best Son:
1. Pinnocchio
2. Son of Sam
3. George & Fred Weasley
4. Jep Robertson
5. Neale

Nominees for Best Uncle:
1. Uncle Si
2. Uncle Ben
3. Uncle Buck
4. Uncle Sam
5. Uncle Neale

Nominees for Best Brother:
1. Wally Cleaver
2. Loki
3. Greg Brady
4. Jase Robertson
5. Neale

My dad presented Best Son, B did Best Uncle and I did Best Brother.  The hubs was our “trophy girl”.  ;o)  I found a downloadable silhouette of the Oscar on Twig & Thistle, cut out 3, laminated them with my $19.99 laminator from Costco and stuck them in Dollar Tree paper cups.  The hubs wrote the award category on the front because he has the best printing in the family.

It wasn’t a big party and it didn’t take us long to do, but we all had so much fun!  B and I giggling while making the statuettes over how surprised Neale would be.  The 3 of us laughing while coming up with other nominees.  My dad taking 5 minutes to present his award because he couldn’t stop laughing.  All 3 of Neale’s acceptance speeches.  I’m so glad we did this for him.  He truly is the best brother, brother-in-law, son and uncle.  He is always there for us when we need him and we have a great time together.

Painting

20150210_174148 After 2 years of major renovations, from foundation to roof, my brother was finally able to move back into his house a couple of weeks ago. He asked B to paint a mural on this small section of wall between his back door and a window. B painted it yesterday and my brother sent me a picture of it last night. It’s B and his favorite Uncle in a NERF battle! It says “Good Times” and B even signed & dated it at the bottom (I blurred that out). B painted himself “behind” the light switches (the switch plate is off in this picture).  He came up with this idea in his head and then just painted it.  He didn’t sketch it on paper nor on the wall before painting.  He just did it. And he doesn’t critique his work; doesn’t point out flaws and say he could have done better. He’s happy with what he created, proud of it and accepts our praise and complements graciously.  Man, does this kid continually show me how be a better person, a content person, a self-loving person!

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