The other day (my birthday) my husband and I were talking about when we were younger and dating. We began dating around age 17 but met when we were 15 years old. He asked me when did I know that I wanted to marry him. I told him I remember it vividly. We were driving on the highway towards my house (my Mom and Dad’s house). We were talking about how we were back together after a breakup fueled by teen angst. I remember feeling that this was permanent. I was going to marry this boy. We were about 18 years old at the time. This isn’t to say we dated happily ever after. There were a few more teen angst break ups along the road to engagement time. But I am glad we stayed together and eventually married. He really is my best friend.
I also asked my husband if he ever wanted to “go back” like to when we were younger say in our early 20’s. Tommy answered that only if he could know what he knows now. Smart man. I find it amusing that I can remember so well something that happened over 20 years ago yet my kids ask me if I remember something from a couple of years ago and I’m completely clueless. A couple of years ago was during my depression and I didn’t ever feel “in the moment” like I do now. Today I feel so in the present and I’m glad to be here. I’m glad I have the state of mind that I do. I didn’t realize how detached I was back then until I’m asked to remember something.
I don’t like staying in a remembrance of the past. It was really nice a couple of weeks ago when we got together with old friends from years ago/high school. It was nice to reminisce but it was equally as nice to talk about our lives now, our kids now, us as a whole now; to be in the present with people from the past.
I have a birthday quickly approaching in a little over 2 weeks. It’s not a momentous or milestone birthday, I’ll be 46. And for the record I’m okay with that. I say that now. I don’t know how I’ll feel staring at the big 5-0. I don’t feel 46 years old, although I’m not sure what 46 years old is supposed to feel like. I don’t know what any age is supposed to feel like I can only reflect on what I felt like at certain ages through the years.
Sometimes I’m amused when I’m making dinner thinking of how “adult” I am. Like here I am married, raising kids, running a household; how adult it all is. And when did that happen? Being an “adult”. Legally I know when I turned 18 I was an adult. The only thing I really remember being at 18 is feeling free. I was about to graduate high school, had a great boyfriend, a part time job and I was driving and had my own car. Life was sweet. No “adult” responsibilities in sight. So I can hardly say I personally was an adult at age 18. Nor did I act very adult, IMO anyway.
I think the defining moment in my life was when I was 24. I graduated college as a nurse and finally for the first time had a “real” job, making real money. However I was still living at home. When I did move out I remember feeling so grown up and responsible. Paying for our own wedding and getting married was another grown up step then quickly becoming parents to Thomas with all his issues was a great kick in the old adult pants.
So I guess for me being an adult was a process of steps, I was fortunate that I didn’t have adulthood thrust upon me at an early age. When I look back it was God’s plan for me to take all those steps to finally get to the point where I was prepared to be Thomas’ mother. I was never known to keep my opinion to myself, but advocating for my baby and being bold to respected medical professionals wasn’t something I was well versed in but I had to learn quick and I did.
I look at my oldest daughter about to legally become an adult this summer. Her 18th birthday is shortly after she graduates high school. I know I won’t see her as an adult even though she’s very responsible and like me at that age she is driving her own car, has a great boyfriend and a part time job. I’ll ask her if she feels like an adult. I look forward to her answer.
We recently purchased new living room furniture. It marks a milestone for us, meaning Tommy and me. We’re taking back our house. No longer are we tripping over toys or watching the same children’s television programs over and over and over. The living room is ours again and it feels good.
Before the new furniture we had a sectional couch which was great it was big and comfy. We bought that shortly after Samantha was born so around 8 years ago-ish. Between Samantha growing up on that couch literally and the 3 cats and 2 dogs, well it had seen better days. So in between talking about renovating this house to an open concept lay out and moving the sectional around along with re positioning the television we discussed “looking” at new furniture. Ha! So much for looking. We were hooked pretty much a half hour into “looking”. The salesman was awesome and recommended we return to buy in a few days to take advantage of a new sale that was to be going on.
We did return and looked around some more. It’s funny because I find that my husband and I have similar taste. It wasn’t always like this. I used to adore a shabby chic, antique-y style. Tommy was more modern/classic. I guess I’ve changed because Tommy still likes the classic/modern style and I do too, but more classic/traditional. I don’t think I’ll ever prefer a modern style. Besides this house was built in 1935, I don’t think it can handle “modern” without looking out of place.
So anyway the new sofa, love seat, coffee table, end tables, lamps and entertainment center/electric fireplace arrived this past Wednesday. I can’t get over it. It’s been forever that we’ve had a coffee table as odd as that sounds. With the sectional sofa we had a chaise lounge so there really wasn’t any room for a table. We’re almost giddy with the normalcy of having living room tables again. I’ve promptly bought candles to place on the coffee table. It’s been forever it seems since I’ve been able to have things on a coffee table without worrying about something being broken or unsafe.
We’re enjoying our re-claimed space. I dream of reclaiming my bathroom someday.
A week from today Tommy and I will have been married 20 years. No matter how many times I think about it, it still blows my mind. I think about our beginning years and having Thomas so early in our marriage. Then Alyssa exactly 2 years later. All in all it’s been 20 years, 4 kids and 3 houses. Amazing if you ask me. There were many arguments and tears along the way as well as much happiness and blind loving trust. Plenty of prayer. A friend recently told me that Tommy and I are an anomaly. I laughed at that statement. Maybe we are. Especially with all we’ve been through with Thomas. I was thinking this morning about Thomas and the rough times. I was also thinking about the times of God shining through those rough times. There was one instance that Thomas fell flat on his face literally. (His reflexes are slow so if he falls forward his arms don’t shoot out as fast as yours or mine do.) Thomas broke his braces, his front teeth and required stitches on his upper lip and chin. When I saw him right after he fell I had to hold on to the bathroom sink to keep me from falling due to my knees going week. It was bad.
So off to the ER we went. And the staff there was wonderful to him and me. I managed to get a hold of our dentist and orthodontist who gave me instructions and were also wonderfully supportive giving me their personal cell phone numbers in case I needed them again. We decided not to wait for a plastic surgeon and the ER doc stitched Thomas up after numbing the area. I remember I was crying on and off for Thomas. I felt so bad for him. At one point I was holding Thomas’ hand and he was looking up towards the ceiling. He had a peaceful smile on his face and when I looked into his eyes I swear I saw the peace of the Lord. Thomas’ face was shining. I’ve never seen that peace in someone’s eyes before and I haven’t seen it again since. It was as if he just knew everything was going to be ok and everything was ok. The ER doc did a great job in stitching him up and the next day we saw the dentist and thankfully Thomas didn’t break his teeth far enough to require root canals. Our dentist was able to repair his teeth with bonding.
It’s time like these I know the Lord was with us. I wouldn’t be surprised if someday Thomas told me he saw an angel watching over him while in the ER. I know we’ve had many times in these past 20 years where the Lord certainly had his hand in watching over our marriage. When we moved back here from New Jersey I swear there was “something” working against us. There was roadblock against roadblock placed in our path during the sale of that house. Earlier that summer we had bought a storage shed for the backyard. According to the NJ inspector the shed was too close to the property line. So Tommy had to get all these guys from work to come over and move the dang shed. The inspector didn’t even want to measure the distance afterwards, just a glance and said, “Its fine”. I was so irritated I insisted he measure. The buyers pretty much demanded our refrigerator. It was not in the listing at all. They started threatening to cancel the sale if we didn’t include it. Somehow our agent smoothed it out that we were able to keep the fridge. And we didn’t even have a traditional closing. We did it separately where the buyers met with their attorney and signed the papers then Tommy and I met with our attorney to sign.It all culminated to an end where we had no house to go to for 4 days after the closing of the New Jersey house. Somebody dropped the ball and we to this day don’t know who. Luckily we had multiple family members who let us stay with them until we closed on the new house. But the Lord was watching us and got us out of the great Garden State. I know that.
So being married for almost 20 years I can say I’m definitely not an expert on relationships. And I wish I had pearls of wisdom to depart. I only know what I’ve lived and what our family has experienced and born witness to. 19 years and 51 weeks of marriage. Pretty cool.
With each believing the other to be a giver of love a sharer or sorrow a bringer of joy and a reason for life, Menay Audra and Thomas James and their parents request the honour of your presence…
I was thinking last night about my anniversary that is coming up in November. Tommy and I will be married 20 years. 20 years… I was thinking about what we were doing 20 years ago. Preparing for our wedding and living in the coolest apartment ever with one of the best neighbors (Steve~may he rest in peace) living upstairs in an equally cool apartment. The invitations were out and we were either awaiting the RSVP’s or already counting who would be attending. I was working as an RN at a local hospital and Tommy was an HVAC mechanic working for a local heating, oil, and air conditioning company. Life was sweet. We were 25 years old with great jobs, great cars/truck and no kids. We had yet to buy a house but already knew what it was like to pay rent, pay utilities, and make payments on new cars. We lived together for 6 months before we were married. I wouldn’t change anything as those 6 months are part of our history together and helped shape who we are today.
I remember Tommy expecting dinner when he got home from work and I would be out and about with my sister or mother and shopping during dinner time. It was one of our “adjustment” arguments. I had no idea how to put a dinner together and I was so proud of myself for making a bowl of spaghetti with marinara sauce. Just spaghetti, no meat or salad or italian bread even to accompany it. Tommy gently explained his expectations and I remember thinking “Ooooooooh!” I can laugh about it now but I felt incredibly dumb back then. There were plenty of life lessons and learning what it was like to live with someone that was not your family.
Our upstairs neighbor, Steve would often drop by for dinner and it was fine as we enjoyed his company. Many a romantic dinner for 2 turned into a casual dinner for 3. At one point we joked that we were the opposite of “Three’s Company”. I’m glad we had that time with him.
I loved our life back then. We were truly on our own and we paid for our own wedding and honeymoon. I’m still proud of us. I would go back in a heartbeat and relive that time if I could. November rolled around soon enough and my fiancee became my husband. 20 years later we’re still here, together; waiting for November 12th to come up so we can finally celebrate.
I’ve been in a cleaning out/organizing mode lately. I donated one big garbage bag of shoes and 2 big bags of clothes and jackets. I also decided this was as good a time as any to organize our pictures into albums. Three trips to Michael’s craft store and three photo albums later I think I’m done. That is if I would stop finding packets of photos in every closet or storage space I decide to clear out.
It’s funny when I’m putting the photos in albums many were pictures I’d been avoiding for years. Pictures of Thomas as a baby, then toddler, etc… Those photos were a painful reminder of a time when Thomas was “normal” although looking back he was never typical; his delays just didn’t catch up to him just yet. This time was different for me though. Looking back at those photos I remembered what a great time we had when it was just the three of us. How happy and hopeful we were. Thomas was an absolute beautiful baby if I do say so myself. He was always smiling with those big green eyes he inherited from his dad. I enjoyed my trip down memory lane and was surprised at how transported I felt back to that time in my life.
My next group of photos were a camping trip Tommy and I took with friends about 2 months before we were married. I remember that trip like it was yesterday. We had a great time with great friends that we are still close with today. In fact one couple from that trip are now married with a son and we all went on vacation together this past summer. Good times.
Then I found a ton of pictures from our honeymoon in Hawaii. We were adorable and so young. We were 25 when we got married and this year marks our 20th anniversary. A week before we were married we found out I was pregnant to Thomas. We told no one but my sister and Tommys oldest brother. I didn’t want people looking at me funny and judging every move during the reception. And I was horrified that my older relatives would possibly think we “had” to get married. Tommy scolded me saying, “Menay! We’ve been planning this wedding for 2 years no one will think that!” As it was a couple of years later my great aunt did ask me if I was pregnant when I got married. I didn’t lie and told her yes. She just noddedjas if I confirmed what she was thinking.
I loved looking at the Hawaii pictures I loved remembering what it was like to be that young and in love. I remember feeling so serious about being married. I loved that Tommy was now my husband; I loved referring to him as my husband. It was so new and fresh. I enjoyed tripping down memory lane as I looked at the photos from that trip. I remember Tommy and I laying on the warm perfect beach saying we should start planning at that time for a return trip to Hawaii. Our ten year anniversary seemed so far away never mind our 20th. We vowed to return one day. That day hasn’t arrived yet but that’s okay. I can wait.
I said I didn’t really have a meaning other than celebrating life for this tattoo, but my soul sister in Wisconsin figured it out for me. The feathers-the heavy load has been lifted and my mind is as light as a feather; the vines- the growth…the vines are intertwined just like the journey in life and there’s always growth. The lines: the band that has it all together on top, God, my marriage and my children. I love that she figured me out. Love you Jackie 🙂
I have this song running through my head this morning, Blessings by Laura Story. Yesterday my husband and I were talking to a neighbor who also has a special needs daughter. Many of you know about our Thomas who is also special needs. We’ve been through many, many trials with Thomas. And everytime I hear this song I think of him. What if our greatest trial is God’s blessing in disguise?
Anyway, when we were speaking with our neighbor she mentioned that she often wonders what her daughter would have been like had things been different. My husband replied that he often thinks the same thing about Thomas. I do think that also about Thomas. The big “what if?” What if he’d been born “normal”?. What if? It almost makes you loathe the word, “if”. That word can hold so much. Thomas is one of the greatest achings of my life. It still pains me that he cannot live at home. I know my husband feels the same. I love Thomas for who he is now, not what he could have been. Thomas being the way he is changed me as a mother. And if I were to be able to change him to a “normal” person, would I then have to change myself to how I was before he was in my life?
I honestly don’t dwell on the what ifs because it is pointless. I tend to focus on the present and future which can hold enough worry all by themselves. But this song speaks so perfectly to my heart. Especially when she sings, “This is not our home…” No, this is not our home. I often wonder if when I do meet our Lord will I ask Him questions about my earthly life. Thomas being in the forefront of those queries. Why were we chosen to be his parents? Why did God make things so challenging? Why the heartache? Or will I even care at that point? What I do believe is that when Thomas meets the Lord and joins us, I believe he will tell us himself. It will be glorious to hear my son talk clearly and coherently. I was given a glimpse of this in a dream I had a couple of years ago. Thomas was just a typical teen and him, Alyssa and I were just sitting in our front sun porch talking to one another. I have no idea what we were talking about I just remember Thomas being “normal”. I know when we’re all in heaven together we’ll all talk again. God gave me a preview.
My husband and I recently were able to get away for 3 days this past week. Nothing over the top, we went to Atlantic City, NJ. A place not too far away but far enough that we felt “away”. It was nice. There I said it, it was nice to be with just my husband and no kids. Alone. And do what ever we wanted to, watch whatever we wanted to on television and do whatever we wanted to in the middle of the afternoon with no regards for who was watching who or where “they” were.
What I find amusing is we chose a place famous for gambling to get away to and neither one of us is a big gambler. I mean, I like to play around on the slot machines but to be honest I felt a bit angry when I lost. And then guilty even though it was a relatively small amount of money. Tommy felt that it was “fun money” to play around with and if I lost it well then it was lost~no big deal. I suppose his attitude is the right one to have but being in Atlantic City those few days made me realize I am totally *not* a gambler. I do not want to “lose” money. We work way to hard to make that money to give it away to a casino.
We did have a really nice time otherwise. We ate in the finest restaurants and went shopping a bit. We walked a lot. And I mean a lot. Oh my goodness my husband loves to walk! I’m not complaining just stating a fact. We walked the boardwalk quite a bit and it was A-Okay with me. We walked and explored just about every casino and mall within the casinos. It was fun because we were together and both wanted to do that. We laughed and talked and then didn’t need to talk. We people watched and oh yes we even sat through a time share sales pitch. Yes we did. No, we didn’t buy the timeshare but it was interesting to learn about what this particular company offered and of course it was sweet to receive the gift card we earned/were promised by sitting through the schpeal.
I’m glad we got away. It really does make you appreciate “home” more when you return. Even things you don’t realize you appreciate. Like showers that aren’t from a “low flow” shower head. I’d had enough of that. And just my house and my bed. I missed my “little” queen sized bed after sleeping on this huge California king. And yes I even missed my kids. I am so glad we were able to go and just be alone, together.
I was thinking about a few things today. First is our rescue dog named Riley. We didn’t name her she came with the name and since she was 2yrs old when she adopted us last June we decided not to change her name. Although for some reason when Thomas said “Riley” for the first time it came out “Rogerey”, so that is officially her nick name or “Roj”, oddly enough she will answer to it. I know I say this all the time that the Lord leads us; but He truly did with Riley. She’s the perfect blend of sweet, affectionate “wouldn’t hurt a fly” plus neurotic enough to fit in our family. She needs a lot of attention which is ok with just about all of us because we love her. I can’t imagine our life without this dog. She filled a void and the Lord led her to us.
I was also thinking about prayer. I really believe in prayer and that God hears us. When I walk Riley after dropping Samantha off at school, it’s not uncommon for me to walk/pray/walk/pray. I enjoy it. I enjoy the solice, knowing Riley isn’t going to talk and interrupt me although there have been plenty of times I’m deep in prayer and not paying attention to Riley and she’ll make a sudden stop. I’m sure it looks hilarious. Sometimes it feels that way too. Lately when I pray I’ve been praising more than anything else. I’ll pray on the ferry and subway and praise Him then as well.
I was also thinking about my therapist. Lately we’ve been talking about “things” and I leave feeling enlightened a lot of times. I never thought someone would be able to organize my thoughts and feelings the way she does. I realize she’s on the outside looking in but I’m impressed. I’m incredibly grateful to God for putting her in my life as well as my doctor who listens to me, actually listens. Some doctors have a “my way or the highway” approach and that can really stink. I’ve been blessed to have a physician who hears what I have to say and make necessary changes if I’m not happy. Again, this physician was put in my life by The Lord.
My husband entered my thoughts today too, as usual. I mean I think about him every day, but today I was just thinking about how he loves me and I love him. Quite simple really.