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’m so thankful to be a part of the “now”.
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.
When I’m in a good mood I just love the Lord and want to sing! I sing along to the Christian radio I always have on in the car and I want everyone else to sing with me. To know that He is God and He is in charge, it’s all going to be alright after all Jesus died for us… Then the mood shifts. And I start to question Him. Why have I gained all this weight? If God loved me I wouldn’t be struggling so much with this. Why am I in such a bad mood? Why is my daughter having such a difficult time at school? Why is my son the way he is? I know some of these examples seem silly but this is what runs through my head.
This time the mood was different than the others. I at once felt guilty to be so quick to blame God. It literally stopped me in my tracks and it got me thinking about my faith. I’m so quick to praise when life is going good, I need to be just as quick to praise when I’m in “a mood” and things aren’t looking so rosy. I remember when Thomas was home for Christmas. Thomas was very high maintenance during that visit and I was having a hard time with him. Was I praising God? Nope, I was annoyed that my son is the way he is. I realized that I wasn’t in prayer and worshiping the Lord and I felt odd about it. Fake. I did however pray for patience with Thomas. And I do feel He heard my prayer. I still listened to my Christian music in the car and sang alone and went to church the Sunday after Christmas. But I should have been in prayer a few days earlier when I was having a difficult time. Instead I was annoyed and anxious.
This mood of mine was an eye opener. More praise, prayer and worship in tougher times, not only when all is right with my world.
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 🙂
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.
On November 12,1995 two best friends were married. Today is our wedding anniversary. Today is the day 18 years ago Tommy and I became Mr. and Mrs. I don’t mean to sound corny but I am proud of us. I don’t know what the future will hold but the past 18 years seemed to fly by. I remember us lying on the beach on our honeymoon saying we should save up to go back to Hawaii on our 10th anniversary. 10 years seemed so very far away. We had no idea Thomas would be who he is nor did we have a clue we would have had 4 children. Thomas was born that following July.
Speaking matter of fact, I’d have to say Thomas was our greatest challenge during our marriage. We had no idea what we were dealing with during those early days. We were young and he was our first child. I know we were guided by the Holy Spirit. I know because there is no way we made it through through that time in our own strength.
I’m excited to celebrate 18 years. I know it’s not a “milestone” like 20 or 25 years but it’s a milestone nonetheless. I can’t say I never thought we would make it this long, I didn’t think that at all. To be honest aside from our honeymoon and mentioning the wish to come back to Hawaii in “10 years” we never discussed future anniversaries or how we would celebrate them. Maybe that’s how we get by; putting one foot in front of the other and not taking the next day or year for granted. I know raising a child like Thomas had that effect on me personally as I never know what the next moment would bring never mind the next day, week or year. I took one day at a time with him, sometimes one hour at a time especially when his behavior was challenging.
I love my husband probably more now than I did 18 years ago. We were 25 years old when we said, “I do”. I believe we have both grown as people and I know Tommy has taught me so much. About myself and about the world in general. I only hope I’ve taught him something as well.