Tag Archives: marriage

A Sing-Along for This Season

Marking the seasons with music.
Reclaiming myself through music

In late July, I announced my newly renamed page, “Reclaiming Mary”, was coming soon. Like a shot, I set off to work on redesigning and redefining my page. With my daughter by my side, we discussed issues like readability, content, and site design. She wrote posts and created backup files of all my old “Transitioning Mom” posts. I ordered new business cards and created order out of chaos in my filing cabinets and my newly repurposed schoolroom. Busy work kept me busy and kept from the most important task: WRITING.

Fueled with excuses like, “I’m not done redesigning the blog” and  “I should take care of that hangnail, right now!” I absolved myself of writing. Time, when spent delaying duty, is not my friend. Enthusiasm morphs into fear when the voices of self-doubt and perfectionism (my ever faithful demons) begin to sing their familiar songs, “Oh, that page looks bad. Really bad.” “Who will want to read this?” “Do you even know what you are doing?”

Far too easily, I stepped away from the keyboard and allowed other tasks to steal my neatly carved out writing time.

Late last week, as I walked around the yard and mulled over what I needed to do to the page to make it “perfect”, I heard a (reasonable) little voice inside my head say, “There is rarely a perfect time to get married, have a baby, or go on the adventure trip of a lifetime, but the world keeps spinning and few regret the leap.” I realized then I needed to jump in the pool again.

Thankfully, before any voice of procrastination derailed  my internal pep-talk, the fabulous Ruth, of Cranium Crunches, suggested a “Sing Along” post to our blogging FB group. The directions were simple: post 4 or 5 songs (with lyrics because sing-alongs are great exercises for the brain) that reflect my life as it is, right now. Music, I believe, weaves moments of our lives together, creating a fabric of memories captured in song. More often than not, a song flashes me back to college when my best friend and I sang about “the boys of summer”, or suddenly “sitting on the dock of the bay” with my husband years ago, or dancing once again at the farmer’s market with my little “brown-eyed girl”. Music provides the song track to our mental scrapbooks, becoming another character in our life’s play. This particular prompt has challenged me to be in the moment–this moment– and capture where and who I am today, in this season of life. In music and in life, this is a good season and this prompt, I decided, created the ideal foundation for me to introduce Reclaiming Mary.

Won’t you sing along with me?

DAY 1 by Matthew West

Last December, I was in a bad car accident. Though I had no broken bones and only a few bruises, my primary injury was significant. The impact caused my airbags to deploy with a force that simultaneously saved me from further injury and gave me my 4th concussion in a decade’s time. At the hospital, I secretly reasoned with myself that I had recovered “just fine” previously, and the ER doc released me after the tests showed no bleeding in the brain and I could answer the date and name the current president (or something like that. Honestly, I don’t remember.) It took a few days before the full effects of my brain injury started to manifest. Thankfully, Ruth, who has made brain health her life’s mission after suffering her own traumatic brain injury (TBI), got online with me and started coaching me in my recovery. Little did I know things would and did get tougher before they started to get better. “Reclaiming Mary” has taken on both literal and figurative meanings as my TBI has changed my life in many ways. However, unlike my memory and sometimes my speech,  Matthew West makes my vision for this day and every day forward abundantly clear.

Landslide by Stevie Nicks

Last spring, when I graduated my second born from high school, the homeschooling job I began 18 years ago came to an end. With my older daughter back in Missouri for her senior year in college and my younger daughter blissfully happy at our local community college, their daily need for mama has waned. However, this is still a season of transition for all of us. I’m still mom, shipper of care packages, receiver of late night texts, and last minute editor of papers. And, while I am in the process of reclaiming me, this song is still one of my favorite anthems about motherhood and life’s seasons, as I wrote about here.

I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz

Including our time before marriage, my husband and I are fast approaching 3 decades together. (Yes, we started dating when I was 5.) Before children, it was easier to keep our eyes focused on each other and tend our relationship, always making time to share and listen to each other as well as carve out time for a weekend get-away, keeping the spice fresh.  Even when the children were small, we kept “us” a priority, knowing the dangers children and their uncanny ability to suck the life out of marriage can bring. As our children got older, evenings and weekends were filled with extra-curricular activities, homework, and home maintenance projects in addition to our many other “must do’s.” Like so many, our marriage has gone through more ebbs and flows while raising a family than the great Mississippi River. And, like that great river, we are still here, now flowing into new territory. Marriage in mid-life and with adult children is a new adventure with a familiar friend. With newly found time to share and listen and even enjoy a weekend get-away and more, this is our season of rediscovering and reclaiming each other.

Burning Gold by Christina Perri

The subtitle of “Reclaiming Mary” is “The Adventures of a Midlife Renewal.” I am jumping into this season with abandon. I am embracing work projects and reconnecting with friends and discovering new adventures and creative outlets. I scour my Groupon emails, Pinterest, and Meet-up groups for new things to try and am forcing myself outside my comfort zone. Though I am perhaps busier than I have been in years, I feel so very alive as I reclaim my time as mine and reconnect with old dreams while embracing new ones. These winds are most certainly carrying change.

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head – BJ Thomas

This was my very favorite song when I was little. Every time it came on, I turned up the volume on my small round yellow transistor radio until the speaker crackled. I didn’t care. I knew the song by heart and always sang along. In many ways, this song brings full-circle meaning to “Reclaiming Mary.”  In reclaiming myself, I am revisiting who I was, rediscovering forgotten interests and beliefs and, though I have changed in some areas, one thing has remained constant; I am an eternal optimist.

So, there is the music of my life. The songs that have been woven into the fabric of my memories, marking this season as the season I began Reclaiming Mary.

What are the songs that are marking this season in your life today?

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A Father’s Day Gift for this Mother

The best gift of all this Father's Day was the gift my husband gave to me. (Image courtesy of Microsoft Office)
The best gift of all this Father’s Day was the gift my husband gave to me.
(Image courtesy of Microsoft Office)

A few nights ago, in advance of the “holiday” around the corner, I asked my husband what he wanted for Father’s Day. Without skipping a beat, he told me about the CD he wanted. I sat in awe and surprise. I didn’t even have paper and pen nearby to note the name of the Chinese classical guitarist he had discovered via his morning commute and was entirely unprepared for a quick, honest answer. And, in his answer came a really valuable gift for me.

Invariably, when Mother’s Day, my birthday, Christmas, or anniversary rolls around, my husband asks, “What do you want  for (said occasion) ?” to which I usually reply, “Nothing, I can’t think of anything I need.”  Secretly, I keep a list of things I want and still, I say “Nothing.” I’m not sure why. I don’t want to appear greedy? There’s another bill due? Maybe, but in all honestly, I want him to know me so well he doesn’t need to ask. I want romance. I want the soap opera, fairy tale, romance novel element of surprise.

Big mistake. Big.

In the absence of honesty one birthday, I received a small, self-defense, switch-blade styled knife, which I did happen to love for the sentiment he wanted to keep me safe while working in the wild jungle of San Francisco, but certainly didn’t swoon me.  Am I alone in the receipt of annual Christmas socks? (Though lacking romance, are thoughtful because my feet are always cold.) And while many of you may be jealous over the (last-minute) Mother’s Day card that accompanied nothing (because I said I wanted nothing!), try not to covet.

Certainly, I’m not the only one who’s received a gift that raised an eyebrow, caused the slamming of a door, or perhaps yielded muffled tears in the darkness of the night. Anyone? Anyone?

Many years ago, while bemoaning my husband’s latest expression of love, I remember my mom telling me that I shouldn’t expect, or rather I should stop expecting, my husband to be a mind reader. It wasn’t fair to him or to our marriage. In fact, she explained, it was a set-up and any disappointment I felt when the “special day” arrived was not his fault but entirely my own if I hadn’t been honest.

She had first-hand experience and had learned from the error of her ways.

She and my father had one of those storybook romances of 50 years. He always shopped carefully to find the perfect “something special” and was always spot-on with the gifts he offered. Well, almost always. Looking back, I can recall some of my mom’s expressions I had clearly misread at the time. Far from loving every gift but masterfully veiled by her love for him, I now know there were gifts that made her privately question WTF was he thinking! Those, she confessed to me, usually came when she said she wanted “Nothing” for (fill in the blank) holiday.

Together, my husband and I have celebrated more than half my birthdays and  Christmases, close to 3 decades of anniversaries, and 2 decades worth of Mother’s Days. And, despite my mother’s wisdom, in the last 28 years, I can probably count on two hands the times I’ve boldly said, “I want ________ for _________.”  To my fault and my fault alone, however, I can’t count the times I’ve felt secretly disappointed when he missed the obscure gift mark, despite his best mind-reading efforts. In all fairness to him, there have been several times he knocked it out of the park and surprised me to tears with his loving thoughtfulness: a bouquet of wildflowers he picked while on a hike, a necklace he noticed caught my eye in a jewelry store window, a leather-bound journal with a supply of extra fat pens because the thin pens are too hard on my finger joints. He may not be suave like a soap opera character, but I know he loves me deeply, and he deserves honesty, always.

I’ve  thought a lot about his bold and quick response to my Father’s Day inquiry. He clearly thought about what he wanted; there was no hesitation nor tool, new wallet, or other “practical” gift suggestion for me. I was both impressed and grateful for his specific request. It certainly makes my job easier because I’m confident that’s what he wants; there’s no hidden agenda or secret wish list.

Guys are like that. They’re straight forward. Sometimes to a fault, but that’s for another post. They don’t make you guess about what they’re thinking or what they want for any occasion. They tell you. You buy it. They’re happy. Win-win. End of story.

Except it’s not the end. The end of this story is the next time my husband asks what I want, I will be honest and tell him, whether it’s where I want to go for dinner or the new purse I saw at the mall. Because, my husband is no more a mind reader than I am, and when you’ve shared 3 decades together you should be able to eat the entire dessert, by yourself, in front of him, and say honestly what you want for your birthday.

How about you…do you say what you want, or do you make him/her guess?