aging without botox

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Long, lazy, summer days

Last June, my husband, two teen girls, and I discovered a small, sleepy beach town on Florida’s Atlantic coast.  Last week we visited there again. I usually plan an adventure over the winter and we go somewhere different each year, but this winter I didn’t have the energy, so we went with the sure bet.

We drive from Maryland.  How does that sound? Most people gasp when I say this.  I love it.  I love being enclosed in a minivan with my family; moving speedily down the highway while at the same time weighed down by the space in the vehicle. This is where the groundedness of vacation begins for me.  The slowing down.

I often have a difficult time going on vacation.  Throwing off the structure and routine scares me.  It helped knowing what I was getting into this year – knowing where we were heading. It is beautiful; the condo is right on the beach.  The first full day, I was on the balcony with my husband and feeling as if it were just too much trouble going down to the beach.  I was grounded to the point of being heavy, slow moving, like a sloth. So I sat on the balcony searching for the dolphins in the ocean before me.

Without the distractions of work and house – I am forced (or I chose) to see.  I see that for the first time, I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to perform. I am that person who was always running, working, cleaning, planning, talking, partying. Even on vacation – I had to keep busy.  But now – I’m ready – I’m ready to just be.  (See what I did there? I have to get ready to simply be!) And yet I can’t throw off the pangs of guilt that creep in – the guilt that is always about comparing my insides to others’ outsides.

Even the waiter at our favorite restaurant at the beach asked what we had done – water taxi, para sailing, National Seashore? “Uh, no, no, and no.”  We didn’t do anything.  We went to this awesome used book store and bought 10 pounds of books.  We read, we sat on the beach, we swam, we played Scrabble and Phase 10, and we slept.  And I watched baseball.

It was Tuesday before I became grateful for the heaviness, the sloth like body that I took on.  It was Wednesday before I  stopped comparing. It was Thursday when I realized that if I had written a story about my future – what kind of family I thought I wanted – it would not have been the one I have.  I would have written all kinds of things about money, and success, and the Caribbean, and parasailing. It would not have included used book stores and teens that sleep until 1:30.  I would have been selling myself short. I have the most incredible family; the perfect family . . . for me.  Especially now – in this moment – in this year of my turning 50 and the girls being 14 and 17 and Jeff loving and accepting us with his whole heart and soul.

Especially now – as I let go of past and future expectations. Especially now that I begin not caring what others want and expect from me. Especially now that I have lived long enough and been brave enough to look beyond the surface into the darkness to see what was driving me and and pushing me to do, do, do instead of be, be, be. Especially now as I am in that uncertain time of life where we stand on the bridge between having children and launching young adults.  Especially now as I experience both the  sadness of knowing this moment is fleeting and the excitement of knowing this moment is fleeting. Soon – it will be Jeff and I in the car alone traveling – how wonderful . . .and how sad.

Next year – we may stay for two weeks. Peace.

Rainbow without rain


Love Songs. . .Part I

My husband and I recently went to see Josh Ritter in concert.  He is a poet; an incredible singer/song writer who sings with a beautiful smile on his face the entire concert. On the way there my husband turned to me and sang a line from one of Josh’s songs, “All the other girls here are stars – you are the Northern Lights.”  I love it when my husband sings to me – actually I just love to hear him sing. He is a talented musician with a unique voice who lets his head get in the way of letting others enjoy what he does.  Several years ago he dedicated most of his time to playing guitar and singing at local coffee houses.  Our home was filled with his voice and guitar chords.

I would come home and he would be jamming; I’d walk into the other room to change clothes or put things away and I’d hear his voice and would become paralyzed. I would stand as still as stone, and a warmth would encompass me as if I was enveloped in a loving hug while simultaneously tingling from the goose bumps spreading over my skin.  Unfortunately, because of my own inadequacies, I couldn’t share this intimate feeling with him.

One day – years after he stopped playing, we were in the car and he was singing to a song on the radio.  I said (with a lump in my throat), “I love it when you sing.”  He stopped singing.  Not just then, but for a long time after.  I got so hurt and angry and would bring it up every now and again to let him know how happy it made me when he sang.

My husband is a keeper.  Whenever my faith falters in a God or some type of Universal Goo that pulls the strings for us mere mortals, I think of my partner, and my faith is restored.  Although this may sound harsh – true love, and a strong, committed (perfect in all its imperfections) marriage was not in my cards.  I had a tough beginning, a rough adolescent, and a flat out terrifying early adult life. I met Jeff shortly after I stepped from darkness into light (although the step took hundreds of days). It was love at first sight – on his part.  He says the first time he saw me he knew he wanted to marry me – he was 20 – I was 26, and I was still seeking tall, dark, handsome, and mean.  Jeff was a tad shorter than me with red hair and a permanent smile (at least when I was around).

Shortly after the Josh Ritter concert, I was alone in the car listening to one of Josh’s songs and crying.  I wondered why these intense love songs bring up these strong, dark, old emotions.  Is it because they aren’t true? It will never happen to me?  And then voila’ – it hit me.  It is because it has happened to me.  I am in that relationship – the one where i am the “Northern Lights.” And still – I cry – out of a sense of unworthiness. I compare our relationship to others as if ours isn’t good enough.  What a a waste of time!  Today – I am starting over, and once again stepping from darkness into light, embracing the love that is right in front of me, so close that I miss it nearly everyday. I am living the sappiest of love songs – I just have to get out of the way and listen so I don’t mess it up.

The funny thing is that  beautiful line comes from a song that is mostly about a one night stand, but the feeling in that line is what stands out and describes the tension between the lovers [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form] in the song – a tension that can make one blush.  That is what I experience in many moments of this 20 year marriage – that is miraculous – and all mine.

Check out Josh here: http://www.npr.org/event/music/176171890/josh-ritter-coming-out-of-the-dark-clouds


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