Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom.

If mom were still with us she would be 77 years old today. She died almost 9 years ago and she certainly left her mark on our family. In fact, I can tell you that not a single day goes by where she is not thought of, talked about or considered. “Mom would loved that movie.” “Mom would have loved Abby.” (Our son's new wife) “Mom would have been so proud.”

 I think that we can all agree that one way people live forever is by living in the hearts and minds of those who knew them, those who  were or are affected by them. My mom knew a lot of people and had a great impact on  many of them. Few people go as far out of their way to make life better for the ones they love then my mother did. She loved and she showed it, espeecially if you were on her  "A  list" is him and him and him. Whether you wanted it or not, if she thought that you needed it, you were going to get it. It could be a pair of shoes or a dining room table.

 From time to time we would get a call  from her in the morning telling us to look out the front door because she had left a package for us. She had driven an hour to bring us something only to turn around and drive home without any notice and without coming in to say hello. Really? Really? She didn't want to bother us or interrupt our busy schedules. At times she could be very frustrating, but she was always, always, always thinking of and doing for others.

 Regularly she would load up her car with a handful of senior citizens to take them to Knott's Berry Farm for a fried chicken dinner. She had no particular relationship with these people other than she thought that it would be nice for them to do. Other times she would be in public and if she spotted what seemed to be someone accompanying an elderly parent, she would become fixated on them and find a reason to go and talk with them. They were always so impressed by this “nice woman” who had approached them. Knowing my mother, she was looking to see if there was something that she could do for them.

 What a unique and special woman she was.

 My mom passed away almost 9 years ago and yet she is very much alive and well in our hearts and minds. That is why we celebrate her birthday. That is why we celebrate her everyday.

 Happy birthday Mom.

 Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.

Friday, August 3, 2012

“Staying married is its own reward”

That phrase, “staying married is its own reward” was told to me almost 26 years ago.   I think that until someone has been married for 15 or 20 years, they cannot fully understand how meaningful and true that statement is. It is for me and I should know. Today is my 32nd wedding anniversary.

 There is an intimacy that comes with the knowledge and comfort of another person that comes with time. You know how they think, feel and breathe. You can hand them things before they ask, or know what is needed before they do. You can finish sentences for each other, help remember names, watch their diets, remind them to make calls, and let it be okay if they fall asleep watching TV. You might have disagreements, but then you go on.  They may be less than perfect (not me, but other people) and that is okay, it is part of who they are. That is how it is for us.

 There is a tremendous feeling that comes with just knowing that they are there.  They could be in the next room or laying next to you in bed, but the certainty that they are there is more than comforting. It is an assurance that all is right in the world. That is how it is for us.

Ask couples who have been married for quite a while what it takes to succeed and you will get a lot of different answers. “Don't go to bed angry.” “Always show respect to one another.” “Laugh at his jokes even if you have heard them 100 times.” I have an answer that I believe trumps all of that and I can tell it to you in a single word: gratitude….at least that is how it is for us.

Gratitude is the key to happiness in all areas of life and relationships are no different.  Gratitude must be felt and expressed, it must be shared or it is of no use. It must be genuine and never forgotten. At least that is how it is for us.

On the day we were married we were so grateful to have found one another. What we did not know then is that the expression of gratitude must be done regularly or it will be forgotten. Once forgotten, a partner can be taken for granted and when that happens there can be troubles in the relationship.

Today our relationship is better and stronger than ever. Why is that? Because we have learned about gratitude, feel grateful and constantly express our gratitude to one another.

Today I am very grateful. Grateful to have found someone to share my life with. Grateful to have found someone to build a life with. Grateful to have a partner that is loving, kind, affectionate and so much more.

Happy anniversary, Gail. I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.