Category Archives: Family

Love Is Stronger Than Death- Song of Solomon 8:6

Love Is Stronger Than Death- Song of Solomon 8:6

Cemetery Panorama

This is a portion of my extended family gathered at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery to celebrate my step mother Adele Pearl Shaheen’s 100 years of life and love.  My siblings, their spouses, their children and their children’s children.  We are a force to be reckoned with.  Adele inherited us when she married my dad half a century ago.  She took it in good stride considering that she didn’t have her own children.  Fully bathed and baptized into instant family, she never complained.

My siblings and I were raised Catholic but we were quick to decide that no priest could give Adele a better send off than we could on our own.  Lord have mercy!  Since most of us had not been to this cemetery in years- not since our brother, our mother and our father were buried- we decided to make this a pilgrimage of sorts.

We began at my brother, Bobby’s grave.  He died at 41 of an invasive brain tumor.  Chris, his wife, did a reading and a reflection and we shared a few “Bobby stories” of which there were many!  We laughed and cried a bit and sang two verses of Amazing Grace- my nephew Nick said “if Obama can do it I can!”- and then moved on to my mom Dorothy’s grave, a few steps up the hill.

I read a blog that I wrote several years ago- 25 Things I Learned from my Mom.  We talked about the gospel that she always hated- the one about Mary and Martha sitting with the disciples (read- the men) at the feet of Jesus.  As the story goes Martha made everyone something to eat and Mary sat and enjoyed hearing what Jesus had to say.  Jesus said that Mary took the better path.  That really pissed my mom off and on the way home from Mass she said “If Jesus wanted lunch he should have gotten in the kitchen and helped to peel the potatoes!”

More laughter.  More tears.  Two more verses of Amazing Grace and thank you to brother Ronnie and his electronic pitch pipe to keep us all in key.

We got in our cars to jettison over to the cremation section of the cemetery, where our dad and step mother, Adele, are buried. (The Catholic Church is adamant about it’s parishioners being buried in a Catholic Cemetery and not scattered over hill and dale where, God forbid, their souls could be intercepted by unearthly forces.)  We quietly discuss the issue of who will you be married to whom in heaven?  Wife #1 or wife #2?  It is a mystery of which we are accustomed- being that we are Catholic.  What cannot be explained is a mystery.  Transubstantiation?  It’s a mystery.  The Virgin birth?  It’s a mystery.  Why priests can’t get married?  It’s a mystery.

Why more priests aren’t in prison?  The ultimate mystery.

I read a little note that I had kept in my bible that Adele wrote to me in 1988 the morning after my dad’s 70th birthday party.  She wrote “I just feel so blessed in this wonderful family and the place you all have created for me in your affection.”  Let it be said that we all appreciated Adele so much.  She loved my dad and made him feel like a king.  It was good to see him so happy.

More prayers, song and remembrances…  and Ronnie sang Adele’s favorite song, Oh Danny Boy.

There were many things we discovered about Adele after my dad died.  She was a college graduate.  She had a brother who died by the name of “Danny”.  She had cancer at 21 and was never able to have children.  So she kept to herself lest she deny a man the privilege of being a father.  She met my dad in her 50’s and walked into a very large and boisterous family that rivaled her peaceful Irish Canadian roots and surprised her with an amoeba-like inclusiveness and tentacles of unconditional love.

My niece Katie and her husband Jason lived with Adele for the past seven years.  Their little boy, Lincoln, grew up with his great grandmother since day one.  Adele and Lincoln fed the birds in the garden in the morning, sparred over all the candy and cookies in the house and occasionally flew drones together in the living room.   My niece looked after Adele, allowing her to live her last years in her own home with all the comforts, including her cat Monté.  (That’s French for Monty.)  And yes-  Adele spoke French as well.

100 years of life…  it’s truly something to celebrate and contemplate.  We gathered after the “ceremony” for food and family bonding.  The cousins went out for an “after-party” to talk some more.  (…probably about us old people and what the heck they are going to do with us when the time comes!)

I’ve had the draft of this blog in my wordpress dashboard for a week or so.  I couldn’t seem to find the right ending. Today my niece, Katie, posted this on her Instagram:

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love.  It’s all the love you want to give but cannot.  All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest.  Grief is just love with no place to go.”  ~Jamie Anderson

 So if we love well, we grieve.  And we take all those tears and lumps and love some more.

And love is stronger than death.

So there you have it.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mother in law, Louise Healy🙏🏼

My mother in law, Louise Healy🙏🏼

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I am writing this on the cusp of the first anniversary of my mother in law’s passing.  This picture was taken in our back yard in Whittier, California on Mother’s Day.  I’m going to guess that I was 35ish and she was 68ish.  My own mother had died five years prior so the two of us were the guests of honor on this day.  She came over looking glamorous and rested and I wrestled three little boys all week, grocery shopped, cleaned the house and made an exquisite brunch for all of us.  I’m not quite sure I liked her in this picture but this well bred obedient Catholic school girl respected her and honored her on this special day.

The definition of mother-in-law in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is as follows: The mother of someone’s husband or wife.  (No mystery here…)  But when I scrolled down on the page there was a question!  “What made you want to look up mother-in-law?”

Mostly the answers had to do with the spelling of mother-in-law and the plural of mother-in-law.  Also why is it called a mother-in-law quarters?  But down near the end of the comments, a woman by the name of Liz Mayott wrote:

“I love my mother-in-law ❤️.”

Ah.. just why do mother-in-laws get such a bad rap?  I’m sorry to report that the Urban Dictionary defines mother-in-law as “a horrible beast”.  And father-in-law as the sainted man who lives with one’s mother-in-law!

Here’s my best guess…  Mother-in-laws have to learn to play second fiddle to mothers.  When each of my three sons was born I wanted nothing more than my mother to come over and cook for us, swaddle our babies and take care of us and I totally let her.  My mother-in-law waited patiently in the wings until she was invited.  Mother-in-laws know their place.

And MY mother-in-law worked it!

First it was the home cooked meal she delivered when I came home from the hospital with my first son.  It was called “Luxury Stew” and it was so delicious and nurturing that I wrote down the recipe to make again.  But it was so much better when she made it.

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Then came the home made blankets.  Beautiful cross stitched kittens on soft cotton batting.  Crocheted pastel coverlets and tiny baby sweaters. The homemade Christmas stockings that I still stuff every year-  now with things like lottery tickets and hand sanitizer and other accoutrements of young men.  And the handmade Christmas ornaments that I swear multiplied in the storage boxes between Decembers!

She wormed her way into my heart.

The last time I visited my mother-in-law was two years ago.  I was 62ish and she was 93ish.  The two of us had learned a lot in the last 25ish years.  Basically, neither of us had changed much but certainly we both had softened in our appreciation for each other. And we had some important things in common that bonded our relationship.

Both of us mothers of three grown sons.

Both of us now mother-in-laws.

(Interesting how the generation gap between a 35ish year old and a 68ish year old can shrink in 25ish or so years.)

I might not have had a lot of good feelings for my mother-in-law, Louise, on that Mother’s Day in my backyard in Whittier, California.  But I hung in there with her.  She kept her boundaries and played second fiddle like all mother-in-laws have to do.  She knew her place with me.  I respected her.  And I grew to love her.  She stole my heart when I was not looking.  I’m sure you won’t find that in any dictionary.

She passed away a year ago on April 16th.  Her sons are planning a celebration of her life this summer as restrictions open up with Covid 19.

It seems appropriate to post a picture here of me and my two beautiful daughter-in-laws.

Nazaneen and Brianna, please forgive me in advance for all my mother-in-law indiscretions!!  😱

 

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Comfort and Joy 🌲

Comfort and Joy 🌲

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It’s 12:30pm on Christmas day and I’m upstairs bathing my grandson, Boe, enjoying his little boy antics and squeals of glee.  I check my watch and call down to whomever will hear “Hey!  Don’t forget to put the roast in the oven at 1!”  My sons and daughter in law are scurrying about preparing for our 20 plus guests- straightening out the toys, figuring out the logistics of the oven and deciding whether or not to do the veggies on the grill outside.  “I need a bigger kitchen!”  – my mantra since my first apartment as a new bride. I inherited the tendency to cook for a crowd from my mother who taught me that food is love.  I’m afraid my kitchen lust will only get me in trouble.  If you build it they will come!

Oh Lordy.

I am mentally checking off my to do list until the first guests begin to arrive.  Caught up in conversation and coat hanging I relinquish control and my sons and daughter in law take over.  The last minute preparations are all taken care of.  It happens like that every year.  Patrick, the kitchen guru, masterminds the veggies outside on the grill while tending to the 18 lb. prime rib in the oven.  Rob organizes the gifts for the white elephant game.  Breezy and Peter replenish the appetizers and open wine.  It’s magical.  When it’s time to eat, I have no idea how it all came together.

Along with the gluten free, vegan, dairy free and vegetarian dietary preferences, I prepared an invocation or “prayer” if you will for all types of believers or non believers- Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Athiest, or just plain hungry for something!

Beloved Lord,

we do greatly thank you

for the abundance

that is ours 

Amen

For a crazy moment I want to freeze time and keep all these people in my house with the Christmas tree all lit up and the table set with the finest china- the gifts under the tree and the love in the room- little Thomas and Boe young and innocent forever- it all brings me such strength, comfort and joy…  I believe we have collectively in this room the power to change the world.

A quote that my sons and daughter in law threw around in jest for several days before Christmas was:

With great power comes great responsibility.  ~Voltaire 

How providential.  The abundance is for us to enjoy.  Yes.  And it is also ours to share. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t take a particular religion (or food preference) to feel the responsibility to be a man or woman for others.  We have so much.  We have much to give.

I love my family and I don’t want for a minute to take my “wealth” for granted.  I could bottle up all this love and keep it for myself.  But it’s such a privilege to be able to “pay it forward”.

Maybe a big ass kitchen wouldn’t be a bad idea after all!  Just think of all the guests we could seat and feed!

Perhaps we would entertain angels…

Merry Christmas to you and yours.  ❤︎

 

Choose your adventure…

Choose your adventure…

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On our way to the Nashville International Airport, Boe and I reviewed all the lessons learned during my week long visit.  First a little Arabic…
Di´ddy Di´ddy is what you say when you hit your head or your arm or some other extremity on something that hurts!  Repeat over and over while hitting the guilty object until the hurt is gone.  Fa´dush!  That’s what you say when someone sneezes.  I think it means God Bless You.  If a person is coughing or choking on something, place your hand on their back and tap lightly while repeating Sa´ha!  And lastly, when dinner is ready get yourself to the table in a hurry!  Ya´la!
Next, some basic manners.  Boe, keep your foot to yourself when in the car seat or Sitti will have to take a bite out of it!  Also, make sure you sit on your teezee (bottom, buttocks, bum) in the bathtub and when riding in your red wagon.
Now, a grammar lesson.  In the south, BBQ is a NOUN, not a verb!
ASSWHATIMTALKINABOUT says Uncle Mickey!
We’ve arrived now at the airport.  “No long goodbyes, Boe.  I will see you soon!  Chin up!  Ok.. just one more bite of your toes!
Standing at the curb, I wave and watch as Peter, Breezy and Boe pull away.  I didn’t want to cry and be THAT gramma.  But as I walked through the airport terminal every little baby squeal or laugh reminds me of Boe.  Every sweet kiss and snuggle.  That baby smell.  Those contemplative blue eyes.
Sigh….
When my boys were little we read to them a series of books entitled “Choose Your Adventure”.  In each book, the reader would get to choose how the story progressed and make decisions at each impasse.  Until they would reach the final destination.
As parents, that’s pretty much what we strive for.  We want our children to choose their own path, set goals and create their own lives.  We begin to train them when they are little- pick up your toys, get ready for school, comb your hair, do your homework!  We continue (with added fervor) when they become teenagers- get a job, save your money, go to college!  We long to have our own lives back and to be able to traverse life unencumbered by the awesome demands of parenthood.  Well, at least for a day or so.  😌
So when my son announced that his little family was going to move across the country- 2000 plus miles away- like a good parent, I listened, showed my best game face, and celebrated.  Isn’t this what I prepared him for all along?
And amidst the confusion, sadness and eventual resolution, there came a profound epiphany.  Life has a funny way of turning the tables.  Our children become our mentors.  Their adventures become our adventures.  They teach us that we also get to choose.  And there is, indeed, life after parenting.  That the world is vast and there may be no place like home, but there are also journeys and experiences and adventures to be had- near and far.  👠
So, in the wise words of Max from the children’s book Where the Wild Things Are… dry your tears onehipdiva and “Let the wild rumpus begin”!

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Being Sitti

Being Sitti

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I have been reflecting on the awesome responsibility of being a grandmother.  It has been a transition to say the least. And with all transitions there is an adjustment period and an awkward sense of the unknown as well as the anticipation of what is to come and how it will all look once everyone finds their sea legs.

My gracious son and daughter in law let me choose the name I would like to be called by little Boe and it was a quick decision.  Like my Sittis before me, I felt that the Arabic name for grandmother was more than appropriate because it speaks of a long history of Lebanese women who wanted nothing more than to cook, feed, and make a cozy home for their families.  And even though I had the means and awareness to get a college degree and beyond and have a thriving and rewarding career, I have to admit my first goal when I stepped onto a college campus at 17 years old was to get my MRS degree, have a family, and create a loving home for them.

I was named after my maternal Sitti, Rosa Maloof, and of course like all good Catholic girls, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  (My parents must have had high aspirations for me!)  I had to do some fact checking with my brothers and as my memory serves me, I only saw my maternal grandmother three times in my entire life.  She and my grandfather lived in Atlanta and were not fond of flying.  We were a family of eight in California and traveling across the country to see our grandparents was a bit out of the budget.  I was able to spend time with them once as a little girl, once as a teenager, and much later when I was 30.  When my mother passed away at 61 years old, they did not come out for her funeral.  It is still incredulous to me today.  I would move heaven and earth to see my children in any state (or state).

My father’s mother, Louise, died in childbirth along with her fifth child.  My dad was the oldest and we think (our collective memories) he was about 6 years old when she died.  The baby’s name was John and I remember my dad telling me the story- never with a straight face- always with tears running down his cheeks.  My brother John was named after my dad’s little brother.

My grandfather sent for a wife from Lebanon (cousins.. can you do some fact checking for me?  This is part urban legend passed down through oral history).  Her name was Madeleine and she had to quickly adjust to a new country, a new husband, and to my grandfather Thomas’ four children.  They went on to have four more children of their own whom my grandmother favored.  And she favored their children as well.

With that said, I must confess that I don’t remember having a Sitti who wanted to kiss me and hold me, babysit me and get on the floor and play with me and/or agonize over the next time she might be able to spend time with me.

I write all this not so that you will feel sorry for me.  I write it for my own understanding and for my children’s understanding.  I write it to rub a salve on a wound that has just recently been exposed as I reflect on my own experience as a grandmother.  I write it to help me understand this longing in my heart to be near my new grandson and be a part of his life.  I write it because I know I am not alone in this reflection and confession and to open a conversation about the role of a grandmother in a child’s life.

In the song Both Sides Now Joni Mitchell sings “Something’s lost and something’s gained in living every day.”  Life is not always easy.  Family is not always as Norman Rockwell would illustrate but I believe people try.  In the absence of holding me and reading stories to me, my Sittis cooked and cleaned and fed me and I suppose they thought that was enough.  But this Sitti wants something different with her grandchildren.

I would love to hear your thoughts on being a grandparent.

 

 

 

 

A life torn asunder…

A life torn asunder…

I found this engagement announcement years ago after my mother passed away. I had inherited the “trunk” with all of the family heirlooms and photos.  When I first saw the fragile news clipping, I thought nothing of it really.  I assumed it had gotten torn somehow and my mom had saved it nonetheless.

Years later, while going through the trunk, I saw a different fragile news clipping.  It was a reflection of a broken heart, a broken woman, and the life she had imagined torn asunder.  She most likely carefully and deliberately tore the piece right down the middle and replaced it in a box of photos.

No accident here.  It was a message.  A statement.  Perhaps a legacy.

My mother told me once in a private conversation weeks before my own wedding,  “I never planned on being divorced”.  It was during an argument between us when I foolishly told her that what happened to her would never happen to me.  If only I could take those words back.

Not only because I am now a divorced woman.  But because my words had a certain arrogance and a sting that hurt her deeply.

No matter how you slice it, divorce wreaks havoc on a family.  It creates “teams” that don’t play well together.  It rents the fabric of family life, rearranges every holiday plan and every summer vacation.  The repercussions rear their ugly heads in the least expected moments.

Growing up is something we all have to do.  Becoming wise and learning difficult lessons is optional.  Knowing what I went through with my parents divorce, I have a difficult time digesting the fact that I had a hand in repeating this  history.  Perhaps it was my legacy.  Or an unconscious attempt at solidarity with my mother.

Maybe it was an “I told you so”.

Nonetheless, I am the woman I am today because I had to grow through the pain and struggle of my decisions.  If only I could have been this woman without having had to wreak so much damage and heartache.

We project a part of ourselves into what we see and observe.  What we interpret has everything to do with our own experience.  As a young married woman with three small children, I saw a fragile news clipping that had accidentally gotten torn. Years later I see with different eyes.  It is a statement of grief.  A message and a warning.

And sadly, a legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fearfully and wonderfully made…

Fearfully and wonderfully made…

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in the secret of darkness

before I saw the sun

in my mother’s womb

        ~Psalm 139:14

Dear little Boe,

You are a miracle.  A gift.  Someone new to love and long to hold.  A bundle of sweet smells and warm cuddles.  You have us all in awe and wonder.

How beautiful you are.  A blank slate.  A crisp white page to be filled with lovely lyrics.  An empty vessel within which we place all our hopes and dreams.  Your innocence is compelling.  I feel absolution in your presence.

I know that some little parts of you have been etched from my own body.  That in itself is mind blowing.  I look at you and feel such love and connection- and at the same time, a sense of mystery.  Who are you?  Who will you become?  How will I fit into your life?  What will we do together to build our relationship?

Little lovey, the day you were born we all experienced a life changing transition.  Woman and man became mother and father.  Mother and father became grandmother and grandfather.  It may take some time for us to learn our new roles so please be patient with us.

I hear other grandparents brag that they can spoil their grandchildren and then send them home.  All the fun and none of the responsibility.  Then they laugh!  But Boe, I have a little secret for you.

I would do it all again.  The pain of labor, the sleepless nights, the diapers, the desitine, the sticky kisses, the million and one soccer, basketball and little league games, the waiting up for teenagers, the “sex” talks, and the endless and painful letting gos- witnessing three little boys traverse their paths into manhood.

But there would be do-overs.  I would clean less, order more take out, play more games and be more attentive to the ebb and flow of raising a family.  And most of all I would allow myself to enjoy it all.  Not be so stressed and insecure. Not be so hard on myself.  Not compare myself to other moms who appeared to be doing it better.

Little Boe, when your daddy was growing up, I wrote him letters on his birthdays and other occasions so that he would know how my love for him unfolded and developed as he grew up and became a young man.  When he graduated from high school I gave him all those letters.  It was a labor of love.

I want to do that for you, little Boe.  I want you to see what I see in you.  And in those moments when you are feeling insecure or a little blue, I want you to know how much you are loved, fearfully and wonderfully made, and carefully knit together in the secret of your mother’s womb by an even greater Love.

My heart is full.  My life has taken on a new meaning with your birth.  I have so many things I’d like to share with you.  So many songs I want to sing to you.  And I have all the time in the world to listen to you.

Stay sweet, little boy.  Take in all the love you can.  Learn honesty and integrity.  Be generous and kind.

Grow up to be a man for others.

I love you,

Your Sitti

 

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The Mom Void

The Mom Void

It’s Mother’s Day and it seems appropriate that I would be channeling my mother in the kitchen this weekend.  Tabouli, Hummus, Baba Ghannouj- salt, allspice, cinnamon, garlic, tahini, eggplant, and parsley dripped and splashed everywhere!  You can’t make Lebanese food without making a mess, using your hands and taste testing along the way.  The sterile kitchen police would have me under arrest.

My daughter in law is craving Lebanese food for my little Lebanese grandson still nesting just under her heart.  A new little Shaheen boy in the works.  My mom would be beside herself!  Another man to cook for!

I found my place very early in life next to my mother in the kitchen.  I had no choice really.  I just grew up in there with my own apron and stepping stool, stirring the rice pudding, chopping the parsley and washing the dishes.  Sometimes all at the same time.

I never complained.  With a family of eight and so many brothers, it was the only way I could sneak something to eat before the food hit the dinner table. It was also my special time to be with my mom.  To smell her perfume and sing songs with her.  At a very young age, I wanted to be just like her.  She was so loved and admired by everyone.  And she was a fabulous cook.  I think she invented that idiom about the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach..

She always knew just what to do in every situation.  What to cook for every ailment.  How to take care of her family.  She could have written the book on mothering.

I watched her as a young mother wrap up my babies and sing to them.  When my youngest, Peter, was born, I found her playing in the sandbox with Patrick and Robert and their trucks.  “Whose mother is that??” I wondered!  My mother never got dirty.  My mother had her nails and hair done every week and wore heels and hose.  My mother didn’t own a pair of jeans until she turned 50!

As I recuperated from each pregnancy and birth, she cleaned my house and did the laundry and cooked delicious things for us in the kitchen.  I just held my babies and watched.  I wanted to get in there and chop and stir and wash dishes but clearly our roles had changed and I was no longer the little girl helping.  I was the mother. Still learning from her.  Still needing her advice and expertise.  Still wanting to be close to her in the kitchen.

Now on the cusp of being a new grandmother myself, I’m feeling a bit insecure in the transition.  What will my new role be like?  What are the expectations?  Will I know what to do with a new baby?  After all, it’s been 30 years since I had Peter.  Things have changed. Mothers are more enlightened due to the internet.  Information is dispelled easily through a quick Google.  Does anyone call their mother for advice anymore?

The new parenting trends bring natural fibers and toxic free toys.  Gender fluid nurseries and neutral color schemes.  Babies sleep face up instead of face down.  Bumpers are no longer safe in cribs.  There’s something called “sleep training”.

Maybe I will Google “gramma training”.

So I find myself in the kitchen where I feel safe and smug.  I know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Or through his mommy’s stomach.

It’s a start.  The rest will come in time.

As I chop the parsley and squeeze the lemons.  Smash the garlic with the salt just how she taught me.  Mix the Tabouli with my unsterile hands- I haven’t killed anyone yet with my cooking- I feel her standing next to me and I smell her perfume.  I am infused with her wisdom and her strength and her confidence in me.

“You got this, Sissie!  You’re going to be a wonderful Sittie!”

Feeling the Mom void..

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The Church of Soul Cycle

The Church of Soul Cycle

We mount our bikes and get ready for a hardy workout.  The room is dim but the stage is elevated and illuminated to spotlight the empty bike from where our instructor, Ian, will be leading our 45 minute session of blood, sweat, tears and redemption. We are warming up, adjusting our seats, and preparing our souls in anticipation.

Enter Ian left stage.  He is ripped and torn and fit as a fiddle with a dashing smile and a charismatic personality.

“Who has not been to Soul Cycle before?”

“Who has not been to MY class?”

He makes a mental note of who might need some extra attention in the room.  He is like a prophet bringing the good news to the flock who long for health and fitness.

And off we go.  The music is pounding.  My daughter in law inserts her ear plugs.  Ah, those thirty something kids! They can’t handle loud music?  Me, on the other hand, after raising three sons with a drum set and other accouterments of a noisy household- including broken windows and baseballs thrown through doors- can find peace at any decibel.

“I know you didn’t come here to just exercise!  You came here to push your limits!  To see what you can do!  To be all that you can!”

Yes, I want what he’s selling! But I glance briefly at my 25 week pregnant daughter in law and say quietly to her not to push yet!  She can’t hear me above the din of the rock music and of course the ear plugs.

“Get rid of any negativity.  People tell you it can’t be done!  You might fail!  They fill you with doubt and cloud your dreams!  Well, I have three words for you!  THREE WORDS!”

I’m thinking “get behind me Satan?”  No, that’s four words…

“STAND YOUR GROUND!  Don’t let people tell you who you are and what you can do!  STAND YOUR GROUND!”

We’re out of the saddles now climbing the imaginary hill of our challenges and struggles.  The room is moving in synchronicity.  Bodies up and down and up and down on cue.  I am pretty sure that if Ian told us to do a flip over our handlebars we would all cooperate.  We are mesmerized by his words and his commands.

“What are you holding on to today?  Let me hold it for you!  Let it go and BE FREE.”

I’m beginning to wonder if there will be a crucifixion at the end of class..

“Look around you.  You don’t know what burdens people have in their lives.  You have no idea what the person next to you is going through today.  Perhaps the biggest challenge of their life!”

I move my sweaty hand and gently touch Breezy’s hand.  I’ve been so cavalier about her being pregnant and having a baby.  Women do it all the time.  But this is her biggest challenge right now!  Pregnancy, nutrition, getting enough rest, knowing when to stop working and start nesting, moving into a new place- maybe even being married to my son, Peter!   Did I raise him to be a good enough husband and father?

We are heading for the climax of the class.  We are sweating and panting and letting it all go and feeling free.

“I want you to leave here with an open heart!  A heart ready to love!”

I’m thinking about how fortunate I am to have this wonderful relationship with my daughter in law.  There is an intimacy that continues to grow between us.  I couldn’t be more delighted with the woman she is and the mother she will soon be.  And I love her as if she were my own daughter.

Cooling down now and stretching.  The lights go on and I realize we are at a spin class- not a revival.

There have been so many changes in my life this past year.  A new home.  A grandson to look forward to.  My new role as a Sittie.  I have considered going back into weekly therapy with my 80 year old guru, Lucia.  But now I’m kind of thinking that all I really need is this quality time with my beautiful daughter in law, Breezy, a positive attitude and an open heart from which to love, and perhaps a weekly visit to the Church of Soul Cycle.

Do I hear an AMEN?

 

 

 

 

 

 

You want how much for that refrigerator??

You want how much for that refrigerator??

French-Door-RefrigeratorsYup.. she’s a beauty.

And everyone knows that food is love and the bigger the frig the more food and the more love!  It would be a huge splurge.  It’s what I love to do.  Entertain.   Make food. Food Is Love.

The stainless steel doesn’t turn me on.  But I’ve been told that it’s time to join the real world and stop being a hippy.  I’m still not sure this refrigerator fits my lifestyle. I really loved my magnetic door white frig with the 100 pictures plastered on it and magnets broadcasting everything from what wine to drink with dinner all the way to the phone number of my favorite appliance guy, Kenny.

I guess those days are over… sigh.

“So, can I have your address?” says the nice man at Lowe’s.”  He’s about the age of my sons and tall and skinny and I’m thinking maybe I’ll invite him over sometime and try to fatten him up.

“Oh..  I don’t have it with me.”  I’m embarrassed that I haven’t memorized my new address yet.

“OK.  You can just call it in with your credit card and we’ll do the transaction over the phone.”  He didn’t seem the least bit suspicious.  “Now when would you like this delivered?”

“Um…  I don’t know.”   Now I’m sounding like a crazy lady.

“I bought a new townhouse (friggin’ 10 months ago) and it’s not done yet.”

“Oh.”  he said with a raised eyebrow.

Yes, OH!  That’s what I say!

Now, I don’t know my address.  I don’t know when I’ll be in my new place.  I don’t know how I’ve survived this transition without going a bit nuts.  But I do know that I’m going to need that big ass frig so that I can have a lot of food and do a bunch of cooking and have people over and show them how much I love them and make my new house into a home so stop asking me all these silly questions and let’s get on with our business, shall we?

I thought to myself…

It’s been said that if you build it they will come.

Maybe if I buy the frig the townhouse will be done.

One can only hope…