Category Archives: Blog Posts

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Bullying Asperger’s

bullied

As many of you have already read, my grandson Noah, a 10 year old with Asperger’s, is currently in a psychiatric hospital because his only option to the bullying he suffered at school, seemed to be suicide.

He is perhaps one of the lucky ones.  I briefly heard a news report this week of another young boy with Asperger’s who had stabbed his bully.

We have started a group called Noah’s Ark for my grandson because now we must spend all our time trying to erase the damage caused and hoping to convince him that the bullies are the minority and that there are many good people out there in the world who care.  We also started a go fund page to help offset the cost for Noah’s family.  The victims are left with the damage and the costs.  The bullies are seldom taken to task.

Please join the group and offer words of encouragement to a little boy and please contribute if you can.

I found this incredible comprehensive article on bullying that I urge you to read.  Please spread the word.  This has to stop.

My Aspergers Child:  The Bullying of Aspergers Children

A sad fact: The majority of children with Aspergers will experience repeated bullying and/or victimization at school. Aspergers students are easy targets for a variety of reasons:

• Due to having a low social IQ, they let things build up …then retaliate without an awareness of what the consequences might be

• They appear different than their “typical” peers

• They are not always aware of teasing or bullying behavior

• “Intimidation” is not in their vocabulary

• The need to dominate or control others is not part of their personality

Aspergers children who are bullied are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and suicidal. They struggle in school (when they decide to show up at all). They’re more likely to carry weapons, get in physical fights, and abuse drugs. But when it comes to the actual damage bullying does, the picture becomes more clouded.  (read more by clicking link below.)

via My Aspergers Child: The Bullying of Aspergers Children.

You might also like:  Noah’s Fight Against His Bullies

Noah’s Fight Against His Bullies.

blog noah

It has taken me a few days to sort out my emotions enough to write about this.

On one hand I realize our story is just one of thousands being told daily. On the other hand our story is every bit as important as any other.   We all do what we can do.  I write.

My 10 year old grandson has Asperger’s. He is such an amazing boy.  In some ways he is an ancient soul contained in a red headed, somewhat awkward, pre-pubescent boy’s body and in others he is just a little boy who is scared and unsure.

He makes me laugh. We have Skype time as he is in the States and I am in Australia – and we talk about life and his dreams. We had made a special Skype date, he wanted to take me to his open house at his new school so he could show me where he would be and all of the cool things that were there. He was really excited about doing robotics.

He has an interesting perspective of the world. I listen and help him explore his thoughts. He reads me stories he has written, and he is really good. We talk about the book he wants to write this summer and he sends me bits and pieces for my approval. Sometimes I see he has tried to call me several times in one day and sometimes days go by. He likes it most when everyone else has gone out and we can talk privately in his room.

It is pretty awesome to know a 10 year old boy thinks you are cool and likes to hang out with you.

That is why when I found out that he has been repeatedly bullied until he wanted to take his own life and had to be hospitalized, I was devastated. Continue reading Noah’s Fight Against His Bullies.

They Let Me Pass The Bark.

noooo

Against my better judgment, I went with a friend to a meeting where people get high on life and no-one ever even checks the kool-aid OR the brownies.

They claim it is spontaneous combustion. Real energy … flowing ….living in the moment. Moment-ing all over the place. I tried to explain to one of them once that people do expect some kind of flow of continuity from one moment to the next. If you are really happy this moment, in the next moment you should at least still be kind of happy. Like, you can’t be happy, and then sad, and then angry, and then bored in 4 consecutive moments. They call that shit “bipolar.” Continue reading They Let Me Pass The Bark.

Gratitude for the Spirit of Motherhood on Mother’s Day.

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(The Mother’s Hand (1966) by Antanas Sutkus)

I never had a mother.

I don’t know much about her, and what little I was told has proven to be mostly lies.

I had people who raised me. Who showed up, did their job and went home at the end of the day.

So I have never really celebrated Mother’s Day in the sense of being able to tell my mother I love her, or thank her for anything. I actually do not know what it would be like to have a mother who loved and wanted me, who thought I was wonderful, who was proud of me, or cheered for me, or wanted me to succeed but held my hand when I failed.   I don’t know what it is like to have those arms around me.  I don’t have a circle.  I only have my own limited existence and the effort I made to mother myself.  So I have looked long and deep at other women and their families.

I have always celebrated the spirit of motherhood that I see in women as their true creative force. Women give birth, not just to children, but to life . . . in so many different modalities.

I celebrate in terms of appreciating all those women around me who are mothers. I see their struggles and doubts, their loneliness sometimes and the feelings of being unappreciated. I am particularly drawn to those whose children never make the time to ever say they love them, let alone pay any tribute on the one day a year designated for that activity. The fact they are not recognized by the children they sacrificed for does not make their efforts any less than others.

I am drawn to those who never had children and yet contribute to the world in so many ways, and often are the arms and support to other women as they raise their children. The aunts, and sisters and friends who mean so much to us because they always show up and help love our kids and often become good friends to them as well as us.

I am drawn to those whose children are gone and who never had the chance to finish what was started. I hope their children made time to let their mothers know before it was too late, that they cared.

But most of all I look at the young women who don’t yet know how quickly it is all over and who feel like they are drowning and doing a lousy job. You aren’t. Kids say and do things, sometime horrible things, not because that is who they are or even how they feel, but because you created a safe enough place that they are real people who are learning and growing and they know they can be imperfect without worrying about suffering a loss of your love.

I know what I feel as a mother and how much my children mean to me and the blessing – and the sorrows – they bring to my life.  It is the true definition of love.  And I know I am blessed to have children, to be in their lives, and that what I do or do not do has had, and will have tremendous impact on their lives.  At times it is an overwhelming responsibility.  How often I have longed for my own mother to guide me and encourage me.  I did not have that.

So I am thankful to the women who have mothered me in so many ways, sometimes just their example that inspired me.  And I am grateful for those who shared my journey and therefore blessed my life.

Mothering is THE life force.  We share in it collectively as women, regardless of our situations.

Thank you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

When Love Comes Knocking.

knock knock

Don’t you love it when you are bored out of your gourd and just when you think there is absolutely nothing going to happen, there is a knock at the door and it is unexpected guests?  I mean there is all that anticipation of wondering who it is when you go to the door – did you forget you ordered something?  Did someone send you flowers?  Have the children finally come out of their comas, remembered where you live and have come for a visit?  Sooo many possibilities.  And then you open the door and it is those cute little people that show up to tell you that Jesus loves you or that you are going to hell if you don’t love Jesus, here have a magazine and  give them money.

The hell predictors are like the emergency warning system for bad weather except they have more wrinkles usually, speak in a sterner voice and aren’t very helpful with what you are supposed to do with the information, once they tell you.

“YOU ARE GOING TO HELL.”

” That is all.”

“Have a nice day.”

Today, this really cute little old man and lady came by and I was so excited to have some play mates.  Isn’t that nice that they drive up in a whole van load of them and they get out and go knocking on the doors until someone lets them in?  Except no-one usually does and so they can be lost for days in one neighbourhood, getting tangled up in the laundry, lost in the back corner or the fence between the rose bushes  . . . or even end up standing outside your bedroom window attracted to the light late at night.  Talk about Jesus in action, taking church out into the neighbourhood and making a difference in your communities.

They always end up back in the van at some point which is really an effective demonstration of how Jesus cares, and gathers his flock home.   We had Scouts that got let off in the neighbourhood one Saturday to sell chocolates and some of them got lost and were never seen again.  Jesus did not collect them.  Come to think of it, none of their parents ever came looking for them either.  There has to be families in the neighbourhood raising random Boy Scouts and they don’t even realize.

Anyway, John and Alice were already saying “thank you, have a nice day,” and walking off before I even got out, “yes, of course I would love to hear your special message, won’t you come in?”  I had to run after them and bellow.  I only bellow when the situation merits it.  On the prairies, raised by grandparents, you learn manners.  No random bellowing . . . EVER!.

I bellowed.  “John.  Alice.  THIS is your lucky day.  Come onnnnnnnn down!”

They stopped, turned, looked at me, looked at each other, and got their walkers all tangled up in each other trying to get back to the door.  John won.  He gave Alice a wicked elbow and she ended up in the gutter, picking the gravel out of her teeth.  I am pretty sure there was a Jesus competition going on and the prize must have been something awesome like a cross stitched book marker with a bible verse on it.

I asked John if he needed me to sign anything to verify he made it through the door first.   I hate it when book markers go unclaimed and you can’t help but think that there is a winner somewhere crying because he forgot what page he was on in Thessalonians.   He shook his head and I felt like such a idiot.  Of course God already knew he won.

Once we got all settled John began, “Our message today is that Jesus loves you.”

“SHUT UP!!  Are you serious?  No!  No he doesn’t.  Really?”  I was gobsmacked.

Alice was nodding.   “Yes, Jesus loves you.”

“Does the bible tell you so?”

They were both nodding.

“No serious, how do you know?  What did he say about me?”

“No, Jesus didn’t talk about you.  He didn’t say your name or anything.  Jesus doesn’t talk like that.  He just loves everyone.”  Alice was beaming … like a sunbeam.

“Have you seen him … ever?”

“Well no but . . . ”

“So that leaves out sign language or charades …the truth is you have no idea about anything Jesus thinks about me.  “This is not a “hey Aria, you are special” kind of message.  This is “hey Aria, you are just the same as everyone else, no big whoop kind of message.   Like Jesus loves you.  Big deal.  It doesn’t matter whether it is Aria standing here, Bob, ted or Alice … does it, because Jesus isn’t real.  You could say anything you want.”

I was feeling pretty disheartened.  I actually considered slapping the cookies out of their hands and suing them for making me more depressed.

“No, it IS a big deal.   Jesus loves YOU and you should know.  Everyone should know how much Jesus loves them.”

“Why?  Does knowing get me some special prize?  Does he only help those who know he loves them?”

“Of course not, he loves everyone the same.”

So Jesus loved me yesterday even though I did not know, and he loves me today now that I do know, but it is all the same.  He doesn’t love me more today than yesterday?”  But not as much as tomorrow?”

“Exactly.”

“Well yesterday sucked.  So does today actually.  So you are basically here today to tell me that my life sucking is exactly what Jesus wants for me because he loves me and there is nothing I can do about it?  Does this actually work for you?  Or for Jesus for that matter?  I mean normally  a good sales pitch is, sign up with us and you get 2 extra movies a month, or here have a tablet, or a set of steak knives, or something.  You guys are trying to sell, life sucks, you suck, and that is what you get and hey Jesus loves you?  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?”

John was pretty sure he could hear the van honking for them and he got up to help Alice out.

I  asked if I could have some of their literature or something.  I wanted to give them my name and find out what time they had service but we were right in the middle of a miracle and  there was no time.  People lose their minds when miracles happen.  I rose from my chair to see what was the matter when what to wondering eyes should appear . . . Alice and John were about to disappear.   Alice and John had ditched their walkers in the rose bushes and were running, unaided, for the van that was already pulling away from the curb when they hurled themselves into the open door and everyone sped out of sight.

I know that people don’t believe in miracles anymore but there was a miracle on my street, in my yard, today … because Jesus loves me.  John and Alice told me so.

On Line, Everyone Wants Me.

marry me

I get all these invitations from Non-English speaking groups, causes and men.  THESE are the men that want to date/marry me and declare they are in love with me, even when I point out the picture they are looking at is an avatar I use in a virtual reality called Second Life.  I point out,  in the interest of complete disclosure, they should note that not even Barbie is 9 foot tall and has a 3 inch waist.  But the heart wants what the heart wants.  At least I think it is their heart that wants it.

See Ken being anatomically ambiguousmember deficient, penis-less  has left so many of us women without a real sense of what romance is all about.  We are still thinking pink and tulle and a prince that is just an arm accessory that comes out of box when the scene requires it and gets lost once the wedding is over.   We are waiting for our Barbie  Motor and Dream homes because everyone knows Ken is pointless if those aren’t there.   We were all perfectly happy hanging out with Midge, or even Chatty Cathy, even though she was a know it all and over grown.

No-one ever shopped for a Ken to just hang out in your apartment, eat all your cheese and leave his dirty underwear everywhere.   Even Mattel talks about the dress, the motor home and the last little aside is … “Oh ya, and you can add a Ken too.”  It is kind of like watching the whole show on a fabulous vacuum you can buy and right when they think you are about to walk away from the TV they throw in a set of Ginsu steak knives.  No-one really wants or needs the steak knives but hey, a vacuum AND a set of steak knives?  Ok.  Why not.  You can always give the steak knives to someone as gift or even sell them at a garage sale.  Hey, maybe you can even swap them and a box of unopened bologne for some icecream – ok no-one is going to do that but let’s pretend.  I am trying to give Ken value because I desperately want to be seen as being politically correct and caring.   That is how we were taught about men.  You get all the great stuff and they throw in an ambiguously sexually defined Ken.

How did that prepare us for life?   How many of you screamed the first time you saw peen and wanted to know “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???”  THAT is the results of Mattel playing with our minds and creating unrealistic illusions about what Ken men and life is all about.

How were any of us supposed to be prepared for life?

Ya so anyway, the groups etc.  Men already have so much to make up for and then they show up declaring their love and they are looking at a picture of Bliss the avatar.  She doesn’t look anything like me but she is basically me.  They say they love me and want to marry me and I try really hard to imagine a woman, some woman, ANY woman, anywhere … buying into that and going “YES, YES … let’s pick out our invitations.”

Do I give off that mindless, semi lunatic vibe that makes them think I will want in on that?

And what is with these men/people/groups?  When you send out an invite I assume you are hoping for a positive response.  Don’t you think you should at least know something about the person you are lying to?  Like you don’t invite a blind person to be an art critic?

How can anyone spend a nanosecond with me and not know that I am not the “sit in the back quietly, nodding my head once in awhile” kind of person?   I need my words.  I need a loud voice.  I need to be talking/typing ALLLL the time.  I can’t move those puppets fast enough to act out my every thought and comment.  I am not an angel or something ( see video with evidence of the abilityof angels to move magically and swiftly – study picture of me and then picture of angel – NOT the same person).  Don’t invite me to some Stepford Wives Club where we dress nice and leave our minds at home and play “we are better than everyone else” while we sip wine.

Don’t ask me to join a movement and not have an opinion that may not always agree with yours.

Don’t ever ask me to play angry cats or ducks or penguins.

Please, if you are going to invite me to join a group, take the time to look at my profile and see that I cannot speak your language.  I am language challenged.  I only speak English, some  French, and swear words.  I have lots of tones … but actual other languages … No.   I suck.

You can’t invite me and then go “surprise!  You go sit in the corner, don’t worry what we are talking about and put this machine gun together will you?”

My Barbie lived in a white trailer park.  She has significant limits.

And she hates normal and sheep … Big hater of all sheep like tendencies.  Rules suck too.

I suck at joining.

That is why the whole marriage thing is probably a no go too.

Hey where are you going?

Can we still date?

Or is that a deal breaker?

Damn.

I said too much again, didn’t I??

Healing Love. Real Love.

healing

 

Love is a weapon we use against one another.

We do it because we do not understand the word.

Love is not a proclamation of our worth, bestowed upon us if we are pretty enough, or good enough, or only when we are chosen by another.

Neither is love a passive stance of ignoring our responsibilities and not getting involved.  We can’t opt out of life, refusing to be part of the discussion and effort to see and correct what is wrong and think that kind of love helps anyone.  Try loving passively while you have to actually sit and watch a child starve to death or a woman be raped by a gang of men because she has no value. Continue reading Healing Love. Real Love.

The Budgie That Never Returned In The Spring, at Least Not To The Prairies.

road kill 2

I wanted a budgie.

I think I wanted one because they came in pretty colours but also because they were not cows.  I had kind of had my fill of cows.  Dairy will do that to you.

Have I ever told you how much I resent the hell out of the fact that when I was growing up no-one talked about being lactose intolerant or needing gluten free everything.  That shit is awesome.  I guarantee some girl locked away somewhere in the deep farm land of Saskatchewan came up with that stuff.  If I had heard of it, I would have read up, become the best lactose intolerant, gluton reactionariest  poster child that ever lived.  I would have got me a note from the doctor excusing me from all things farm and caught the first one horse pony out of there.

But I didn’t have options.  I was stuck.  So I wanted a budgie.   Some kids did drugs to rebel,  I wanted a budgie instead of a cow. Continue reading The Budgie That Never Returned In The Spring, at Least Not To The Prairies.

How We View The World Around Us.

Capture

see the rest of this thought provoking post here:

             This just changed the way we see Beauty and the Beast. Mind blown.

I read this today and have to comment on it.

We are currently focused on bullying in social media and discussion about what is being done, what can be done, is typical of many of our approaches to our problems – we are talking band-aids – what kind and when to apply.  It isn’t easy to have to stop and take time to figure out actual causes – because knowing the cause requires much harder, long term work, than simply applying an effective, temporary band-aid.

Lots of discussion on loneliness lately as well.  We are now realizing the damage that prolonged loneliness can cause a human being.  At least we are waking up to the fact life is not just about the physical, immediate, identifiable, measurable situations that impact us.

Businesses spend a small fortune sending their employee’s to all kinds of courses meant to amplify their self esteem and pump them full of bravado about who they are and what they are capable of.  Yet, when they return from these courses, full of ideas and attempting to change and grow, the reaction of the office is usually one of “who the hell does he think he is?”

We don’t like people who are different, who think differently, look different, act different . . . and we especially do not like those people who are different and who feel good about themselves.

Those are the people most often targeted.

And they are attacked not with their own insecurities, but the insecurities of the people doing the attacking.  Weight may not be a remote concern for someone – not for them in terms of appearance, or for their doctor in terms of health – and yet the bullies will accuse that person of being “fat.”  People called “ugly” seldom are.  People called “sluts” or “stupid” seldom could be found guilty of either charge.

These marginalized people who are attacked by others have to be beyond strong to be able to carry on with their lives and believe in themselves when the whole world appears to conspire against them.  But they don’t have super powers and even the strongest person can be pushed to the point of wanting to just give up.

Giving up is not only about those who may choose to end their lives, although some do.  It is also about checking out of reality with drugs and alcohol and other addictions.  It is about surrendering and conforming to what is acceptable to the masses.  It is about bleeding out through your entire life, every last ounce of your own unique life force until you are a hollow empty shell that is lonelier than anyone will ever know . . . but at least you are no longer attracting the anger of the mob who wants to destroy you.

All around us are people in various stages of giving up.

So we go back to the real solution. I look around me.  My children are grown but there are still ways I can encourage them to be themselves.  I can do that by letting go of my expectations of who they should be and what they should be doing with their lives.  I can let go of my need to tell them the better way to do things and be more supportive of their own efforts.  I can let go of ever labeling them “right” or “wrong” or “good” or “bad.”  I can make the fact I have told them for their entire lives that my love is “unconditional,” actually mean something.

I have grandchildren that I can have a bigger influence on, and encourage their parents not to be so quick to insist they be like every other child.  To that end I say to hell with all the charts and books that tell us what “normal” is.  Your child.   Here and now.  Work with them.  Work with who they are and help them find a way to hold on to that and negotiate the things they need to learn.  Parents need to trust their instincts and to teach their children to develop and trust theirs.

I have people around me that I interact with all the time.  How do I contribute to their lives and support their efforts to interpret life in their own unique way?  How do I unwittingly contribute to any sense of judging or diminishing them?  Stop it.

I can speak up.  I can work to not be so closed minded about how I think things should look like or be.  My experience may hold clues that, contributed to a conversations, can aid the process of finding answers, but I can be more open to other ideas that are from the experiences of others.

I can find the courage to be me, even though it is painfully difficult.  No more compromises.  Perhaps it is too late for me to reap any of the rewards, but if it makes the way for the next person even a tiny bit easier, then it will be worth it.

WE are society.  And it is our thinking that is at fault.  Because we begin from a faulty thought process, our actions are off.

Our thinking is at fault because we have bought into beliefs and ideas that are not ours by choice, but those given to us by our parents and our upbringing.  We accept them without question and we transition from childhood to adulthood with all those things neatly wired into our beings.  Our perceptions.  We are part of a “way of thinking” that is reflected in how we then interpret the world and what we engage in and produce.  The world reflects back to us what we think.

We can change that reflection by changing our thinking.

What people have forgotten is who they are.  Who they were before the world told them who they should be.  Letting go of what we think we know is not as scary as it may seem because rediscovering our own hearts and giving permission to ourselves to be who we really are brings both joy and peace.

The more of us who have the courage to do that, the more others will feel encouraged to do the same and perhaps one day we will talk in terms, not of “blaming” society for the mess we are in, but “thanking” society for saving us.

Either way, we will be responsible.

A Marriage.

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Who am I to talk about marriage?

I have been blessed with two wonderful marriages, with two men that put other men to shame, with two men who committed 100% of their lives to our life.

My first husband passed away after a hard fought war with a horrific blood disorder.  If I had lived the rest of my life never to marry again, I still would have considered myself blessed.  To find another man of the same quality, I know I am defying the odds.

When marriages struggle do you go to the person who appears to have the perfect marriage and probably has no idea how difficult things can be?  Or, do you go to the one who absolutely knows how difficult marriage is and what you are going through because their own marriage failed?   My answer would be, neither, no-one can truly understand what your marriage is or isn’t about, and nor can they offer advice.  In fact, other people just make the situation worse.  The two people in the marriage have to work it out, whether that means continuing or walking away.

I do think we have to stop looking at marriage as some sort of badge of honor that tells the world whether we are worthy human beings or not.  Relationships succeed and fail all the time.  The world is changing and people are doing the best they can.  Who are we to question whether two people took things seriously enough, or whether they tried hard enough?   There is no blame to be placed.  There is no need for hate and fighting.  There are simply two adults who are making a decision about their life, that was/is probably the hardest decision they have made in some time.

Marriages only work when you have two people who are equally committed to the idea.  They work when you have two people who are right for one another.  Being right for one another means that you share similar ideas of what fun is, what work is, what things mean and what the future holds.  It doesn’t mean you have to be identical but you have to be able to want to share in the things that are important to the other person.  Sometimes that just involves allowing them their own opinion on who to vote for.  Sometimes it involves being willing to go camping or go to the ballet when you hate those things but the other person is passionate about them. Sometimes it involves really difficult, tough, life decisions.

Is there more credit to be given to the couple who struggle, look at their marriage, and stay together for religious reasons, for appearances, for the kids, because it is easier?  Why don’t we respect the couple that realize they are simply no longer compatible or that they have grown apart and are wanting different things?  Is it noble to live a life of misery and unhappiness?  Do our children and the people who judge us actually show up at our death bed and thank us for throwing our lives away and being miserable, for them?

I think it is only ourselves we cheat.

The chance to find real happiness, to have a real connection with someone, to live a life of purpose . . . isn’t that a worthy pursuit?  Is it so awful to have tried and failed, to recognize that, and to try again?

It seems to me the only awful thing about it is the reaction of others to the experience that causes us to need to place blame and punish someone.  If we were to allow people their own lives, without that judgement, could a husband and wife dissolve their marriage BEFORE it came to cheating on one another or the other cruelties that surface on the way to forced destruction?  Could they separate more amicably, sharing the kids, and wishing each other well?

I don’t know, but what we are doing currently seems to have only left a huge ugly oozing wound in the fabric of all our lives.

I read the article below today – a beautiful comment on a marriage.  For me the message is not about beating yourself up because your marriage doesn’t even come close to this.  The message is this is what a marriage can be.  This is what you should want for yourself and your spouse.  This is the life that comes when you have it right.  So maybe you learn to love each other in a way that doesn’t insist you both stay and suffer so you get a certificate on your 50th wedding anniversary.  Maybe you learn to love one another enough to realize you missed the mark, and to love each other, wish each other well, and let each other go – as a married couple.  Friends is always on the table.  Who said we have to get it right first time?   It doesn’t mean anything except that people and life are not predictable.  We live in the moment.  We deal with what we have and as long as we proceed with love and compassion, wanting a good outcome for everyone involved, it cannot mean we are failures, or bad, or evil.

This is what I wish for all marriages.  When you have these kinds of successes, the difficulties are doable.  There is balance.  But when marriage is nothing more than pain and sorrow and unhappiness, your soul dies a little each day.  YOU deserve happiness and joy, and so does your partner.  Think about it.

The Best Kind of Love

By Annette Paxman Bowen

I have a friend who is falling in love. She honestly claims the sky is bluer. Mozart moves her to tears. She has lost 15 pounds and looks like a cover girl. 

 

“I’m young again!” she shouts exuberantly. 

 

As my friend raves on about her new love, I’ve taken a good look at my old one. My husband of almost 20 years, Scott, has gained 15 pounds. Once a marathon runner, he now runs only down hospital halls. His hairline is receding and his body shows the signs of long working hours and too many candy bars. Yet he can still give me a certain look across a restaurant table and I want to ask for the check and head home. 

 

When my friend asked me “What will make this love last?” I ran through all the obvious reasons: commitment, shared interests, unselfishness, physical attraction, communication. Yet there’s

more. We still have fun. Spontaneous good times. Yesterday, after slipping the rubber band off the rolled up newspaper, Scott flipped it playfully at me: this led to an all-out war. Last Saturday at

the grocery, we split the list and raced each other to see who could make it to the checkout first. Even washing dishes can be a blast. We enjoy simply being together. 

 

And there are surprises. One time I came home to find a note on the front door that led me to another note, then another, until I reached the walk-in closet. I opened the door to find Scott holding a “pot of gold” (my cooking kettle) and the “treasure” of a gift package. Sometimes I leave him notes on the mirror and little presents under his pillow. 

 

There is understanding. I understand why he must play basketball with the guys. And he understands why, once a year, I must get away from the house, the kids – and even him – to meet my sisters

for a few days of nonstop talking and laughing. 

 

There is sharing. Not only do we share household worries and parental burdens – we also share ideas. Scott came home from a convention last month and presented me with a thick historical novel. Though he prefers thrillers and science fiction, he had read the novel on the plane. He touched my heart when he explained it was because he wanted to be able to exchange ideas about the book after I’d read it. 

 

There is forgiveness. When I’m embarrassingly loud and crazy at parties, Scott forgives me. When he confessed losing some of our savings in the stock market, I gave him a hug and said, “It’s okay. It’s only money.” 

 

There is sensitivity. Last week he walked through the door with that look that tells me it’s been a tough day. After he spent some time with the kids, I asked him what happened. He told me about a

60-year-old woman who’d had a stroke. He wept as he recalled the woman’s husband standing beside her bed, caressing her hand. How was he going to tell this husband of 40 years that his wife would

probably never recover? I shed a few tears myself. Because of the medical crisis. Because there were still people who have been married 40 years. Because my husband is still moved and concerned after

years of hospital rooms and dying patients. 

 

There is faith. Last Tuesday a friend came over and confessed her fear that her husband is losing his courageous battle with cancer. On Wednesday I went to lunch with a friend who is struggling to reshape her life after divorce. On Thursday a neighbor called to talk about the frightening effects of Alzheimer’s disease on her father-in-law’s personality. On Friday a childhood friend called long-distance to tell me her father had died. I hung up the phone and thought, This is too much heartache for one week. Through my tears, as I went out to run some errands, I noticed the boisterous orange blossoms of the gladiolus outside my window. I heard the delighted laughter of my son and his friend as they played. I caught sight of a wedding party emerging from a neighbor’s house. The bride, dressed in satin and lace,

tossed her bouquet to her cheering friends. That night, I told my husband about these events. We helped each other acknowledge the cycles of life and that the joys counter the sorrows. It was enough to keep us going. 

 

Finally, there is knowing. I know Scott will throw his laundry just shy of the hamper every night; he’ll be late to most appointments and eat the last chocolate in the box. He knows that I sleep with a pillow over my head. I’ll lock us out of the house at a regular basis, and I will also eat the last chocolate. 

 

I guess our love lasts because it is comfortable. No, the sky is not bluer: it’s just a familiar hue. We don’t feel particularly young: we’ve experienced too much that has contributed to our growth and wisdom, taking its toll on our bodies, and created our memories.  I hope we’ve got what it takes to make our love last. As a bride, I had Scott’s wedding band engraved with Robert Browning’s line “Grow old along with me!” We’re following those instructions. 

 

“If anything is real, the heart will make it plain.”