Sitting Backseat at a Fun-filled Marriage Workshop

I’m on a roadtrip with my friends Barb and Paul. We’re winding around the mid-west with their new RV as our focus. We’re proving to be persistent hunters. It’s proving to be a bit elusive! There have been problems to solve, but we’re going to the source.

This has been a wonderful journey for a newly wed and a wedding priestess. Here they are with all these very real obstacles: you can’t ride in a motor home in your wheel chair if you can’t lock in; it’s hot; handicapped accessible rooms that aren’t; they’re both tired from a lot of traveling, barb’s pain-level hovers constantly near intolerable, and obtw, this camping thing is something they’re excited about, but will have lots of challenges. All of their skills are being tested. And you know what? They’re thriving.

They get nervous, they find a solution. So far, I haven’t seen those solutions include flare-ups between them. They have different skill sets, different levels of curiousity about different things. And they’re coping. They’re holding on to the dream of how exciting it is and making it all work. And when we get back into the car to go to the next place they’re laughing and affectionate.

Now I know them, I know they’re human. I’m sure there are gripes and snipes that they’re not sharing with me (another learning point!) But this project has been by starts and turns exciting, disappointing, worrying, overwhelming. And they’re having an adventure. And they’re doing it all with me there.

It’s a privilege. and it’s funner than lots of things I’ve done recently!

Tip: there’s no reason to take your stress out on one another. Solving problems can make you happy and better connected. And going off on adventures is a great way to build and polish your skill set — and have a great time! This is marriage building! Try it, you’ll like it!

Family Reunions, Marriage, Models & Life-Going On

I just returned from an Evans Family reunion. Sadly Darling Drummer was being Darling Drummer and could not go along. It was instructional to know how much I missed him at this event and how greatly I longed for his daughters and their families to be among the numbers.

This was my father’s sister, Roberta’s, 90th birthday celebration. We gathered at Chautauqua Lake (a venerable learning institution started for Methodist ministers many years ago.) at the huge Athenaeum Hotel. There were 27 of us. Neither the hotel nor the Institution get an unreserved thumbs up from me, but there were many things that were great about it. The biking and lake activities prime among them.

But what was best was the family and the ability to move from group to group, catching up on news and the growth of all the littles. Suddenly having daughters it was so easy to see how important it was to have them be able to measure their babies’ growth against that of the others there. It was lovely to watch the little cousins bond. (Hint: we’ve made some good choices here, if you’re little, you’re cousins, if you’re middling, you’re aunties and uncles, moving on, you’re revered.  Only Roberta was able to be there in the revered category as Mommie doesn’t travel. And there are now two generations of aunties and uncles and SOME of us are not totally embracing of the Great Aunt – at which point the word seems to switch from ant to ont – nomenclature!) They bonded over sand castles. The elders bonded over wine and beer.

Tip: family reunions are becoming less frequent as families fragment and head off to the far corners of the country and world. Now more than ever we need them. Only families can teach one another to be family. Only in those groups can we make the decisions about what we will keep and what we do not leave for the next generation to weed out of family behavior. Your marriage will be encouraged. Your wounds will be healed. And family wisdom will be exchanged as you rock your way throught the weekend on the corner of the porch reserved just for you.

Fireflies, Soft Black Raspberry Ice Cream and my SweetPea

fireflies

photo came from: web.me.com/jrichardson4754/Photography/Blog/E..

Last night was a perfect summer night. And for once on a Friday night, I had a date with my SweetPea. We went out for dinner and then out to the Purple Cow, which IMHO has the best soft ice cream around.

We sat and talked as the sun went down and then lingered as the fireflies came up on the soybean field (low fireflies only, I guess they didn’t like the trees there!). It was totally magical. Summer in a small sugar cone.

Tip: Don’t miss the chance to slow down and do nothing with your sweetiebeloved!

State of the Unions

The New York Times is running a series entitled State of the Unions. It’s taking a look at their society wedding couples and seeing how their marriage went. The first video is of Susan Layton and Bill Palmer, who married 15 years ago. It’s positively wonderful to hear them talk of their successful marriage.

Tip: Go take a listen here!

Goddaughters, Graduation, Friends & Future Bridesmaids

Aunt Ann is bursting with pride. Her beloved Hannah, goddaughter extraordinare, is graduating next Tuesday. But before the graduation was the prom.

Hannah has been lucky enough to spend the 7 years at a girls’ school in Manhattan, Marymount. It’s been an wonderful experience. It’s also been a godsend. When her mom was dying of cancer, the people at this tiny little school showed up. When she was having a tough year after that unpleasant summer, her friends hung tough. They’ve become the village that helped her dad raise this fabulous young woman.

When I got the prom pictures, I was struck not by the girls’ mooning over their dates but rather by their mooning over one another. They’re such good friends. They’re already planning how they’ll stay connected as they dash off to different parts of the world to college. I looked at their beautiful faces (and did they plan their increasing shades of pink dresses – oh dear, pretty much!), and thought wow, I want them to be friends forever. I don’t want them to lose touch with what they’ve got. When I do Hannah’s wedding (years from now, I might add!) I want to see this same puppy pile of friendship. And I want it tumbling into my arms!

Friends, in this case girlfriends, are the crucible in which we learn to be partners.  We also learn how to be better people because they’re encouraging and challenging us. So, Hannah, Anya and Amelia, Go for it. I’m proud. I’m happy. and I’m elated that you’ve got the girls.

Girls rule!