Category Archives: love

Love Is A Verb

Twenty two years ago, I met a boy.  He made me laugh the first time we met.  He was very different from the guys I had dated, because he was so open and didn’t hide from his feelings.  In fact, from the very first day we met, I have never wondered where I stood with him, what he was thinking, or how he felt about things.  It was honest, refreshing,  and a little bit scary.  He asked me out and when I turned him down three times in a row (because I already had plans, I promise!), he kept asking.  And after a few dates, when I went on a trip with a friend, he met me at the gate when we came home…hugging me so hard I almost lost my breath!  I had just come out of a long term relationship and was pretty scarred, so I was a little hesitant at first.  But something about him just felt right.  His persistence and enthusiasm would have turned me off if it had been anyone else, but I just had a feeling that I’d better not let him get away.  Now, 22 years later, we just celebrated our 20th anniversary, and I love him more today than I did the day I married him.

It’s kind of scary when you think how little we knew each other when we got married, two years after we met.  We were in our late twenties, and had plenty of experience with other people, so we knew what we DIDN’T want and kind of knew what we DID want.  We had the same values and goals, wanted to be with each other all the time, couldn’t imagine spending our lives apart, and what I’ve discovered is key…we laughed together.  He has kind of a biting humor, and I “got” him.  He was happy when he made me laugh.  And now, 22 years later, we still laugh…a lot.  I can’t imagine a better father for our daughter, and I can’t imagine a life without him.  We have grown up together…and now we know each other better than we know ourselves.  

I was in love…I felt safe and secure with him.  I’d fallen in love before, several times, actually, but had never felt as safe in his arms as I did with him.  The last twenty years have been cram packed full of a lot of things…Buying homes, renovating homes, having a baby, school applications, homework, work, carpools, play dates, vacations…and I’m not gonna lie…some difficult moments.  My tendency when things get difficult is to withdraw and sulk…I don’t like to talk about my feelings.  J’s tendency is to fight it out to the nth degree…and even when we resolve things, he likes to talk about it.  A lot.  We’ve learned over the years that somewhere in the middle is the key.  I’ve had to work on looking inside myself to try to figure out the “why” and “what”, and then push myself to talk about it, and he’s had to learn not to beat everything into the ground.  But we rarely (I really can’t truthfully say never) go to bed angry…maybe sleep deprived after loooooong discussions…but not angry.  Everything always looks better in the morning.  We have also worked hard at making each other feel special, not an easy thing when you’re mad at them.  But we’ve learned that biting your tongue and saying or doing something nice gets you a whole lot farther than biting at each other, or sulking away in a corner.

My pastor, Pete Wilson, spoke last week in church about “How to Stay in Love”…and he blogged a portion of that sermon this week. Once again, he nailed a subject that was on my mind, since J and I just returned from a 20th anniversary trip to the Bahamas. I’d been thinking about our life together and why I think it’s so strong. He said that while we’re all naturally equipped to FALL in love, we’re ill-equipped to STAY in love. And here’s the quote that I love…

 “You don’t feel your way into an action. You act your way into a feeling. Act loving, be loving, then you’ll feel love.”

How true is that? Love is not a noun, it’s a verb.  You shouldn’t think you have to be LOVED to be LOVING, it’s the other way around.  Be loving, you’ll feel loved.  Simple.  Somehow J and I figured it out.  Some people never do.   I pray that we both continue to work as hard on making each other feel loved as we do now.  My daughter will be entering college in less than two years, so I’m sure there will be many boys in her life.  I’m so glad she heard Pete’s sermon… Hopefully she’ll remember that falling in love is the easy part, realize that you have to work to stay in love, and she’ll find the happiness and fulfillment with someone that I feel with her father.

I must be in a sharing mode, because here are some photos from the last 20 years with the love of my life, frizzy hair and all!

Forever can never be long enough for me

Having a birthday two weeks from Christmas means that very rarely do you get a day that’s all about you.  Now that I’m an adult, I even have a hard time taking the time away from the hustle and bustle to stop and celebrate.  It’s not easy for my family members, either, I imagine.  In addition to figuring out a Christmas present, they also have to figure out something for my birthday.  So inevitably I get the Birthday/Christmas present.  Which I totally understand now…as a kid, not so much.

Sunday was a big birthday for me.  As in five decades of big. It is actually not that big of a deal, but everyone else wants to make it a big deal.  I mean, I already had my 50 year old physical, mammogram, and teeth cleaning.  I felt like I was there already, and I’m feeling pretty good.  But last week was jam-packed…with Christmas shopping, wrapping, making Apple Jelly, Pear/Apple Preserves, Strawberry and Blueberry Jam.  I was so glad to be able to go to dinner Saturday night with 8 of our best friends for a really fun night of good food, good wine, and laughter.  I went to bed with a smile on my face.

The next day (my actual birthday), J gave me a card with two tickets to the Train Concert at the Jingle Ball in Tampa!  I’ve written about Train before…I’m embarrassed to say I think I’m a groupie.  I love their songs…all of them.  The ones before they broke up and came back to record their latest album, “Save me, San Francisco”, and the ones that no one has ever heard of.  But I love their new stuff, too.  J said that when he walked in on me watching the CMT Crossroads show featuring Train and Martina McBride, and I was crying…(I have no idea why I cried-they just move me that way), that he knew he had to do it.

I was over the top excited…and after a quick tearing through my closet to figure out what to wear, I was ready to go to the airport, when four of our best friends walked in the front door.  They were going with us!  It was a perfect day, other than the rain and snow that we were beginning to get, which had been forecast for days, and which had kept my fearful flyer husband awake for the past week.  But we took off with no problems, and the landing in Tampa was smooth as silk.  A car picked us up and whisked us to the arena, where we were early, so we stopped in at the hotel next door for a drink and to freshen up a little.  I was on my way to the ladies room, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted the back of a bald head at the bar.  He was next to a column, so I couldn’t really see his face, but I was convinced it was Jimmy Stafford, lead guitarist extraordinaire for Train.  I ran back to J, breathlessly telling him Jimmy was at the bar.  He said, “No way,” and promptly walked over and tapped him on the shoulder.  He turned around (with a smile, luckily), and sure enough, it was him!  I normally speak in nonsense when I meet a celebrity, especially one I admire as much as Jimmy,  but for some reason when J introduced himself and pulled me over to tell him it was my birthday, I actually put together a couple of sentences that made sense!  Jimmy was very sweet, and spoke with us for a few minutes.  He told us he bought a home in Brentwood, so that his 10-year-old daughter could go to school here. He also said, after finding out we flew down for the show,  “You know we’re only doing four songs?”  Oops.

The show was a radio show…put on by a local station, and there were seven bands.  Ready Set, Mike Posner, Bruno Mars, Train, B.o.B., Enrique Englasias, and Maroon 5.  I guess I realized they would do a shorter set, but FOUR songs?  But you know what, it didn’t matter.  I met Jimmy, and I was with my friends and my sweet husband, and it was a magical night.  What I didn’t know was we had tickets to a pre-show…an acoustical set by Train.  They played three songs there, and ended up doing five songs in the show.  We got herded through the meet and greet line, and got our picture taken with the band and a bunch of girls I didn’t know, but I ran over next to Pat.  He looked at my skirt and said, “That skirt’s pretty hot.”  (swoon).  Of course, I was tongue tied and didn’t even say thanks.  Just smiled and leaned in for the shot.  We had floor seats, and I decided to sit on the end so I could stand up and dance, which ended up being a good decision.  When they did “Marry Me” (which they also did in the acoustic set and during both performances someone got engaged..), Pat left the stage and walked around the audience.  He walked right by me!  I could see the glistening sweat and the guy-liner on his eyes, and he is just as handsome up close as he is onstage.  I could have touched him, like everyone else was doing, but I was frozen in place.  Afterwards I was mad that I didn’t even take a photo.

It’s now a week later, and I’m still walking around on air.  The fact that J did something so generous and loving and outside his comfort zone (flying in bad weather), is something I will NEVER EVER forget.  Even if they only did one song, it would have been great.  I am the luckiest girl in the world (do I have to call myself a woman now that I’m 50?).  J and I are like yin and yang…we just fit together.  We’re definitely not the same in many ways…but I think that’s just the “whatever”…Pat said it first in these lyrics from “If it’s Love”…

But I’m afraid when I hear stories about a husband and wife
There’s no happy endings, no Henry Lee
But you are the greatest thing about me

If it’s love
And we decide that it’s forever
No one else could do it better

If it’s love
And we’re two birds of a feather
Then the rest is just whatever

So to my sweet husband…I love you.   I’m looking forward to spending my forevers with you.  And thank you.

The way he loves me

My husband owns his own business…he runs it from just about anywhere. That is a good thing when we want to spend weeks at a time in North Carolina. He still needs to check in every now and then, but he spends more and more time in our home office. He is always busy…answering emails, writing ads, talking with clients and employees, putting out fires all over the place, and running to meetings several times a day. But it took awhile for me to get used to having him here.

I’m sure it took him awhile to get used to seeing me in my pajamas until 3 p.m., and it took him several months to learn that I like to read the paper, do the crossword and Sudoku, and drink my coffee in the morning without talking about everything HE reads in the New York Times.

I had to learn to share the exercise room. We’re both kind of exercise fanatics. We put in an exercise room a few years ago, with a treadmill, stair machine, elliptical, spinning bike, stepmill, and various weights and things. When J went to the office every day, he would use the room either before or after work. Now, I have to share it…which means he takes command of the remote control for the TV. I’m always behind on my shows on the DVR that he hates…Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives and Big Love. It’s OK, though (said through clenched teeth and a forced smile), I like watching Fox Business News and reruns of The Dave Ramsey Show.

We’re both busy, but seeing each other every day for more than a few hours at night has become very comfortable. We each have our own worlds. He goes to his business appointments, I go to my volunteer meetings, shop for groceries, cook dinner and we both have various medical visits. Even though I try to remember which ailment he is visiting a professional about (hips, neck, back, etc) I don’t always keep up with it, and I really didn’t think he had any idea about my rare doctor appointments.

So yesterday, I did some work, went for a run and jumped in the shower around 11:30. J said, “You have your pulmonologist appointment today, right?”

I was shocked that he knew I had my follow up visit with the doctor to discuss my exercise-induced asthma that was just diagnosed about six months ago. I was even more shocked when he said,

“Do you mind if I go with you?”

I said, “Sure”, but I was very weirded out by it. He hasn’t gone with me to any kind of doctor’s appointment, other than when I was pregnant with H.

He had a meeting before my appointment, so I really didn’t think he would make it on time. But after I parked and started walking in, he drove up. When we were sitting in the waiting room waiting to see the doc, he told me he just wanted to make sure I really had asthma.

He said, “You are so physically fit, and you’ve exercised your whole life, so I just can’t really believe you have asthma.”

I was a little offended. Did he think I was making it up?

I introduced him to the doctor, and he sat back and listened for awhile. Then he started firing questions.

“She doesn’t always need the rescue inhaler, is this typical?” (YES)

“Since her attacks are usually exercise-related, is this really asthma?” (YES)

“Will she always be asthmatic?” (Probably)

“Why did she have to stop running a few times last week?” (Cold weather triggers asthma)

But the last question, more than any of the others, kind of touched my heart.

“What do I do if she has an attack and we don’t have an inhaler with us?”

My strong husband, who loves to take charge and rarely admits he needs help, just wanted to know how to take care of me.

It may not sound like a lot, but it’s one of the reasons I love him.