Thursday, June 28, 2012

Not My Enemy


[en-uh-mee]   noun, plural en·e·mies, adjective noun
1. a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.
According to this definition of "enemy," I can't think of someone I consider an enemy.  I don't hate anyone or foster harmful designs against another.  Oh, in my younger days I admit I spent a lot of time thinking about people I couldn't stand.  As I get older, I realize if I couldn't stand someone it was usually after they hurt me.  My reaction to the hurt was to find everything about them that I couldn't stand and revel in it. I would take the energy of hurt and turn it in to anger.   
Don't get me wrong, there are definitely people who rub me the wrong way.  Or people who I choose to let go of because the relationship is not a healthy one.  But hate?  Nope.  Wish ill will?  Never.  Just staying on my side of the sidewalk.  Not looking for trouble.  Being kind to one another.

I guess I could have those who think of me as their enemy but again, not intentional on my part. 
A couple of things happened this past week that got me thinking about "enemies."  The first incident happened while watching an Oprah interview of Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom.  Their answer to a question got me thinking.  Khloe and Lamar were telling Oprah that they pray together every day...usually in the evening.  They told her they prayed for their enemies.  Oprah asked Lamar if he had enemies....his response was guarded and slow...."I have nay sayers...."
And don't we all have nay sayers?  People who don't like us.  People who don't understand us.  People who we have hurt without intention.   People who have hurt us, so we turn from them?
The second thing that happened this week that got me thinking about "enemies" was the passing of my Uncle Berry.  Berry was married to my father's sister.  They married at a very young age and had 3 sons...7 years between the first and second, and 7 years between the second and third.  The third son was my beloved cousin Paul.  Berry and my aunt were later divorced and Berry remarried.  For the majority of my adult life, I lost touch with Berry. 

Berry and his family lived with my father's mother, my grandmother.  Childhood visits to my grandmother were visits to see Paul.  The house was full of cousins and aunts and uncles during these visits and I remember Uncle Berry sitting in his chair, smoking a cigar...always smoking a cigar...and being funny.  Usually the black and white television was on in the background and his commentary would make me laugh.  It was the 60's, I was a child.  He seemed bigger than life. And we had a common love....Paul. 

From the moment my family arrived at my grandmother's house, Paul and I would play non-stop.  Usually cops and robbers.  He was the cop.  I was the secretary...who typed up the reports. 
As an adult, I learned the pain that Berry had caused my aunt....things that later resulted in a divorce.  The aunts and uncles and their spouses...knew of these hurts and as families do, took sides...against Berry.  But not me.  I didn't know about the hurts. I was just a child.  And Berry had never been anything but good to me.

This is my father's side of the family.
I'm the 4th child from the left...holding my shoe.  Paul is in my grandmother's lap. 
They were his nay sayers.  I wasn't.
And haven't you had that, too?  You like someone that another friend of yours doesn't?  You've been hurt by a relative that hasn't hurt another relative?
Back to Berry...
Berry's youngest son, my cousin Paul, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in the fall of 2004.  He came to Houston for diagnosis and treatment at M.D. Anderson.  He was 45, I was 45.  He loved me, I loved him.  He was scared, I tried my best to be brave for him. I gave my time to Paul that fall. Berry, Paul's father, came often to see him and in the last two months of Paul's life, we took him back to his one bedroom apartment in Dallas.  Hospice came everyday.  I was there for most of those last 2 months.  And Berry was there bringing a fresh box of Krispie Kreme donuts to Paul every morning.  Just there...being present.  A sad man watching his son die in front of him. 
This is the Berry I remember.  This is the person I know. 
He has nay sayers.  But I'm not one of them.

In the years since Paul's death, Berry has called me  2 or 3 times a year.  He liked to talk about Paul. Our conversations would always end with him in tears telling me he had to hang up now.  I would like to believe he has been reunited with Paul in a place where there are no nay sayers.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Rock

Rocks are solid, firm, quiet..
 a foundation for others

And that would be Chuck.
  He's the rock of this family. 

I'd like to think I knew that when I met him, fell in love
 and committed to forever with him. 
 But I know now I never could have known what a foundation
 he would be for me and our future children.
 I do remember thinking he was the nicest guy, so calm and he
 had a college education with a good job. 
He was different than most of the guys I knew...
as I did a lot of shopping for my future husband
 in disco and country western bars. 
I mean, it was the late 70's and early 80's. 
Single and living in a big city ... rowdy places, music blaring,
 dancing the night away on the dance floor. 

And while Chuck was cute and nice, he the silent type.
And it took me awhile to notice who he really

This one was a friend first...introduced by a high school friend when they came to town.
 He was quiet.  Have I mentioned he was quiet?  I mostly ignored him for 4 years 
in a circle of friends that got together often.

I should explain it wasn't every day for 4 years.
 I saw Chuck a few times a year over a 4 year period...always with in a group
of friends at parties, going to the movies, going to the beach. 

  Like a rock on the ground...sitting there still and quiet
...he didn't get my attention much.

And then, after 4 years of friendship, he asked me on a date. 
 Which led to many dates and finally a relationship.
  I think the rabbit coat he gave me that Christmas
was the real turning point. wink

On this Father's Day of our 29th year of marriage,
 he is still quiet, introverted, nice, calm and
has been a hard worker all of these years. 
 What I love most of all is that he has proven to be the rock
...the steady...the foundation for our family. 
 He has proven to be much more than I was looking for. 

And the best thing he has ever given me is our three children.

Thank you, Chuck, for helping me take care of the babies...
even if you were asleep, too.

Thank you, Chuck, for the awkward family photos. 

If you, the reader, only knew how he looked at the photographer
 when she asked him to lie down on that floor pillow. 
 But he agreed....because I clenched my teeth at him. 

This picture makes me laugh now...
because it is so opposite of Chuck to pose like that.

Thanks for holding on to the frame of the swing set so
 that all 3 kids could swing at the same time. 
Without you, they would have flown off. 

You are the steady of this family.

You are the rock of this family.

Happy Father's Day, Chuck...
you are my rock.

P.S. to Chuck:  I'm sorry I'm not good about buying cards.  I always mean to, and then time sneaks up on me.  So last night when I told you I didn't get you a card but I would do a blog post for kindly said, "that's better than a card."  So here's your post.  I love you.

And P.S.S. to our fathers above:  You were the first foundation and set the examples of what a husband and father should be.  We love you and miss you everyday...but you are in our DNA and our hearts and our memories.  And it is you I thank for the wonderful rock I have.  To Billy Hackney for raising such a fine man.  And to Bill Langley for being such a good father to me and a wonderful husband to my mother...setting the first example of what a good father and husband should be.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Ride

It seems to be there are only two things we know for sure.  One, we are born...because if you're reading this, you were born.  And two, we will die.  I know, such a downer, but that one is for sure.

But how, when, and where is the big mystery, isn't it?

In between is full of the unknown.  And this is the stuff that feeds the anxiety, the depression, the control freak's nightmare.  We fill our calendars with schedules and appointments.  We get up on time to get to our jobs on time.  We go home the same way each day and pull in the driveway of our homes thinking about what will be for dinner.  And in the complacency of our daily routines we can settle in to a safe place. A routine.  Our normal.  On our tracks.

And then the phone rings....bad news.  Or someone knocks on the door....bad news.  Or a co-worker calls in sick and when they return it's with bad news. 

Oh, sometimes it's good news.  The phone rings....a baby is born healthy.  Someone knocks on the door...we found your dog down the street.  A co-worker makes you laugh and you feel such a connection. 


Bumper Cars.

We are just rolling around this arena of life on our little tracks.  And then bump.  Bump it hurts.  Bump it makes you laugh hysterically. Days with no bumps.  Days with nothing but bumps.

The best part of growing older (one must try to find a "best" about it) is that one can look back and see all of the bumps and how they worked out.  Your house didn't sell and then a new neighbor moved in and became the best friend that was made at the age of 35.  That job that came to an end and a new job appeared so easily.  The "oops" pregnancy that turned in to the most adored son and brother.

Oh, we steer those bumper cars of ours.  We plan and plan and steer and steer.  But still....bump. 



And then after the bump....always we get back in the clear. Nothing is in the way of our tracks.  Always after a bump, things clear up.

It's a bump.  And maybe it's several bumps.  But then a new normal comes after the bump. 

We get up, we eat, we deal, we go back to bed.  Back in the clear...on our track.

And while we're on the ride we stay in that car.  And we steer and we bump.  And we cry and we laugh.  Because it's not over until it's over. 

And what fun would it be really, if we just got in that bumper car and the car never moved?

We could avoid the bad bumps...but we would avoid the good ones, too. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Next to Normal...

My nephew is currently playing the role of Henry in Stages Theater's Next to Normal
  I've seen it twice...and I don't do plays. 
 Yep.  Twice.  It's that good. 

It's a musical...but only because the conversation
between the characters is sung.
It's not your typical  "break in to song and dance" kind of musical.

It could be described as funny, sad, and honest with endearing characters.
The family is dysfunctional (whose isn't?) because of the mother's mental illness.
  The effects of her treatment and mistreatment is at the center of the dysfunction.
But there is much more. 
It's better to go in to it not knowing though. 

The set is incredible in that it barely exists. 
Tables and chairs are wheeled in and out from one scene to the next
 in darkness and this allows the audience to simply focus
 on the faces of the characters and their beautiful voices.

If you live in the Houston area, you should definitely try to see this one.  It will make you proud of Houston theater.  My nephew is the reason I went to see it the first time...with my sister, his mom.   But I went back the second time so my husband and kids could see it, too.  It's that good. 

Chuck doesn't do plays either.  But he loved it.  So there.

It's playing through June 24. 

I should explain for anyone who doesn't know me that I don't do plays
 because I can't sit still that long.  Not because I don't like them. 
 Most plays don't keep my attention long enough and I find myself
 counting the scenes left until intermission or the end.
  It's just a very antsy feeling.  Almost claustrophobic. 

And Chuck doesn't like plays because he likes television
 more than anything in the world.  And plays aren't like television.
  Movies come close to television so he does like some movies. 

 But plays?  Not so much. 

So let me say this again....we loved this play.


What else?

Reading a couple of books on my Kindle Fire...and getting used to it. 


Saw Bernie and loved it. 
 A true story about a murder that happened in
Carthage, Texas in the mid 90's. 
Jack Black does a great job as Bernie. 

Chuck had a conference to attend in Orlando in May
 so Will and Cameron tagged along so they could go
 to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
They had 2 days at the park and drank lots of ButterBeer.
All of my kids (3) love Harry Potter but these two are the
most addicted to the whole thing.
At least these 2 tell me they are more obsessed with HP than their sister.
Jordan is more obsessed with The Wizard of Oz.

So glad they had this chance to go here.

Check out the expression on the girl in pink.

All tshirts.

I stayed home with my very own Harry Pawter.