Ful of it

Thoughtful, thankful, plentiful, joyful, grateful, beautiful, bountiful, wonderful, helpful, colorful, flavorful, peaceful…you get where this could possibly be going, yes?  Life is so incredibly full of  ful-ness that it often makes me cry, particularly during this time of year.  My tears of happiness and blessing recognition during the  Thanksgiving season are not all that much different from my tears of happiness and blessing recognition during the other 51 weeks in each year, and sometimes I simply can’t hold in all that emotion.  There is much gratitude to be had, or is it given?  I’m not sure of the action word here, but I am sure of the feelings that are in abundance during this holiday.  When giving “thanks” is part of the requirement of the celebration, we all could think of something, even if it is only just one single thing, to be grateful about.

If you are reading this blog, whether you are a stranger or someone I know, like me, you are probably living a really good life.  Sure the news makes you mad, or you just put on your black pants and your dog rubbed up against you before you could get out the door, or your husband’s inability to get his dirty clothes actually into the hamper annoys you and indeed, if you hear somebody yell “mom!” one more time before you have even had your first sip of tea, we get it, you could really blow your stack…but you have a television to watch the dreadful news, a dog that loves you, or a husband and clothes, and a house or children and warm tea…you HAVE, even if you are, in the big scheme of things, a have not…It’s easy to be full of ful-ness.

Even those who are struggling with demons or grief or financial hardships or are aching with loneliness, are living a life that is far better than a great number of people who are also alive at this very moment on this very planet.  There is so much sadness and despair and need and wanting in this world, and that my life (and likely yours as well) has so little of any of those things, still makes me shake my head in disbelief …why me?  why am I this blessed?  why did I get so lucky?  I suspect we all ask the questions, and in no way does the questioning diminish the importance of the wondering, and this time of year especially, it is easy to be overwhelmed with realization of such good fortune and to be completely at a loss for words because there is so much that is good.   You could be living in Biafra! was one of the things my dad would say to us when either my sister or I complained, while we were growing up, and while I did not know, or really even care, where Biafra was at that time of my life, you can be sure I understood what my dad was getting at…

I wore Calvin Klein jeans, took multiple dance classes, my sister had horses and pets, we were never cold or hungry, we took a yearly family vacation, we had nice houses, my parents had good jobs, a happy marriage…we never ever “wanted” for anything… our father insisted we say grace every night before we ate dinner because “there could be a drought!”  From a young age we understood and learned that much of the world was  suffering much of the time, and my parent’s recognition of the fact that we were not suffering, any of the time, is one of those gifts they gave to us without realizing they were giving it…they cultivated in me a compassion for others who have less that has not waned and I find the older I get, the more empathy I have…babies are being neglected and abused, children are being molested, teenagers are being indoctrinated, families are being bombed and raided and people are hungry…it’s true that there is so much that is devastating here on planet earth, but I feel quite strongly that if your life is not full of any of that sort of suffering you might consider expressing your thanks whenever possible…

Even when my wallet is thin, my heart is full.  THAT is something for which I am thankful.  Even when my pantry or refrigerator seems empty, I am able to create a delicious meal to feed the people I love sitting at my table.  THAT is something for which I am thankful.  When I am feeling sad or worried, I have friends and family who would give me their ear to listen or their shoulder to cry upon.  THAT is something for which I am thankful. Even when I have had a restless night of sleep, at least I had crisp clean sheets and a comfortable mattress on which to toss and turn, under a good roof and upon a solid foundation.  THAT is something for which I am thankful.  It’s not hard to be full of the ful-ness and, zero calories on second helpings!  Even better, you never have to adjust your belt or switch into stretchy pants.

 

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Name that tune

He was listening to Robert Plant and I was listening to Robert Smith.  He knew every lyric to every Rush song of every album he owned, and I knew every lyric to every R.E.M. song of every album I owned.  When he was an actual rock star, playing drums on the Sunset Strip, I was a young  single mother watching Fraggle Rock with my toddler.  While he was touring the country and giving interviews to metal band and musician’s magazines, I was interviewing babysitters for my preschooler.   He was having hot fun with different hot chicks in different cities and I was making hot meals to nourish a growing child’s brain, and working hard to keep my house hot in the winter to warm her growing little body.  His need for hot, and my need for hot, were not at all the same kind of heat.  We were not in tune.

To clarify, we did not know each other existed either, but that is not the point of this story.  We were living, and had lived, two completely different lives.  Diametrically opposed I suppose you could say, just not at all relatable to each other, with no chance of our paths intersecting. We missed knowing each other by seconds, hours, days, or months as teenagers; we roamed the same halls in high school for a couple of years, and had a great number of mutual friends, yet nobody, not one person, ever introduced us or thought we should know each other.  As teenagers, I almost always had a boyfriend and he almost always had a girlfriend, and he liked short girls with long hair, but I wore high spiked heels and had short spiked hair.  It’s no wonder he never noticed me.  He lost his parents as a teenager and from some stories I’ve heard,  was something of a Lost Boy much of the time, but I had incredibly strict parents and was grounded much of the time throughout most of my teens. We were not in tune.

I suppose when I think about it, it is only “right” that we never even noticed each other back then, but here we are as ‘middle-aged’ people, quite in love for over five years now, and still laughing about how we were not at all on the ‘same page’ EVER in our lives before the July night when we first met.  He knows what I am thinking almost all of the time, and it is not unusual for him to say exactly what is on my mind before the words come out of my mouth.  We think the same thoughts about most of the same things.  We are the best of friends, practically inseparable, and are like the Welch’s concord grape jelly to the other’s Jif extra crunchy peanut butter.  We are in tune.

I’ve read countless novels and memoirs, and seen plenty of movies to understand that there is a universal understanding that the universe brings you the people you need to know when the time is right for you to know them.  It sounds quite a bit like New-Age mumbo-jumbo The Secret sort of malarkey doesn’t it??  BUT, to a woman like me, it sounds perfectly believable!  To be clear, there are countless things about us now that are not perfectly agreeable…for example, his desire to watch football or sports, or play golf when there are chores or yard work to be done, and I am sure there are lots of things that I do that drive him nuts, namely being annoyed that he likes to watch golf or football on a weekend afternoon more than he likes to do yard work or chores!  (insert laughter here)  His desire to watch tv at night as a way to fall asleep, is in complete contradiction to my desire to read books at bedtime and then sleep deeply in a dark and silent room.  As you can clearly surmise, this is not a blog in which I will blather on and on about our stellar compatibility and blissful cohabitation all these last five years, but it is a ‘thank you’ of sorts to him, for being, over all, a very good fit for me; a woman who, before him, did not, or could not, find a man who could otherwise so seamlessly fit at all so well into her world…

Do you remember the show?  “I can name that tune in four notes!”   Much like knowing a song in only four notes, I believe we know a lot in the first few moments that we meet somebody.  I learned the hard way; the brutally awful and dreadfully unexpected hard way, that the words people say and write are not at all the same thing as WHAT or WHO a person is, or does, and behaves.  To explain that I was a bit skittish and hesitant to expect or anticipate ANYthing, when I met this man five years ago, who  I now love, and from whom I feel so loved in return, is a gross understatement.  I had, just the year before, been an unknowing participant in a big bamboozle, where a person projected and presented a persona that was so false, and so horrendously inaccurate of what and who he actually was, that I was not at all open to meeting anybody, and honestly had told a number of friends that despite my enjoyment of being part of a couple, I had everything I needed in life and would be perfectly content to never date again if that is how it had to be for me.  I did not think I was up for the challenge of meeting somebody again.  I was “over it” so to speak.  Three times I backed out at the very last minute when we were supposed to meet…cold feet, legitimate fear, or just disinterest in another potential heart-breaking & soul-crushing disappointment.  I  was very timid and certainly not interested in the shock of an unsuspected let down.  How glad I am that the third time I cancelled our meeting he chose not to take my ‘no’ for the answer.  Had he accepted my “no, it’s too late, I don’t feel like going out” we might never have met.  He might have simply given up and found me too annoying, or to be a woman who might require more effort than he was willing to exert.   We are, more often than not, now acting like a couple of crazy-in-love teenagers rather than “older” people.  I think he is as happy as I am that we did finally meet, and did finally find ourselves on the same page, in the same story…

After a fantastic time in Mexico for my birthday, where he surprised me with a special meal and beautifully set table at a romantic French restaurant, he surprised me again with a  party the night we arrived back at home…he surprised me with a room full of friends, and my daughter and her husband, and my parents, and in the second that it hit me that I was being surprised, as I noticed familiar faces, saw the balloons, and a moment later heard the word  “surprise!!!”  I realized with tears in my eyes that there might never be a relationship when two people are totally in tune all of the time, but that I have finally found the melody and the harmony to the lyrics of my life, and I know now that when the music feels like a love song most of the time, it’s a tune that should be celebrated…