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Mother’s Day – Bah Humbug

mothers-day-throw-up

I am slowly cleaning my house today and once again it sends me into a meditative funk – LOL. My future housekeeper may be more about mental health than actual housework! In any case, I was thinking about Mother’s Days past and how I slowly came to realize that the day had very little to do with my desires and it was all about everyone showing how much they celebrate and appreciate moms.

Here is the lesson to all moms of babies and very young children – insist, absolutely insist, that YOU define how Mother’s Day will be celebrated.

My first Mother’s Day was about 3 weeks after Taz was born. My Ex is one of 4 kids and we were the first to have a child. They arranged and insisted a brunch at TGI Fridays which was relatively close to home. What a cluster fuck.

I was a breast-feeding, over-whelmed, first-time mom in an age where breast-feeding in public was still pretty taboo. Brunch on Mother’s Day is restaurant hell and the 2-hour lunch was difficult. I hadn’t learned to just hand off the baby to anyone willing to hold her – I thought she was my responsibility and that I should be able to handle the situation. Plus Taz had undiagnosed reflux at that point so she was a hot mess. It wasn’t much fun and alcohol couldn’t smooth the rough edges because of the breast-feeding (I needed copious amounts and one mimosa wasn’t going to do that).

From then on it was a series of Mother’s Days that included brunches, pool parties at my house, outings to where my Ex decided would be fun for the family (boating, beach – not too bad), movies, nice meals, etc. When I was asked for my input, it was routinely pushed aside. I was given flowers – I don’t really care for flowers because they are over-priced and short-lived with my black thumb. If I asked for what I truly wanted: a day away from my responsibilities, alone at a spa – I was deemed selfish and unappreciative.

Interestingly enough, when my no-nonsense sister-in-law had her son about four years later, she attended one Mother’s Day brunch and was done. Too much work, she stated, and from then on she spent the day just with her mom doing something special. Smart woman – I should have followed her lead.

Now, of course, I had some lovely moments. My kids showered me with their version of the absolute best gifts a mom could want: a Lion King coffee mug (I used it this morning with a smile on my face), homemade gifts that made me feel special, lovely cards and the most precious gift of all – their time and love.

I’ll be spending Mother’s Day with my son and the Hunter. They have asked what I wanted to do and I want to spend it at the beach. I anticipate a call from Taz, who has over-scheduled the hell out of her next 30 days (don’t even ask, it’s dizzying), and the day will be low-key and mellow. Just the way I always wanted it…..

By the way, I’m not the only one hating Mother’s Days. As I read some essays from others who are in the “I Hate Mother’s Day” camp, they brought up some excellent points about how this day causes people pain. Pain from lost mom, abusive moms, lost children, the list goes on. Here are some great essays backing me up on this:

Fellow Ranting Moms:

http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/526033-ill-just-say-hate-mothers-day/

http://www.bluntmoms.com/i-hate-mothers-day/

Here are some compassionate folks thinking of others (I really need to work on my empathy)

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/lifestyles/mother-confession-why-hate-mother-day/H7yh8oVRwBfBEtj4EwRd7L/

http://forward.com/opinion/spirituality/371609/why-i-hate-mothers-day-and-why-all-women-should-hate-it-too/\

Stuff

Stuff (stuff) stack it on stack it on up
(Stuff) never gonna ever get enough (stuff)
Oh it’s treasure till it’s mine then it ain’t worth a dime

It’s stuff (stuff) spreading like weeds
Dragging me under in an endless sea of stuff
(Stuff) There ain’t no end
Got to get a bigger place so I can move in
More stuff

Diamond Rio

I am back in suburbia in a house, away from my cozy townhouse where I could walk to all of life’s conveniences. I never thought I would do this again, but it’s funny how life’s journey is a twisting path. 

I owned three homes during my marriage. A small starter home, then a little larger single family in the same general neighborhood and then the house in the “right” neighborhood with the best schools. 

I never got to truly make these houses “mine”. My Ex was reluctant (scared) to do any substantial improvements, so any improvements were a struggle with him. Due to the decade in the last house, I was able to renovate the kitchen (from its original 1968 condition), the pool/patio area and the family room. I painted the exterior and most of the interior, however color choice was usually a lopsided compromise. My bedroom was a hideous salmon color chosen by my Ex. I hated that color from the moment the first brushstroke hit the wall. Even the painter commented that he was betting he would be back to re-paint inside of a month. I left it there for years because I hated the forced intimacy of sharing a bed and living space with someone I no longer loved, so I had no need or desire to create a warm, loving environment. 

Now I am back in a house in a neighborhood that reminds me of my middle house. These folks aren’t the 1/2 of 1% of my last house, but they are friendly and quiet. My yard is a fraction of the size of my last house, but it backs up onto a small canal where the birds gather. It’s lovely and I feel good here. I live on the patio here.

I refuse to keep gathering more stuff. During my marriage, I went through a shopping for happiness phase. For a brief time, I had an assistant who was a true shopaholic and from her I learned that momentary burst of satisfaction from a good sale or buying some meaningless bauble that would bring a smile to my child’s face. When I was blue, I would take an afternoon off work and shop.  

Now I am a reformed shopper. Clearing out my mom’s house cured me for good. When I saw her stacks of towels, rows of Clinique makeup, hordes of batteries, a freezer full of expired food, I realized that unless I changed my ways, I could easily end up with the same mounds of crap. I didn’t want to do that to my kids. When I gave all of my mom’s belongings to an estate sales company to dispose of, I realized how meaningless possessions are. 

I still have moments when I struggle with my recovery. I was in Target with my son this week to get a few final items before his departure to Asia. I picked up some cute acrylic stemless wine glasses and thought that these would be great for sipping wine on my new patio. Then I put them down decisively. “No more STUFF”, I told myself. “Think about all the boxes you just had to unpack for this move”. I didn’t buy them and I don’t miss them, OK, maybe a little. 

I have accumulated more stuff than I thought during my past 3 years of freedom. When I moved out, I took very little because major things (furniture, china, even pots) I had not chosen. Funny right? I’m saying that I had a shopping problem, but the big stuff was chosen by the Ex. What the hell did I buy? Stuff for my kids a lot of times, clothes, books, shoes — things my Ex wouldn’t really notice. 

Anyway, I moved into my new place and carefully curated everything that went into it. I made meticulous lists of what was needed, shopped the Internet and stores before each purchase, returned things that didn’t work. I spent months on creating my home and I was proud that each and every thing was a reflection of me. I occasionally had a splurge of over-shopping, but I am much better. This project filled my weekends and nights so I didn’t feel lonely. 

Now I have the Hunter in my life, my home and my bed. This house is now OUR home, so I also have to let him have a say, a place and an influence in it. I just gave him a desk and file cabinet in my beautiful, large office so he has a work space of his own. This necessitates me getting a few things perhaps, but I am patient to see if they are truly necessary. We have open spaces in our home, not bare, just open and I like it. I don’t feel confined by the clutter like I have felt in the past. 

The Hunter and I have dreamed of living in an RV and traveling the country. I read about these full-time RV’ers and how they have scaled their belongings down to the bare minimum. It fascinates me. Then I wonder what I would do with my grandmother’s dining room set. Hopefully my daughter will want it. If not, I’ll figure out a good home for it when that day comes. 

The dining room set is a great example of subtle conflict in my marriage. My Ex didn’t like it. He wanted something contemporary and was constantly harping about getting rid of it. The seat cushions were needle-pointed by my grandmother. It is a charming, classic set with a table encompassing 3 leaves, 6 chairs, a corner hutch and a buffet. Not cumbersome or ornate, just charming and lovely. I need to eventually refinish it, but for now I just enjoy it. My Ex had no empathy for my sentimental feelings. I guess it’s fair because his mother was saddled with a dinning room set from her mother-in-law that I swear was authentically from the Middle Ages. It was black, heavy, gothically ornate in a hideous style that I hated from the first moment I saw it. It lived in my house in my dining room for about a year at one point. Thankfully, my gracious mother-in-law got rid of it before I had a meltdown. 

So this rambling post is just my meditation on stuff and place. Thunder is rumbling gently as I write. I hear dozens of birds, a low murmur of traffic in the distance and my dog is snuggled by my side. It’s peaceful here. I am content to sit here and write as the Hunter snoozes after our morning quickie. 

Little Lies

Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
(Tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies)
Oh, no, no you can’t disguise
(You can’t disguise, no you can’t disguise)
Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies

Fleetwood Mac

I promised you the story about how I caused some pre-wedding drama between the Ex, Taz and the now In-Laws. Right before the wedding, I made a whirlwind visit to Taz’s city because she was getting an amazing award and she wanted me and the Ex there. My daughter is incredible and this achievement is an incredible honor. It was a lovely ceremony, lively reception and then off to dinner with Taz, Hubby-to-Be (H2B), In-Laws and Ex.  

Taz had told me something prior to the trip that wasn’t sitting well with me. The Ex was suggesting/encouraging the Happy Couple to go ahead and get married at the courthouse when they went to get their marriage license. The reason was so his law partner wouldn’t have to bring her notary seal to the ceremony to properly witness the marriage license. Taz said they wouldn’t tell anyone they had really gotten married two days prior to the wedding. 

Well, apparently this was bothering my subconscious more than I realized and it bubbled out of me during dinner as we discussed wedding logistics. H2B was telling his mom that he was jonesing for a particular restaurant that he wanted to hit for lunch upon his arrival in my fair city. Taz was reminding him that they had to go together to get the marriage license. I spoke up and said something to the effect that if they were getting married at the courthouse, I wanted to be there. That, my friends, stopped the show and all civilized hell broke loose. 

Taz sent me horrific death ray looks. The MIL asked what the heck was I talking about. The Ex began explaining and the MIL had questions because obviously she couldn’t believe what she was hearing — this wedding was going to be a fake because the kids would already be married. Taz and H2B left the table because apparently H2B wasn’t up to speed on this idea and Taz was upset. It left us parents at the table unwinding this. Rather the Ex trying to provide some rational explanation for his idiotic idea. I sat back and watched.  

Then Taz returned, absolutely furious with me.  By this time the Ex had apologized and confessed that he had given the kids “bad advice”. I explained to Taz that the Ex had explained everything and admitted his mistake. Then the In-Laws left the table which freaked Taz out because she didn’t want them upset. Everyone was way too polite to really let loose and say what was on their mind, but the end result was everyone agreed that there would be no courthouse marriage. Dinner was over and the evening ended on a bit of a sour note. I felt awful for being such a killjoy but secretly happy to have aired this dirty laundry. Actually I was surprised that the In-Laws didn’t know about this. Taz had told me 4 days prior and the MIL is a divorce attorney –I assumed they knew. Anyway, I was staying with Taz and H2B which made for a bit of awkwardness when we got home. 

Taz and H2B spent about 30-45 minutes in their room. I retreated to the guest room and was prepared to call it a night. Then Taz called me down because they had made a fire. We all chatted and everyone was relaxed. Then I learned of more wedding drama — family friends were asking for plus-1’s. This created stress between Taz and H2B because he had cut cousins and friends from the guest list only to now be asked to include perfect strangers.  H2B and his kin would cut off their arm before asking for the favor of a plus-1.  Our neck of the woods apparently hasn’t read enough etiquette books to know that it’s rude to ask and ruder still to ask inside the 10-day window. We chat some more and I headed to bed only to be surprised by having Taz follow me to apologize for being mad at me. I was pleasantly surprised and relieved. 

When I returned home the next morning, I immediately called the MIL and apologized. I didn’t say what for and I guess I was apologizing for creating drama. She apologized for leaving the table and her behavior (which I had no problem with -I thought she had handled it well).  She had apparently texted Taz that night to apologize. What a class act.

Then I called my BFF and asked for a reality check. My BFF is from the same area as H2B so she was mortified with the plus-1 BS.  She was equally horrified with the courthouse marriage idea. As I told her, I got angrier as I thought about it. My damn Ex. What an asshole and here’s why:

  1. He was basically advising the Happy Couple to begin their marriage by lying to all their closest friends and family. “Come witness our exchange of vows” but the joke’s on all of you because this is just pretend. Why the fuck are we even flying in the minister? Why are we spending $50k on a wedding? There is no way that could have been kept a secret and imagine the explosion when the truth emerged? 
  2. Start your marriage with a lie so my law partner and I aren’t inconvenienced. Seriously? If that was my responsibility and I thought she was too flaky to remember the damn seal, I would have brought it or asked other guests who are notaries to bring theirs. It’s an honor, not an imposition. 
  3. The whole plus-1 situation was bubbling up from the Ex’s side. Control your damn guests and tell them NO and don’t bother Taz. She’s got enough on her plate without having to be the bad guy. YOU be the bad guy. They should know better. 

I ranted to my BFF and then got another rant with the Hunter. He plied me with wine and weed which softened my anger.  He thinks I did this on purpose and perhaps he’s right, but it wasn’t pre-mediatated. My rants did give me a whole new perspective of what Taz had been dealing with, although she later brushed it off when I later mentioned it. Perhaps I over-reacted because it’s simply my Ex being his usual douchebag self and I’m still sensitive about his shittiness. 

So Dear Readers, what are your thoughts?  Man, I am so glad I only have one Type A daughter to get married. Another would send me running for the woods. 

Where Have I Been?

I have to thank Dawn for stirring me to write. Life has been galloping along and there is so much to do much less think about and process. First, the wedding. It was a nightmare the week leading up to it, but the actual day was a dream come true. 

Taz runs at warp speed and the week leading up to the Big Day was packed with hair appointments, nail appointments, dress fittings, shopping for a variety of things, more shopping …and she had 30 pages of essays to write. I had 40 goody bags to make and deliver for hotel guests, people to pick up from the airport, Taz and her errands, menu cards to design and print — it was absolute insanity. Fortunately, my son arrived early and was my able, happy-to-help assistant. I had moments of eye-twitching, trying to breathe and control the stress. I had a meltdown or two. It was tough. I won’t kid you. 

Then the wedding day came and as I later described it, the rollercoaster began rolling down the peak without any ability to control it. I released my worries and stress and enjoyed the day. It was beautiful. The venue was amazing. It looked like a fairy tale. So romantic and dreamy.  The night went off without any drama. We have beautiful memories to fill a lifetime, stories to become family lore. 

The Hunter was by my side through it all.  He was awesome. My friends got to know him better.  Even though big parties are not his scene at all, he was with me for the rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. I have come to realize he has a bit of social aniexty, so I appreciate him stretching beyond his comfort zone. The day after the wedding was a brunch, but he skipped it due to a class he is taking. That was fine. 

That night he generously made dinner for my parents because he couldn’t afford to go out to a restaurant. It was a lovely evening.  He later thanked me for giving him that out instead of being embarrassed at a restaurant. I was touched. 

What made me chuckle is that all the Ex’s family and the Marriage friends were just as chummy and nice like the good old days. Not that the past was so great for me all the time, but they treated me like they use to. I discovered that I could care less and while it was nice to see everyone, they can still go fuck themselves. 

The happy couple took off on a two-week honeymoon. It took me about three days to recover from the wedding. I was exhausted — both mentally and physically. But I pulled it off. Now, how the hell am I going to pay for it?  LOL. 

The Wedding Approaches

It has been an interesting week. Taz was here for three days for wedding planning. Man, this young woman can be tough for me to handle. She is so much like her father and it brings up some strong emotions in me at times. Before I rant, know that 70% of the time was fine. She had a couple of times when she snapped at me and I was dumbfounded because it was completely out of line. I swallowed my hurt and anger but became a bit cool. She calmed down and realized she overstepped, but the damage was done. Just like her dad. 

One interesting thing is that perhaps I have been able to be a strong positive influence on her. I like to think so. On one ride home, we talked about her high school counselor, a man that I am forever thankful for being in my daughter’s life. She has stayed in touch with him and by some weird 6 degrees of separation, he is somehow related to a dear friend of the groom. We are talking a thousand mile connection – bizarre, but I digress. 

Anyway, during Taz’s senior year of high school, she was a handful. Too smart for her own good, strong alpha personality, the rigors of all AP classes, the pressure of college application process and a host of other things in her life made her a force to be reckoned with. My Ex and Taz were clashing regularly and both expected me to resolve it. I was stuck in the middle with my Ex bitterly complaining about her, directing me to correct her and then furious when I apparently “failed”.  Taz was simply growing to hate her dad for all his controlling actions. In steps the high school counselor who wisely told Taz that her dad was never going to change — most adults don’t, so she needed to decide if she could accept her dad for who he is. He told her much more, and she listened to him. Heaven has a special place for people like that counselor. I begged him not to retire until my son graduated and fortunately my son was also able to benefit from his wisedom when I moved out of the house before my son’s senior year. 

But returning to the present, Taz really churned up some emotions in me. They weren’t all happy thoughts either. She said some really sweet and loving things but then she zapped me a couple of times. The Hunter has gently asked if I am over-reacting.  Perhaps, but I know without a doubt that she will not be my caretaker when I get old and senile. She’s too tough. She is headed for a glittering, successful career at the top of her profession. She will be a rock star and I am so proud of her. I just hope that the success doesn’t come at the sacrifice of her loved ones. 

Then after the highs and lows of Taz’s visit, I ran into a colleague at a cocktail party. She told me she ran into my Ex at the bar of her neighborhood restaurant. She told me that he’s excited for the wedding, worried about walking Taz down the stairs in her dress and then she told me that he looked so woebegone. That it is glaringly apparent that he pines for me. WTF. I told her that perhaps if he wasn’t such an asshole we would still be married. 

After I left I called a girlfriend to discuss the conversation. Why the hell did my colleague feel the need to share the conversation with me?  She could have simply told me that they ran into each other and left it at that. As I told my girlfriend, part of me wanted to tell my colleague not to have pity on my Ex because he hates her and always called her a dyke when we were married. But there was no upside for me to do that. I simply had to listen and then retreat. My Ex also talked shit about all my business colleagues. He had nothing nice to say about any of them. It always pissed me off because if he was insulting/belittling those in my trade, wasn’t he also doing the same to me?  I asked him once and he kinda of laughed and admitted that I was right — he didn’t have any respect for my work. 

In any case, it feels good to write this and get it off my chest and out of my brain.  Today I feel fabulous. I figured out some complex financial stuff, cleaned my office and flirted with the Hunter.  I broke my alcohol-free January a bit early and feel great about it. My positive affirmations are working and I see a very bright and happy future before me. I found my dress for the wedding and Taz said that it was the most beautiful dress she has ever seen me wear. Let’s leave it there – happy. 

My Wish

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you wanna go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.

But more than anything, more than anything
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this, is my wish.

Rascal Flatts

I went camping for New Years Eve in a redux of my magical camping with the Hunter last year. Last year’s New Years Eve was our first camping foray and when we discovered that we were really interested in one another. It’s a multi-post story that begins here and continues to Part 2 .  This year it was me, the Hunter and my son, who felt like a third wheel. He likes the Hunter but doesn’t like that squeamish thought of our intimacy. It is palapable and was glaringly apparent in the close confines of a campsite. He spent one night with us before bolting to spend more time with his dad. After he left, I wrote the following open letter to my son.

Dear Son,

I know that I must puzzle you these days post-marriage. My actions speak louder than words, but I want to provide some words, some context, to my actions. 

You and your sister were the focus of the most important chapter of my life -motherhood.  That was a busy time of life with the plates spinning non-stop.  I balanced family, work and running a house for over 20 years. That took a lot of work on all fronts: mental, physical, logistical, psychological, sociological to be successful.  I like to think I was/am extremely successful with that chapter. After all, I have raised 2 incredible young adults who are very accomplished albeit in different ways. I think that is one of my biggest parenting success– recognizing and embracing the differences in my kids. 

My married years were very busy and I enjoyed them for the most part.  But my yearnings/daydreams were always focused on a quieter/simpler lifestyle. A cross-country road trip, walking thru Tuscany from BnB to BnB, living in a cabin like Majorie Kinnan Rawlings.  I have always craved quieter moments where I can think, rest, reflect. 

Perhaps I  sought   craved all that because we were always so busy. As we have discussed, I’m a social introvert who prefers smaller gatherings and I enjoy being alone. When I moved out and set up my new place I wanted to provide you with the same quiet sanctuary that I wanted. That’s why I don’t push for tons of activities/events. I now realize that perhaps it is too soon for that much quiet for you. 

For the past 1-1/2 years I have been writing a great deal and exploring. I am living my life on my own terms.  These terms may continue to change and evolve, but my life is pretty near perfect for me. The Hunter is part of why my life today is so satisfying. He is a great companion in so many ways. He wants to take care of me; treats me well, and is very in tune to my feelings. I find him to be very smart and open, although our politics are opposing and he’s not an intellectual like you. 

My #1 goal in motherhood was to give you roots and unconditional love. I didn’t have either when I was growing up. I wanted both you and Taz to have the best I could provide. Mission accomplished. 

Taz is moving through life in classic Alpha female, oldest child fashion.  Don’t get me wrong — I mean that only in the good, positive way. She will do better than me professionally and economically and I am thrilled with her many long-term friends and other accomplishments. 

You have so much life before you. The only thing I want you to know –OK, there are two things. The first is that I will always love you both unconditionally.  The second is that you have infinite choices.  Travel, big job, not-so-big job, exploring, learning, experiencing.  Follow your heart, sometimes your mind, always your intuition. Nobody told me (or the Hunter) that life has many forks in the road and sometimes we should take the road less traveled. 
I am still a mother and damn proud of it. I am trying to figure out what I should do to best mother young adults.  I’m a woman who still has dreams and a small bucket list. I’m not afraid of living alone, but I realize that I love sharing my life with the Hunter. His love and companionship are precious to me. 

But I feel no need or desire to “keep up with the Jones”.  I feel no need to follow society’s dictates or at least those I perceive from my married days. I saw how folks reacted when I moved out and realized that it really didn’t matter. I want more outdoors in my life. I enjoyed downsizing and living with less. I enjoy cleaning my house, walking to stores and living a slower, simpler existence. I like life in the right Lane now after 30+ years in the left Lane. I want my next 30 years to have simpler pleasures, more travel, family and friends. 

I just want you to know that I’m happy. I’m struggling to figure out the best way to parent you these days, so use your words and help me out once in awhile. I’ll try to remember that we need to do stuff together because that’s when we talk/interact the most. Your ideas on things to do are always welcome ….

OK, I was pleasantly stoned when I wrote that and it meanders a bit, but I like the thoughts in it. I also felt much better when a dear friend and co-worker told me, that as an adult, she still felt awkward with her dad and his long-time girlfriend. She’s a level-headed woman, so that eased my mind tremendously. I won’t give this to my son, but I’m glad to spew the thoughts. 

Taz’s Future MIL

Sorry, I couldn’t come up with a song for this — I am just lazy today.

This past week I had the pleasure of spending a day and a half with my daughter, Taz’s, future MIL. I really like this woman. She is a divorce attorney and reminds me a great deal of my own attorney – no nonsense, pragmatic, smart and a “get things done” Alpha female. My kind of gal.

She flew down to scout out rehearsal dinner venues and I had volunteered to be the tour guide. We were able to quickly identify the right venue and then had dinner there so we could have a secret tasting of the items she wants for the event. Taz and the groom prefer a heavy hors d’oeuvres to facilitate more mingling. They don’t want folks sitting around. I love this idea and we found the perfect spot that is next door to a casual bar so later on everyone can join us.

Anyway, this post is not about wedding planning. It’s about relationships and divorce. The MIL had some interesting insight about relationships and divorce. The rest of this post bounces around a couple of topics, so sorry for the lack of great segue ways.

We were sitting at lunch and talking about her husband’s obsession with hunting. This came up because the Hunter is spending most of Saturday and Sunday in the woods this weekend. The conversation wandered to how she dealt with her husband’s extended hunting trips. It was interesting to hear the perspective of a woman who has been married 36 years. She began with the statement that her language of love is Time. How funny that she brought that up. I was fascinated because I haven’t come across someone whose primary love language is Time. I have written about my Love Language here.

In any case, that’s a compatibility issue if her husband is headed to the woods frequently. She said that when her two sons were young, she decided one time when her husband was gone that she was going on strike. No home-cooked dinners. Instead they ate out every night. Fast food, fancy restaurants and everything in between. It became a ritual for her and the boys that they all grew to love. Now that she is an empty-nester, she fills those weeknights with dinners with friends. When her husband gets homesick and wants to come home, she tells him that’s fine, but her evenings are booked.

I loved this story. I found it fascinating that with her primary love language being Time, she was able to shift it from missing her husband to spending quality time with her sons by going out to dinner.

The other interesting conversation was about the effect the loss of a child has on a marriage. She said that statistics show that 81% of marriages end in divorce when the couple loses a child. We talked about couples we know and how they dealt with such a horrific situation. Our experiences mirrored the statistics.

When we were bouncing around the first day, I asked her if she had contacted my Ex. With a guilty face, she said no. I told her that her breakfast the next day was open, so she loved that idea and they ended up having a nice breakfast together. I felt good about that. She told me that he still is recovering from the divorce. She didn’t mean that in a bad way; it’s simply her business and she notices those things. I laughed and told her I wasn’t surprised at all. Then I told her about my lunch with him back in February. She commented that people, especially men, need to spend significant time alone after a divorce so they can learn more about themselves. I told her that I spent a year alone prior to dating and she sagely nodded her head.

It was a good trip. We bonded, got the job done in the way that efficient, Type A women do and my daughter was very happy with the results. Life is good.

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