Tag Archives: Relationships

Sometimes we drive each other nutty, but this guy really loves me…

me and chris 3

Our anniversary is coming up this Saturday. It will be 17 years. That’s a pretty long time. I like to think of myself as young-ish, but 17 years married starts to make that a less convincing argument. I think about the Hubs and where we have been. It hasn’t been a dream, full of wonderment. Marriage is not a fairy tale. Let me say that again…Marriage is NOT a fairy tale.  Our marriage is NOT a fairy tale. Sometimes I don’t know how any marriages last. It’s often a bit of a Gong Show, but we are still here, hanging on,  and experiencing an upswing right now, which is nice.

Here’s the thing:  he still  loves me, after all this time. I am still first. Not even his comic books have surpassed me…yet. I never wonder if he still loves me, I just know it. I am not an easy one to love. I know you must find that difficult to believe, Reader, but it is true 🙂 I am strong-willed and opinionated. I have a really horrid temper and mornings make me grumpy. I am wildly jealous and territorial. And yet, this guy loves me. Not only does he love me, he likes me. He really, really likes me. He thinks I am funny and cute. He sees my wild swings of emotion as side effects of my passion. He finds my jealousy and territoriality (is that a word?) charming. I have never, ever felt like I had to apologize for being me. He accepts me just as I am.

Hubs is steady. Level. Calm. Content. Loyal. He is everything I need in a life partner. And he makes me laugh til I need my inhaler (I have asthma). That is a most excellent quality. He is better than me and he loves me better than I love. I am not sure what I ever did to deserve to be loved in such a way.  My conclusion is that I did nothing. Not everyone finds someone who loves them in  this way, or who doesn’t get bored with them. I got lucky. I picked a Really. Good. Egg.

He tells me often that he hopes our kids turn out like me, but Hubs, I think we make a pretty fine combination. My Mallard Duck, or My Golden Eagle (did I tell you they pick a life partner too?) I am so very glad to be going through this journey with you. I hope you can tolerate me for a really long time, but if not, I’ll just kick your butt.


An Open Letter to the Class of 2014…


Nicole graduation

Well, it’s done. We did it. It was a fast and furious four semesters. And now we’re done. Moving on, headed back to regular life. In some ways it feels like one grandiose hiccup in the journey. Just a blip in the entirety of our lives.  But in other ways it was life altering. For me, it was a highlight of my existence.

For a person who sees life as one shell-collecting walk, I found a lot of unique and wonderful treasures during the last two years.  For you non-beach babies, I’ll explain. When you live at the ocean, many hours are spent, not sunbathing or riding the waves, but in walking along the beach looking for treasures, maybe a certain color sea glass or full shells instead of broken ones. The walk is all about collecting as you go. I see my life similarly, only people and their stories are my treasures.

While at school I was constantly amazed by the people I encountered. Everyone was so smart and interesting and full of stories to tell and wisdom to share. I’m pretty sure I met a future President of the United States and might have gotten a picture or two with him or her.   I met people who reminded me of the unquenchable hope we have when we are twenty-something and others who had a more nuanced perspective of the world. There were those that came from places whose names I have never heard and those who will return to places I will likely never see. I met friends who made me laugh every-single-time we were together and others whose stories pierced my soul and reminded me of the unsinkable determination of the human spirit and our ability to overcome hardship.

As you leave this place remember, with a little help from your friends you can do just about anything. Love people and pour yourselves into them, but always take care of yourselves, too. The better you care for you, the more you will have to share with others.  Take the world! Make a difference! Share what you know and what you think. Be humble. And if in ten years you think, “Aw crap, there’s something else I’d rather do,” then do it! Ten years ago I didn’t even know the job I will be starting soon existed! It is never too late to change course, never too late to chase another dream.

To all of you, thank you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives; For sharing your stories with me. Thank you for letting me be your candy supplier and for the looked-forward-to conversations at my desk while you snacked. Thank you for showing me that it doesn’t really matter if I am a little (emphasis on a little!) older than you and have a few kids in tow, we are all journeying through together. I will be forever grateful that I entered this program at this grad school at the exact time that I did and got to know all of you. You have left an indelible  mark on my soul. Good luck in all you do, now and always.

No one packs me pickles…

the crew
My Crew

Yesterday at school (I’m a  Master’s student) a friend came into the room where a few of us were sitting and offered to us some homemade pickles. Being a huge pickle fan, I immediately took up the offer. Of course I asked who made the pickles. She said, “My dad. He packs me some everyday, but I’m not in the mood for them today.” I said, “Wait, your dad packs your lunch?” “Yup, ” she responded.

Sigh. There’s something quite nice about the thought of being taken care of, of someone packing my lunch for me, someone acting as the grown-up in my life so I wouldn’t  always have to fill that role. I’m older than most of my grad-school friends by about five to ten years;  Add to that the fact that I was thrust into adulthood when my mom passed away when I was 20,  and I realize, I’ve been taking care of myself and other people for a really long time.

It’s different for most of my friends. They are mostly still intimately connected to their parents. They are in this different sort of in-between stage where they are not quite grown-ups, but not quite kids. They are independent, but still being cared for in little ways that make a difference.

That in-between phase was never part of my existence. I got married young, just after turning 21, and started having babies shortly thereafter. By the time I was 29 I was the mother of 4 children. I’ve never had any regrets, but every now and again I long for the feeling of not having to captain the ship, not having to make the decisions. My husband and I have a really egalitarian marriage and, given my fiercely independent and fiery personality, it probably wouldn’t work any other way, but sometimes I long for someone to take the reins so that I can stop feeling like I have to take care of everyone else for a minute. Sometimes I’d like to call up my parents, particularly my mom, and just lay it all on her and let her tell me what to do.

Some days I wish someone would pack me pickles and send me off to my day and I could, for just a minute, breathe a sigh of relief knowing that if I flub the day someone will come to my rescue and be the grown-up. While I’m sure I wouldn’t want it that way all the time, and please understand that I know it isn’t like that in every situation for my friend, I think for a day or two every now and again it might be nice.

Soul Extraction


I love people. People are one of my favorite elements of our planet. Well, people and flowers.  I love going to the State Fair every year, not for everything fried on a stick, but to watch the sea of people move, almost as one, in a wave-like fashion down the packed streets of the fairgrounds. I love to sit in crowded places and listen to the hum of human voices. It soothes me.

Working a crowd is not my scene, but I thoroughly enjoy getting to know people one on one. I love to sit with a person in a coffee shop and listen to their story.  I want to know where they are from, what makes them tick, what makes them laugh, and the sorrows they’ve known. I don’t forget those stories either. I try to remember the details and the stories become a part of the quilt of humanity I am sewing together in my head.

When I meet someone unpleasant, I always try to remind myself that they too have a story. There’s a reason why people act the way they do. When I forget this detail, I am happy to have friends around me who will remind me.

I once had someone tell me, “Don’t invest so much energy in people, invest more in your life and your work.” What??? That’s like telling a bunny not to eat carrots or a child not to laugh. It’s my nature. People are my life. That sounds like a dramatic statement and it isn’t that I overextend myself, but I love to invest in others, as much I can. Why not add to other’s lives if you are able and when you have the opportunity? It’s part of the journey we are on together.

The people I meet along my way in this world are like treasures. Each highly valued for one reason or another, with something to teach me about myself or about life; Something they do or say that makes me laugh; An alternative viewpoint or experience with which to challenge me.  I keep them close to my heart, even when time and distance separate, the memories of the  people I have known and the things I learned from them remain a treasure.

It’s probably because of my love for people that I get so attached to friends and struggle with so much sorrow when they move away because my friends are never just an accessory to my life, they are a part of me.

And I am faithful, especially with my closest friends. I stick around and work when things get hard. I wait, hoping and believing things will improve and they often do. Relationships with people ebb and flow. I am quite aware of this. My husband says I stick around a lot longer in a relationship than most others would. That might be true. I think I do it because I have faith in humans that most times they come back around and things can be good again. I always seem to retain hope.

Sometimes friendships gradually end over time. I’m ok with that. But sometimes they end because of neglect or hurt. Those are the endings with which I struggle. The hardest thing I ever have to do is to watch a close friendship of mine end. I’m really bad at giving up on someone. For me it’s like extracting part of my soul, the part that they occupied. It’s a painful process and leaves a hole in my heart.  However, I know that sometimes turning away and letting go is the bravest thing to do, even if everything in me cries out, “No!”

If you read my post, Circumstantial Erosion, you’ll understand when I say, sometimes there just isn’t enough beach left on which to rebuild.

Fortunately, time heals wounds and I comfort myself knowing there will be new people to meet and to know. I’m mindful that no two beautiful people are exactly alike. There is no replacing someone whom you have lost, no filling the hole they left completely. But there will be new friends in which to invest and love; new stories to hear and patches to sew into the quilt.  After all, it’s a great big, wonderful world. 🙂