Tag Archives: marriage

Not Just Goofball Funny

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Thirty years and counting…

Yesterday was a special occasion as Sweet Pea and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  I remarked on social media that when my parents had their 30th anniversary, they seemed like such…ADULTS.  And they did.

I have rarely felt like an adult during the course of our marriage, and I mean that in a positive way.  Jeff, my wonderful husband, has the best sense of humor of any human I’ve ever met, so that has made our time together way more fun than I think most people are blessed to enjoy.  I remember once, when Jeff and I had been going out for a few months, coming home from a date and sitting down with Mama in the living room for a glass of tea.  Jeff had spent a decent amount of time with my family by this point, and Mama said, “You seem to laugh a lot with him.”

She was right, of course.  But it took her saying it to make me realize how different being with him was from the other fellows I had dated.  I had only had a couple of “boyfriends” prior to Jeff, and those relationships were not marked by laughter as much as by angst, jealousy and my need to assert my freedom as they tried to assert their control over me.  This thing with Jeff…this was definitely different.  Laughing with him led to loving him, a kind of love I never imagined and still marvel over.

Even after 30 years of marriage and 4 years of dating/engagement prior to that, Jeff can still explode with some kind of off-the-wall remark that makes me laugh so hard I cry, or pee my pants, or both.  And since he is the funniest human I’ve ever met, it gives me a special kind of joy when I can make HIM laugh.  Has our life together always been a barrel of monkeys?  Of course not.  Have we dealt with issues, tragedies, losses, illnesses and all the other not-fun stuff life is made of?  Definitely.  Has our ability to laugh made the not-fun stuff a little more bearable?  YES.

I know I come with a lot of baggage and I am no picnic to live with.  I can be stubborn, overly emotional, petty and selfish.  Sweet Pea has his hands pretty full with me.

Here’s the thing.  A good sense of humor speaks to all the other qualities that make my husband special and wonderful.  I think–and this is just me, I realize—that someone who’s genuinely funny also possesses strength, intelligence, compassion, generosity and warmth.  I think those qualities are prerequisites for real wit, real funny-ness.  Not just goofball funny, but loving-smart-strong-warm-funny.  I give thanks for a partner who embodies such attributes.

And as we begin another year of life together, I pray that I can be for him a fraction of the wonderful things he is for me…smart, strong and warm. Loving and kind and generous.  And not just Goofball Funny.

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June 21, 1986.

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June 21, 2016.

 

Sock It To Me

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A Mustang, a honeymoon and a surprise

Saturday, June 21, 1986, Sweet Pea and I got married and started our crazy adventure of life together.  His car at the time was a 1977 (I think) brown Toyota Corolla station wagon which, while it got him from point A to point B, was not a fancy machine and, at the time, I think the air conditioning might not have been working.  For whatever reasons, we took Pop Cutshaw’s newer, more comfortable white Mustang on our honeymoon.

Our wedding ceremony began at 4 pm and it was about 6 pm by the time we left the church, so, as planned, we drove to Asheville that night and then made the rest of the trip to Myrtle Beach the next day.  I don’t really remember all that much about the drive, except how much fun it was to be taking our first trip together and the excitement of being newlyweds.  And I don’t remember whether/how much I slept while we were on the road.  (I’ve had a long history of not being much use on road trips because I have trouble staying awake.  Traveling with the dog helps keep me from sleeping an entire day’s drive away!)

And I don’t remember what sent me scrounging through the glove compartment of Pop Cutshaw’s car that Saturday evening as we headed toward Asheville and the first leg of our honeymoon.  Maybe we needed a map, or I was looking to stash some small object.  I don’t remember why I went in there.

But I remember what I found.

“Reckon why your Daddy has a sock stuck in here?”

“A sock?  I have no idea…”

It was tied at the opening and when I pulled it out, it was heavy and it jingled and jangled like a tambourine band.

“Oh my gosh!  It’s full of coins!”

I untied it to discover that it was filled with mostly quarters, LOTS of them.  And there was a scrap of paper.

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“I thought you might need some change.  Have a happy holiday.  Love, Dad.”

I don’t know that most people would have described Pop Cutshaw as a particularly sentimental person…and his gesture might have been  motivated more by common sense than the “warm-fuzzies”.  He was probably thinking we’d need money to do laundry at the end of the week, drinks out of a vending machine or that Jeff might want to play some arcade games once we came up for air!  Dads tend to be practical people, after all.

All I know is that his thoughtfulness touched both of us to our cores.  Such a fun, sweet surprise!  Finding that coin-filled sock in those early hours of our marriage was the moment I fell in love with my new father-in-law.

What 50 Looks Like

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And why it does and doesn’t matter…

Feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem once responded to a reporter who kindly remarked that she did not look 40, “This is what 40 looks like.”  Now, whatever your thoughts and opinions about Ms. Steinem may be, her response to that reporter has always resonated with me. As a woman who has always felt judged by my appearance (not by age as much as by shape and size) I love it when appearance-based stereotypes get shattered.  But this post isn’t really about physical appearances as much as what my life looks like today, as I turn The Big 5-0.

In the spirit of full disclosure I will admit to being a little freaked-out by the prospect of turning 50.  It’s a milestone different from any other birthday that happens to have a zero at the end of it.  A woman turning 50 often finds herself subject to the slings and arrows of menopause and all the changes associated with the end of the childbearing years.  And I am so there.  I am relieved that my new GYN actually listened to my concerns during our initial visit and started me on treatment that I hope will help me feel better soon.

I went today and renewed my drivers’ license, and I was pleasantly surprised by how similar my photo today looked when compared to the one from my last license 10 years ago.  Aside from a marked decrease in weight, I don’t look too different, or too much older.  That was a big relief!

The biggest surprise about this birthday is how much more content and comfortable I am in my life and in my own skin than I’ve probably ever been before.  I remember other birthdays with zeroes on them, and the various kinds of angst I was experiencing with each of them.  My life is in a better place now.  God has blessed me with a husband who still loves me after all these years, makes me laugh, warms my heart, has been a wonderful dog dad, and makes me feel safe.Image

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I have several longtime friendships like that as well. Those relationships are priceless.  My friend Mary K. and I spent the weekend between our birthdays together.  Her birthday is May 15 and was also a milestone.  We first met at a Methodist youth assembly when we were 13 or 14 years old.  Living in different states, we were pen-pals for decades but didn’t actually see each other again until 2009 when, after about a decade of being out of touch, we reconnected via Facebook.

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Over the years we have shared everything from braces and boyfriend stories to college, marriage, the births of her children to the deaths of our parents.  This friendship and a few other cherished ones like it sustain me, nourish my soul and, again, make me feel safe.  Above is the picture from our initial reunion in 2009, and below is from our most recent get-together this past weekend.  It just dawned on me that she is wearing the same top in both pictures, and I am wearing yellow in both.  (My sweater from 2009 would swallow me now since weight loss surgery!)

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The losses of so many loved ones have all affected me in different ways, but that old adage, “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” is one I believe in.  Yes, the deaths hurt terribly…but I am so incredibly grateful that I have known and loved these precious family members and friends.  My life without them would be unimaginable.  And they’re not gone forever.  They’re just in a place where I can’t see them right now, except when they visit in dreams.  The relationships with living family members are all works in progress, just as they’ve always been.  I’m grateful for the ones still here who make me feel safe, valued and loved.

So I guess my life turning 50 is looking pretty good after all.  God has been so faithful and brought me through more sadness, disasters and changes than I ever could have imagined experiencing by the time I turned 50.  He has also brought me more wonderful surprises, happiness and joy than I could ever hope to deserve.  So, what does 50 look like?  

Sometimes it looks hazy and crazy.

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Sometimes it looks goofy and spoofy.Image

 

 Mostly, though,  it just looks…Blessed.

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Happy Birthday, Dear Sweet Pea

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How I won the Husband Jackpot…

It all started in the summer of 1982. I had just graduated from high school and was looking forward to new adventures in the college world in a few months. I had been seeing someone most of my senior year of high school, and we were still dating, although no longer exclusively. He was a nice guy, but we were not well suited for one another. A longtime friend of mine from elementary school, Gary, was working with Jeff, aka Sweet Pea, at Winn-Dixie and suggested to Jeff that he might ask me out. And he did. And the rest is history.

Well, sort of.

I should give a bit of background at this point. Jeff and I were 2 years apart in high school and, while we didn’t really know each other, we knew each other’s faces and were aware of each other’s existence. I actually worked up the courage to ask him to the Y-Teen Formal (Y-Teens was an all-girl club at school and the formal was a girl-ask-guy affair, like Sadie Hawkins dances. He already had a date. I was mortified. I never spoke to him again until he called to ask me out on our first date.) For this reason I call Gary’s fix-up of us not a blind date, but a “nearsighted” one.

I remember our first date vividly. He took me to see “Tron” at the theater and when he took me home, I invited him in for a glass of tea so we could talk some more. He stayed a long time…a REALLY long time. We talked and drank tea and he kissed me goodnight and it was a perfectly lovely evening, one that I hoped would repeat itself many, many times. And it did.

Our courtship was not without its rough patches, and our marriage has had a few of those as well.  Relationships involve flawed people and, as such, are subject to those people’s foibles and mistakes.  I will admit in writing, for all the world to see, that most of the foibles in our relationship have been mine.  He knew I was crazy going into this shootin’ match.

He was born on December 5, 1961.  Mom Cutshaw always said that it took her 16 years of marriage to have 3 children, and it did.  Mom and Pop Cutshaw were married in November, 1945, eloping when he came back from the war.  In June 1950, Jeff’s brother Howard was born, followed by Bridget in January 1955.  Mom Cutshaw joked that she “watched 1960 really close!” , but alas, Jeff came along in December of 1961.  (He graduated from kindergarten as Howard was graduating from high school.)  Mom Cutshaw told me that she knew the morning after they conceived him that they’d made a baby.  I for one am eternally grateful that they did!

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Among all the other reasons that Sweet Pea is special, the most important to me is that after all these years together, he can still make me laugh.  He is, in fact, the funniest person I’ve ever known in my life.  And considering some of the characters in my family, that is indeed saying something!

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He is also generous and tenderhearted.  I’ll never forget the times he has come home after a holiday shopping trip with misty eyes because of some child’s heartbreaking Angel Tree request for warm socks or a winter coat.  I have never been more proud of him than when he learned how to give injections to Mom Cutshaw as she battled cancer.  He is a sweet, decent, caring man, one who married into my family and loved them like his own.  And they loved him just as much, Mama most of all.  It was Mama, in fact, who gently pointed out to me that with Jeff, I seemed to laugh a lot.  I think she knew I would marry him long before I knew it.

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We’ve had a wonderful life together so far, with the good times more than balancing the bad ones.  And now with his birthday once again approaching, I just wanted to take a moment to share why he is so wonderful, why I love him so much, and to say that I am forever grateful for having won the Husband Jackpot when I married him.

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And as I have shared in other places, I have to share my favorite picture of us together, lovingly captured by Howard a number of years ago.  The looks on both of our faces pretty much express the totality of our life together.

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Happiest of Happy Birthdays, my precious Sweet Pea!  It may be your birthday, but I am the one who receives the gift.  Thank you for giving me a life I could never have imagined without you.  I love you with all my heart, for all my life.  ❤

Off Into The Sunset

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Reflections on the eve of another wedding anniversary

 

Our 27th wedding anniversary is tomorrow and I find myself amazed that so much time has gone by since I married my sweet husband.  Equally amazing are the trials we have seen, the laughs we have shared and the lessons we have learned in our life together.  Don’t fault me for saying “our life together” when referring to our marriage.  Yes, he has his life and I have mine, and then we have a life together.

Often through the years when I’ve been too stressed-out to get to sleep, I’ve been known to ask for a bedtime story.  And Jeff would begin some wonderful tale about a trip we would take to a magical place where everything was perfect, stress-free and we could enjoy just being together with no worries about time or intrusions.  I could picture us on a scenic beach somewhere, walking off into the sunset.  Walking with him into Forever.

Over the years we have endured heartaches and losses that I never imagined.  From December 1997 to June 2001, we lost my Mama and both Jeff’s parents.  Pop and Mom Cutshaw died less than 11 months apart.  Other close relatives have died and our hearts have been broken in new places with every passing.  We’ve lost coworkers and friends along the way.  We’ve cried a lot, questioned a lot.  I don’t know how many answers we  have found.

We’ve also laughed a lot.  My husband is the funniest human being I have ever met and, even after all these years together, the man can still make me laugh so hard I cry, or pee my pants, or both!  He still has the ability to surprise me with both his humor and the depth of his soul.  He is a decent, compassionate person who hates seeing people or animals mistreated.  He also has the ability to see and accept life as it is, rather than complaining about how it isn’t.  I’d like to be more like him when I grow up.

I feel blessed and grateful to share my life with him.  I believe my life has been much richer and more fulfilling with him in it than it ever could have been without him.  I don’t say he completes me, because I don’t think one person can do that for another.  What he does do is help me to be the best I can be, and I like how I feel when I am with him.  

We’ve walked a long time together and covered a lot of ground.  I look forward to more years with him, walking side by side…off into the sunset.  Off into Forever.Image