Monthly Archives: May 2013
It occurred to me the other day that I write quite a bit about the one who has brought tons of smiles, understanding and a love so powerful, it sometimes defies description. To say I am grateful, is a gross understatement; in fact, I have yet to amply quantify just how our relationship redefined the way I see and appreciate this thing called LOVE. It is the most over-used yet least demonstrated four letters ever and yet, we all crave it from that special someone. Make no bones about it; I have seen my fair share of “frogs.” Cute ones, tall ones, short ones, educated bow-tie- wearing ones, smooth- talking ones… you get the point. Many of those frogs tried to hop on my “lily-pad” and most totally missed the mark as I am someone who is incredibly particular about who enters my space and psyche. But like many of you, I have found myself caught in a “drama series” that I would soon forget except it has allowed me to, through that one or two awful experiences to be clear in my mind what I wanted/needed, then to open my heart and be ready to recieve who is now the blessing, I call John.
As I was reading some words of wisdom today, I came across what I believe truly describes what we have done to make our love grow stronger each day and wanted to share it with you;
15 Concise tips about how to do relationships well – Joy Angela Degruy, PH.D
- Observe silence; learn to listen completely and to communicate openly
- Communicate consistently and frequently; speak honestly and bring your best self. This requires check-ins with your partner and yourself.
- Consider the timeliness and appropriateness of your communication. Bear in mind, that things said in the heat of the moment all too often, add to the fire. But do not avoid communication when the topic or issue is difficult if you feel it’s important.
- Before you say something, consider: How can I say it kindly? Is it honest? Is it useful? Work hard to meet all three of these bars in what you say.
- Identify trusted and wise significant individuals, loving family members, friends and mentors with whom you can meet and consult with about your relationship. ( side bar) Be incredibly clear about this person BEFORE you share as this can cause more angst than good if the wrong person is chosen to confide in.
- When you and your partner are seeking counsel from significant individuals whom you have identified, remember that it’s up to the two of you to determine the relevance and value of their advice.
- Set Goals and monitor your progress together.
- Commit to your relationship as a spiritual practice; the commitment is to each other and the divine.
- Practice fidelity; be faithful in word and deed.
- Be open and honest with each other
- If one of you stumbles, acknowledge it and the pain it has caused. Seek to make amends. Ask to be pardoned. Practice forgiveness. The great challenge is not to keep the hurt alive by repeatedly bringing up the incident. Let it go. Get help if you need to. We all mess up. As we learn to forgive, we are healed and forgiven.
- Speak your love and demonstrate your caring and loyalty. Be tender in touch, words and deeds with your beloved.
- Trust and be trustworthy. No spying on or tracking your mate. No accusing. No tolerating indignities or disrespect. And violence must never be tolerated. Trust is earned, not built overnight.
- Make it your lifelong ritual to look for wisdom and guidance from sacred writings or traditions and to practice them.
- Model what you believe.
The very best thing about John and I is this; we love each other, warts and all, bring our best selves to the table, have not, in all our years together raised our voices and we laugh like hyenas constantly because humor is something we have in common. Our values about family mesh and we believe anything is possible if we try.
The other day, I made a e pot of steel cut oatmeal and placed in front of him, a bowl of it filled with raisins. He took one look and said ” I can’t possibly eat all of this dear,” to which I replied ” You bum, I bet if I put a slab of ribs or half a meatloaf in front of you, you would eat it without question. I need you to eat better so you can stay healthy.” He blinked and said, ” thank you for the upgrade in compliments; yesterday, I was a rat bastard, today, I am just a bum.” We looked at each other, screamed in laughter and the poor oatmeal was forgotten.
Love, without limits.
Unless one resides under a rock with a groundhog, everyone knows The second Sunday in May is Mother’s day and as I sit here watching the rain pitter- patter against my windowsill and breathe in the beauty of this morning, my mother’s face appeared in my sub-conscious mind. It made me smile and brought a rush of strong emotions. You see, my mother is all at once funny, revered and feared depending on the moment and whether you did something she considered egregious…
So c’mon, take this journey with me back to many decades ago when my dear momma gave birth to her first child…
It was back in 196- none- of- your- business, when Mrs. Lawful brought me into to the world and my earliest memories began around two, where I remembered just being happy and spoiled by everyone. There I was, surrounded by my Aunt, her family, my parents and one other sister Karen who poor thing, was the background to my foreground because she was so quiet while I just had to be seen and heard.
My poor mother. Try as she may, there was nothing that was off- limits to my curious eyes and ears. If it was possible or even thought of as impossible, there I was in the midst trying it. I played in dirt in my pretty lil dresses, climbed trees, dismantled precious memorabilia my mother had from her parents searching for a way to make it work, seeking and opening gifts at christmas time, getting into trouble and heading right back under that bed to see what other goodies abound and just being a general happy- go- lucky kid with not a care in the world.
Keep in mind, this was Jamaica, a place where little girls were to be seen and not heard while learning how to be a total lady. Ha!! I tried my momma at every turn and she was determined that I was not going to get the best of or be the death of her! All these years later, she still recounts the story of my going out to the ice cream vendor who would come through our block and telling him that he should stop and drop ice-cream for my sisters and I every day because my parents would pay him at the end of each week.. You can only imagine what happened when he appeared at our door-step on Friday evening to collect..lol!! I was all of 4 years old? What made him even listen to or believed me, is beyond my comprehension but there we were. I think after mommy got past the shock of my brazenness, he was allowed to continue delivering to us certain days of the week. One of my first lessons in ” nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
As I became a teenager, mommy and I bumped heads quite a bit with daddy in the middle, trying to keep us all happy and for many years, I thought my mother didn’t like me at all. It is funny that as a mother of teenagers, I can now fully appreciate what having a precocious child like myself must have been like for her and I have spent many a day calling and apologizing profusely as my youngest takes me to the edge. She always does the same thing; cackle, thank God for his tender mercies and hangs up the phone on me.
It was around the age of 35, that I turned the corner with my mother. I called her one day after going through an intense leadership forum and just spilled my heart to her about everything; how I thought she perceived me, how it felt and that it took all these years to realize that everything she did was to raise me into the woman I had become. In short, I apologized for judging her. My sweet mother quietly told me that she always loved me and she did her best to raise me well. She admitted I was so different from my sisters, that it at times puzzled her. Truth be told, some days, I am puzzled by myself.. that precocious child became and adult who stands firmly in my beliefs.
Each year, my mother and I get closer; we chat every morning without fail around 5:30 and we catch up on life in general and talk about whatever hilarious thing Daddy or her grandchildren have done. To say that I love and appreciate my mother is the understatement of the century. I used to sit in awe by her feet and watch her dress impeccably for work, admire her gait and wondered just how she could stroll in heels that seemed impossible to my eyes. She is well-respected by everyone and is sought for advice regularly.
she is the Ying to my father’s yang, a lady and woman of excellence in every sense of the word. She raised four girls who are now making their own mark in this world through her tireless examples and it is all I can do sometimes not to jump on a plane, find my mother and rest my head in her lap as she is the comforting well of love and knowledge that replenishes my soul.
I see so many people who are missing their mothers and to them I say, because of their words, I appreciate my mother that much more while she is yet here among the living. I love my mother, God knows I do, and as we draw closer to celebrating another Mother’s day, hug your moms tightly. They give us life and do the best they know how, to raise us. Hold no grudges and forgive easily so you will live without regrets.
This one is for you Dear lady; an excellent example of motherhood!!
It has been a while since I last blogged; what with work, family and obligations up the whazoo.. I just had no time but I am baaack…..
It is no secret to those who know me well, that having someone say that I am a force to be reckoned with, even as I sit still not uttering a word, has left me just a tad bit frustrated because I can’t see it. And maybe I shouldn’t be able to, but I have heard it so consistently over the years and was never quite able to grasp and truly appreciate, what that statement meant until this past Saturday.
There we were, attending a really nice black- tie affair honoring well accomplished alums of Rutger’s University. You could smell the money old and new, circulating the event and everyone was dressed beautifully. There were two receptions before the main event at 7 p.m. so I opted to attend one and not the other, in order to preserve my size 9 feet in the heels that adorned them. We were all walking through the lobby of the hotel where I was going to sit, cross my long legs and gaze at the beautiful people while waiting for the family to return, when I heard two women gasp while commenting how beautiful they thought our group was. Looking in their direction with a smile, I said hello and sat a few feet away from them.
They wanted to know what was the occasion. I told them. They asked if I was being honored. Said no but a family member was and proceeded to give them the name. Much to my surprise, one lady Katherine had this family member in her cohort over 20 years ago and went on about how proud she was of him. After about two minutes, they invited me to sit with them and we began to discuss in earnest, life, children, mates and just how small this world truly was. They learned I hailed from Jamaica, I learned they were both Study Abroad leaders who now lived in the UK and Spain. They both return to Rutgers University twice a year to, and I quote, ” Alleviate the fears of parents who will be sending their college student to them for a semester or two.”
Oh how we sat there giggling like teenagers and that is where my love found us. No sooner had he walked up, both women greeted him profusely and Katherine, without missing a beat says to him; ” What a force she is, what presence! We were instantly drawn to her walking in the lobby.” I must have looked stunned because she said, ” Surely, this is not the first time this has been said to you? It is written all over you but please, do not take it as anything other than a compliment. It was our pleasure getting to know you and you now both have to come and visit on one of your vacation jaunts as guests in our home…” John looked at me, smiled and said,” you did it again.”
For many years, I tried to downplay what I assumed was a negative energy for many people but the reality is this; we cannot be anybody but ourselves and to apologize for what is innately within as long as we are not hurting anyone, is foolhardy. As I encourage myself, please know, I send love and encouragement your way too.. We will not always make everyone happy but with communication done in love, most things can be made whole.
I took Katherine right over to Randy as he was coming through the doors and they had a great reunion… the look on her face was just priceless and in retrospect, I am glad those friendly faces stopped me in that strange place…