Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Whirlwind That Is My Life

Just got back from a crazy whirlwind of trips with my beau and find myself glad to be back at work. While I was gone, crazy struck the world again with the horrific incidents in Paris. It's left me wondering what is wrong with this world. What will it be like for my grandchildren? It's just so scary to me. In a few short weeks, MY baby will be graduating from college. Part of me takes a big deep breath and says "finally!" but another part of me is left standing here wondering where the time went. I caught myself saying the other day that his graduating college was MY biggest accomplishment and then I realized how narcissistic that was .... what do I mean by MY accomplishment? Well, I raised that boy and it wasn't always easy. A single mother who can raise a man and say he has no children, no criminal record, no sexually transmitted diseases, no drug problems ... I'm sorry, that's an accomplishment. He graduated high school and went on to college and he's graduating. I can't describe the emotion that brings inside of me. I'm frickin' proud! Okay, so I changed my statement to "his graduation will be my proudest moment" ... it sounds less selfish, I guess.

So back to my whirlwind of trips .... we took an 8 hour road trip to Memphis, Tennessee to attend the wedding of a former co-worker of mine. We woke up at 3 AM, took off at 4 and arrived there early afternoon. Much to my chagrin, my husband booked a room at The Big Cypress Lodge which is inside a Bass Pro Shop. Do you hear the Beverly Hillbillies music playing as you read this? That's exactly what I was thinking. He's been dreaming since he booked this about how awesome it was going to be and I have been dreading the trip. Well ladies, I am here to tell you that it was the MOST amazing hotel I have ever stayed at. Hillbilly? Not in the least! It was high end, all the way. It's newer, it's big, it's so clean and it's furnished with no detail missed. To say I loved it was an understatement. A big basket of snacks on the table when you walked in the door of the room and they were there not for purchase, they were meant for you to eat and enjoy with no extra cost. What hotel chain does THAT? The room inside looks just like a wilderness cabin with a big touch of luxury. The beautiful big whirlpool tub was next to a huge window looking out over our room. VERY romantic. As I was unpacking a knock at the door revealed a young lady delivering fresh hot cookies for our evening enjoyment. HEAVEN!

That evening, we had dinner with friends who sent a stretch limo to the hotel to retrieve us. People looked on as though we must be celebrities. We were chauffeured to their home where we enjoyed a tour of their house, some very lovely appetizers and cocktails and great conversation. We headed back into the limo to the restaurant, Flight, in downtown Memphis. Flight is an amazing restaurant concept. Small plates served in flights. Everything from the wine of which I enjoyed three very delicious red wines to the soups of which I also enjoyed three small servings of three very different soups and then the entree that delivered three small servings of three different entrees. I could barely move when dessert came so my husband and I shared the dessert flight. I want to go back just to go to that restaurant. It was so good and if you are in Memphis, I highly recommend it. We then got back into the limo, among a small crowd of people wondering who we were (ha!) and were then dropped off back at our magnificent hotel where we retired into the amazing bed that our accommodations offered.

The following day we attended the very lovely wedding of my friend and his bride and on Sunday got back into the truck for our 8 hour ride back to Chicago. The Memphis trip was just so lovely and there wasn't a thing about it that I would have changed, except maybe I would have liked to stay longer.

We arrived home that evening only to prepare for our next trip, very early the next morning. Repacked our suitcases and were awaiting our ride to the airport at 4:30 AM for a flight to Vegas. I won't get all into the flight but can I just say .... how many people can an airline really expect to cram into a plane? I mean, really. When we arrived in Vegas my husband filled yet another dream and rented a 2015 Dodge Challenger for our roadtrip across the desert!

Yes, we took a road trip across the desert. I had all sorts of flashbacks to Breaking Bad. What exactly are all these very vintage mobile homes doing parked out in the remote desert? Very weird and a bit creepy. The 5 hour ride across the desert was actually really cool. At the outset I got to see Hoover Dam for the first time. My husband is absolutely in awe of the Dam and I found it pretty cool to see. There isn't a heck of a lot to see in the desert but I'm really glad we did it. At times my husband went a little too fast for my liking and I envisioned us going over a cliff and dying in a firey car crash but I'm happy to say that didn't come to fruition.
The best part of the trip of course was reaching our destination and visiting with Pam and Dave, friends that we met on our cruise last year. Never thought I'd be driving 5 hours across the desert to visit people I met on a cruise but there are just some people that you click with and know you'll always be friends. It was a lovely but short visit. A few days later we got back into the Challenger, drove back across the desert to Vegas. We arrived back to Vegas a day earlier than planned but were able to get a room at the Trump ... very nice hotel despite the crazy rants of Donald these days. Highlight of that stay was that I knocked myself out cold in the bathroom in the middle of the night with the big huge glass door that the toilet sat behind. For the remainder of our trip we stayed at The Bellagio. Very nice but very overrated. We were in a spa suite and I swear to goodness it took 25 minutes from the front door to get to our room. I averaged 15,000 steps on my Fitbit everyday that we were in Vegas ... you'd think I'd come back 10 lbs lighter. Ha!

Vegas is a weird place. The simple idea of Sin City gives grown men and women license to do, dress and say whatever they want. The things people wear there, you'd think that mirrors didn't exist anywhere in the state! The one thing I will never understand is the heels women wear .... who needs a pair of 6" high heels and why would anyone wear them in Vegas where you do nothing but walk. They might think they can walk in them but they all look like there were in excruciating pain. They look silly and not at all sexy! We also saw Frank Marino's Divas (female impersonators) which are always amazing and Puppetry of the Penis while we were there. I'm going to keep this G-rated but very funny, but again, very strange. Only in Vegas, folks!

I'm glad to be back home where I feel safest in the midst of the world's turmoil. My husband says we can't live in fear otherwise they have won but I can't help but be afraid for myself, my family, those I love and all of the innocent people who are compromised as a result of this craziness.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

True Love

I had an interesting conversation with my husband tonight that put a little panic in my heart but that panic quickly subsided because after my first marriage ended, I realized and have always reminded myself that if you love someone and that person doesn't love you back, there is nothing in the world you can do to make them love you. There is no reason to panic over things of this nature because to panic would be to think I have any control over it. I don't.

The conversation between my husband and I was not in relation to our relationship specifically but we were discussing the ending of a relationship or marriage and if you really love someone, shouldn't you be devastated if that relationship were to end? I know I would be and I totally believe that if you REALLY love someone, if that relationship ended, you would be devastated. My husband doesn't share that belief. I wonder if men and women differ in this belief. I wonder if it's a gender thing.

It got me to thinking about what true, selfless love really is.....

I know it should be selfless. You should want to and be willing to do something for the person you love without any expectation for anything in return. You should be willing to give your all to the relationship without any justification.

I know that seeing the person I love happy, regardless of my own personal struggles, should make me happy. Seeing the person I love succeed, even if I am not successful, should make me happy. I should always want the best for the person I love, no matter what.

I know that I have to be willing to sacrifice for the person I love, even if they don't know or might not ever realize it.

I know that I must be willing to try. I should always be willing to make the effort to be better and love deeper.

I know that if I love someone, even the thought of hurting them would hurt me.

I know that if I love someone I have to keep my promises, my vows, even if this person won't ever know if I break it. I know that my moral compass will become stronger where this person is concerned, just because I love them.

I know that to love someone I still have to love myself enough to grow as an individual as well as grow together and that while my individuality is important, I won't see my future without them in it.

I know if I love someone I will share the burdens in their life, even though I don't have to, I know that if there is a way that I can help the person I love, I will naturally want to do whatever I can to help lighten their burden.

I know that if I love someone, I will always relish in their successes and that I will never be jealous of their achievements.

I know that if I love someone, I will consider their point of view in all of my actions and decisions because their thought, opinions and feelings will matter to me.

It's a lot to think about and when I think about it in those terms, I unequivocally know I love my husband. I know that if his existence were to cease, I would be devastated but I also know that the love I feel for him may not be as mature as it will be after many more years together. In all the ways above that I know describes true love, I am not always the best at. I have good intentions and foundationally, I know that I identify with each one and have the very best intentions but I am not always the best and seeing each one through so I can certainly love him better. I know the value he brings to my life and that I don't want to live without him.

I think of the MANY married people I know in my life and I can honestly tell you that I know MAYBE two couples that I think experience this kind of love I describe above. One of them is evenly distributed on both sides. The other couple is one-sided, and they have been married a very long time. Both bring me joy because I see the true love in at least one person. It reassures me to know it does truly exist, but I do know that it is rare.

Do I have true love? I'd like to think so....but we don't both practice the above in harmony. I think we both believe we try in most aspects but I also believe the other person doesn't believe the other tries hard enough. So my question to you ... do you agree with me? Do you think that to be truly in love, the thought of losing the other person should be devastating to you? If losing the person, even if you knew you would be okay, doesn't devastate you, are you in love? I am really interested in various points of view. Please share.