Friday, April 30, 2010

Ed & Molli got married and went to The Waffle House

There were lots of things going on in my life 12 years ago. Rocket Man and I were planning to be quietly married on my birthday, which is May 20. We had secured a minister, bought the license, bought rings, had many long conversations with our children about blending our family, and I had given notice at my apartment that I would not continue my lease. I had even bought a cake topper.

We were doing this quietly, planning to be married with only our children present. It was a second marriage for both of us. Rocket Man had custody of his girls, but his ex-wife had sued for custody and we were smack-dab in the middle of the fight of the century. We wanted to keep his girls from being pulled any more than they already were and a quiet wedding just short of eloping seemed the prudent thing to do.

My son had come home from college for the weekend on May 1. We enjoyed a very pleasant evening with our kids on that Friday night. After I went home with my children, the thought came to me that we could go ahead and get married on Saturday. The children were all with us. We had the license.

Why wait?

I got up early and caught up with the Rocket Man, and asked him, ‘Why don’t we go ahead and get married tonight?’ He asked me why we had decided to get married on the 20th and we remembered that it was because he would only have one date to remember instead of two. He said he thought that was a wonderful idea, as long as I wouldn’t be offended that he might occasionally forget the date of our anniversary. I figured that I could remind him in both subtle and not-so-sublte ways, so we called our friend who was going to perform the ceremony and decided to go for it.

We gathered our children and asked them if anyone had plans for the evening. Nobody did. I said, “Want to go to a wedding?” In chorus, they asked, “Whose wedding?” We told them ours and everyone agreed that this was a fine idea. Rocket Man really wanted to take everyone out to get new jeans to wear, but I nixed that. I didn’t mind having a non-traditional wedding, but I didn’t want to get married in jeans. The girls and I went to have our hair done and then my children and I went home to get dressed and ready.

As the sun went down, we executed our plan. Our minister friend met us at our church. Rocket Man had a key to the church, so we let ourselves in and sort of sneaked into the sanctuary. Everyone had a part; lighting the candles, reading scripture, presenting the rings…it was lovely. There in that sanctuary in the very building where we met and fell in love, we united as man and wife.

We said our vows, signed the paperwork and were off to the reception. This is where the story gets funny. Rocket Man had given our 4 children, ages 19, 17, 13 and 9 the task of deciding where we would go to eat after the ceremony. He told them we could go anywhere they chose. He had in mind some very nice restaurant.

Know what they chose? The Waffle House. I'm not joking. They were insistent. The debate was between Waffle House and Dairy Queen. I am so glad they chose The Waffle House, if those were the choices. Ed tried to talk them out of it, but they were united. So, off to the Waffle House they went. Ours may be the only wedding reception in the history of the world that cost less than $50. In fact, I think it was less than $35.

The children went in one car and Rocket Man and I followed. On the way, he earnestly explained to me that he would gladly have gone to the Fogcutter, Green Bottle Grill, or any of the other nice places in town. I told him it didn’t matter. I would enjoy telling this story over and over and over. And, I have. We laughed and giggled our way through dinner.

Every year, on May 2, He gallantly offers to take me anywhere I want to go for dinner. He exact words are, “Where does Molli want to go to eat?” My answer has been, every year but one (we were in Oakland, California that year and we went to an A’s game for our anniversary) has been, “Molli would very much like to eat at The Waffle House.” We laugh and go have a waffle and I thank God for the day he brought such a dear man into my life.

That Rocket Man, Ed Massey, is my husband, my lover, my friend, my favorite human on the planet. He is a wise and loving step-father to my children, a good and kind son-in-law to my parents, a generous and funny Uncle Ed to my nieces and nephews and their children, and an amazing and very loving Granddaddy to my Grandsons. He completes me. We make a formidable team when we work together on anything. He makes me laugh, encorages me, comforts me, protects me, and makes my dreams come true. He is the answer to my prayers, my companion and one of the most amazing blessings I have ever had on earth.

So, on this momentous occasion when we have beaten the odds (second marriages usually dissolve within 7 years, especially if you are trying to blend a family) and are celebrating our 12th anniversary…our Delightful Dozen…I give thanks to God for allowing me to know such a heaven on earth.

I give you my hands
And take your hands in mine
As a symbol and pledge
Of our uniting in one flesh

I give you my love
The outpouring of my heart
As a symbol and pledge
Of our uniting in one spirit

I give you this ring
From out of my worldly goods
As a symbol and pledge
Of our uniting in one family
~our vows upon the exchanging of rings~

Happily Ever After

I always thought I would grow up and live happily ever after. Not that birds would be singing on my windowsill every morning (in fact, I wish the birds would hush up at 3 am this time of year) or that I would wake up with fresh breath and perfectly coiffed hair. Not the cartoony-princess type of happily ever after.

What I dreamt of was being able to look across a table at the same person for 50 or 60 years and still feel my heart skip a beat when he smiled at me. To walk hand in hand, the way I saw my grandparents walk, even when their steps were a bit slower and their hands were gnarled with arthritis. I think that was one reason I was so devastated when after nearly 20 years my first marriage ended badly and in divorce court. Our papers were official less than 2 months before I turned 40. I doubted that I would ever marry again, much less be married to the same person for 60 years. While I’m not a math whiz, I can-on occasion-do the math. 40 + 60 really does = 100!

I wasn't long before I realized that one of the casualties of divorce is the loss of someone with whom to share memories.

Remember that time when…?
Remember when the boy took his first steps at his first birthday party?
Remember when the baby girl wanted to be a pink kitty?
Remember the night we danced all night…literally?

The only person who shared most of the memories of my babies and children when they were young had walked out the door. My girlhood dream of looking across that table and smiling at someone included that Someone being the father of my children. The Someone with whom I’d left my parents' house for the far corners of the world and never once looked back. The Someone with whom I had shared my youth, who knew me before I had stretch marks, gray hair or so many things had headed south. Clearly, THAT part of my dream was hosed.

I packed up my dream of happily ever after. I thought that I ought to have listed it in the settlement. I felt like someone had taken my dream and torn it in half.

Enter, in time, the Amazing Rocket Man. He was never, ever getting married again. Never. Period. End of discussion. His first marriage had ended so miserably that he declared he would rather eat dirt than marry again.

I agreed at first. We were friends who had occasional conversation. Actually, he was the Sunday School Teacher in the Singles Class at my church. I taught his daughter in children’s choir. We met at a Mother-Daughter banquet (and THAT is a story worth telling). So, we were friends. Then we began to send some emails. Then he invited me to drop by his house. Then, all of the sudden, he was buying me a Hershey Bar and we were sitting up talking until 2 in the morning. He doesn’t stay up that late. I found myself in L-O-V-E love. Head over heels. By and by, our love blossomed and even Mr. "I'd rather eat dirt than ever get married again" began to discuss the possibility of blending our families and growing old together and sharing his life and his family name with me. We were married on a Saturday night in May with all of our children present. We went to the Waffle House to celebrate (another story that really MUST be told at some point) and began our life together.

Here is what I learned. I found out that in mid-life you can rearrange your dreams. Happily ever after still includes looking across the table at the same person…just happens to be a person I’ve only known as an adult. The man who is Granddaddy to my Grandchildren. The man with whom I have shared an occasional rocky path, but also some glorious turns in the journey.

This happily ever after is born out of a determination to learn from and not repeat previous mistakes and it is jammed full of contentment.
This happily ever after is steady and sturdy, tested by fire at its conception and remains strong and true.
This happily ever after is so worth it, even if it isn’t what I had originally planned.

I’m hoping that we make it to celebrate our Golden Anniversary. Even better, that we can remember what we are celebrating when we are in our 90s!

Happily ever after? You betcha I believe in it. I’m living the dream!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday’s Thankful Thoughts

I have much to be thankful for today. Mostly, I am thankful that My Sweet Daddy had a good report from his heart cath yesterday. Truly and earnestly grateful for that.

I am going to concentrate on some very simple pleasures today. I think if we remember to be thankful for the little things, it will be much easier to be grateful for everything!

Hot baths. Nothing like a hot bath with some soothing fragrance added to wash away all the troubles of a long day. I could soak for hours just looking at the flame of my candle and listening to some soulful music. The end result is that I am often relaxed, have left my cares behind me and feel clean and ready to rest and start tomorrow fresh and new. I am thankful for hot baths.

Hand lotion. I love hand lotion. Just when I think I’ve found the perfect lotion, I find a new one. I love to put lotion on and rub my hands together. I love the way my hands feel after I’ve applied lotion. I love the way that massaging the lotion takes tension out of my hands and relaxes me. I love the fragrance of my favorite lotions. I love the way they look displayed in a basket on my bedside table. I am thankful for hand lotion.

Sweet laughter in the middle of the night. We suffer with some insomnia at our house. Not all the time, but occasionally. I will wake up and try so hard to be quiet so I don’t wake Rocket Man up. I lay still and count blessings, sing songs to myself, make lists and try, try, try to go back to sleep. Often, sleep doesn’t come until about 15 minutes before the alarm is going off. Funny thing is that lots of the time, Rocket Man is laying there trying to keep quiet, laying still trying to keep from waking me up. The best is when one of us realizes that the other is awake and we have some mighty sweet conversations in the middle of the night. We laugh about the silliest things. We dream big dreams, tell our deepest secrets, solve the problems of the world, cuddle, laugh some more and eventually, I hear the slow and steady breathing the lets me know he has fallen back to sleep. I am so thankful for those delightful nights of laughter and fun. Even when it means I haven’t gotten enough sleep. I wouldn’t trade anything for those sweet times with the man I love.

Are there any simple things in your life for which you are thankful?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday’s Whinings

We had a few whiners last week. Everyone who whined with me, won a prize. Annie got a fingernail file that has an appropriate saying on it for such a lovely whine. Teri’s specialty coffee has been mailed (in hopes of getting a button sometime soooooooon) and I have something for Jodi (if she will send me her address) just for participating. I truly hope that Jodi’s RA is better.

Here’s what I have found to whine about since last week:

The Allman Brothers Band Concert.
1. They played for 3 hours and didn’t play my favorite soooooooong. (Soulshine…you should look it up and listen. Its great!)
2. The smoke (and not necessarily from cigarettes, if you get my drift) was thickkkkkkk. Really thick. Made me sneeze and my eyes water.
3. We were out waaaaaaay too late. I was a zombie all day long on Sunday.

I just don’t feeeeeeeel good. My allergies are driving me craaaaazy. I can’t seem to get enough sleeeeeep. If it weren’t physically impossible, I’d think I was pregnaannnnnnt. Don’t even think about starting a rumor. There would be a star in the East if that were the case.

Today, I feel like I am so far away from my parents and home. This isn’t really a funny or a silly whine. It is true. My Daddy is having a heart cath today and I wish I were there. I’m not whining about it, but a big part of me wishes I were in Central Missouri with my folks today. My heart is heavy today.

This started out with an attempt at humor and turned out to just being where I am today. Praying for my parents, the doctor, the nurses and all who care for my Daddy, for my brother who is traveling to be with them and for the rest of my family, scattered far and wide as we wait.

You are welcome to play. Anything funny you'd like to whine about today. I'd love to share a laugh or two.

There is still the matter of a button that I realllllllllly, realllllllly wanted before I started posting my Wednesday Whinings. You know who you are! Terrrrrrrrrrrrrrri!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursdays Thankful Thoughts

I had so much fun with my whining yesterday. A little silliness goes a long way for me.

Here are a few Thursday Thankful Thoughts:
(These are bittersweet notes of gratitude today)

It has been 7 years this week since my precious grandmother, Neenie, died. I am so thankful for her and for the love and relationship that we shared. I am thankful for a heart that is full of memories of her and lessons she taught me. I'm thankful for her influence in my life, both while she was among us and now that she is gone. I am thankful for the relationship she had with my children, that they knew her personally and that they loved her very much. For the many things that she was to me, and to all who knew her, I am very grateful.

It has been 5 years ago this month that a dear friend and co-worker died. Elise Moss was one of the most extraordinary women I have ever known and I count it as a great privilege to have worked with and for her. I held her hand and sang to her as she was dying after a valiant fight against an awful cancer. I learned from her that you don't have to be defined by an illness or a situation. For that lesson and for the time we had together as friends and co-workers, I am very grateful.

I work in a large church as the Clergy Administrator (fancy name for Pastor's Secretary). In our office, we minister to a great many people. We have the joy of guiding people and helping them during the most significant moments of their lives. They come to us when they want to marry, when their babies are baptized, to confirm their children and to mourn and bury their dead. Lately, we have had the opportunity to help a family in great need of the love of Christ as well the love and support of their church and the community at large. I am in awe at the way the Pastor (lovingly referred to as Rev. Boss) is able to offer comfort to this family in their need. I am grateful that I can send out a prayer request and know that there are people who will stop what they are doing and pray for a situation without having to know the details. I am very thankful that there are days when my work is meaningful and makes a difference...a real the lives of those around me.

How about you? What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Whinings-April 21, 2010

So, I thought about it this week and thought it might be fun to just let it all go and whine on Wednesdays. Remember The Whiners on Saturday Night Live? Doug and Wendy Whiner. They used to crack me up.

Let me start out by saying that I'm laughing at myself here. I abhor whining, so when I catch myself doing it, I usually scrunch up my nose and use the whiniest voice I can come up with. Whining is most effective, I think, when done dramatically.

So, here goes...My first edition of Wednesday Whinings:
(insert whiny voice)

1. I waaaaaaaaaaanted a logo or button or something for my Wednesday Whiiiiiining. I'm not savy enough to be able to do it and I thought someboooooody would make one for me.

2. I'm having a flare up of arthritis in one joint of my ring finger on my right hand. It really huuuuuuuurts. It huuuuuuurts when I tyyyyyype. I'm serious. Its so annoying. I wish it would go away.

3. I'm sooooooo sick of sneeeeeezing. Ah-ah-choo! The warmer weather is nice but is it eeeeeeeeever going to rain and get rid of this pollen? My eyes are watery and I loooooook awful.

so....what are you whiiiiiining about this week?
There might be a prize for the best whine!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday's Thankful Thoughts

I am following the example of my dear grown-up niece, Teri Lynne (you can find her at Pleasing to You) and am going to post weekly, on Thursdays, several things for which I am grateful. While I intend to mostly list things that are current in my life, I won't exclude being thankful for past events and persons for which I am grateful.

Not too many years ago, I was in fairly tight circumstances and it seemed that wave after wave of disaster kept rolling over me. Some of the disaster was of my own making. Some was not. Didn't really matter. There were times when I felt so hopeless and helpless. Every single time, someone helped me out. Money from some very generous individuals, a Christmas Ham from a Sunday School Class, and a baby shower for my grandson before he was born with so many gifts that they filled the back seat of two cars, one trunk and the back end of a Jeep Cherokee. I made a commitment during that time to forever more live a life of gratitude and to always be thankful for my blessings. Even when they came due to disaster and as a result of poor choices.

With that in mind, here are my
Thursday's Thankful Thoughts :

1. April 15, Paying our taxes. I know, I know. It is the popular thing to complain about taxes! Tea parties and protests abound. I, for one, am grateful to be part of the 47% who earned enough in 2009 to pay taxes. Rocket Man and I are very blessed to have meaningful work that we enjoy (well, most of the time) and to be fairly compensated for that work. I am grateful that we are making our own way, pulling our own weight and that we are contributing members of society. We make every effort to give back, not only through the paying of taxes, but also through our church giving, charitable contributions and everyday acts of kindness and generosity. So yes. Today, I am thankful that we have paid our taxes. (and anxious for our refund)

2. Remission. After over 4 years of doctors, clinics, tests and merry-go-round, I was recently diagnosed with a rare neurological condition. The testing was not always pleasant and the diseases they ruled out were even less pleasant. Thankfully, my particular ailment is treatable and after a rigorous IV Steroid treatment 8 weeks ago, I am now in remission and symptom-free. That, my friends, is something about which we are most grateful. Cautiously so, as we have no idea how long before the symptoms will return. But thankful, oh! so! thankful, for the return of physical and cognative functions! Very, very thankful.

3. Spring. Spring is a mixed blessing. In the Heart of Dixie, spring has come with a vengance this year. In fact, the teperatures here have been as much as 15 degrees above normal, more like summer than spring. Its been just plain hot. But, as I'm being thankful (maybe I'll have to post Wednesday Whinings to complain about how hot I am) We won't EVEN talk about the pollen. That would be a Wednesday Whinings post, as well. I will say that the beauty of God's earth is glorious this year. What a joy after such a bitter winter to look out the window and see all the blooming trees, shrubs and flowers. A plethora of colors assault the eyes after months of gray and darkness. For those colors and the fragrances of spring, I am indeed thankful.

So, my friends...what are you thankful for on this lovely Thursday? I would like to know.