To my sister, I understand now…

Last night I went to a wedding ceremony. It was an intimate, private gathering that took place in a redwood house set back on a country street.
I must admit, given I received my invitation the day before the wedding, I wasn’t sure I would even be invited, so to fit it in to my schedule was challenging and I was not as relaxed as one might want to be when they are going to a wedding.
I drove up to the house early evening just as the sun was going down. When I saw the white balloons on the mailbox, I knew I was at the right house. I decided to park on the street so I wouldn’t get boxed in when I wanted to leave.
From the street all I could see was the balloons but as I was walking up the long driveway there seemed to be candles glowing from everywhere with lantern type lights lining the house and decorating the trees. When I walked up the winding pathway to the front door and walked inside, I found myself in what can only be described as an enchanted courtyard.
For a brief moment I wasn’t sure if I was inside or outside. There were candles lining the path, lanterns hanging from trees which towered over the house and I was standing on what seemed to be brick, sod and the stable roots of very old trees. There were several white chairs set up to form an isle all facing a few more stairs to another entranceway into the house.
The theme continued as I walked into the house and I quickly realized how misleading this home was from the street. The brides friends were as warm and welcoming as their home was. The wooded theme seemed to find its way throughout the layout of the home. Pumpkin board floors, Persian rugs, and treasures picked out from all over the world added to the rustic feel throughout the home. Intimate tables set against the antique furniture and beautiful artwork created the unique atmosphere for this private ceremony. The views of the landscaped gardens, wrap around wooden patio and fish pond all surrounded by mature trees only added to the feeling of intimacy.
I allowed myself a glass of wine and started to relax in spite of myself. The bride was walking around and mingling with her guests creating a very light atmosphere amongst nature at its best.
When it was time for the ceremony the host called us all back to the courtyard where I first entered the house. The courtyard now seemed to have a life force of its own, glowing with candles, lanterns and soft music mixed with the sounds of nature, it truly felt like there was something bigger than we were in this place.
For those of us who knew the bride, we knew she had waited most of her life for this day never sure it would actually happen.
Their vows were said as one, each alternating their lines as if it were one person speaking. If any two people deserved to be united in marriage, it was undeniably these two people. They had been together for the better part of 25 years, experienced life’s triumphs and tragedies and survived as a couple through extraordinary circumstances.
For years, I did not understand, as I drove to her wedding I did not understand, why she might have chosen not to have me there, I did not understand, but I understand now.
My sister could not have chosen a better venue for the ceremony celebrating the love and commitment shared by her and her partner. Now her wife.

I was the first to leave to go home to my own family and I couldn’t help thinking about the irony of the evening.
As I walked away from the house, it was so much larger than it seemed to be from the outside, you would never know what was really inside this house unless you were able to experience it,
at the same time the ceremony was so much smaller than it really was, unless you were her sister and knew the history behind the woman and how far her and her wife had to go to get to this point, one can never understand that what happened on this one evening, was so much larger than anyone could ever have imagined.
What my sister and her wife have found escapes many people, it deserved to be celebrated.
It makes no difference what you think or don’t think, it was that simple.Image

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After such a long & dreary winter, this week at the shore is something my husband, myself and our two kids really needed. As I was laying at the pool, my husband mentioned this is a week of charging, and we now have a charging stool, he even went so far as to take a picture of his creation. He was referring to the many devices we all have, between my husband, myself, my 13 year old daughter and my 11 year old son, we have with us, 3 laptops, 2 mini iPads, 1 iPad, 1 nook and 4 phones. That would be 11 outlets we would need before any modern convenience our rented shore house provides.

This concept left me thinking, as he disrupted my alone time at the pool.. What does it take for each of us to recharge and how do we do that?
Granted, the change of scenery is a good start and the challenges you face at home both literally and figuratively are not as prominent when you are away, but that doesn’t mean they go away.
So, each morning I take my cup of tea to the upper deck of the beach house with my chair and try to reflect and re evaluate the pressures that have faced each of us. I find that to be one of the most challenging parts of being a mom, it isn’t just my life, it’s the three lives I am responsible for and sometimes it is hard to separate, add a husband to that and I probably would need a year at the beach.

I guess to recharge you need to just breathe, go back to basics, remember the reasons why you made certain decisions but I must admit it takes a certain amount of focus to be able to do that. I think it may be asking too much of yourself. I think as we get older we raise the bar to meet certain challenges, we want more, we have earned it, but if that is the thinking process, than we have also learned that it is not a smooth sail to get there.

When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer about 6 years ago, I learned what fear was. My thoughts went straight to my young children. I will never forget what my surgeon told me when we met with him for the first time, he said that for me this would just be a bump in the road and to just focus on that. I was fortunate because this type of thyroid cancer was treatable by removing my thyroid and undergoing a specific radiation treatment but I will always remember what he said.

I have since changed my expectations on just about everything. I have learned to appreciate the good things that come my way, even the smallest of them.
Things happen and circumstances can change from one minute to the next with no warning, so this week it occurred to me I no longer want to clear the slate with each vacation, I won’t expect to recharge fully, I just want to rest, refocus and hope that I am prepared for the next bump in the road.

If I had known that a week before we left for the shore that a dermatologist would tell me that a freckle that I have had my entire life would lead to something called an in situ melanoma, I might have had more respect in the past for my annual appointments. It was unexpected and unplanned as most things are and yes, I had it removed within a week of the diagnosis and the biopsy was clear after that. We still took our family vacation, stitches and all and when my kids complained that I could not go in the water with them, I reminded them it was a very small sacrifice and the fact that we were away was the best medicine anyone could have.
So as I consistently move the wires and change the plugs to allow all of our equipment to recharge, with out anyone tripping and/or falling over them, I am reminded that it is also what my family needs both individually and together as a family unit, just enough ‘charge’ until the next time the ‘road’ changes unexpectedly.Image