Monthly Archives: April 2016

April 18, 1775 …

It’s been 241 years to the day since Paul Revere reportedly rode towards Lexington declaring, “The British are coming! The British are coming!”

There is some debate as to whether or not he actually said those words. I don’t know for sure and since it wasn’t live streamed on social media or captured on an iPhone we will just have to let the legend live on and live on it did a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday night.

The kids and I were at home and they were anxiously awaiting the arrival of mom’s new boyfriend. (They’d met before, approval had already been given, and they had spent a good portion of the day arguing about who would get to play with him first….clearly I wasn’t the winner.) As Ian’s car pulled into the driveway Aidan started screaming, “The British are coming, the British are coming!”

The others quickly  joined in, the younger two most likely completely unaware of the comedy. They just wanted to join in the moment and out-shout their brothers while joining in the pre-Ian festivities. They yelled to duck and cover and plotted an attack. I was completely amused. I smiled, I laughed, I probably got butterflies because British was about to walk through my door.

I first saw Ian standing at a parking meter in a parking lot. Well, that is not the first time I saw him …  I’d seen him many times before but in that moment I didn’t know that. Perhaps it is better to say it was the first time I noticed him.

I was working and heading into a press conference. I did not want to be there. I had a shoot already set up for the day, an intimate one on one with a heroin addict entering recovery. An email informed me earlier that morning that we would have to cancel my shoot because we needed to cover a hearing with Sandy Hook families trying to sue a gun manufacturer. I’ve always found Sandy Hook stories to be difficult to cover, as I believe most reporters here in Connecticut do. Again, I did not want to be there.

But there I was and there he was. A handsome man paying for parking. Dark jacket, short salt and pepper hair.  There was something about him and I got lost in the moment, feeling like I needed to know more about him. As I headed into the building which had several floors, I found myself hoping I would see him inside. I thought,  “Please be a lawyer, please be a lawyer, please be lawyer…”

He’s not a lawyer. I didn’t really want him to be a lawyer. I’ve dated lawyers. I’m all set in that department. I just didn’t want him to be one of the families. He’s one of the families. As he walked into the room and I saw him again I got that same strange feeling of needing to know more. I was drawn to him for reasons I couldn’t understand at that time. (And I hadn’t even heard the accent yet.)

Falling in love at almost 40 is so much different from falling in love at 16, 19, 22, 29, or 36. (Yep … that about sums them up.) Falling in love at almost 40 has made me question whether or not I was in love at 36. (And I now know for sure love at 16 and 19 is young love which is not nearly the same as grown-up love, in any form.) I don’t think we can define it as loving someone more or loving someone less but I think for us to find it again after losing it, it has to be bigger. It has to be deeper. At 40 we bring so much more to the table and in our cases some of what we bring would be enough to make others turn and run. We aren’t running. Instead we are learning and embracing and experiencing someone new in ways unique only to us.

We’ve talked about the times we were so close to one another but our paths were not ready to collide. I have a photo of him from that day at the presser … he hates it because of where he was at that time and I love it because for me it was the start of us and not the continuation of something else.

On the way down I am learning that I am so glad he’s not a lawyer and I was brazen enough to pursue that moment and feeling in the parking lot.

Falling at almost 40 has been different for the kids as well. Maybe it is because they sense the difference in me this time around. Maybe it is because they are older. Maybe it is because of what we all bring to the table and hope to add to it. Maybe it’s because of his accent.

They seem excited. There is laughter, there are games. Zachary likes him. Zachary doesn’t like anyone. They all try to talk like Ian and we’re keeping tabs on British expressions that we learn everytime he is here. (My list is a little differerent than theirs …)

I’ve learned enough to know that nothing is guaranteed. I suppose everything could crumble apart at any moment but I promised myelf to write honestly and so I am. I hope it doesn’t. I’d like to think that life has taught us the key to falling is never to let yourself hit the bottom.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s tea time.

 

Once upon a pen …

My ex husband is moving. (The second one.) He’s off to California sometime in June and so I am forced with finally having to clean out my stuff from the basement that once was mine. Being such a nice man he actually started to do it for me and recently delivered three boxes of photos and memorabilia to me. One of them contained a box of notes from my high school days …

Note writing was an art … papers full of life altering data and top secret information folded into little squares begging to be opened. (Like who has a crush on who and how tight Mr. Marino’s pants were on any given day, complete with illustrations.) The bulk of mine come from a select few people.

There are the rambling exchanges between my first “love” and I …. 16 year old logic at its best usually composed in 5th period study hall. “No …. I just cannot be your girlfriend, it wouldn’t be right …. stay with your current girlfriend and someday, maybe, it will be our time.” Confessions of love and heartbreak that culminated with HIM breaking up with ME….and then another 6 months of broken heart and how dare he notes exchanged between my girlfriends and I.

There are the perfectly composed, beautifully hand written letters from my first older boyfriend … who come to find out is actually gay. (The handwriting and his inability to go beyond second base should have been a sign …. those and the Jon Secada lyrics he sent me more than once.)

There are congratulatory cards and letters from the ladies on major life events involving things most often found at the bottom of a martini glass or on top of an ice cream sundae. Yes, we sent cards, bought each other gifts, and somehow managed to exchange them within a few weeks time. I guess it was contagious.

The days of writing it all down are pretty much gone. My children will not have these boxes of history to shuffle through and bring out the laughs and tears. Exchanges now are often a word or two, abbreviated in code, and sent on a phone only to be deleted or lost when the phone breaks or gets replaced. It is so much more than just a note … it is the fact that communication is becoming a lost art form and exchanges have become quick and often impersonal.

I’ve never stopped writing. I have a couple of friends who still do as well. The main difference is now it’s an email and unless you print it out it could be lost forever. Words are powerful and I fear my kids will never really know how to use them.

As previously reported, I have a new special someone in my life. He’s an amazing person with an incredible ability to communicate. We write. Our first exchanges were long messages, sent via Facebook and text but always in complete sentences and thoughts. Refreshing.

Shortly after we first began seeing each other he went away for several days. Most nights during that time we wrote to each other, long emails full of feelings, stories, insight, and a few laughs scattered in as well. At my age, and his which is slightly older … hehe … we have amassed some pretty heavy stuff. Our letters opened the doors to healthy conversations and intimate moments that otherwise might have been difficult to share. I’ve since printed them out and stashed them away. (But as I sit here and type I’m thinking I haven’t seen his handwriting yet …. hmmmm.)

It saddens me that handwriting has given way to typing and signatures to thumbprints.

The FBI can’t hack into my box of notes … although perhaps even scarier than that is the thought of my 13 year old getting his hands on them and realizing I was once a mostly mindless teenager, too. Thankfully most of them are written in cursive which is the equivalent to hieroglyphics to today’s youth….the drawings of Mr. Marino’s inappropriately tight pants … not so much.

Risks aside, I will not stop writing. I hope it continues to be a part of my new relationship. Often, when the words cannot be expressed through our voices , the paper … or screen… help us get them out.

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the parents …

Lil’ Joe … he’s been dad since I was 6. (And mom started dating him when I was 2-ish so I’ve never known a time he wasn’t in my life.) In my family we never say step or half … we are just family. Mom, dad, sisters and brother. I was 8 when my sister Alicia was born, 12 when Anthony was born. Stephanie is 18 months older than me and we are the result of mom’s first marriage.

Lil’ Joe is all of 5’2″ … and I think that is being generous. (I’m 5’1″ and always in heels so he seems much shorter than I am.) He’s one of the most physically fit men I know, working out religiously everyday for pretty much his entire life. Despite his short but muscular stature the boyfriends from my younger years were intimidated by him.

My father had predictable behavior when a boy was over. The then boy of my dreams and I would be watching a movie … and by watching I mean not really watching … in the depths of the basement with the lights out. Lil’ Joe would swing open the door and flip on a light and Mr. Make-out of the moment and I would jump to opposite sides of the sofa. He would then proceed to barrel down the stairs and walk over to a book shelf where he would pretend to choose a National Geographic from his collection and then head back upstairs … enough of an interruption to kill the teenage moment.

All in all I think I have a pretty remarkable family. Sometimes I wish I was closer to my older sister but we were close enough in age to be frienemies during our developmental years and now we have kids and careers. M younger siblings and I certainly don’t have the crazy childhood memories Steph and I have together but we are working to create crazy adulthood ones. (Please recall Anthony was my manny for 6 weeks in Alaska and went on a cruise with the boys and I the year before … so many good times.)

Recently Anthony has been bringing a new young woman around. (Her name is Jackie … it makes for very confusing conversations. My mother suggested we say little Jackie and big Jacquie but all I got out of that was I am fat and need to go on a diet.) Alicia has a new friend spending time with us as well and I have Ian. (Yes, we will just go by his name from here on in … Ian, Ian, Ian.) Family gatherings are suddenly a little more lively and no we don’t hold back for fear of scaring anyone away.

Last night, a Wednesday night, Ian and I cooked dinner and Alicia and her friend stopped by. There was champagne, wine, carbs, conversation and lots and lots of laughs, so many laughs they turned into tears. My family is fun, modern, and usually uninhibited. It makes for fabulous holiday gatherings and could-be awkward first meetings.

Ian met the parents just shy of two weeks ago. We stopped by on a Friday night to grab the twins and had a drink and introductions. The next night we went over there for a slightly post-St. Patty’s Day feast and the whole crew was there. Anthony was burping, my mother pouring the wine, my sister’s husband and Ant have a tendency to speak in character, often those of friends or other family members, and my main goal is usually to make Lil’ Joe blush and see the vein on the side of his forehead pop out … a sure-fire sign I have succeeded in pushing the limits.

A few examples of how to make Lil’ Joe blush:

On Ian being British ….. “Dad … he’s British. It’s like I was a virgin again. I never shagged anybody before … ”

On life after retirement: “See Dad, I knocked before coming into the house … just in case you were getting some …”

On dad saying sweet nothings to mom: “You’re just saying that cause you wanna get lucky.”

His response: I’m almost 70, we don’t do that anymore.

My response to that: Dad, I get hit on by men your age all the time. You do that …

On religious holidays:

Dad: Hi JB! It’s Holy Saturday.

Me: It’s gonna be anything but holy if I get my way.

This could all be slightly intimidating to a newbie. But it’s not. We love, we laugh, sometimes we disagree. We play games, tell stories, and respect each other’s choices and do not judge the past. (Or if we do we just drink enough wine that it no longer matters.) We welcome new friends with open arms.

Back to meeting the parents … Ian saw them Friday and Saturday and again on Sunday at which point we invited my brother to join us for dinner out. I threw poor Ian into the fire so fast he didn’t have time to think twice and by late Sunday night he declared what a great weekend it was and how much fun he’d had. He has since survived the first holiday gathering and meetings with extended family as well. He fits in quite nicely and should have Lil’ Joe blushing and shaking his head in no time.

Last night, while sitting around my dining room table, Alicia’s new friend and Ian were recalling the meetings and allowing us to see what it’s like to become a part of our family as an outsider.

“You don’t get introduced to your family, it’s like an initiation.”

 

For years I lived somewhat far away from my childhood home. I was in Florida, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Killingworth … which is apparently the equivalent of Vermont … and then Alaska. Family time had to be scheduled and planned and often involved overnight bags. For the first time in a looooong time I am close to home and I am loving what that means. Bring on more impromptu Wednesday visits, Sunday dinners, Friday happy hours, and more laughs than we can handle … and we are happy to share them.