Happy Birthday, Andrew

I’m waking up this morning in Vermont. It’s Andrew’s birthday and it’s the 24th of his birthdays we’ve celebrated as a couple, and the first one where we aren’t waking up in the same bed.

I’m headed home tonight, so I won’t miss it completely. But meantime, seems only right to send some birthday love across the Internet.sarahs wedding_3

This photo was not taken on his birthday, actually, but it’s the closest one I can find. It was about a week before he turned 34. Or was it 33. It doesn’t matter. We were young. So young. We were at Sarah & Marc’s wedding, witnessing the beginning of their life together – one that we were honored to see re-committed just a few years back. There we were, looking a bit like characters out of Pretty Woman and daydreaming about where we were headed and if our lives would be intertwined forever. I guess we know the answer to that now.

Happy birthday, Honey. I’ll be home soon.

Andrew crossed the line.

Andrew crosses the line It was impressive watching Andrew do Couch to 5K, but it was truly amazing to see him cross his first 10K finishing line.

Next? He’s training for Go Ruck. Very cool to watch him challenge himself.

Roses are red, violets are blue.

 

roses
When Andrew brought me these beautiful roses this morning, he didn’t say “Happy Mother’s Day.” In fact, he handed them to me with a big smile and I remarked how much I loved surprise no occasion flowers.

Did I forget it was Mother’s Day tomorrow? Kind of. Actually, about an hour later when the thought crossed my mind, I was glad that I hadn’t associated the flowers with the Hallmark holiday. I associated the flowers with the fact that Andrew thought about me when he was out and about. And that he loves me and wanted to see the smile on my face.

I don’t really know what was in his head, but I don’t care. They’re beautiful. And tomorrow, the whole family is doing what I want to do. Spend the day together. We’ll go to a flea market and out to eat. Did I mention that we’d all be together? Woo hoo!

I am grateful for the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children in my life. I hope I show it all year long.

Sunday in Paris

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No offense to you curling fans out there, but I find it very amusing to be in a hotel room in Paris watching the sport in German on TV while keeping my sick son company as my husband and other 2 sons venture out to a nice dinner. Aside from snacking on the amazing baguettes we picked up earlier, I plan to order the Japanese dinner from room service. And finish the bottle of wine Andrew & I started late this afternoon after my solo field trip to Marais. What an adventure.

This morning, I hung back with the sick one when the rest of the guys visited Versailles. They loved it. And afterward, I took them to find a pharmacy & to a really nice (and very French/not touristy) lunch.

Now, I’ll look for a pay-per-view movie to watch with the kid – assuming I can bring myself to switch the channel from the curling.

I bought a canvas.

This is a post that I started to write in October 2007.

I decided to try my hand at painting – it’s been a long, long time. So I pulled out my old sketch book and here’s my first drawing.

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We all have our insecurities. No? It’s been over 5 years since I told myself I wanted to start drawing again. Five years since I rushed out a sketch of Andrew. It’s rough. It’s clear I needed practice and focus. But I drew this and decided I couldn’t do it. And I set down the sketchbook.

Just set it down.

Thinking about this now, if it was someone else I’d have encouraged some lessons or some practice or whatever to see if he/she could get some enjoyment out of it. But I wasn’t this generous with myself.

I’ve recently learned that our county arts center has drop in drawing with live models. It’s inexpensive and unstructured. Pretty low risk, if you ask me.

Yah mon.


We’re back from 3 nights in Jamaica.

We planned nothing.

We read 7 books between us.

We ate some of the freshest, most wonderful snapper. Spiciest jerk sausage and shrimp. We had callaloo which is now one of my favorite things.

And somewhere in the middle of a crime novel while watching the sun bounce off the aqua sea, I realized that we are that old married couple that sits in the adirondack chairs with our sun hats on, engrossed in our books with a beer for him and a dark and stormy for me and occasionally glance at each other and smile. When I was 20-something I thought couples like that were sad. That shows how much I knew. It’s a lovely warm peaceful happiness.


Nineteen years.

Nineteen years ago tonight, I was worried that my wedding outfit would get wrinkled. I was worried that I still had some details for our brief honeymoon to work out. I was worried that in three weeks, we’d be moving 1,150 miles away from home. To a place I’d only spent two days in before. To a place where I knew no one and had no job.

Nineteen years ago tonight, I was excited thinking about the beautiful setting for our wedding. I was excited that we’d have a natural chuppah, as a fabulous tree overhung the patio at my aunt’s house. I was excited that my childhood rabbi would officiate. He was quite old. It was his last wedding, and honestly, I’m not at all sure that he said all the things he was supposed to say. I was crazy about him though. He’d married my parents, bar mitzvah’d my brother, traveled with my grandparents. I’ll always remember him, and all his stories, warmly.

Nineteen years ago, I was stressed out that the caterer for our tiny ceremony and dinner (19 attended) would forget something. That the tables wouldn’t look right. That the cognac and the champagne that we so lovingly chose wouldn’t live up to snuff.

But not for one second did I worry if I made the right decision. Everything in me knew that Andrew and I would make a happy life together.

Nineteen years later, it’s nice to be right.

A non-conventional anniversary.

Tuesday is my anniversary. 

I know what you’re thinking. Andrew and I got married on October 2, 1993. (You were thinking that, right?)

But April 24 is the anniversary of my wedding to my first husband. (If you’re asking yourself if I had a first husband, the answer is yes.) 

And then you’d be asking yourself, why the heck Wendy would be celebrating the anniversary of her marriage to her first (and clearly mismatched) husband. And that would be quite a valid question. 

The answer to that is…of course I’m not celebrating that. Come on. Give me some credit, here. I wish the guy all the best. Really, I do. But he and I were about the worst match ever in the universe. Not kidding. He didn’t have the (ahem) appreciation for me that Andrew has. Or maybe he was intimated. Just saying. (Oh crap. Do you think he reads my blog? He might. If so, hi Mark.)

But back to the anniversary. Tuesday is the anniversary of the actual divorce decree of that first (and ill-fated) marriage. 

I know. How crazy that the marriage started and ended on April 24. 

Very poetic, if you ask me.

I am grateful for the divorce. Grateful for the get that allowed me to marry Andrew in a Jewish ceremony. Basically, a get is a Jewish divorce. It’s a release for the woman to move on. Seriously. It says, “You are hereby permitted to all men.” Not kidding. And true story: I did not date all men after the divorce. Only about 30. And then I met Andrew. Andrew and I were married a couple years later.

A quick aside – I am very unsure if the rabbi who married Andrew and me actually did all that was required. He was quite old and not well. It was extraordinarily fast, too. So, I’ve wondered over the years if he forgot some of the important parts. I suppose it’s not particularly important, though. We’re legally married.

It’s obvious that I can’t stay focused here. I want to say that an old friend is getting married next week – to the woman she has been committed to for about a thousand years. I am so happy for them I can barely contain myself. Congratulations, Susan & Kay.  I wish you every happiness. 

So marriage. 

It’s a hot topic. I believe in marriage. I do. 

I believe that it’s possible for two people to work their butts off to stay moving in the same direction. To cherish the best of each other. To suck it up and deal with the worst of each other. 

I believe in forever. And don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that forever is the Cinderella kind of forever but I am saying that forever is my goal and that my husband and father of my amazing sons is stuck with me come hell or high water. 

And I like it that way.
I’ll make a quiet toast on Tuesday like I do every April 24. And I’ll thank my lucky stars.

Below Sea Level.

I feel so lucky.

We’re just back from a nine-day family vacation. Nine days. And my teenagers actually wanted to go.

I josh you not.

While the trip started out a bit rocky. Rocky, as in I vomited all the way from the TSA line at National Airport through a layover in Milwaukee and onward to San Francisco. Rocky, as in the flight attendant on the second flight asked Andrew if I was a nervous flyer. He said, “No, she’s just sick.” Bet that made her day. And rocky, as in I missed the first 36 hours of our San Fran visit.

But Andrew and the boys kept on ticking. I had a great and comfortable place to rest (go VRBO!) and they saw the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito (which they fondly call Sausagelito). And they saw the SF Museum of Modern Art. And rode cable cars. And such.

I totally rallied for Alcatraz.

It was so interesting and a beautiful day. We were so happy to be together. It was, for me, the start of a wonderful vacation.

Did you know that there are still three Alcatraz prisoners alive? All are still in prison somewhere. Andrew is really into the show Alcatraz. I think it’s just creepy. But, I digress.

Dinner that night? So fun. We went to Range. And yes, my sons were the only non-adults there. But no one seemed to mind. They’re as tall as the adults, anyway. And they know their way around a nice restaurant. It was all good.

The next 4 days were incredible. Monterey. Yosemite. (We stayed in a Caboose and had fabulous Cajun food. Not kidding.) Sequoia.

And Death Valley. Very fun “resort” in Death Valley. We met the nicest people there. And honestly, I think that I slept better there than any other night. It was just so peaceful and we were so darn happy. After dinner, there was nothing to do. I mean nothing. No Internet. No TV. No cell service.

We bought a 40 at the convenience store (for the adults, obviously) and some snacks for all. And we played poker. All of us in one room, laughing and playing cards. So fun.

And the next morning, we headed into the park and saw the sites. We hiked. We took pix. (Okay, that was me.) and we went to the lowest place in North America.

We look happy, no?

After a full and exhausting day, we headed east to Las Vegas.

And the adventure continued.

There are a million details I left out. Like the Artichoke Capital of the World. Like the funny Mexican restaurant in Laughlin. Or Laughlin, in general.

I can’t express how happy I am that we had a week of laughs. A week of talking. A week of experiencing. A week I’ll never forget.

My boys are growing up so fast. Davis will be applying to colleges soon. And as of next fall, they’ll all be in high school. No more middle school. No more elementary school. No more preschool.

It’s shocking.

But it’s wonderful.

I’m so grateful. (Not for the throwing up part. But for every other minute of my life.)