now browsing by tag
February 3, what this date means to me.
Forty years ago on February 3, 1984, Rich and I got married by Rabbi Eisenberg (May he REST in PEACE), witnessed by friends Debbie and Dave. Although I had been living with Rich since 1982, and we talked about marriage it was extremely important for me that when he asked and I said, “YES”, it would be for life.
I came into our relationship with what is often termed as baggage. I had been divorced for almost 2 years and I had custody of my son from that marriage who was almost 5 years old. I was living in Cincinnati when we met and Rich lived in Peninsula, Ohio, a 5-hour drive that I took every couple of weeks leading up to moving in, in 1982. We made the long-distance relationship work so moving in was the next step.
We became an instant family, accepted by his parents and his friends. However, we faced numerous obstacles including the cost of transportation so my son (Steve) could visit his father. Rich was involved from the get-go, but it started to take a toll on our relationship. Soon after we settled in my ex-husband was not happy about our new living relationship and this soon turned into a custody issue dragging us all through the court system. Although the court continued to grant me custody, on February 8, 1984, we were scheduled to go to court and face the judge. My attorney at the time suggested if we wanted to retain custody, we should get married. This led to our marriage in the Rabbi’s study on February 3, 1984.
Rich and I agreed to go through the formality, however I did not want to get married until this issue was resolved. Since I did not have that choice, we agreed to silently get married, if it didn’t work, we said we would end it in the future or plan another wedding that would include family and friends. Yes, we won custody in court after spending a lot of money (well worth it for my son), we returned home and decided to plan a summer wedding and we chose the date, July 15th.
Yes, this year we will be married for forty-years twice, does that mean we have been married for 80 years????
Now let’s talk about marriage. I am grateful for my first marriage as my son Steve is a gift from that union. Although I initially blamed his father for not (never) loving me, time has healed those wounds as I realize we were young when we met and got married and we were so different from each other that those differences divided us and created what now I see as a toxic marriage. I have learned so much over the years and acknowledge the divorce was needed for us to find our personal happiness. My son’s father and his wife will also be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year.
When I met my husband, Rich, I realized for me that the second time was the charm. I married my best friend, and I became his lover and go to person. It has not been easy, we have faced numerous challenges and we have tripped over the obstacles, but even when we have stumbled and fell, we got up and brushed ourselves off and kissed and made-up.
Kissing and making up doesn’t mean you have to give up your opinion and turn your differences into a mutual like, it’s ok to be different and not always OK with each other.
Rich and I made it through a custody issues, two weddings in one year, and bringing family and friends together to accept our union even when some said it would not last. (Thank you all for the challenge but somehow, we have made it.)
Rich and I struggled having a child, many rounds of IVF that we were told would be covered by my insurance only to find out that they weren’t, and we had a billed of $40,000+ to pay. Three plus years of dreaming, hoping, and praying, and a miscarriage, in December 1989 we were finally pregnant. (This pregnancy almost didn’t happen, the night before the insemination, I was molested by a doctor.) With the love and support of my husband and my OB/GYN I went through the procedure because we knew it was the right decision.
Not easy getting pregnant, and not an easy pregnancy. Sick for the first three months, and Braxton-Hicks’s contractions for the last three months, we brought Alex into the World in August 1990. And all went well for the first 30 days until our baby became violently ill and underwent abdominal surgery. When we brought him home all went well for 6 years. At six Alex was diagnosed with Autism/Aspergers and faced the challenges of what Special Needs meant.
Alex made us better and stronger as we did our best, adjusting when needed, and allowing him and us to live in a more traditional and normal state. Life is not like in the Hallmark™ movies, and Facebook has provided me with the insight that ‘perfect’ does not exist, well maybe for an hour or two when we are playing at something we like and want to do. I wouldn’t change a thing, well maybe a few tweaks here and there.
Today, I have three special men in my life, my husband Rich, my son Steve, and my son Alex. I love all three of them and I feel blessed they love and like me too. As a teenager all I wanted was that one special guy and I was living to find him. When I met Rich (at Helene and Lanny’s wedding rehearsal, I was not looking for a relationship) I was beginning to feel secure as a single woman, single mom, and being single. However, as fate may have it, once I met Rich something clicked, and that feeling is still within me. I am with my person, and despite the fact that not every moment in the day is perfect, I would be lost without this man who continues to provide me with my independence. I am blessed that he accepted my oldest son and has been a father and friend figure for him for 40+ years. Rich is a wonderful father and has been involved from the first moment we conceived. He has been by side when we experienced the loss and miscarriages. He developed a strong loving bond with my parents and brothers taking a seat at the table.
When I told my mother Rich and I were getting married she commented, “The first time you marry for love, the second time for money…” Although this was to be a long-standing joke between us, I told her this time is for a lasting friendship/love with a man called Rich.
Here is to 40 Plus!
I LOVE RICH
Family, you can’t live without them, and sometimes you can’t live with them. The Norman Rockwell family portrait is just one vision of what most of us wishes our family looked like. However, the reality of life and our ever-growing global society often separates us from each other. It is not just the distance in miles; it also includes perceptual thinking. We no longer are living in small communities where we are governed by our family, following in the footsteps of dad, and maintaining the same traditions for decades. The baby boomer generation has been the catalyst in making some significant changes in the family, and some are for the good and others, well personally I am not sure.
I am the youngest of three children and growing up the distance in age as well as sexual orientation separated us. Being the female girl in a Jewish home, my mother had certain beliefs for me that did not pertain to my brothers. Although we were not a religious Jewish family there was still the underlying belief that the males (my brothers) were more important than I. Do not feel sorry for me because in no way was I abused or misused, but there were different expectations for each of us and even more so by birth order.
My older brother Gary was expected to be a shining example for his younger siblings, Joel and me, and when he chose to ruffle feathers, finding himself in the scheme of the things he took the brunt of may have felt like verbal abuse. Growing up in the 50s and 60s is nothing like it is growing up today. On the other hand my brother Joel, the middle child was encouraged to be the life of the party and shine his talent and brilliance where Gary and I may have lacked. As I look back now, this must have been a burden for him, as none of us are perfect. I, on the other hand, the baby and the girl was expected to be the princess (my Grandmother Jen labeled me that). When dressing up in pinafores and fancy girlie dresses I may have given the appearance of one, but I too was not the fairest in the land.
My brothers and I grew up as close as we could with the age gaps of 4 – 8 years. As young adults, we all lived in different states which meant that holiday time or Sunday dinners were not the traditional Rockwell Painting. When we did get together, we united as families do and occasionally had some rip-roaring conversations that certainly did not resemble the harmonious family. Yet, we created our own music despite some off-key tones, even my brother Joel couldn’t always engineer our voices melodically.
I love my brothers, and I cherish the times we have had, and hopefully, the future will provide us additional opportunities to break bread and celebrate like the one in the above painting. Today I celebrate my love and concern for my brother Joel. Despite the fact he says his eye surgery is fairly routine and only sounds disgusting, I pray for a full recovery. As families go, he had not shared this venture in life and only through a mutual friend did I learn of this event, happening as I write this out. Mother, father, brothers, and sisters too often assume that those of us who care need not be told about these minor (or major) situations. However, I believe when you are family by blood or adapted to be part of the circle, there is no need for secrets or protection. It is time to put any differences aside and come together even if it is not sitting at the family table together!