To Have and To Hold

The beauty of love never gets old. This past Saturday, it walked like a boss with my stunning grandgirl, straight down a grassy aisle to tie the knot with her sweetheart. It shined in the eyes of my first born daughter who now stood as mother of the bride. And it filled the soul of this grandma as I watched my only granddaughter get married.

Love is love. But it gets even more unconditional, bountiful and expansive when you become a grandparent. The ties that bind two people in marriage also tie generations together. This weekend I celebrated this young woman who made me a (very young) first time grandma as she entered into another family circle — her own. Yet, the circle is wide, and peopled with ancestors none of us have ever met. And in the circle, the faces, the personalities of our children will one day exist in grandchildren of theirs.

“Grandchildren connect the dots from one generation to another.”

A sparkling pair of my favorite earrings danced in the light as her wedding ‘borrowed; an intricate lace gown vintage new.  ‘Something blue’ was the ‘missing’ felt by both bride and groom of their cherished grandparents, loved and lost. Somehow, I just knew, though, that amidst the ‘eat, drink and be merry’, the grandpa who taught her to drive and shared her love of Broadway was hangin’ out, wishing he could sneak some cake. Continue reading

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What If’s . . . And Other Scary Things In The Night.

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

I suspect that Tale of Two Cities’ opening line is a pretty apt description of most people’s lives. I certainly is of mine. Drama has always found me like a homing pigeon. and I’m pretty certain that “what if” were among my first words.

They say worry is a relentless scavenger. It’s an insidious little thing that crawls around your mind, feasting on whatever it finds. And it finds plenty. At any given moment, your head is host to a whole variety of negative possibilities that ‘could’ happen. In most areas of our life, we’re uber reasonable. We’re self-aware. We can laugh at ourselves. We’re even pretty cool. But that worry thing keeps real peace of mind on hold.

“Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.” Swedish Proverb

Are some of us just born worriers? Does stress come attached to life experiences? Yes — and yes. I’m an heir to legendary anxiety. My parents were worriers to the max, and an array of possible disasters was always on the menu. Could it be that we, like many people, have autonomic nervous systems that seem always to be higher than the average bear? Studies have shown that some of our brains are more wired for worry than others. Great. We can buy a lot of stuff on Amazon but a new brain? Nada

Experiencing trauma gives constant stressing a step up. Been there, done that. Traumatic experiences reset ‘normal’, and raise thoughts about what could happen to the Olympic level. Once encountering that dark side, we can’t take anything for granted ever again. Going forward, everything has a question mark assigned to it and a panic button ready and waiting.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

I think my first wake-up call came the day I arrived home from school as a high school freshman to an empty house and a ringing phone. The person on the other end offered condolences on my brother’s death – but not the one who’d die a few years later. No, their call was about my other brother who, unbeknownst to me, had been hit by a car and was in very serious condition. My terrified parents had raced, to the hospital with no time for a note, leaving me in a vacuum to wonder what had happened. That brother today is a father and grandfather but on long ago fall day, trauma visited us all.

I’m no stranger to panic attacks. They’ve dogged me for years and anyone who’s had one, knows how it feels to have your body hijacked. All of a sudden, you’re breathless, dizzy and feeling doomed. Your heart is out of control and you think you are, too. But once again, you’re being conned by your brain. Oh, that brain of ours. Continue reading