I’ve been pondering and promising for months, and last night I finally did it. I blended my two blogs, Tour of No Regrets and Fifty|Fifty Vision, into a new TNR. But just to make it a little more confusing, it’s under the url http://www.kimtackett.com.
There were ten ways to do this, and I may have chosen the most complicated way (which of course, is my way). I will eventually point this blog to that one, but for now, I hope you’ll make the click and join me over there. I did a little more explaining here.
“Have you ever really held the hand of someone you love? Not just in passing, a loose link between you – but truly clasped, with the pulses of your wrists beating together and your fingers mapping the knuckles and nails like a cartographer learning a country by heart?” ― Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls
My parents have been married for 60 years today. Sixty years of living and loving, and working with and around each other. Of building careers, raising a family, loving on grandchildren, saying goodbye to their own parents and a beloved brother, welcoming son and daughter-in-laws (and soon to be grandson-in-law). Of nurturing gardens and churches and friends and dreams. Of being there for each other, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health.
Through house remodels, camping trips, teaching assignments, hospital stays, world adventures, fishing expeditions, quilt making, family tree and slide shows-to-end-all-slide-show producing. Of sharing, of listening, of cleaning up other people’s messes (including mine), of showing us all how marriages work.
And holding hands. Holding hands through all of it.
I’ve struggled with how to write about their marriage, as I really believe no one knows what goes on inside anyone’s relationship. Even the good ones have some complications. I think I know my parents well, but still…it’s their story, not mine.
Except it is mine. Their marriage is how I learned to be married. It’s how I am still learning (and it still puzzles me that after 35+ years, I have not mastered this…shouldn’t I be better at it by now?). My parents and my in-laws, Vince and Adeline, have 122 years of marriage between them. That is something spectacular. And special. And rare.
Last year there was an “event” that required me to spend a night in a hospital emergency room with my mom and dad. Dad was in the bed, annoyed, but behaving. She sat next to him, holding his hand.
I sat across from them, trying to take it all in. Watching them. Holding hands.
I recalled all of the times, in the midst of family activities, when I would see them reach for each other’s hand. If I paid attention, I could see one of them squeeze…and then watch them look at each other. This is a special moment. Sometimes he reaches for her. Sometimes she’s reaching out for him. But there is always the squeeze. The moment where they both know this is to be cherished.
They are the first to admit they are older. Slowing down. Mom calls this their “reflective period.” They are in their last chapters, and they are enjoying every moment of their time together. Almost every day includes some patio time, reading, service to others, a little exercise, gardening, card writing, maybe a BBQ, and wine.
This is marriage. Holding hands. May we all have someone to love and to hold. And…squeeze.
Alex was home for four days over spring break. This was the first time since last August when she left for Amsterdam (we’ve seen her since then, just not on home soil). We crammed two week’s worth of parenting and playing into four days…shopping (Target, Old Navy, Sunday morning Macy’s Clinique counter run) planned her future on giant post it notes (or at least identified the questions about her future, which is part way there, right?), had an incredible day wine tasting in Napa Valley. She turned us onto the comic Iliza Schlesinger (very, very funny, but oh so NSFW) and moved our car radio buttons off NPR and Sports Talk. We painted our nails mint green. We ate oysters and talked politics. She wasn’t so impressed with our ukelele playing. There was even belly dancing… (not really…we ate Lebanese food and stood up and moved when the belly dancer beckoned). We had a few of those moments where you realize your baby is actually an adult, and while you’ve been a parent for many, many years, it’s still a learning process. But we got through those quickly and I’d like to think, graciously. Perhaps we’ve all grown a little. It’s fleeting, this life thing. First you’re waiting for her to walk, then she runs, and then she flies. Poof, she’s gone.
By the way, I’d like credit for not posting the belly dancing pictures. But if you remind me, I’ll show them to you on my phone (I am not that mature).
I’m in the process of combining this blog with Fifty|Fifty Vision (it will still be Tour of No Regrets, but I think of it as TNR 2.0.). The big switch is just a few weeks away. In the meantime, I am sharing content, just so y’all can get used to each other.
Last week, I was sitting on a beautiful wooden rocking chair, in perfect 70 degree weather, perched on what seemed to be the edge of the world. The view before me was spectacular, the red rocks of Sedona, a few wispy clouds, the afternoon light. I was lucky to be in such a moment, yet all I could feel was disappointment. In fact, it was a full on pity party, and there was nothing pretty about it.
This was a last minute side trip, after a several days of Spring Training baseball. My husband, Steve, was sick and asleep in our hotel room. I wasn’t feeling much better, but had energy to walk out to the viewpoint. I’d wanted to come here for years, to see the red rocks, hike, explore, shop, photograph, write, eat and drink, and decide if a vortex was something I should experience. Uptown Sedona was so crowded we didn’t stop, our lunch at the airport cafe (which should have been our first clue) was weird, and now I was alone, with no one to share the view. No wine (though plenty of whine) to sip. No adventure.
Just disappointment. And rocks. Plenty of rocks.
I told myself I should get over it. It was stupid to feel cheated when this is so incredible.
Then I told myself that disappointment was understandable, it was ok to wallow for a bit, before I had to let it go.
It wasn’t grief, or even sorrow. It wasn’t even sadness.
It was something that didn’t live up to my hype. It was also something that would get a do over. Some disappointments are bigger, and perhaps the do over isn’t so readily available. But this one, it was just a 24-hour period that wasn’t what I had hoped for. This is lower case disappointment, not even deserving capital letters (as in Disappointment or DISAPPOINTMENT). The disappointment was more about the expectations than the reality.
Perhaps it wasn’t bliss, but it sure wasn’t despair.
Also, I had great coffee for the morning. No matter what, I had coffee, so that was something. I made the expectations and I could remake them, too.
When I really thought about it, I saw that disappointment was on a sliding scale, and not such a far climb back to contentment. In my mind, I drew myself a chart. To be honest, my imaginary chart only had three feelings…contentment, disappointment and grief. The others show up because I am an over emoter. I can’t help myself.
If you told me I could spend a few hours in Sedona, doing nothing but watching the bluest sky over the magnificent red rocks, I would be thrilled. I would consider it a gift, a blessing, wonder and magic. I should be so lucky.
I went to the room to check on Steve, then walked back to the cliffs to watch the sunset. When he woke after dark, we drove to town to find a grocery store and restock on medicine. We had fruit salad and orange juice for dinner, chased with Nyquil. We slept like hell, hacking through the night. The next morning I had coffee and leftover salad on the patio, in the sunshine. We packed, medicated, and drove back to Phoenix. We saw a few more red rocks. Steve never left the car.
It was spectacular, disappointment and all. And now that I understand where disappointment sits on the scale between bliss and despair, I think it’s not such a bad gig. The climb back to contentment isn’t far, if you’re so lucky.
Twenty-four hours in Sedona sounded like a good idea. We thought of it as a scouting trip for next time. Drive in, see the sites, do a little shopping, drinks and dinner, enjoy a Sunday morning hike, grab breakfast and drive back to Phoenix. A great plan…except for the nasty colds that hitched a ride with us. We stayed at Sky Ranch Lodge, which was handy, since Steve was so sick he slept the entire afternoon. In the meantime, I saw this…which in hindsight, and even in the moment, was a fine consolation prize.
Still recapping our Spring Training adventure, with a side trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. Except our rookie mistake was to not actually plan the trip, therefore arriving as the last tour was departing. The truth was, we were both coming down with colds, so we were plenty satisfied to eat popsicles in the courtyard and take a few photos. I am an over planner as well as over packer, so it caught me by surprise that in two+ days we only had time for two baseball games, three dinners, one botanical garden tour, one art walk and no shopping, FLW house touring, art museuming, and friend-from-college-visiting. Next time, more time. For now, Frank’s house and a teepee for the win.
I don’t know what I expected of Phoenix. I knew I was going to the desert, but I didn’t expect it to be so cactusy. I was a little confused by the palm tree/cactus combinations at the resorts, but the red rock, Saguro and Margarita combinations were delicious (oh, different kind of rocks). We did spend one morning at the Desert Botanical Gardens and loved the pretty and prickly in all their texture and color combos.
I'm Kim and I have a few blogs (and perhaps an issue with over sharing, and too much time on my hands). My other two projects are www.fiftyfiftyvision.com and www.thisisplanbe.com. I also tweet at https://twitter.com/TheKimTackett and instagram at http://instagram.com/kimtackett. But here, it's all personal. I show up once a week, sometimes less, never more. I don't have a niche or a purpose or a plan. Just a few stories and pictures. Welcome to my personal space.