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First comes love, then comes…Really?

First comes love, then comes…Really?

First comes love, then comes marriage, and you know the rest. For girls of my generation, there was little question on the order of love, marriage and kids. It was all supposed to go the way the song said.

Recently, I discovered, or rather I accepted, that I am classified as one of “advanced reproductive age.” A classification that frightens single girls who grew up believing in the playground ditty, but have failed to follow its prescribed order.

To set the stage, there’s no boy or potential boy within a 3000 mile radius of where I now find myself: a woman in the latter part of her child-bearing years. Furthermore, any talk of biological clocks, marriage and being together forever is akin to living in Chernobyl in the 80’s, no potential date or mate wants to drop by, more or less stay for awhile.

So where does this leave me? With an abandoned belief that life comes to us in neatly, organized boxes to be unwrapped in predictable order.

What I’m considering now is that for some of us, what I want to categorize as: the special one’s, the unique one’s, those who don’t subscribe to following societal rules or norms, but can see beyond the ordinary, traditional template of life and family and be brave enough to stand up and say, “I’m gonna move the boxes around.” That maybe for some of us, baby comes first, then love and then marriage? Or for some, marriage, love and then baby?

What I’ve realized at my advanced reproductive age is that there’s not a one-size fits all when it comes to family. We make the family we want, no matter the order.

So what does this little rant all mean for me? Raised in southern tradition, I’ve been programmed to believe in the “proper” order of love, marriage and babies. Today, as an adult, I’m in the process of deprogramming: That for me, my lifestyle of circumstance, not choice, is one in which I can change. It’s one I can create on my terms and not those prescribed to me by a stupid playground song or even southern societal standards. I have the power to move the boxes around and create a specialized, one of a kind template for my family and life.

And yes, maybe for me, that means baby comes first, then love and then marriage? I’m not sure yet, but I’m getting closer to finding out.

89 Candles Burn Bright

89 Candles Burn Bright

Today, my grandmother, Nina Dee, celebrates her 89th birthday. We call her Nina Dee because that’s her name and when she became a grandmother in her early 40’s she didn’t want such an antiquated title as grandmother. This title stuck through four grandchildren until 1977 when her 5th grandchild was born.  No matter the title, this woman is the strongest woman I know. Despite an aging body, she’s sharp as a tack and nothing gets by her.

She says, she’s glad to have lived during the time she did, but in today’s world I suspect she would’ve been a lot like me: a strong, independent, adventurous woman taking advantage of every opportunity that came her way.  From her genes, I got a passion for travel, to see the world and embrace people different from me and an independent spirit. What wonderful gifts. I am truly blessed to have this woman as my grandmother. Happy birthday, Nina Dee.

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Teenagers are Still Teenagers

Teenagers are Still Teenagers

Maddie takes on DC and her Aunt Amy
Maddie takes on DC and her Aunt Amy

Last weekend, I hosted my 14 year old niece for a weekend in the city, away from the parental oversight.  Having no kids of my own, I sometimes feel out of touch with those younger than 25. However, what I learned is that despite advancements in technology and a slight more tendency toward ADD than previous generations, teenagers are still just teenagers.

1. Fitting in.  Sometimes this is wearing the right clothes, having the newest technology, but really it’s about friends and being accepted into the “right” group. Kids still want to be cool and popular.

2. Gossip. Technology facilitates the gossip differently today than it did even 10 years ago, but it’s still gossip.

3. Everything is weird. If  it goes against what’s considered “normal” in the teenager’s eyes,  then it’s weird. Teenagers don’t want to be perceived as abnormal, so to “fit in” (see #1) it’s all weird.

4. Cliques. Band geeks, jocks, popular girls, nerds–you know the list, they’re still there. Funny, how after all the work toward a more accepting, diverse culture, teenagers are still using the same stereotypes that have been used for 30+ years.

5. Labels. Whether it’s Abercrombie, Coach, Juicy Couture, Louis Vouitton or the iPhone, labels still run rampant throughout American high schools.  Today there’s more turnover and competition to be on top of the trends, but it’s still about labels and who has the latest and greatest.

Things my Mom taught me

Things my Mom taught me

Mom and I at Hilton Head Island
Mom and I at Hilton Head Island

It’s Mother’s Day 2010 and a good time to reflect on the things my mom taught me.

  • Respect your elders and say “yes ma’m/yes sir, no ma’m/no sir”
  • Take a hostess gift when invited to a party
  • Send a thank you note for gifts and weekend stays
  • Be on time
  • Honor your commitments
  • Tell the truth
  • Reading builds your vocabulary and keeps your mind sharp
  • Stay active in mind and body, it’ll keep you young