This week I’m turning 45 which is a milestone of sorts… the halfway mark between being considered middle-aged and becoming eligible for membership in the AARP.
It’s also been about 6 years since my ex-husband walked out on me and our kids and the progress from shy, insecure person I was to the stronger, more confident woman I’ve become has been fantastic and something I’m very proud of. Yes, there have been hardships and heartache along the way but they have been valuable lessons.
Although my life isn’t exactly as I wish it to be, as I look back on the past year, I find so much to be grateful for.
First and foremost, my children are healthy, happy and wonderful. It’s been a year since Clara moved to Massachusetts to be with her boyfriend, Bill, and they have a great relationship. Together, they’ve created a warm, inviting home, she’s in a job she loves and her life is great. She recently overcame her nervousness about flying with her first plane trip and is now planning future trips. She and Bill also recently became "parents" to an adorable puppy named Samson which makes me as close to being a grandmother as I’m going to be for now. As I write, I’m very much looking forward to seeing them on Thanksgiving. Clara’s excited as this will be her first time hosting the dinner. Although she’s vegetarian, she’s roasting the fatted bird along with other dishes that I’m sure will be tasty as she’s a great cook. Or maybe Bill, the omnivore of their household who’s also a great cook, will deal with the turkey. Either way, I’m not cooking so it’s all good… LOL!
As for Jason, he’s taken to college like a fish to water. He’s in his second year now and doing so well. He made Dean’s List and was elected as treasurer to NJCU’s division of the Campus Crusaders for Christ. Although he parted ways with Humble Offerings earlier this year, Jason found new outlets for his talent and creativity with the Crusaders which is why, along with his friend and former Humble Offerings bandmate, Joey, he’s been asked to host several of their events at NJCU as well as other college campuses. This year he began working at the college gymasium and, at his church, was asked to teach Sunday school to the teenage members who love him dearly. Six years ago, I couldn’t have forseen this transformation from a smart but smart-ass and lazy child to the hardworking, humorous, earnest and serious young man who’s admired and respected by the peers and adults he comes in contact with.
On a side note, I must mention George Haviland, the music teacher and band director at North Bergen High School who saw much potential and promise in Jason, took him under his wing and helped Jason realize his musical talent and leadership. Because of Mr Haviland’s example and involvement with the Bible Study Group at the high school, Jason also found his spiritual path and love of God. I’m not a perfect parent and believe it does indeed take a village to raise a child. With all the negative influences a teenager comes across and the many turns Jason’s life could have taken, I thank God for Mr Haviland’s kindness, insight and wisdom.
This year I began forging a new relationship with my mother and saw my parents become friends again almost 30 years after their divorce. While for now I can take my mother only in small doses (the woman doesn’t know the meaning of the word "tact" and still embarasses me on occasion), I’m glad we’re on our way. This Thanksgiving will be spent with my children and parents, something I had hoped for but never before believed would happen.
I also travelled by myself to attend the first annual Las Vegas Fest for Beatles Fans. I met Pete Best, the Beatles original drummer and Victor Spinetti who was in several of their movies. I saw LOVE which was absolutely spectacular and definitely worth seeing again, walked along the Strip, Fremont Street and the top of the Hoover Dam, took a gondola ride at the Venetian and marvelled at the decor in the Bellagio as well as its dancing fountains. I also met some wonderful people with whom I’d been chatting for years and found they’re just as cool in person as online. My only complaint is that my time there was too short which gives me a good excuse to return.
Last, but by no means least, is David… wonderful, caring, loving and kind. As cliched as it sounds, he came into my life when I least expected. He shows me every day how much he cares for me and I hope I make him feel as cherished and happy as he makes me feel. Only time will tell if he’s the one who I’ll spend the rest of my life with but for now I’m basking in our love and the wonderful times we share. He’s coming to help celebrate my birthday on Wednesday and I can’t wait to see him. While we’ll spend this Thanksgiving with our respective families, I’m sure there will be many holidays to celebrate together.
To those who read this, I wish you a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving with family and loved ones. As many problems as we have, there are so many blessings in our lives if we just stop to think about them. Please remember those who are less fortunate and offer up prayers for them.