Tag Archives: Ed

Standing in Line with Ed

Lily and Emmy earn free tickets to Six Flags Great America through their reading program during the school year. Six Flags is only about a 45 minute drive from us, and we try to go once a year. My in-laws live even closer to Six Flags so they buy a season pass. A couple of weeks ago, we all went together–and then split up once we walked into the gates. Ed and my nephew convinced me to go on the new coaster Goliath, supposedly the tallest and steepest wooden roller coaster in the world, while Lily and Emmy went with my niece and sister-in-law for some tamer rides.

After a 2 hour wait, it was finally our turn. It was a little nerve-wracking that Goliath didn’t have shoulder restraints, but a lap belt and lap bar instead. That first drop just about did me in! And then we went upside down twice and through a corkscrew, not necessarily in that order…my brain was a little scrambled. I may have screamed a little.

Roller Coaster

We rode Goliath!

Later that day, as we were walking past X-Flight (last summer’s new coaster), the wait sign said 45 minutes. Ed hadn’t been on it yet, so we decided to wait while the rest of the group went to a different ride. It soon became obvious that the wait was going to be twice as long as the sign said. Ed and I passed the time with some old-married-couple conversation.

“If I knew the wait was longer than 45 minutes, we wouldn’t have gotten in line.”

“Oh, look, someone lost their hat.”

And of course, the long companionable silences that comes from being married for almost 12 years.

About half way through our wait in the middle of a twisty-turny section of the line, Ed saw a couple that he knew years ago. After their hellos, the wife exclaimed, “We were just talking about you, Ed, and how fun it was to stand in line with you! You were so entertaining!” Turning to me she asked, “Is he still like that?”

“No. He’s actually very boring,” I said. And then they had to move in their direction and we moved in ours.

After our “flight,” (Ed said, “You know it’s a good ride when Ginny laughs the whole time!”) Ed and I joined the rest of the group. The girls wanted to go on the Demon, another roller coaster, so we waited in yet another line. As we were waiting, Ed started to joke around with our nephew, making everyone laugh. All I did was give him a look. “I know what you’re going to say,” he said. And I didn’t even need to say it. I just laughed instead.

Ed

At Yellowstone in the old days, when Ed made me laugh on a regular basis!

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Happy Father’s Day, Ed {Spin Cycle}

Ed was thinking about our children long before I was. When we began looking for a house soon after we got married, Ed had some specific requirements.  All the cute little houses I liked were no good. He wanted room to grow, a basement, a big backyard, and a playground within walking distance. He also wanted to live in a neighborhood with sidewalks so that we could walk safely to the playground with our kids. Our house was going to be our lifetime house; the house where we were going to raise our family.

When I write “lifetime house,” I do not mean our dream house. These are two different things. I’ll describe the dream house for you another day. The lifetime house that we bought has three bedrooms, a basement, an attached garage and is walking distance from both the elementary school and the playground. It was built in the 1960′s, decorated in the 1980′s, and we are still working on updating it. Ed knew what he was looking for, and we found a great house for raising a family.

About a year after we bought the house, Lily was born. Ed was thrilled to be a Daddy. He changed Lily’s first diaper and walked around with her for hours while she cried and while she slept. He gave Lily her first bottle when I couldn’t produce enough milk, and we tag-teamed feeding her. I breastfed her during the day, he gave her a bottle at night.

Ed holding Lily at the hospital

Ed holding Lily at the hospital

When Emmy was born almost three years later, he was just as thrilled and stayed in the hospital with me and Emmy for four days while I recovered from a c-section. He changed her diapers, I fed her. He slept on that green chair in the picture below every night so that he could help me get Emmy when she cried.

Ed with Emmy and Lily the day Emmy was born

Ed with Emmy and Lily the day Emmy was born

We were a team.

We still are.

When Emmy is having one of her meltdowns and I’m about to lose it, Ed steps in and calms her down. When the girls want to go to the playground, Ed is never too tired to take them. He is always available to read a book or play a game. And he is the best at surprising them with a trip to the ice cream shop.

He’s not the perfect dad, but I’m not the perfect mom, either. Somehow, together, we seem to make it work. And there’s one thing I know for sure.

He’s always thinking about his girls.

 


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Your Third Place

Caribou Coffee didn’t waste any time getting out of Chicagoland. I drove by my local coffeehouse last week, and the windows were already covered with brown butcher paper. I’m a little sad about this development. Sure, we still have Starbucks, but Caribou is a little less trendy and less expensive, which suits some of us quite well. One of my favorite columnists, Mary Schmich from the Chicago Tribune, wrote an article about Caribou Coffee’s retreat, and something she said about coffeehouses struck me. She describes coffeehouses as “a third place.” Your home is your first place and your work is your second place. (As a mostly stay-at-home mom, my first and second place seem to be the same–home.)

Schmich writes, “A third place is generally an unpretentious spot filled with regulars but open to anyone, where people of all kinds and social ranks mix, for little or no money.” People in my generation will imagine the coffeehouse of Friends, which was shown so often on that TV show that I think it was Rachel, Monica and Phoebe’s first place. However, I don’t think a coffeehouse qualifies as my third place. For one thing, I prefer to brew my own coffee at home. For another thing, when I go to Starbucks, Emmy wants me to buy her a cake pop for $1.25, which seems ridiculous even though I can’t make cake pops on my own. Trust me on this one.

Caribou Coffee

In October, Caribou offers a special blend for breast cancer awareness.

Where is my third place, then? Unpretentious and open to anyone? In the past, it certainly would have been the bar where my husband and I would grab a pizza and a beer every weekend.

Before I met my husband, my third place was the public library. I loved the hushed reading area in the stacks at my library. The building was old and creaky, and there were French doors leading out to a small courtyard. It was a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon. The library became my third place again after our first child was born. I was a new stay-at-home mom, and didn’t quite know what to do with myself. The second story of the large, suburban library was perfect to find a quiet nook to nurse my newborn and read. As Lily grew, so did our time at the library. We went weekly to check out books and attend story time. Now that Lily and Emmy are both in school, we don’t go to the library as often as we did back then. One day, school was canceled when the power went out. Our first stop was the library. We saw many of Lily and Emmy’s friends there that morning!

The third place where I spend the most time, however, is my church. You can find me there every weekend. I’ve been attending the same church since 1981.  I attended junior high at the parochial school.  My first overnight trip without my parents was with my seventh grade class. When I was sixteen, I went on my first date with a boy in Youth Group (not my husband, but we are still friends). I met my husband, got married and baptized my children at St. Andrews. Now I teach Sunday school and direct VBS at my church.

Yes, I think my church is my third place.

Where is your third place?

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Wearing Blinders

I always say that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was single. That’s not entirely true; I had a boyfriend. I don’t talk about him much. He was a very nice guy and I thought I loved him. He, however, didn’t love me back. I stayed with him for much longer than I should have.

There’s this phrase that I couldn’t stop thinking about in the years after my mastectomy. “Damaged Goods.” It means different things to different people, and in my case I just couldn’t believe that anyone would love me after my breast cancer surgeries. It’s one of the reasons I stayed with a man who didn’t love me.

A relationship can’t last long without love, and after we had been dating for about two years, that boyfriend and I finally broke up. I had a couple of dates, but I never got to the point where I told another man that I had had cancer.

love after breast cancer

Then along came Ed.

Ed and I knew each other for years. We both went to the same church and said “Hi” to each other every Sunday. I had a little crush on him. Finally, I worked up the nerve to ask him out for coffee.

It only took one date to know that we were going to start seeing a lot of each other.

And when I saw him smiling at me from across the gym Easter morning during our church’s brunch, I knew.

I knew he didn’t care what I had gone through.

I knew he didn’t think of me as damaged goods.

He gave me a smile that was just for me.

Two years into our relationship, he pulled out a ring and asked me to be his wife.

A long time ago, I asked him to write about how he feels, being married to a breast cancer survivor. Ed wrote,

I seldom think about my wife’s history with cancer. Maybe it’s because I’m wearing blinders, or maybe it’s because there’s really nothing different about her that’s due to her cancer. Although it’s a part of who she is, I tend to focus on other things a whole lot more.

Ten years into our marriage, we both focus on a whole lot more. We focus on our daughters and our family. We go through highs and lows, like any other couple. We fight. We make up. He’s not perfect; I’m not perfect. But never once in our whole relationship have I ever thought about those words again.

I’m not damaged goods, and Ed’s love proves it to me.

Second Blooming

I’m writing today about “Love” for the Spin Cycle at Second Blooming. Click on the button above to read more about love!

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Then and Now: 2003 to 2013

Ed and I were newlyweds ten years ago. Ten years seems like such a long time; we’ve been married for a whole decade. And yet those years have passed by quickly at the same time. How can that be?

Ten years ago we lived in a condo and we were wondering if I would be able to have children after all my past health issues.

Now we live in a typical split-level suburban house cluttered with little girls’ dolls and stuffed animals and socks.

honeymoon

Climbing Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica on our honeymoon, ten years ago

The two of us surrounded by family, building snowmen in Iowa

The two of us surrounded by family, building snowmen in Iowa

These ten years have been good to us.

Mama’s Losin’ It

I’m writing about “5.) Find a photo of yourself taken 10 years ago and display it on your blog along with a current photo. How have you changed since the day that photo was taken?” for Writer’s Workshop today.

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