I have been married to a wonderful man, my soul mate, since 1979. Yes, he has his faults, just as we all do, but he is wonderful for so many reasons. Not the least is the fact that he married me and took on the responsibility of helping me raise my two children from my first marriage. He has always made sure sound financial decisions prevailed over my frivolous impulse buys, and that helped so much with us managing to pay out our mortgage ahead of time and put enough in savings that I was able to take an early retirement.

I am a grandmother to three wonderful grand-kids. My oldest granddaughter was born in 1994, and (lucky me!) she has discovered her own love of scrapbooking & card-making. Next is my grandson who was born in 1996. He has always been a special blessing to us and has always had such a tender heart, not to mention a good communication link with God. He prays and we see the prayers answered. And then there is the youngest who was born in 2004. What can I say about the caboose? Oh Me, Oh My. That child was born with more brain and logic for her age than I have seen in any kid. It keeps her in trouble though. As soon as she started K5 she truly challenged the school administration. As issues progressed it was explained to her that she had to follow the rules just like all the other children – to which she informed her mom that she is “not like all the other kids. The other kids are all just like each other & they can follow those rules but I’m different than they are and I just can’t follow those rules”. She is a very strong willed (read stubborn as much as strong willed) child.

Both of the girls belong to my son, but they have different mothers. He has chosen to put distance between himself and the rest of our family. I somewhat understand him being the way he is towards me. But I don’t understand how he can make a conscious decision to separate himself from his girls the way he has. Separating from me was his solution to me voicing my opinion in regards to the choices he has made in regard to his girls. It was not easy to process, understand and accept early on, but I am okay with it now. And I am happy to have a civil relationship with both of the girls moms so we get to see them on a pretty regular basis.

My grandson is the only child of my daughter. She also has three step-kids, and she is now the step-grandmother to a baby boy born in June 2010. She married an older man who was divorced with three half grown kids. They are all now grown. My daughter and her husband have custody of the grandson, so we have a closer relationship to him than we otherwise would have. I say that because, while I can say that I have three step-grands, they don’t really see me as a relative, just as their step-mothers mom. It’s not that there is any strained relationship there, it’s more the fact that they were as old as they were when their dad and my daughter married so they never really spent enough time at our house to develop a closer relationship.

I married too young the first time around. I got married 4 months before I turned 18. And I did my best to make it last for the “Till Death Do Us Part” thing, but because he was not as committed to the relationship as I was the Do Us Part preceded the Death part. Well, actually, the death part was probably closer than the parting stage at times, but I at least had sense enough to realize that I needed to get myself out of it before it got any worse. He not only had no commitment to the relationship, he also had no respect for me as a woman, as his wife or even as the mother of his children. He was unfaithful in our marriage and he was physically and mentally abusive towards me. I don’t consider that I gave up on that relationship. No, I see it as having exhausted all viable options and moving on.

I grew up the second child in a military family of nine. My father was in the Army when he married my mother and stayed in the Army until 1973. During that time we traveled a lot, as most military families do. During my childhood we lived in Alabama. Georgia, Missouri, Texas and Virginia, as well as overseas in Germany, Japan and Okinawa. I have an older sister and a younger sister and four younger brothers. Three of my brothers are biological and the fourth is my older sisters biological son that my parents adopted.

I am a recently retired (well, not so recently anymore, I retired the end of Dec. 2008, but recently enough) from AT&T. I actually started my telecommunications career in 1978 when I was hired by South Central Bell. At that time South Central Bell was a subsidiary of AT&T. In 1983 there was a settlement reached in a Department of Justice antitrust suit against AT&T which required AT&T to divest itself of the 22 local Bell Operating companies. During the divestiture some people were sent with AT&T and some were sent with their respective BOC. I was sent with the BOC, South Central Bell, who eventually re-branded itself to BellSouth. Over the years there were various acquisitions and mergers among many different telecommunication entities. And so it happened that in 2006 AT&T (which is actually SBC, who bought AT&T but opted to retain the AT&T name & logo for global recognition) announced the intent to acquire BellSouth. And so I was again under the AT&T logo. There is also an entire chapter in my autobiography regarding that metamorphosis. Well, I put in my 31 years, and I put in 6 years before that working at fast food and waiting tables. Boy am I glad I was able to retire early. 🙂

I look back at some of the stresses and the dysfunction I lived though this past half-century or so, and even though there were times that I didn’t know how, or even if, I would survive some of it, I did. And I look at all of these experiences as part of the fabric that has been woven into the me that I am today. I have often said “If I am happy where I am today, then I can’t resent or regret the past that brought me to this place”.

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