But I Know He/She Loves Me

“Why else would he keep telling me all the time? He tells me I’m perfect, I’m the best woman he’s ever met. That he knew it immediately. He’s even planned our family holidays, our wedding, where we’ll live. He says he can’t live without me. He wants me to be with him all the time. He doesn’t want me to talk to other guys, let alone date them. He says I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have found him. No man will ever love me more or treat me like he does. Wow….

I’ve known him for two weeks. But yet…. He has this way of making me uneasy. I think I love him, too, but something isn’t right.”

“She says she’s never felt this way before. That I’m the best looking, sexiest man she’s ever met. That she’s been wanting someone like me forever, and she’s the luckiest woman alive. She wants to cook for me every night. Clean my apartment. Meet my kids and my friends. She’s even said how much she’ll love living here after we’re married…and that she’ll even be happy moving in before that so we can plan our wedding better.

I’ve always thought I’d meet someone like her. I’ve looked for her a lot. But yet…why am I feeling smothered? Uncomfortable. I really like her, but this is too much too soon. It’s only been three weeks…I don’t know that I can do this any more.”

And a few days later…

“I told him it was too fast. Too much. I needed space; needed some time. And suddenly he was a different person. Yelling at me. Accusing me of all kinds of things, like lying to him. Making him think I loved him when I didn’t. He wouldn’t leave me alone. Called or texted me continually, berating me and telling me I’d be sorry I broke his heart. Then crying that I ruined his life and he couldn’t live without me.

I was scared. I didn’t know what he’d do. Either to me or himself. Friends told me to cut all ties with him but I was afraid it would cause him to do something to himself, and I’d be responsible.”

“I told her we needed time apart. I couldn’t do every night…every weekend. I had to have time for myself. My tennis pals and golf buddies were ready to replace me. She told me it was ok, that she’d just come over and stay at my place while I was out with my friends. She’d have dinner ready for me even. Maybe even redecorate a bit. That was bad enough, but then she started questioning me about who I was with; who I was talking to….

I couldn’t do it anymore. And I told her. Told her we needed some space. She cried. Said she’d done everything for me; had even given notice at her apartment so she could move in with me. I’d never even mentioned it. She kept calling and texting me afterwards, telling me she was sorry, she loved me, couldn’t live without me…I finally blocked her number. And hoped she wouldn’t come by my place to see what I was doing.”

It’s not just women who start dating people who aren’t right for them, and don’t know how to break it off. Or worse, are afraid to break it off because they don’t want to be alone. Or they’re scared no one else will be there, and being with someone is better than being alone.

Or is it?

We’ve all heard stories about people (usually women unfortunately) who stay with people because they think things will change; that the person really doesn’t mean it when he/she says those crazy statements meant to intimidate or threaten. When they try to be around all the time, smothering their supposed significant other to the point of making them run the other way.

Or worse, when that person starts threatening, berating, screaming, or in some cases, eventually resulting to physical violence. And afterwards, of course, apologizing, begging forgiveness, promising it won’t happen again. Until it does. Or even blaming the other person on his or her actions, saying “You made me do it!”

We’ve all either been there, or had friends who’ve been there.

That’s not love. That’s manipulation. Control. Self-centeredness. Selfishness. Intimidation. Jealousy.

And let me tell you, eventually very dangerous.

You say it won’t happen to you? Think again. It can. And if you stay in a relationship like that, it will. Trust me. I know.

You cannot change someone like this. And without professional help, neither can they. You may care for them, or think you do, even think you love them, but that kind of love isn’t healthy, and leads to nothing but disaster. The best thing to do in this situation is walk away. Run away. Don’t look back, because each time you do it opens the door for the cycle to start over again.

True love is not manipulative. It is not one sided. It is not smothering. It is not jealous. It does not force guilt on others. It is never violent.

True love is patient. It respects the other person. True love requires each person in the relationship to think more of the other person’s feelings than their own.

The actions of true love speak louder than words ever can.

A relationship of love is built on mutual feelings. Mutual respect. It does not happen overnight. Yes, attraction certainly happens immediately, but true love requires a deep emotional bond with the other person that can only come with time. Time to get to know each other. And to develop a relationship that deepens as that time goes on.

He/she loves you? Maybe in their own sad way they do. But it’s not real love.

And it can only lead to broken hearts. And disaster.

Moms Are Special

Even after almost 12 years I still find myself missing her so much. There are many, many times that I wake up just wanting to talk to her one more time.

That feeling is magnified when I talk to friends whose mothers are going through serious illnesses, and when I see the pain of worry in their eyes and hear the fear in their voices as they talk about the surgeries or the chemo their mom is facing. When they talk about her memory issues and how scared they are about what could be ahead.

It makes my heart hurt. For both of them.

Because I know all too well how they feel.

Moms are so special. Most of us have been blessed with wonderful loving mothers who would have given their lives for their children…and if they’re still around, they still would.

When we’re very young, our moms are the ones who are always there for us; who encourage us; guide us; and yes, tell us when we’re wrong, even though we may not want to hear it at the time. As we get older our relationship evolves into not only a deeper love, but a friendship that only another mother and daughter can understand.

And when that relationship is threatened because Mom is seriously ill, we just want to return to that easier time, when we were kids and Mom was younger and healthy, and our biggest problem was what to eat for dinner or wear to school for picture day.

Because our moms are special. Whether we’re lucky enough to see or talk to them every day, or only see them once or twice a year, they’re still our moms, and just knowing they’re at least only a phone call away gives us a sense of comfort. A sense of comfort we don’t totally appreciate until it’s gone.

It seems like forever since I’ve been able to talk to my mother. But I still remember the sound of her voice, and I can still hear her say my name in my mind, almost as clearly as if she were standing behind me. I hope I never lose that sound. There are so many times I need to hear it.

I never really had a fear of losing her. Not until the last year or so of her life when it suddenly became clear she wasn’t going to be with us forever. She’d been a part of my life for so long, I’d never even thought about that possibility. I just always accepted she’d be part of our lives forever. But no one lives on this earth forever.

I miss her. A lot. Even after so many years there are still times I find myself saying, “I need to tell Mom that!” Or, “Mom will love hearing about what Rachel (her great-granddaughter who’s named after her) did today!” Sometimes I even pick up my phone and start punching in her number (yes, I still remember it)…until I remember I can’t. She’s not there anymore. And I don’t know her phone number up in heaven.

Even at my age, I still miss her. There are so many times I still need to talk to her. To get her advice. To share special moments of happiness. And be comforted when things go wrong as only my mother could do.

Mom taught me well, although I didn’t know it at the time. She taught me what it means to be a mother, and passed a very special and important baton to me when she left. You see, now I’m the mother that’s the head of our family. The matriarch. I’m the one our daughter looks to during those moments, those times a daughter just needs her mom. And even then, I find myself longing for my own mom’s advice, because I know I can never fill her shoes.

I wonder if she felt that way about her own mother. Somehow I believe she did. After all, Mother’s are special, especially to their daughters.

As we approach Mother’s Day, a holiday that’s still hard for me because she’s no longer here to enjoy it with, let me remind each of you to remember how special your mother is. If she’s still here, spend time with her, and if you’re not lucky enough to live nearby, call her, and talk to her as long as you can.

Even if your relationship with her isn’t good, for each of your sakes, make the call, or drop by for a short visit. At least she’s still around. One day she won’t be, and you won’t have the opportunity any more.

Mom, I miss you. I love you. I still need you here. But I can’t change things. I know you’re happy where you are, because you’re with my father again. But I still selfishly wish you were here.

Happy Mother’s Day. I hope it’s wonderful up in Heaven. And I hope you can get a glimpse of us as we’re celebrating three generations of women in our family. We love you. And miss you terribly.

Because you’re special. And always will be.

A Letter to a Mother to Be

You just found out you were pregnant. This isn’t your first baby. You’ve had several.

You know all of the symptoms. All the feelings. That excitement and wonder of new life growing inside you. You may be almost 40 years old, but the excitement is as strong as it was with your first one, some 17 years ago.

The problem is, you’re no longer married. You already have five children, the youngest just starting school. You’re excited, but you’re also scared. Not only of what other people will say or think, including your children and family, but what the baby’s father will think. He has no children. He’s never even been married.

You love this man, and want to spend the rest of your life with him. But you don’t know where the baby fits in with these plans. You’ve never thought about it; never discussed it. You never had reason to. You don’t know how he’ll react, but

because you love him so much and he loves you, it’s going to be all right.

Or is it?

And it’s almost Mother’s Day. The day you’ve always enjoyed because it means so much to you to be “Mom” to those five wonderful children. Sure they’re a handful, and it’s been challenging, to say the least. Especially since the divorce. You’re not sure you’re doing everything the way you should now. In fact, you’re a huge bundle of nerves and emotions now, probably because you’re pregnant again, and probably because you know you’re going to have to tell tell the baby’s father.

Tonight. You’re going to break the news tonight. And you don’t know how he’s going to react. You don’t want to lose him. But you also know that you don’t want to lose this new little life already growing inside you. The life you two created together, just like the five other lives you created with your ex-husband. You wouldn’t trade them for anything.

You wouldn’t trade away one sleepless night, one of those rushed trips to the doctor for stitches, fevers, and ear infections. You’d not give up any of those precious good night kisses, middle of the night snuggles, handmade Mother’s Day cards, the little bunches of dandelions lovingly presented by your three year old who couldn’t wait to tell you, “I picked these for you all by myself.”

No, you wouldn’t trade any of it away, and you wouldn’t give up any opportunity to have those wonderful moments just one more time.

So tonight, what are you going to do if he isn’t happy? If he tells you it’s him or the baby? Sure you’ve thought about it. But in your heart, you know what the right thing to do will be. And you’ll do it.

I can’t tell you what will happen tonight. But I can tell you not to be afraid of any decision you have to make, because I know you’ll make the right one. The unselfish one.

You may end up having this baby without the support of its father. You may end up broken hearted because he decides to leave. Or you might find the beginning of what you hope will be “happily ever after.”

It’s hard to predict this particular outcome. But no matter what happens, what he says or does, I know you’ll make the right decision. You’ll hold your head up. You won’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Your children will be excited. Your real friends will be supportive and help you as much as they can. The ones that talk about you, whisper behind your back…they aren’t your real friends.

And you will make a wonderful life with your soon to be six children. A life you would never have ever imagined…..

It’s almost Mother’s Day. Celebrate that new life and all it means, because a new life is always precious, and should never be taken for granted or discarded.