Love Story

True Love
Don’t you just love hearing how people meet? How just one day paths cross and lives are changed forever. As a hopeless romantic, I am constantly asking couples I meet how they met. This past summer, a sweet Australian couple told me how they met on a train platform. A dear friend met her husband at church upon settling into a new city. Just today at the shop one of our artists told me she met her husband at The Muse, a local Nantucket watering hole. But my favorite story by far is that of my sweet grandparents, Malcolm and Gladys. My grandfather tells it like this…

I was working on the docks and my buddy mentioned to me that there was a new girl visiting the island from Fairhaven. Rumor had it her father had a fishing boat. He said she was quite cute and that he was going to ask her out to the movies that evening. I, trusting his judgement, quickly told him that she was already busy that night as I had asked her out. Now, I hadn’t even met her yet but knew our paths would cross later that day. And of course, they did. On Main Street, with my buddy, we saw your grandmother and I promptly asked if she would join me at the movies. The rest is history.

Amazing, right? I love the confidence of my grandfather. Fighting for the girl he hadn’t even met yet (perhaps this is where my hopeless romanticism comes from). And now, in their 69th year of marriage, these two continue to be my hope and inspiration for love. They both will attest it takes work. My grandmother says she just got lucky. I think they both did and so did I.

malcolm & gladys

Listen

Love Yourself
Friends, I had an epic fail yesterday. I woke up early to make a batch of my go-to chocolate chip cookies for a certain someone for Valentine’s Day. The plan was to send them overnight today to my old city but with Winter Storm Pax on the way I thought I better get them in the mail ahead of the storm. I love this recipe because the cookies always come out just as a cookie should be: crispy, chewy and delicious. But on the one day when it really mattered how they turned out, they were just, how do I say, not good. How could I possibly send along to that someone I wanted to impress?

But then I took a step back. And listened. The universe was giving me a sign. You see, I tend to put myself out there a bit too much. My dear friends (thank you so much) have certainly heard me analyze relationships over and over again. I will admit, I think I’ve gotten better but as my wise friend Mary told me just this past week “May, you have to guard your heart.” So universe, thank you for making me take pause and listen. While sending cookies along to Mr. Boston would certainly be a nice gesture, perhaps Valentine’s Day is not the time to do so. He knows how I feel about him and has shared how he feels about me but our timing is just a bit off. In the end, timing is everything. And you know what, I believe he and I are both worth the wait.

Island life is teaching me to be patient. And listen. Two important lessons for this girl. And thus, I guess I will be my special someone to impress today for as Carrie Bradshaw reminds me, “the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

To H

Letter H
My sweet H… How are you on this chilly Friday? Warm and cozy by the fire, I hope!

Did you learn about Martin Luther King this week at school? We observe his birthday every year on the third Monday of January (he was born on January 15). You know why? Rev. King was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement (and yes, your Mom and I were not alive then). Between 1957 and 1968, Rev. King traveled over six million miles to protest racial segregation through non-violent sit-ins and talks and marches. I am sad to say that there was a time when not everyone was treated as equals. One of Rev. Kings’ greatest legacies in his speech “l Have a Dream”, that he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. This speech, along with his continued protests of racial segregation, brought about change. And while there is still work to do, we have Dr. King to thank for so much.

I have learned a great many lessons from the words of Martin Luther King but my absolute favorite is this: “I have decided to stick to love… hate is too great a burden to bear.” I am going to let you in on a little secret, my dear. Love really is the only thing that matters. If you have love in your heart and truth in your words and convictions, you will go far. Please, please try not to carry anger or resentment. It will only eat at you, I promise.

I’m on the slow boat now and my internet service keeps coming in and out so I will bring this letter to a close. Know that I love you and hope to see you very soon, thinking the second weekend in February. Perhaps you will be my Valentine. How lucky would I be!

Until next time, continue to be you for you are simply the best!
Auntie May

My Light

Will
As a little girl there was only one thing I wanted… a brother. When my Mom called that September day to tell me she had just delivered her fourth daughter (my third sister), I put down the phone, grabbed my pre-packed basket with all the necessities a four-year old could possibly need (white t-shirts, underpants (as we loved to call them then), my blanket (of course) and snacks) and off I went. I had warned my mother before she left that if she didn’t bring me a brother, I would leave. Granted, one couldn’t go very far on an island and by nightfall I was back home. But the longing for a brother stayed with me.

Nearly 9 years later, William Ashton was born. My world changed that day. You see, I was a determined and driven little girl (I mean I did run away from home at the age of 4) and dreamt of the Ivy Leagues and law school and thus children and being a mom was never really a thought. But then, I held my new brother just hours old for the first time. And my world stopped. The instant bond and love I had for little Will was like nothing I had experienced before.

From that day on, my life goal was quite simple… to be the best big sister I could be. I enjoyed every basketball game at The Club, little league games at The Delta Fields, pizza nights at Sophie T’s, just times together. As we both got older, I cherished visits to my apartment in Boston and proudly took Will to his first concert at The Orpheum. Moe. What a trip.

And then the unimaginable happened. I was walking down Charles Street that January night in 2008 and my world stopped. Again. My sister called to tell me that William had been in an accident and was taken to the emergency room. I looked at the time and realized there was no way for me to get home. The 7 pm flight from Logan was taking off in 10 minutes and the last boat was leaving Hyannis in an hour. I couldn’t get home to be by his side. Thirty minutes later, my mom called and told me that William was gone.

To this day, it is still difficult for me to comprehend that my sweet brother is not here. I will never see his smile or be the reason he laughs again. I will never see him graduate from college, fall in love, get married, be a father. I have written about loss before but nothing, even my divorce, compares. You know what I struggle with most… what were the last words I spoke to him. We had spent the holidays together and enjoyed our yearly ritual of going for a drive to look at all the Christmas lights. I remember him getting out of the car and opening my door to give me a big hug. Did I tell him I loved him then? Did I tell him how proud I was of him? I think so but I can’t remember. It still eats at me to this day.

I try to find peace in the written word and this past weekend, I picked up Alice Hoffman’s Survival Lessons. Her Short Guide to a Happy Life has always been one of my favorites. She writes “I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts sorrow and joy, and that it is impossible to have one without the other. This is what makes us human. This is why our world is so precious.” I have learned that the hard way. People often comment that I have such strength in going after what I want. I have my brother to thank for this. So let his passing remind you of this too. If you want something, fight for it. If you love someone, tell them. If you have wronged someone, apologize. Life is far too short to hold onto any fear.

And Will, thanks for continuing to shine your light on me. You were everything I ever hoped a brother could be and so much more. Can’t wait to see you again!

To You

Sara Barellies is just one of those singer/songwriters whose lyrics speak to my soul. “Something always brings me back to you, it never takes to long.” Gravity. Gosh, everytime I hear that song I remember those feelings of lost love.

While enjoying her Blessed Unrest concert in Boston this past weekend, I was introduced to I Choose You, a letter Sara wrote to her future soul mate. Beautiful, right? So I was thinking, I should write one. Let me know what you think!

************
Wow… what a road it has been to get to you. I really tried to never lose site of you at the end of this journey but I must be honest and say I maybe fell short a few times. But you, you have restored my faith in not only relationships, but love and myself. With you, I have found me. I was always worried about the silences I shared with lovers in the past. “What are they thinking” would run through my head. But with you. I love the silence. Because I no longer doubt how another feels for me. You show me with your words. You tell me with your actions.

I was worried I would have to chose between passion and friendship but you put that worry to bed. I finally found the one to be silly with. And honey, you make me laugh harder than I ever have in my life.

Where will this journey lead us? Only time will tell. But I will tell you this. I will be here for you. Every minute of every hour of every day. I know there will be challenges. I know there will be tears. But I also know that there will be great laughter. And adventure. And a journey we never knew we deserved until we were united.

And I just have to say this, I love that you love to kiss me as I much as I love to kiss you for it truly is one of my favorite things to do.

I am grateful everyday for you.

My King

King of Hearts
One of the many joys of island life is having wonderful friends come and visit. A few weeks back, I was able to spend a delightful morning with my dear friend R visiting from D.C. I really do have some talented friends. She was telling me all about this new podcast series she is working on with two of her friends down in the district “Ten Questions we Always Ask.” So what ten questions do they always ask? Well, you will just have to tund into the podcasts (available on iTunes) to find out.

Ok, fine. I will share just one with you. The questions is “what can you always be found with?” Let’s see… I always have my planner, a book, my journal, my favorite pen, my iPod and my king of hearts card. Yes, you read that right. My king of hearts card.

Since my divorce, I indulge in a yearly card reading. Why you ask? One of my greatest fears is that I will end up alone. I know, I know… I shouldn’t think such things but I do. So the one question I return to again and again (as he always ask, “is there something you want to focus on?”) is “will I find my great love/partner?” And you know, the card I have pulled more times than not is the king of cups. Lucky for me, there are few cards that are more loving than the king of cups, which indicates that someone who is very balanced and loving will enter your life in the future. Hope.

So how does the king of cups translate to my king of hearts card. Well, let me tell you. It all goes back to that wonderful series Sex and the City. I think it was a February night when I was siting in my apartment at 263 watching an old episode (season 6, episode 7 to be precise) when I realized, oh my god, my ex is Berger. Now don’t worry, he didn’t break up with me on a post-it note but the similarities are quite strong. Berger’s one redeeming quality was his quirky hobby of collecting playing cards found in the street. So I thought… I want to do this. And as you can guess, the first card I found was the king of hearts. My past leading me to my future? Yes, that is exactly how I see it!

And there you have it… the things I will always be found with. Be sure to tune into this bi-monthly podcast. I promise you will be well entertained.

Remembrance

The world changed that day. 12 years ago. I was just three weeks away from moving to Boston and so hopeful for that next chapter of my life to begin. I had spent the summer working at an island law firm in the hopes that it would help me land that big city job. I remember the first phone call that morning. Andy R. The high-intensity NY businessman who was not only selling an island home but purchasing one the next day. “A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. I can see the smoke from New Jersey.” I hung up the phone confused. How could this be? I had been on the observation deck years earlier. I was told that on a clear day you could see the curvature of the earth.

We were unable to access the Internet at the time as the network was congested (hard to believe, I know). And then, the second call letting us know what was going on. An attack. Thinking about it now it is still difficult to comprehend the magnitude. My innocence was lost that day. But in the days that followed, my faith in human kind ignited. In the end, love will conquer all. We must love our neighbors, our partners, our friends, our adversaries and most of all, ourselves. Remember this!

I stumbled upon this poem earlier. The beauty of the written word is so powerful. Holding you all close to my heart this evening!

Bright blue September skies
Hold all of the promises of tomorrow
And all of the memories of the past
September has a language of its own
One that I am not sure I understand most years
Where fall means stand up and hurt means
Hold on and hold still and hold up
September brings clear night stars
Which invite me to swallow the failures of before
And the regret of unfinished and to taste the sweet
Big Dipper full of the human experience
All good and bad and ugly and utterly elusive
No matter how much it hurts
When the hydrangeas start to go by
It’s time to soothe my heart again
To empty it of the pain of loss
And to keep the good and feel in my soul
That we never forget love and it all stays
All of it, every last little coffee date or hand in hand
We get to keep it, and add to it
What a precious privilege that is,
To know beyond certainty
That all of the days of my life
No matter what
I am the one
Who gets to keep your love.

Source: http://darlingmagazine.org/blue-september/

Risk

Be You
Well… this is a post I have wanted to write for sometime. As I revealed a few weeks ago, I was hurt back in 2006. A hurt I was certain I would never recover from. And then, as with all things, time healed the pain.

After the rebound relationship, and “the right one that became the wrong one” and the ever so tragic (re)connection with a college beau, I officially swore off dating. And naturally, that’s when it always happens. It was March 2011, Boston. I had just returned from a little jaunt to Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos, where I made the decision to stay single. We of course know what happens next.

It was one of those first spring days in March, a Friday to be precise and the hope of a new season was in the air. My girlfriend, her husband and I made our way to the Liberty Hotel, a hot-spot in Boston at the time. I was ordering drinks for all of us and was trying to be the nice girl in a crowded bar so asked the gentlemen behind me if he needed a drink… a coke and rye his response. When I turned around with drink in hand, there he was. M.  I apologized for not getting him a drink and he told me not to be silly as he held up his cocktail. He commented on my smile and I joked and said “tell me something I don’t know.”

My friend and her husband had to leave as she had consumed a few too many cocktails and as I walked them outside, I realized I had to make a decision: to call it a night or walk back into the crowded bar by myself to a man I had just met. Looking back, there was no choice at all. I walked right on in. The next few hours went by in a flash. Talking, joking, laughing. It was so natural. At the end of the night (morning, really), we parted ways. He asked for my number, which I kindly declined to give as really he wasn’t going to call. But he pressed and I gave in. As I drove away, I was certain I would never hear from him again.

But I did. M… he surprised me. And so began our friendship. Two weeks later, he invited me north to Toronto. At first, I kindly declined the invitation. How could I get on a plane and travel across international borders for a boy I knew so little about? But as I mentioned in last week’s post, I am a romantic and thus followed my heart and said yes. I booked a flight, a room at the Drake Hotel and counted down the days till my first Canadian adventure.

And what a weekend it was. A trip to Niagara Falls, oysters, my first caesar, exploring a new city with a new friend… I was on cloud nine. And thus began our long distance courtship. Phone calls and emails, and texts, and IMs… it was all just so easy. I invited him back to my city for Memorial Day weekend. Enjoying a place you love with a person you care for… it doesn’t get much better. The familiar takes on new meaning. The food at Ten Tables was that much more amazing. The bench on Commonwealth that I spent so many nights on was different now as we had sat there together. And then the time came to say goodbye. Neither one of us were very good with these. I stood at the beginning of the security line at Logan, watching him pass through check-points, waiting for him to turn around and smile. When we spoke that night, he said “I wanted to turn around but knew if I did I would never leave.” My heart (and head) were falling and falling hard.

A few weeks later, it all changed. After a weekend in Montreal, he began to pull away and days later I got the phone call I knew was coming. He said he couldn’t do it anymore… that I deserved more than he was capable of giving. A cop-out. Perhaps. Words I have heard before, for sure. I have had such a hard time letting him go. After several months I had my moment of clarity. M was the first man who allowed me to be me. Who enjoyed being with me for just how I was in those moments. I was just me and for a time, that is all he needed.

I haven’t spoken to M in nearly 18 months. He says it’s too hard to hear from me. I think of him nearly every day. But he taught me a very valuable lesson and for that I am eternally grateful. And I know he has brought me one step closer to the one who will want to step up and give me everything I so greatly deserve as he too knows I will do the same for him. Risks are good and although you fail at times, a lesson is always learned. And what good is life if we aren’t learning and growing.

 

Movie Monday

Before Midnight
I think I have said this before but I am a true romantic and thus a sucker for a beautiful love story. The Before Sunrise trilogy, which I was just recently introduced to, may just be my favorite. If you aren’t familiar with these movies, please allow me a brief introduction.

The first movie Before Sunrise premiered in 1995 and introduced the world to Jesse and Celine, an American boy and a French girl, who have a chance meeting on a train and decide to disembark in Vienna, unplanned of course, and spend an evening together exploring the city and their new friendship. The film ends with Jesse and Celine at the train station making a plan to visit each other in the same spot six months later. Will they meet again?

Fast forward to 2004, Before Sunset. Jesse is in Paris promoting his recent novel about an evening encounter that turns into love (a work of fiction, of course). Through the crowd at the Shakespearean Book Company, where the reading takes place, Jesse catches eyes with Celine. They spend the afternoon walking Paris, similar to their time in Vienna, discussing life and the years lost. We learn that Jesse did indeed travel to Vienna to meet Celine. They share stories of their current relationships, their jobs and the love they still share for each other. The film ends with Jesse and Celine at her apartment. Will Jesse leave and get on the plane back to his wife and son?

Nine years later, we get our answer. Before Midnight begins with Jesse and Celine together in Greece with their two beautiful girls. Did true love prevail? You will just have to watch these films to find out!

These films show us the poetry of everyday life… how the simple choices we make can change our lives forever. Would you get off the train to spend an afternoon with someone you just met? Would you fight for the one who got away? My answer is emphatically YES! I will share more of my own “before sunrise” story later this week but let me leave you with this beautiful thought… “You can never replace anyone because everyone is made of such beautiful, specific details.” Embrace the wrong ones that got away. Don’t try to forget them. They lead you to what really matters. And as a sweet lady told me last week, “Remember, Maybeth… it only take’s one.”