I’m not married to the same woman I knew on our wedding day, and that’s a good thing.

0048Once upon a time I married this amazing young lady.  She’s a different person now 12 ½ years into our marriage but I wouldn’t trade the woman I’m married to now for the lady I knew on my wedding day for all the riches of the world!

Now don’t get me wrong, she was great back then! Fantastic, wonderful, caring, & loving!  Back then she liked doing things like getting caught in the rain (and kissing me while she was at it).  She had time to improve on all her amazing talents like singing and piano playing.  She was an amazing student and blew me away with her knowledge and wisdom.  On top of all that, this lady was totally into me!  She found ways for us to spend as much time together as possible, she doted on me and would make treats and surprises for me (of course I reciprocated).  And, without a doubt, she was one of the most beautiful women that had ever given me the time of day!  When I got married I felt bad for just about every other person with a Y-chromosome on the planet; I’d found her, the best woman in the world, I’d married her…I’d won!

So, what could have possibly changed to turn this already amazing woman into something even better?  In four short words:  She became a mom.

What is it about motherhood that can take the most talented women on planet, the women who put all us men to shame already, and suddenly make them even better?  Is it the nine months of selflessly sharing your body, and sense of individuality with another living being?  Is it the months of using their breasts to give life-sustaining sustenance to this child they had carried?  Is it the years that follow of patiently tutoring this child she had carried and fed into becoming a productive member of society?IMG_1480

Well, by my observations it must me some combination of all of the above.  The young woman I married has been slowly changing in these past years.  Changes that I can’t see day-to-day, that are difficult to even see year-to-year, but who I know has become a different person nonetheless.  The sleepless nights have worn off some of rough edges, the caregiving has nurtured her nurturing, and seeing the accomplishments of her children has born witness to her own talents and her future potential.

I’m still sure I won!  She’s still fantastic, wonderful, caring, loving, & beautiful, but each of those qualities have grown beyond what I even thought possible before my wife became a mother.

 

 

 

(Since I’m sharing this publicly, I do want to add an addendum to this.  This post is essentially a love-letter to my wife, not a factual evaluation of motherhood or womanhood.  I do recognize that many women achieve great things without becoming mothers.  Whether through circumstance or choice, women who do not become mothers have the same chances for individual greatness that women who are mothers do.)

What I’ve learned watching The Simpsons for 25 Years

Clockwise from top left: Marge, Homer, Bart, S...

Clockwise from top left: Marge, Homer, Bart, Santa’s Little Helper (dog), Snowball II (cat), Lisa, and Maggie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw a headline today “5 Lessons Learned from the Simpsons” and couldn’t help but read it. As someone who has watched The Simpsons from the very beginning (although I had to hide it from my mom for several of the early seasons, and it took me quite a while to catch up on all the episodes I missed during my two year mission), any headline like that will catch my attention.  Apparently the editors at ABC News decided to come up with these reasons to celebrate The Simpsons being on air for 25 year.

Click on the link above to see what the editors at ABC News came up with.  I decided to add my own personal 5 as an avid fan.

  1. Lisa is the moral core of the family, but she is an evolving one.  In early episodes Lisa was the most religiously devout and would often seek counsel from Reverend Lovejoy.  She also wanted to grow GMO giant tomatoes to help starving people in impoverished countries.  Nowadays she is a Buddhist-vegetarian-environmentalist, who is sometimes also a Humanist-Atheist.  I believe that Lisa has evolved along with wherever Hollywood attributes the greatest moral thought to come from.  I’m sure that some criticism could be written up about these changes to Lisa, but I’m just gonna say this: anyone who truly wants to help their fellow man can find examples of moral behavior anywhere, and should recognize the value of their example no matter where it comes from.
  2. Conan O’Brian is a funny guy.  He hasn’t written a Simpsons episode in 20 years, but his are still the best.
  3. No matter how many times you fail, you should keep on striving towards improvement. Whether it’s Homer putting coins in a jar to stop swearing or him using a subliminal tape to lose weight (“the triumvirate of Twinkies merely overwhelmed my resolve”), the journey of self-improvement never truly ends so keep at it.
  4. “Don’t forget, you’re here forever” turned into “Do it for her.” By far the most sincerely sweet moment on The Simpsons ever.  Every dad needs reminders to keep on doing crappy stuff for the benefit of your kids, even Homer Simpson.
  5. (I’m copying the same one from the ABC editors, but hey, news reporters do get some stuff right sometimes.)  Blood is thicker than water.  The Simpsons as a family stick together throughout the worst of everything, and they’ll keep on sticking together no matter what challenges they will continue to face.

Granddad Gil

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The XX beer guy had nothing on my Grandfather.  Gilbert Morrison was without a doubt the most interesting man in the world.  In my 34 years of life, I only got to know him a little because he was a very personal man.  Yet, he left an indelible mark on me that has affected my desired pastimes and my career direction.  I have been blessed to have an unquenchable wanderlust that was first piqued when looking and my Granddad’s slides of his world travels, and I chose to pursue a career in counseling thanks to his example as a psychiatrist.

I’ll leave better descriptions of him to those who knew him better, but I wanted to write about the weekend I was able to spend with my extended family remembering him and celebrating his life.

It wasn’t easy, but somehow all my siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were all able to set aside last weekend to get together and reminisce about my granddad.  Laura and I were lucky enough that her sisters and brother-in-law were able to watch our kids for us, and so last Friday we flew down to LAX to stay with my brother.  Since I’ve been in grad school for the past several years I haven’t been able to travel much and I definitely haven’t visited my siblings as much as I’d like.  So this was my first time seeing my brother’s newly remodeled house in Santa Monica.  We were the first to arrive, by late evening all my siblings were under one roof for the first time in years.  In fact, when coming home from the airport we were all in one car at the same time, and none of us could even remember the last time that happened.

My granddad was interred at the Pacific View cemetery in Newport, CA.  When we arrived my parents and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins were already there.  We gathered around the wall where his urn was placed with my grandmother and alongside my great-grandparents and we all took turns sharing memories of him. It was a mostly joyful gathering.  After we were done we took a few photos and then looked for some of the famous graves in the cemetery.  John Wayne was the only one we found, but hey it was John Wayne, that’s pretty much as good as it gets.

We then were treated to a lunch at P.F. Chang’s by my granddad’s trust.  It was rather amazing that they actually kept everyone’s orders correct.

We finally got to my granddad’s apartment where my mom, my aunt and uncles had set aside mementos for all of us to look through and to take home.  Like I said, my granddad was an interesting fellow, and his decades of travels had allowed him to accumulate some interesting items.  In the end, we all found things we wanted with no quarreling or bickering.

We finished our weekend with a trip to a swanky West Beverly Hills restaurant, where we all stayed up way too late (especially since Laura and I had an early flight out the next morning), but it was worth it because we don’t get enough opportunities to sit around and just talk free of kids and responsibilities.