Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seasons of my life

 **The following is my guest post as it appeared

      Hello, I am Shelly, author of

    I've been asked to post here today as a guest.  I am known for my cooking and baking and finally decided to blog about my love of food, family and fun in general.  I share recipes on my site as well as snippets and snapshots into my everyday life. 

    Fall has arrived and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  The changing of the seasons is synonomous with my life and, as I find myself reflecting on the past, I'm walking into the future with joyful anticipation. 

    To sum things up, I have to go back and share a little history.  This is my 3rd marriage and we are newlyweds.  Doug is retired and has grown children and a total of 5 grandchildren.  I have 2 boys (both in college) from my first marriage which lasted 20 years.  In between these two marriages, I had a short union of two years that was very stressful and unhappy because we were not able to blend our families. 

     I am as family oriented as they come, so finding myself in a position where I wasn't liked and not supported by my husband was very hard on me, to say the least.  In fact, when my oldest son was a youngster, I recall him referring to me as "a home-made mom" to one of his friends.  That was his term for a stay at home mom who served a homemade meal most every night as our entire family gathered around the kitchen table.  It still warms my heart when I think of that comment.  I consider it a compliment and a real blessing that I was afforded the ability to provide that kind of family environment for my boys. 

     Thanksgiving was always a very traditional time for our young family.  There were only two occasions I can recall when I did not prepare and/or host the holiday meal.  Once my mother decided we should go out to a restaurant and I left that experience vowing that would never again be an option.  One of the perks of cooking all that food at home is that you have enough leftovers to last several days, and I missed those!  The first Thanksgiving after my first husband and I divorced was beyond difficult.  The boys and I would rather have skipped the entire day, but we were invited to celebrate with extended family.  Their intentions were the best; they certainly didn't want us to be alone on such a day, but the boys and I couldn't deny that the fit was all wrong.  Another vow was made that thereafter, no matter what, I would cook Thanksgiving dinner at our own home.

     My second husband and I decided to host Thanksgiving dinner for 28 members of (mostly his) family in the new home I'd built just after we married.  The thrill I'd felt about entertaining the large group on such a momentous occasion was short-lived, however.  After the meal and clean up, his teen daughter lashed out at me in front of a few remaining guests, and to make a long story short, the blended family I'd envisioned never jelled.  After months of counseling, I separated from Ron and spent the next Thanksgiving solo.  My oldest had moved out years ago and my youngest spent the holiday out of state, with his father.  I did not cook; I'm pretty sure I sulked.

     Fast forward to last year, when my youngest son graduated from High School and then promptly moved out to join his brother in California, where they both attend college.  I live in Indiana, which simply seems too far away. This Christmas season, my 19 year old will visit for the first time since he made me an empty nester.  I cannot tell you how much I'm anticipating spending time with him. 

     My current husband entered my life just at the same point in time that my son, Tyler, was moving on.  It was a seamless transition, looking back.  Much like gazing out a window one winter day at a landscape filled with trees stripped of their leaves, then at next glance you delight in the spring buds of regrowth. 

    Thanksgiving of 2010, I cooked a holiday meal for just Doug and myself. The absence of both my sons was palpable, but nevertheless I was grateful that I had someone special to share the day with.  Since my marriage in May, 2011, there's a renewed sense of joy that comes from being part of a family again.  Naturally this wasn't the future I'd envisioned all those years ago when I imagined my sons growing up, leaving the nest and starting their own lives.  To be frank, I assumed their father and I would grow old together and the boys would live somewhere in close proximity, thus allowing us to visit and spend special occasions together.  Things don't always work out the way we'd planned nor can we predict the future.  I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.  We may not understand it at the time, but there is usually a silver lining if we look.

     I'll still be missing my boys every day and especially at our Thanksgiving table this year but we've invited Doug's children and grandchildren to join us.  As my bond with each of his grandchildren grows, a glance into their faces or an impromptu hug and sweet kiss on the cheek transport me right back to the days of my own childrens' youth.

     There's a song that's always spoken to my heart called "Landslide", and part of the lyrics are, "....can I sail through the changing ocean tides, can I handle the seasons of my life?"  As I head into Thanksgiving this year, I find myself reflecting on how apropos that tune is.  The singer goes on to say, "Well, I've been afraid of changing, 'cause I built my life around you.  But time makes you bolder.  Children get older.  I'm getting older too". 

     As I count my blessings this year, I'm extremely grateful to Doug's family for so warmly accepting me and for the gift of these beautiful bonus grandkids.  The joy that they bring makes this new season of my life wonderous. 



  1. Wow ... how Lovely! Wishing you and your family a Beautiful and Memorable Thanksgiving! Hug those grandkids and everyone near! Enjoy Shelly!

  2. Thank you so much, Debbie! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well and thanks for stopping by to read my post.

  3. Such a nice story. I am glad Doug has you too!!
    Hope we get to meet one of these days and get to know each other. We sound alot alike. I love family also! Both you and Doug and family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Enjoy your new family!
    Love to you all, Cousin Jan.

  4. Hi Jan,
    Thank you so much---I too hope we get to meet someday; Doug's said such nice things about you and of course everybody in his family. I'm totally enjoying every moment of this. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well!

  5. I enjoyed your post today so much! Thanks for sharing your heart. I've had some holidays where I didn't cook either and it just isn't the same. Easier maybe, but not the same. Once you've experienced a quiet holiday, you long for the chaotic and boisterous times with family. Many blessings to you this Thanksgiving!

  6. Kimberly, thank you so much---your comment means a lot to me as this post came straight from my heart. At times it was difficult to write, but the intent was that it might provide hope to someone else who perhaps is following in my footsteps. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  7. This is great, Shelly. When you mentioned the lyrics of Landslide the Dixie Chicks version started playing in my head :). I'm not sure who did the song originally (maybe Stevie Nicks?) but either way it goes, that's a great song about growth and moving on. Congrats on your new marriage.

  8. Hi again, Fawn! The orig. artist was Stevie Nicks; and yes, that song is so apropos for my life these past few years. Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate the warm wishes ;-)