Cutting, Keeping & Nurturing the Right Ties, Redux

Things have changed since the original post, but the peace really hasn’t.

I originally wrote this blog post a few years ago about my ex-husband and daughters celebrating our wedding anniversary together. Some people found this pretty weird, and others celebrated our vastly improved relationship since we chose to exit our marriage. 

Either way, this is our life and how we choose to live it. 

For anyone who believes they despise their ex, or spends a lot of mind and heart space on reliving the bad, I hope this article includes benefits for you.

Being divorced and co-parenting isn’t always easy. In my own experience, walking through a divorce and then making an intentional choice to stay kind and loving as co-parents, takes work and commitment. (And then, more work and re-commitment.) The truth is, I’ve been far more committed to, (and successful at,) being a good ex-wife, than I ever was, at being a good wife the entire time I was married.

The commitment to working on a healthy relationship with my ex has been one of the most poignant and growthful experiences of my life. 

I wish you peace, joy and harmony for all parties, even where dissonance exists.

_____________________________

Originally Published on June 16th, 2016

Yesterday was my 14th wedding anniversary. My ex-husband and I honored each other and our children, with an evening of celebrating together. We’ve been divorced for five years, and separated for a few years before that.

I don’t regret marrying. I learned a great deal about my own insecurities, my willingness to forgive, my desire to take risks, and my openness to learn and grow from my mistakes. Our marriage also resulted in two beautiful daughters who bring us daily joy and an abundance of gray hairs.

Last evening, as I enjoyed my nontraditional family, I marveled at our kind and empathetic friendship, one that we committed to work on when we first split.  When we initially made this commitment, it was for the kids. I think we’ve both realized how much it nourishes our own health and well being. The kids benefit from our example of care and respect for each other and for our own selves.

My ex-husband and I are good people. We both agree that we didn’t like ourselves when we were together. We were incapable of lifting each other up to our best selves in our marriage.

My divorce, while painful for obvious reasons, has been a very positive experience in my life.

Now, I mostly embrace my life as a single, working mom. My mind, heart and spirit are open to possibilities, but the same mind, heart and spirit are extremely discerning. If it’s not right, no thanks.

In all ways, I am interested in matches where I am encouraged to be my best self so there are possibilities to reciprocate fully, ever reminding myself, and everyone else, that I am never trapped in anything but my own thoughts.

Leaving my marriage was my first best lesson in learning that being trapped in a relationship is never, ever actually true.

EVER.

______________________

“You are enough, right now, just as you are.”

Doug cut

 

52 Facts I Never Want to Forget About My Relationship with the One and Only, Gregg Helfer

One of my favorite human beings passed away one year ago and I wrote this piece one year ago when I was in tremendous grief.
I am grateful I wrote this the day Gregg passed, because I never want to forget the little things. There will only be one Gregg Helfer. The impact of Gregg’s presence on me, my kids and our lives, was profound and will be cherished always.

Continue reading “52 Facts I Never Want to Forget About My Relationship with the One and Only, Gregg Helfer”

My Love Affair with Lady Charlotte

Charlotte Lindon was as dedicated to tikkun olam as anyone I have ever met.  She was without exception, always thinking of others and of healing communities.  When I would schedule a visit with her, I would get more and more excited as the appointment drew near, because I knew we’d be like two excited kids playing in the “I love philanthropy” playground. We were so happy together.

Charlotte Lindon, 96, died yesterday. I am stricken with grief, but I am also grateful for the very special relationship we had for as many years as we had it.

Her obituary touches on her magnificence, but I am going to share some other things you might want to know about Charlotte Lindon. (Not the secrets. The secrets we shared will remain within me forever.)

  1.  Charlotte believed that her unwavering devotion to philanthropy came to her genetically. Her Grandfather, whom she never met, was all about tikkun olam
  2.  Charlotte periodically expressed that if she had one person she could bring back from the dead, it would be her Grandfather.
  3. Charlotte knew the reasons why I am so crazy about my own Mother. She loved hearing about Lois Klier. She also thought my Father, Mort Klier, was extremely good looking and “dapper.”
  4. Charlotte was fascinated by ancestry and became very interested in my adoption story and how I found and related to my birth family.
  5. Charlotte appreciated little things like when I’d drop off some blueberries or coffee cake at the front desk. I would only say who they were from so she wouldn’t worry about the source. (Once I left something for her anonymously, and that was a MISTAKE.)
  6. Charlotte would always tell me I shouldn’t put myself out to get her blueberries or coffee cake. After a while, I finally said to her, “Charlotte… do you really want me to stop because it’s so exhausting for me to get you blueberries, which are ON SALE at a store across the street?” She’d smile but never actually asked me to stop, so I didn’t.
  7. Charlotte LOVED living at the Vi.
  8. Charlotte was proud to be a relative of the first blind doctor, Dr. Jacob Bolotin. There’s a fantastic book about his story. Charlotte gave me a copy and insisted I read it.
  9. I once considered working in advancement for Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, because of Charlotte and the strength of her case for support.
  10. Charlotte would always push me to order every single course at lunch at The Vi, whether I wanted to or not. I’d try to slide by without ordering appetizer, soup, salad, entree, cold beverage, coffee and dessert, but she’d always catch on. What I really wanted on most of it was more salt.
  11. Charlotte let me help her. It took a while, but as time passed, she accepted my help. I was honored.
  12. Charlotte was an ENORMOUS philanthropist/donor and throughout our relationship, her donations increased by astronomical percentages. That was never why I was there, but it is how it played out. This is what real cultivation and stewardship looks like.
  13. Charlotte’s hair was gorgeous. I once got in trouble from a colleague because I complimented her on it. She was proud that she didn’t color her hair. She DID NOT have gray hair! I guess being that awesome has its benefits.
  14. Charlotte was always thinking of ways to improve the community at The Vi.
  15. Charlotte personified humility. It used to frustrate me that she didn’t know how awesome she was. I told her how crazy it made me, but she didn’t need to know how awesome she was and THAT is humility.
  16. Charlotte never wanted to be honored in a super public way. Believe me, I tried. She once said to me, “I’m being honored the way I want to be honored right now, in this moment.” I never asked again, because I finally understood.
  17. Charlotte hated cigarette smoking.
  18. Charlotte was deeply concerned with the volume of toys, media and other “stuff” children procured from their parents. She thought it set kids up to fail in life because parents weren’t teaching essential values. I agreed and agree with her.
  19. Charlotte was very tech savvy. Whenever she’d email me, the email would have different flowered and other nature backgrounds. Sometimes, the butterflies even moved.
  20. Charlotte loved shopping online.
  21. Charlotte read more than anyone I knew.
  22. Charlotte thought I was funny, complex and even smart. That meant the world to me.
  23. Charlotte and I talked about men and dating. Just because people age, doesn’t mean they don’t date.
  24. Charlotte wished I’d met her husband, Elick.
  25. Charlotte trusted that I would keep her private information private. At some point, she trusted enough that she stopped stating whether or not information was private.
  26. Charlotte resented the design of certain pill bottles.
  27. Charlotte had a phenomenal voice. She could have done voice-overs.
  28. Charlotte was highly offended by one person who looked at her cell phone while at lunch. This was something I had never done with her, and I was so happy I hadn’t done it.
  29. Charlotte thought that I might really make a name for myself at some point and I told her that the cooking spray had already proven that to me.
  30. Charlotte told me her life story.
  31. Charlotte really loved me and for all of the best reasons. I recently stated that I wasn’t really sure if I’d ever been “in love,” but I do know that Charlotte Lindon loved me deeply and her love was really more significant than any man’s love I have ever known. I loved her back the same way.
  32. I was so lucky to know her so well.
  33. Charlotte is also the name of my daughter. Charlotte, my daughter, was born two years before I met Charlotte Lindon. I am grateful I named my amazing daughter, that amazing name.
  34. Charlotte didn’t let too many people in but if you were in, you were mishpacha.
  35. Charlotte Lindon was a hero in this world, period. My short list is so short compared to all of the things Charlotte added to this world.
  36. If you are somehow moved to donate to a nonprofit of your choice, in Charlotte Lindon’s name, please go ahead and do it. This was and is her wish.

Charlotte,

Thank you for touching my life and so many lives. You and all that you are have left a legacy like none other. If you are listening, please know you did more than anyone to repair this world. Mission Tikkun Olam, accomplished.

I love you and thank you.

Pam

 

Easy Exorcise: Fear of Public Speaking

Continue reading “Easy Exorcise: Fear of Public Speaking”

Charity Begins at Home. How is your Staff’s Home?

I’ve had this headache behind my left eye. I get this from time to time and periodically, it becomes more than an annoyance. It doesn’t literally or figuratively impact my vision but puts a physical boundary on how long I work, which I mostly appreciate. (If my Mom is reading this, she’s wondering if it’s a migraine. If my Dad is reading this, he’s thinking I need to go to the eye doctor.) Continue reading “Charity Begins at Home. How is your Staff’s Home?”

Taking a Lover Who Takes & Takes

Every so often, I consider, “taking a lover.” This always sounds so romantic to me, but I don’t spend much time daydreaming (or night dreaming) about it, because in actuality, I tend to react rather swiftly with… BARF. HIDEOUS IDEA. EW.

I had an epiphany the other day and it was a biggie. 
Continue reading “Taking a Lover Who Takes & Takes”

A Fear of Peaks (and Valleys)

As I stand at the base of the highest mountain I have ever seen, I squint to view its highest peak. I try to appraise what it will take to reach its top. How can anyone possibly live through this painful and dangerous climb? I try to count all of its jagged edges above the timberline, but there are too many to track. I panic. I don’t know anything about the other side of the mountain. I acknowledge that my understanding of this risky venture can only be accurately evaluated by walking to the other side of the mountain along its base. Continue reading “A Fear of Peaks (and Valleys)”