RELATIONSHIPS: I Thought My World Changed Last Night

RELATIONSHIPS: I Thought My World Changed Last Night

By Susan "Honey" Good

Before I tell you my story I want you to know that all is well in the Good home. It is now 5:00 am on Monday morning. Eight hours ago, I thought I was going to be a widow ONCE again. I felt the physical pang of loss and utter grief as I looked down into the face of my husband, Shelly, who stared up at me, unresponsive.

We spent a wonderful Sunday together. It began with our daily hot cup of freshly brewed coffee (we share the responsibility of who will make it each morning) that we sip together in our hot tub, outside our bedroom door. It is a ritual we started 26 years ago when we moved into a second home in California. We find it a great way to start our day, romantic, refreshing and peaceful.

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RELATIONSHIPS: Inviting the Widow

RELATIONSHIPS: Inviting the Widow

By Arlene Bronstein

Since writing my book, HOW DID NONNIE GET to HEAVEN?I have been talking about the subject of loss to many different groups. Although the book was written for young children, it has had an amazing resonance with adults. Perhaps it is the simplicity of the presentation.  Perhaps it is the ‘heart” in which it is revealed. But young or old, we all experience loss at sometime in our life.  What I have learned for sure, it that there is no prescription for how one should grieve or how long grief will last. With great respect, each individual should be allowed to go through their own grieving process.  

I also can’t quantify loss. Is it harder to lose a child? A spouse? A parent? A close friend? Again, what I thought I knew, was not necessarily true. Just because the person had a long life doesn’t mean the loss is “easier.” Just because the child was not close to the parent, doesn’t mean they don’t feel the loss. When it comes to being a “widow,” I see a distinct difference in the loss. I call it a “double loss.”

Unfortunately, I have many friends who lost a husband at a young age. These widows experienced a terrible loss. Not only had they lost their spouses, often the father of their children, but in some sense they had lost their social standing. 

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RELATIONSHIPS: Looking Back on a Life

RELATIONSHIPS: Looking Back on a Life

By Susan "Honey" Good

Last night I received an email from my girlfriend, Carole. We attended school together in Kankakee by the Sea. I believe she found HoneyGood.com by chance. I don’t promote myself, though my husband Shelly pushes me to ‘put myself out there.’ He is the most important driving force in my life. Actually, he is my life. For those of you who do not know by this time, Shelly and I share everything. We are like Gracie Allen and George Burns or Donald Duck and Daisy Duck. Everyone who knows us, knows that we are glued at the hip, as they say.

Anyway, Carole found my musings online and part of her email last night made me laugh out loud.  She wrote to me to comment on a story that I had just written about women bullying other women. (If you missed it, read it here.) Carole and Shelly also are acquainted having met last summer at a luncheon in Kankakee by the Sea. Shelly and I drove down to lunch with 16 of my high school classmates and we all had a great time. 

Carole’s email read, “On a pleasant note, I so enjoy all your articles. It is a special treat when you bless us with ‘Shellyisms.’ He’s a rare find. Looking forward to you putting these in book form for us to peruse at our convenience… hint hint! Maybe put a Shellyism at the end of each article.”

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RELATIONSHIPS: What Moms Want from Grandparents

Image via Dia Method

Image via Dia Method

By Donne Davis

As I was writing my book, When Being a Grandma Isn’t So Grand: 4 Keys to L.O.V.E. Your Grandchild’s Parents, I realized that in order to help us grandmas improve our relationship with our grandchild’s parents — especially their mothers — we need to hear what moms have to say about the grandparent relationship.

I surveyed over 50 moms and asked them what they want from the grandparents. Many moms who responded said it was cathartic to answer my questions. Most of their poignant responses fell into two categories: they want respect and empathy.

Moms Want Respect

  • Set some rules for your house. Your grandchildren will respect you more if you have some rules, just like they have at home. Then, when the parents get the kids back, they don’t have to “re-teach” manners and rules.
     
  • Times change and so do parenting methods. You can’t expect your grandchildren to be raised the same way you raised your children. If you believe you raised your children well, have faith in the way they are raising their children.
     
  • Respect the parents’ rules. Don’t question their decisions or choices, especially in front of the grandchildren.
     
  • Don’t get defensive when their parenting methods are different from yours. Some parenting choices are a result of things that didn’t work in their childhood. But it doesn’t mean they love us any less and it doesn’t mean they’re trying to make us wrong. Many choices are based on new information and theories.
     
  • Follow the parents’ requests for healthy eating. Today’s parents are much more health conscious and aware of food choices than our generation. Don’t feed your grandchildren treats if you know they’re not allowed in their own homes.

Moms Want Empathy

  • Don’t give unsolicited advice. Parents would love to share their challenges with us but are reluctant because they fear we’ll offer advice or solutions rather than empathy and understanding.
     
  • When you call, ask if it’s a good time to talk. Don’t get upset when you call and they can’t talk. They may be in the middle of a frenzy with the kids or just enjoying some time together as a family.
     
  • Acknowledge the parents’ hard work, not just at home but also at their jobs. Today’s parents work long hours and have challenging careers. Ask about their lives and not just how the grandchildren are doing.
     
  • Don’t judge with words or body language. Many moms would like to share their perspectives and offer some insight into their parenting methods. But when they sense they’re being judged, they withdraw and feel safer not risking judgment.
     
  • Read articles that support their choices. Talk about what you’ve learned so you have a better understanding of their parental decisions.
     
  • Offer help whenever possible. Today’s parents are harried and over committed. They need all the help they can get whether it’s taking the grandchildren for an evening so they can have a date night or offering to run a few errands.
     
  • Don’t minimize parents’ concerns. Recognize that parenting is very different than when we were parents. So much more information is available now and it can raise concerns for parents.
     
  • Be active and present. Don’t just sit there doing your own thing. Engage with your grandchild and leave the hard work and discipline to the parents.

Remember that relationships are not static. We need to consciously work on keeping them fresh and current. Respectful communication between the generations makes all the difference in the world for creating a family that enjoys being together and creating lifelong memories.

Featured contributor: Donne Davis of Gagasisterhood.com

"Hi, I’m Donne Davis. Ever since I became a grandma in 2003, I’ve been on a mission to connect with other grandmas and explore what it means to be a modern grandma. We’re in a new era of grandmotherhood. We have more time, technology, and talent. My goal is to inspire grandmas to tap into all these resources so we’ll keep growing along with our grandchildren and children and stay connected with them. That’s why I founded the GaGa Sisterhood. I wanted inspiration and reassurance from other grandmas that all the joys and challenges I was experiencing in my new role were 'normal.'"

Blended Bonds

Blended Bonds

We blend wines, spices, words, colors, ideas, and sounds all the time. Unfortunately, not all efforts mix well like oil and water or credit card bills and your budget. There can be clashing tastes in a recipe not yet perfected, a variety of hues in one room that may not be complimentary--too jarring, and the divergent, loud sounds of traffic may sound cacophonic and actually hurt your ears. 

 

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GMS: Fall is in the Air, and with it Change

GMS: Fall is in the Air, and with it Change

It’s 6:25 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I’m sitting at the living room game table I usually appropriate for work every morning, writing and sipping delicious hot steaming coffee from my favorite French mug.  Whenever I look up—which is often given the stunning panoramic view of Lake Michigan right outside our floor-to-ceiling windows—I’m treated to a stunning sunrise.  And this morning, I realize something has changed significantly; the sun has moved south in the sky and is rearing its head a little later than usual.  It lets me know fall is in the air.

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SURVIVE: How to Handle Breakups with Friends

SURVIVE: How to Handle Breakups with Friends

as women, we need other women in our lives, especially when we are over 50. That’s a time when most of us have entered a new chapter of life. We may be empty nesters, retirees, divorced, widowed or never marked. Regardless, we are often living alone at this time of life. And because of this, our relationships with other women are more important than ever.

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RELATIONSHIPS: Gratitude, the Emotion that Can Radically Improve Your Life

RELATIONSHIPS: Gratitude, the Emotion that Can Radically Improve Your Life

September 21st is Gratitude Day, and I must say, right off the bat, that I am grateful to the people who initiated this commemoration. Ironically, it was first marked in 1965 by a group of international visitors who came together at a dinner party in Hawaii, my home for 10 years and a deeply spiritual place.  

I am not surprised; after all, these visitors were surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty and kindness of spirit that is plentiful in the Aloha State. No wonder they felt that it was important to have a day to formally express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonders we experience in daily life—both large and small. But more importantly, this day has great significance for me, and you, more than a half-century later. 

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FASHION: My Undergarments of Choice: Hanky Panky

FASHION: My Undergarments of Choice: Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky not only puts a smile on my face—it puts a smile on my husband Shelly’s face. He loves the bold colors, playful styles and R-rated sex appeal of this wonderful line. Nice with just a little hint of naughty. Hanky Panky’s always classy, but sometimes sassy, offerings cover it all—from undies of every ilk (from boy shorts to thongs), bras, leggings, nighties and camisoles to special pieces like the super-sexy retro Duchess Garter Belt that reminds me of my youth. After all, what’s old is new again!

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RELATIONSHIPS: The Benefits of Negotiation

RELATIONSHIPS: The Benefits of Negotiation

Everything is negotiable. All of us negotiate something—or many things—every day. When to eat? Who takes out the dog? What to wear—a silent negotiation with myself every morning, but a real and often trying negotiation for many parents every day. It’s negotiable! And negotiation is a learned skill. 

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GMS: I Don't Like The Word Retire

GMS: I Don't Like The Word Retire

Retire is a word that scares me because it means growing old. It forces me to face the fact that unpleasant things are going to happen—and I don’t want to go there, for 100 reasons that would take me hours to explain. I have confronted my conflict in the only way I know how: The word retire has no place in my life.

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SURVIVE: Balance or Burst? 5 Ways to Embrace Balance.

SURVIVE: Balance or Burst? 5 Ways to Embrace Balance.

I daydream as I wait for a table in the long line at the Original Pancake House. I am with my darling granddaughter, Skylar, who arrived from out of town for a two-day visit, and am feeling calm for the first time in two weeks.

I think to myself, “I can hardly believe what I was able to accomplish in the past two weeks, but not without experiencing that gut-wrenching physical and emotional feeling that I was going to burst. This is not good.” I have feeling that many of you are in the same boat to some degree. So many hats we have to wear… and so much tumult in between that jumps out of nowhere!

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