Thursday, February 26, 2009

A LOVE STORY......The Second Time Around

**Last week I jumped on the Spin Cycle. Sprite's Keeper assigns a weekly prompt and then issues orders to all who are willing to "Have at it!" This week's topic is Change. You can check all the other spins at Sprite's Keeper's site.**

After my mother's death, understandably, Daddy was depressed. After completely dedicating himself to taking care of her during her illness, he didn't seem to know what to do with himself after she was gone. Before Mom's illness, Daddy enjoyed fishing, tinkering with tools, gardening and helping friends with many neighborhood projects. After Mom died, he lost interest in pretty much everything. It was like he was just waiting to die also. We all tried to pull him out of it but he just wasn't the same.

He turned a corner while visiting his brother and sister-in-law in North Carolina. He met a friend of theirs that was visiting from California. They went out to dinner together and Daddy enjoyed himself for the first time in awhile. The lady friend, who we will call Louise, returned to California and Daddy came back home to Florida. They began to talk on the telephone. It was during this time that Daddy starting referring to her as "That Louise". You see, we have a dear family friend with the same name and he would use "That" to clarify about whom he was speaking. I found this quite humorous and began to give "That Louise" updates to my friends. Daddy and I are very close and he was very open with me about his budding friendship. It wasn't long before "That Louise" was making plans to visit Daddy in Florida. She stayed less than a week. He didn't sound very happy during our daily phone chats that week. He called me from the airport after her plane departed and left this message on my voicemail: "Free at last, free at last! Thank God almighty, I'm free at last!"

And that was the last we ever heard of "That Louise."

While Daddy and "That Louise" didn't quite hit it off, her visit did accomplish one thing: It made an announcement to the neighborhood, his family, friends and the community at large that the man was ready to entertain the idea of companionship.

It was about a week later that friends from across the lake came to visit and brought someone with them. I'm told that this couple, the Snowbirds, were coming to visit Daddy and while walking to their boat, they came across Miss Daisy who was doing some gardening. They asked if she would like to come along. They explained that they had a friend they thought she should meet. She politely declined. They persisted. She begged off saying she was dirty from gardening and it would take too long to get ready. The Snowbirds wouldn't quit. They were clearly on a mission. They were about to return to Indiana and couldn't leave without putting their matchmaking skills to the test. They insisted their friend wouldn't care that she wasn't wearing make-up or that she was a bit dirty. She eventually relented but insisted on at least combing her hair. And across the lake they went.

I try to talk to Daddy every day. I called that day during the Snowbirds' and Miss Daisy's visit. There was something in my father's voice when he said Miss Daisy's name that stuck in my head. A few weeks later, he called me. Alert! I call him every day to chat. If he calls me, there's a reason. He quickly dispensed with all the pleasantries and said, "I've been seeing someone."

"Miss Daisy?" I asked?

He was shocked. "How did you know?"

"I don't know, just something about the way you said her name a few weeks ago when she visited with the Snowbirds."

Daddy apparently called my sister and brother to make the announcement too. My brother, Smitty, the family gossip, wasted no time getting on the phone. "Did you talk to Dad? What do you think? Have you met her? Do you think they're having sex?"

At which point, I screeched into the phone, "Geez, Smitty, I don't know! And I don't want to know! Lalalalalalalalalalala Stop it! Not another word!"

The consensus of all the kids was that we were happy if he was happy.

The Snowbirds, as it turns out, have mad matchmaking skills. Miss Daisy and Daddy had so much in common, it was almost creepy. Let me count the ways:

  1. Miss Daisy's husband died a little over a month after my mother died.
  2. Both Mom and Mr. Daisy died from colon cancer.
  3. They had the same doctor.
  4. Daddy and Miss Daisy had never met before that visit but Miss Daisy and my mother were in the same women's' club.
  5. Miss Daisy is from the same county in Indiana and she and Daddy know a lot of the same people.
  6. Miss Daisy's brother worked with my father in Indiana.

Weird, huh?

A few weeks later, we drove up to visit Daddy. We were introduced to Miss Daisy briefly but she wasn't around much during our visit. The funny thing was that every time we couldn't find my father, he was outside on his cell talking to his girlfriend. It was a little strange. But it was clear that he was in much better spirits than he had been for over a year. I actually found it pretty funny. He was acting like a 16 year old boy.

It was a few months after that visit that Daddy and Miss Daisy came to visit us for the weekend at our home. I have to admit it was a little awkward watching my father swapping spit with his girlfriend on my couch. At one point, while walking thru the living room with a laundry basket, I joked, "Get a room!"

I have friends who have admitted that they wouldn't like it if one parent began dating after the other died. But seriously, why would you want your mother or father to be lonely? I would be lying if I said that it didn't feel a little like betraying my mother by accepting Miss Daisy in the beginning. But after getting to know her, I like her, I love her. I love that she makes my father happy. She's funny and warm and as sweet as can be. And she is nothing like my mother. For me, that's a good thing. It would be very weird if they were anything alike.

Daddy and Miss Daisy were married six months later in a quiet ceremony with no friends or relatives. My siblings and I were happy for them but at the same time, we didn't think that we wanted to be there. And we weren't invited they preferred a private ceremony anyway. They came to my house a few days later. MHS and D2 were in Indiana and D1 was away at college. I was their honeymoon entertainment. I'm quite the one man band, you know.

While they were visiting, we ran into a neighbor at the grocery store. I introduced my friend to my father and then stuttered……………….and this is my……………….My what? I barely knew this woman and while I liked her, at forty *cough* hmmm years old, I wasn't about to refer to her as my step-mother. At the same time, "my dad's wife" sounded a little cold. I already had the "my" part out of my mouth and then I followed it with "Daisy". And since then she has been My Daisy. I address cards to her as My Daisy and she signs them that way too.

It's been an adjustment for all of us, most certainly for Daddy and for My Daisy. But even their friends have slipped and called My Daisy by my mother's name. But life goes on. Things change. During my mother's illness, my father and I had a mantra: "The only thing we know for sure………….is that we don't know anything for sure."

Change is inevitable. It's the only thing that endures. Someone said that once and if it wasn't almost midnight, MHS wasn't harassing me to go to bed and I didn't have to get up for work tomorrow, I'd look it up but instead I'll leave that to you if you're interested.

And just to let you know that I'm not a complete slacker, I did look up this quote for you:

"Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix." Christina Baldwin


Beth said...

That is such a sweet story! My mother remarried when I was a child (my father died of a brain tumor at 36) and I am forever grateful for that meeting. They met when my former Kindergarten teacher introduced them. My step-father has been proven himself strong enough to be mine and my sister's dad over and over again. He is definately a keeper!

Great post!

cheatymoon said...

Oh that's lovely, SMB. What a great spin. I love how you call her *My Daisy*.


Anonymous said...

I think it's lovely when a parent remarries late in life. My father did, and after he died, my step-mother remarried... I've seen the reaction of grown children go both ways, loving the stepmother and completing alienating her. Sad when the grown children can't just accept the marriage. Great post!

The Blue Ridge Gal

Anonymous said...

I've had two step mothers in my *ahem* few years of life. The first I refer to as "the wicked stepmother* and the second I referred to as "my Dad's wife" for too many years and then finally one day I introduced her as my step mother and felt comfortable about it. I think it has a lot to do with how they treat you, as well as how they treat your Dad (or Mom). I'm thankful my Daddy doesn't have to spend his last years alone. I'm so glad your Dad found Ms. Daisy and is enjoying life again. What a beautiful story of change. :)

Lori said...

What a beautiful story. I love that your dad found love again. And really it's a compliment to your mom that he was willing to do it all over again. I learned this from my grandma who out lived 2 husbands and a boyfriend and each time she was madly in love. I think it's great that you and your siblings accepted My Daisy so that your dads years can be spent with companionship instead of being alone. Your story has brightened up the start of my day, in spite of big white stuff falling from the sky.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this Spin had me tearing up! I think it's wonderful that your father is happy again. But when you put out that challenge to picture one of my parents in another relationship. I don't think I can. Obviously, I'm not in that boat, and whenever I think of losing one, another partner never enters the picture. I hope I never have to consider it, but I'm very happy your father was able to and you're happy for him. You're linked!

Anonymous said...

This post had me cheering by the end. You know that I LOVE reading about Lucy, and wish with all my heart that I could have known her. BUT I am SO glad your Dad met Miss Daisy and that she makes him happy.

Good for him! Just...good for him.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this post and could have written it almost word for word about my father. He, too, was depressed after my mother passed. Then he finally met his "Miss Daisy" and is very happy now. He is healthier and takes better care of himself which I know is because of her. He has also become quite fashionable! I love that he has a friend and I've welcomed her with open arms. I find her quite likable and easy to talk to and can understand why Dad cares for her so much. My brother on the other hand...not so welcoming.

Cheers to your dad for finding that life does go on and for finding happiness again.

I think our moms would be happy to know that our dads are happy.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

"I love that she makes my father happy."

Wow! This story just made my day change completely. I thank you. And I thank you for following my new venture in blogging. Quite the task to keep up with such heartfelt giving that you have here.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Beth-How awful to lose your dad so young. I'm glad your mom found someone to be your other dad.

Movie-It was an accident but we liked it and it stuck.

BRG-I agree. It's hard in some ways but the surviving parent's happiness is worth a few awkward feelings and/or moments.

MLS-And I'm glad your daddy found his little techno gadget queen!

Smiles-They say that happily married men remarry quickly after their spouse dies but generally happily married women will want to stay single. Interesting, no? Sending you warm thoughts and wishes from South Florida. Sounds like a good time to read a book......or blogs.

Sprite's Keeper-When you have both of your parents, there is no way you can imagine losing either. I could have never imagined this but I'm so glad for the way it's all worked out. We could have been stuck with "That Louise". LOL

Jan-Thanks so much for your warm words. Reading them was like a hug. I'm glad too. Yay! Daddy. Yay! My Daisy!

Fancy-I'm so glad your dad has found his My Daisy too. Maybe your brother will come around. I think it might be harder for a man in this situation. I think you're right about our moms.

MLJH-Thanks for your thanks. *wink* You never know what you will find here. Someday it's heartfelt mush and somedays it's just nonsense. LOL

K Dubs said...

awwwwwwww how sweet! there is hope for me yet. lol

Anonymous said...

As you know MLS and I are sisters so we have had two step-mothers. I struggled with #2 for too many years but now that she has proven that she is there for my Dad then I can accept her. It's hard to find that right balance. I'm glad your Father is happy and that you are feeling comfortable with Daisy.

Anonymous said...

Nice! What a sweet story...i think their meeting might be what Movie calls 'Synchronicity'...

Great Spin!!

Beth Niquette said...

What a lovely story...made me weep. I've disliked change from the time I was very small. Now that I'm an old lady (a half century along), I know life is packed full of change. But I still don't like it.

I want to give you a hug, dear girl--((((HUG))))

Anonymous said...

Awwwwwwwww ... what a sweet story! I'm so glad for your dad that he found happiness once again. There's a perfectly good reason that the marriage vows say, "until death do you part." And that is that the spouse left behind, while sad, is free to find love again. And that is what your mother would have wanted. Yay for your dad! :)

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I'm "My Daisy" or rather I am in her shoes. I can tell you that it breaks your heart when you have both lost a mate..are so heartbreakingly lonely and find someone. It is NOT the same as your first love or whatever, but it is someone to love, cherish, care for and make a home for. These late years go SO fast..and you can actually begin to feel the end of life coming. And then when you find someone to love..and are treated badly ..and I do mean coldly and even called names in messages left on your message is so devastating and takes something out of you. My heart was broken. Things are..quiet now..and there has been a peace pipe..but..the terrible words hang in the air. The open wound is raw and not completely healed. This Saturday my new husbands daughter is arriving for a visit. This was her childhood home and of course she is coming here. I have seen her father with tears rolling down his cheeks as she upbraided him for an nearly an hour. I MUST forgive. I must try and forget. I must be gracious and I must be in the house with someone who does not want me here.
Some of the posts ...I understand. I do. There are times I would rather be alone and lonely and I think he has felt the same as he adores his children and their being upset with him over me has torn him to pieces.
Thank you, SMB. I read this to my husband.
You are precious.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

ST-The mixing of two different family dynamics is not always easy. After hearing the stories from others I think our case might be less complicated because My Daisy doesn't have any children.

BethN-Hugs back to you.

Thistle-I was thinking the same thing but then forgot to mention it. See how I am. *sigh*

Mama-Exactly! I wish everyone could see it that way.

Mona-I'm sorry you've had such a long time. I would like to say that your husband's daughter is being selfish to try to hold your father back but that would be too easy. I think it would help you to know why she feels this way. She most likely has issues that can be resolved with open communication. Hugs to you, Mona. I'll be thinking about you this weekend.

Tricia said...

Well, this just made a case for water-proof mascara the next time I'm out buying cosmetics. What a great post and a beautiful story. I think it speaks volumes about what a big heart you have!

Anonymous said...

I really liked this little love story. I think it would be hard to see my mom date but it hasn't been that long yet. If she ever does, I will keep my discomfort to myself because I would never begrudge her any happiness. (But I would make a lot of phone calls to my sister about it...however sex is not something I will ever talk about in regards to a parent.) Ewwwww.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Tricia-Sorry about that. And thanks for your kind words.

BV-What mother doesn't know won't hurt her. *wink*

Pseudo said...

This is a wonderful story. I love your Lucy stories, but I'm glad that you and your siblings recoginize it is not fun to be be lonely and that your dad has someone now. The My Daisy is priceless and so sweet.

Laufa said...

It is wonderful that your Dad has My Daisy.