Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reflections & Resolutions

With 2009 coming to an end I start to wonder "Where did this past year go?" Many people have shared with me that they can't believe this year is over already. For me, I'm in that same boat. Don't get me wrong ~ I've done so much this year and enjoyed every.single.minute of it!! As some of you have read in my Reflections on the Past Year ~ Good and Bad post, we did a lot of traveling to Minnesota! I was fortunate enough to experience my very first visit with little to no snow!! (Whew!!!) Me + Cold = Cranky Woman!!!!

The one MAJOR upset / dissappointment / hurtful thing that transpired this past year is a very sad situation. This could get pretty long, but worth reading through and sharing your comments ~ so grab yourself a cup of coffee and get ready for a roller coaster of emotions!!

~~ (I'm able to share this story with you all because this impacts my life in ways that nobody will ever understand; it helps me to 'share' with everyone how I feel about this; and maybe somewhere, somehow, someone will help me to understand the why aspect of this all. I will not go into detail of all the family dynamics of it all just yet, [eventually I will post about it] however I want to get right to the point on this issue) ~~

Brian's oldest daughter, *J* got engaged just about two years ago or so. The wedding was set for June 20, 2009. Brian's entire family and circle of close friends remain in Minnesota ~ remember, Brian was born and raised there.

{Back Story: Brian and his ex-wife divorced when *J* was 19 years old. Today, *J* is 28, when she married she was 3 months shy of her 28th birthday - her Fiance is 36.}

When Brian moved to California in May of 2008 he had a great relationship with all of his adult children ~ he received their blessings and their respect for pursuing his career goals. At this point, the wedding plans were just about in full swing. He was contacted by *J* in early July of 2008 and asked if he'd be willing to pay for the Alcohol/Reception aspect of the wedding. They discussed the details and Brian was more than willing to take part in any way possible! This was his oldest daughter getting married ~ nothing but the best!!! After that, we weren't kept in the loop on any other wedding plans, just an occasional email here or there discussing who's going to be in the wedding and what role they were playing. Nonetheless, Brian was very estatic ~ he was going to be able to walk his oldest daughter down the aisle!

I was asked by *J* since I do wedding cakes for a living, for some insights on her wedding cake. When all was said and done, she had asked if I would be able to pick the cakes up from the baker and transport it to the wedding /reception site. The cakes would be iced already, I'd just have to pipe the borders and decorations as well as set it up in the cake stand. Yay! I was going to be a part of this wondeful wedding!!! How exciting! I felt very honored that *J* would include me in any portion!!!

Brian was also asked if we could give up a week at our TimeShare for their Greece portion of their honeymoon. We agreed and so we paid for their entire week's stay in Greece.

Fast forward to early May 2009 ~ we receive a phone call from *J* and she tells her dad that she'd like to share something with him... the conversation kinda went like this:

J: Dad, I've been thinking ~ instead of you walking me down the aisle alone, I'd like mom to walk down with us. How do you feel about that?

Dad: Well *J*, you know me, I'm a very traditional guy and I've been waiting for this moment with you for 27 years.

J: But I've been to two weddings in the last year and they both had their mom and dads walk the bride down the aisle.

Dad: That's nice *J* but, this means the world to me to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle. Since the moment I held you in my arms when you were born, I've been dreaming of this time.

J: Well, why don't you think about it and I'll call you in a few days.

As I said, this conversation transpired in the beginning of May. Brian and I did have a trip planned to Minnesota the following week. We attended his other daughter's graduation from University of Minnesota and met up with all of his children at some point and time during the visit. In fact, we saw *J* several different occasions during that trip, however nothing was ever mentioned about the whole 'walking down the aisle' issue.

Finally, toward the end of May, we get a phone call from *J*; the conversation takes place something like this:

J: Hey dad, did you give it anymore thought about having mom walking down the aisle with us?

Dad: Well hon, I have thought about it and I am standing on how I feel. It's nothing against your mom at all, you know that, it's just that I've been wanting and waiting for this one special bond with you and I really don't want to have anyone walk down with us.

J: Dad, this isn't fair....this is my wedding not yours and you have to do what I ask you to do.

Dad: I'm sorry hon, but this is how I feel. You're not going to understand how I feel inside because I'm a dad.

J: Well, I'm going to have mom call you right now and see if she can talk you into it.

Two minutes later, Brian's cell phone rings.....he looks at me and says..."I'm putting this on speaker phone so you can hear both sides of this conversation"

Brian: Hello

Ex: Hi... I hear we have a problem

B: Nope...no problem

Ex: Well, I hear that you don't want to walk down the aisle with me again. What's going on with that?

B: Like I told *J*, it has nothing to do with you or anyone else for that matter. This is my daughter getting married and it's every dad's dream to walk their dauther down the aisle. I want that with my daughter

Ex: Well, this is *J*'s wedding and YOU HAVE TO DO THIS.

B: Now, you know better than to tell me what I HAVE TO DO. I didn't get much say in any of this wedding planning process, and the one thing I'm asking is to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle. Just me and her, hand in hand.

Ex: Why does everything have to be about you? Why do you have to be the star? This is *J*'s wedding and this is what she wants.

Yadda yadda yadda. Basically the phone conversation lasted an hour long with no headway at all. Just nothing but bickering back and forth. Personally, I had no say in this whatsoever. I wasn't picking sides, and I made this very clear to both *J* and Brian.

Then, towards the end of May, we received a phone call from *J* :

J: Hi dad...did you change your mind yet?

Dad: Hon, I've thought about this every day and I'm not changing how I feel. I can't.

J: Well then just so you know, you can't change your mind back. I want you to know that you're uninvited from the wedding and since you're being this way, I don't think I want you a part of my life in the future.

Dad: (completely blown away) Wow *J* is this really how you feel?

J: Yes, if you can't do this for me then I don't want you in my life. How does it make you feel?

Dad: I don't like it at all

J: Well, bye dad. Have a good life.

End of conversation.

Since that converation transpired, I continued to be in contact with *J* via telephone, text and/or email for a short period of time. She wanted me to know that I was still invited to the wedding should I decide that I wanted to go. She said she didn't have any issues with me at all.

The very next day, *J* decided to send out a mass email to all of their friends, family and wedding guests. The email read:

From: J
Subject: FW: Attention Please: Slight Change in Wedding Plans
Date: Monday, May 25, 2009, 12:03 PM

Dear Family and Friends,

There has been a change of circumstances and J's father will no longer be attending the wedding, and has withdrawn his financial support for the event. Therefore, there will be a slight change in the evening's planned beverage arrangements. Please review our wedding website for more details and additional event information.

We look forward to sharing our special day with you!

J & B

Talk about being floored!! We didn't even know this email went out to people until family and friends forwarded said email to Brian and asking why in the world would they be receiving such email?!? Yes, talk about a dissaster!!!

In this photo above, Brian's children are standing from left to right: Jared, Jaclyn, Jennifer, (the groom), the Bride and the Ex. It makes me sad that this photo doesn't include Brian in it. He should be in it! He's a part of that family!!

Wait...it gets better! "What?" do you say? How can it get any better than that?!? Well, after the wedding, some family members shared with us that during the reception they had a slide show. (This we knew about) However, prior to the presentation, *J* let it be known to her guests that any pictures of her dad had been removed. Yes, she did. Needless to say, Brian's older brother wasn't too happy about it. He shared his disappointment with Brian, but thats as far as the discussion went.

As we'd already planned and paid for our plane tickets for our trip to Minnesota in June, Brian wasn't sure if we'd still make the trip. His sister who moved to North Carolina and he hadn't seen for a couple of years was going to be there; additionally, the day after the wedding was Father's day, and Monday was Brian's Birthday. I felt it would be better if we were in Minnesota with all of his family and close friends during that period of time as they'd be able to help keep Brian out of any sort of depression. So we went.

Through this all, I, myself continued to hold my own feelings in tact. This was solely a decision Brian made based on his own convictions. I didn't have to necessarily agree with his decision, I was only there to support his decision. Whatever his decision may have been.

Can I just tell you guys that at the time, this is a 27 year old who is currently going to school for her 2nd Masters degree. She (along with her siblings) had never lacked anything while growing up. As a family, they took family vacations every.single.year. When Brian and the ex divorced, *J* had already graduated from High School, moved out of the home and was in her second year of college. It's not like Brian didn't raise her or wasn't a part of her life while she was growing up. (As some split families end up)

To this day, *J* has not spoken to her father at all. And, to top it off, she's also got her 4 siblings to 'side' with her and none of them have contacted him as well. It hurts me to know that they can just treat their father this way. The entire time I've known Brian and throughout our relationship, the kids (all adults) seldom ever called him~ not on Father's Day, not on Holidays, not even on his birthday. The only times they called him was if they needed something from him whether it was $$, or a favor. And Brian was always there to help them out....ALWAYS.

Needless to say, this is the ultimate sore spot of our 2009 year. Although Brian puts on that brave front and is quite hurt by their actions, we continue to acknowledge them though they don't acknowledge Brian. We continued to send out Birthday cards and we also sent out Christmas cards to each of them. We won't get a resonse, but they are still his kids and he will continue to acknowledge them every opportunity he can. What they choose to do is their choice ~ but oh....they've got to know that they're losing years of their lives with their father! We aren't getting any younger as the days pass ~ and in June of 2010 Brian will be turning 50 years old!

On a BRIGHTER side of 2009, I'd like to share with you that our relationship with Brian's daugther from a previous relationship (prior to his marriage) has grown tremendously!!! There's a story behind this as well, but we'll save that for another time!! I know Brian's relationship with Jenn will never be compromised by anyone, ever, and Jenn will never not have her dad in her life again for the rest of her life! We've had the greatest time getting to know her three sons, Brian's Grandchildren, and it's fun knowing we can spoil them rotton when we can!!

Meeting the grandchildren for the first time in March was an awesome experience for both Brian and myself included! Everyone that knows Brian knows that he's a sucker for kids! He just loves them to death and at times, he enjoys being a kid at heart as well!!! We love them and can't wait to spend more time with them in the years to come!!

Amazing, adorable, cute, cuddly, ahhhhhh love little ones!!! It's to bad that they're all the way in Minnesota though because if they were closer, I'd be having a blast with them every.single.day! :)

Another awesome thing that happened this year is my sister, Jalynn, who lives in Maui got married! Due to circumstances beyond my control (damn the economy and losing a job) we weren't able to attend the wedding. My dad was healthy enough to walk her down the aisle and I will treasure this photo for years to come!!!

Now, what will the New Year bring for me?!? Well, for starters, I need to go into WEDDING MODE!!! Yes I do! While we have the year pretty much planned out for us, let me tell you, it's going to be a busy little sucker!!! As far as OUR wedding is concerned, here's the month by month scene....

March = Couples shower
April = Wedding Cruise
May = California Reception
June = Minnesota Reception

So yes, I have my work cut out for me. Not only do I have to 'deal' with the above events, work related wise, I have two weekends in January booked with Wedding Cakes, and in July I have two weddings which I am the Event Coordinator. Can you say WOW!?!? CRAZY?!?!? I know, I know... my year is going to fly by just as much as it did this year. Whew!!!! Not to mention this coming year is Brian's big 5 - 0 Birthday Bash! Woo Hoo!!!

My Resolution for the new year is to spend each and every.single.day as if it were the last day of my life! No more holding back. No more trepidation. Go for it! I lost a total of 5 people this year ~ a couple were High School friends, one was a former Employer/Friend, and a couple were awesome friends. The loss of their lives have made me realize that you can't take for granted the things and/or people you have in your lives. You never know what tomorrow brings ~ and so I share with all of you today, my resolution in the New Year, I will be living my life from a different perspective. I will get closer to my relatives whether they are near or far, I will befriend those who need a friendship, I will lend an ear for those who need to vent, I will lend a shoulder should you need to cry. And I will appreciate every.single.thing I have in my life. EVERYONE makes mistakes in their lives ~ we're not here to judge those mistakes. We're here to be there for one another and live life from this day forward!

Happy Tuesday everyone and enjoy the last Tuesday of 2009!!!


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