Saturday, July 29, 2017

Eler Beth and Anthony

Hopefully I can tell this story and do it justice without it getting confusing. I want to tell the back story as we saw it happening on our end but also what was happening on Anthony's end at the same time but that we only found about later. So let's see how well I can do. This will be a long love story....

So this is Eler Beth and Anthony (I won't publish his last name here).


This picture was taken only twelve days after they had decided they considered themselves a "couple."   

Anyone still reading my blog from the old days knows my daughter and the type of person she is.  She is careful and smart and gives a lot of thought to any decision she makes. She turned twenty-one in January and has never really dated anyone. She has had a few crushes over the years but has let them all die a natural death either because she considered herself too young to do anything about them or because she realized that the object of her crush would NOT make a good mate -- and her self-proclaimed purpose for dating is marriage. Neither Thomas nor I ever dated casually, and Eler Beth feels the same way about it. She is a one-man woman and has stated her intention from way back of only seriously dating the one man she would want to spend the rest of her life with. That seems old-fashioned to many people; I know it does, because at least a dozen of them have told Eler Beth or me so in the past couple of months! So I guess we're just old-fashioned. lol  But what's wrong with knowing that you want ONE person and are willing to fight when things get tough (as they will) to keep that one relationship going?



Anyway, over the years Eler Beth and I have discussed dating and marriage, of course. The subject would come up naturally between us when a friend of hers began dating or became engaged or when someone had asked her out. When she was 16 her response to a good friends' romantic woes was, "She's too young to be seriously involved with anyone anyway. She should just get herself a good dog!" She kind of had a plan for herself that she wouldn't even think of dating until she was in her twenties and probably wouldn't want to marry until she was 23 or 24.  After all, she is a very busy young lady with lots of hobbies and interests and didn't want to take any chance of not enjoying her single-hood while she could. Well, the best laid plans, and all that -- (She jokingly said that Anthony was not on her schedule for this year!)

But, back to the discussions we've had over the years -- Each time we talked about it -- and I mean every single time over the past three years or so -- she would say to me, "Of all the guys I know at this time, the only one I could ever see myself dating is Anthony Y-- ." And I would have to agree with her. Of all her male friends (and she has always had more male friends than female) at any given time, Anthony was the only one I could see her with and would have no misgivings about. They have known each other for more than seven years, ever since his eldest sister married the son of a friend of ours who was also a friend of Andrew's. Eler Beth actually became good friends with Anthony's other sister, who is a year older than him and Eler Beth, and she used to spend a lot of time with her and their family. But there was never anything but friendship between her and Anthony.  

The sister with whom she is good friends married a couple of years ago and moved further away (Anthony's family lives an hour from us), so she and Eler Beth haven't seen a lot of one another for quite some time. But because Anthony is also friends with others of Eler Beth's friends here in Jeffersonville, we would see Anthony several times a year, either when he would come down to visit friends or at parties or get-togethers of one sort or another. Each time they would gravitate to one another, but, again, out of friendship and not in a romantic way.  He AND Eler Beth battle social anxiety, but they have always been comfortable with one another. And Eler Beth gets along better in groups of males more so than groups of females, with very few exceptions. They have a lot of interests in common, so it has always been natural for them to hang out together, in their "group" of friends, if that makes sense.  

A little over a year ago, though, she admitted to me that she had had what she considered a serious crush on Anthony for quite some time, but was not ready to marry and so didn't want to act on it. Besides, she said, she didn't want to risk losing the friendship. Well, unknown to us at the time, for about the past year Anthony has also been interested in Eler Beth but didn't want to risk losing the friendship and really didn't think she would be interested in him. Besides, he is SO VERY extremely shy. And that brings me to something else. If you met Anthony you would not realize he is shy or has social anxiety. He is SO outgoing, but it is because he MAKES himself be outgoing. He is also a dancer. He has been dancing since he was a little guy, and he is very, very good. (The pic above is from when he was about 14, I think.)  Both his sisters danced, and he is good at it and found that it is a very good outlet for his anxiety. He still helps his local dance academy out when they need a male lead, and he volunteers for them, teaching special-needs students. 

And Eler Beth, despite battling anxiety and depression since she was twelve, really goes out of her way to be outgoing and meet new people as well. I like that they have that in common. 


So there they were, being friends all these years, admiring one another but not daring to even hint at any romantic interest -- until this year.  (He told her that he has always thought she was such a cool and interesting person, but that he thought she was too "insanely beautiful" to be interested in him romantically, and she told me she always thought he was such a cool and interesting person but "out of her league."  And each is so self-deprecating that when they told each other these things, they were amazed that the other felt that way.)


Some good friends of ours host formal dances every year for the young ones in our congregation and their friends in nearby congregations. Eler Beth has been going since she was fifteen. In going back through photos from those dances I discovered a good many of her and Anthony either dancing together or near one another (or Anthony being goofy). It is still a little strange to me to see pics of them as young as fifteen and then to see them now, all grown up and "smelling of April and May."  These are a few pictures from 2013 that show the two of them in close proximity to one another.

 
So... back in the spring these friends hosted a dance, and Eler Beth almost didn't go. She reasoned that she would be one of the oldest ones there -- it's really more for the younger teens --, that so many of her friends wouldn't be there because they've moved away or gotten married, or whatever. I said it was up to her but that she always ended up having a nice time, and she could always leave early if she wanted. I also reminded her that her cousin, Jordan, would be there and that B-- (her and Anthony's mutual friend) would be there and that "Anthony Y-- will probably be there." She had got a dress and decided on accessories, etc., just in case, but she was literally undecided up until two hours before the dance. But she went.

When she got home I knew "it" had happened. She'd decided! Anthony had asked her for the first slow dance, and she told me later that she knew right then that he was perfect for her and that she was ready. She wanted to ask him to dance again but was afraid that it might "freak him out" and she didn't want to risk losing him as a friend. He told us later that he had tried to get up the courage to ask her for another slow dance all evening but that he really didn't think she was interested in him in that way and that he was afraid it might be "freaky or creepy" to her and he didn't want to risk losing her as a friend. Yeah. They are both just like that! Isn't it amazing?

Anthony spent the night at B's house (whose mother was one of the hostesses of the dance) that night, and we knew we'd see him the next day. I told Thomas my suspicions and suggested that we ask Anthony and B to go to lunch with us. We had already made plans to join some other friends of ours for lunch, and Jordan and her family were joining us as well.  So the next day we did just that. Eler Beth actually asked me if we could invite Anthony and B to go to lunch with us, and I told her we'd already decided to do that. She looked at me keenly and said, "You know I like him, right?" And I said, "Yes, I'd kind of figured that out." And she said, "And you're okay with that, right?" And I assured her that I knew she'd always kind of kept Anthony at the back of her mind and that I was perfectly happy with her pursuing Anthony if that was what she wanted; that he was the one crush I knew she had never let die a natural death. She told me that it had suddenly occurred to her that "what if I decided I was ready to date and someone had already snatched him up?" We were to find out later that Anthony had Eler Beth on his mind all that night as well and was trying to figure out how he could spend some time with her the next day. It's a good thing Eler Beth's parents were all ready on the job, isn't it? :) 

So the next day we met our friends for lunch. There was a large group of us, and the restaurant wasn't able to put enough tables together so that we could all sit together, so I suggested that the "young adults" (Eler Beth, Anthony, B and Jordan) sit in a booth next to us, and there would be room at the tables for us old folks and the little ones. Anthony was to tell us later that his eyes kept straying to Eler Beth and that he even took "a snapshot of the occasion" unknown to her. We old folks were having a wonderful time catching up, but Jordan wasn't feeling well.  Her dad wasn't really ready to leave, so B said he and Anthony could take her home. Well, Eler Beth had some things to do that afternoon before going to work, so I -- ever the helpful intercessor -- asked her if she needed to leave as well, and if she did, would the guys want to drop her off at home, too, since it was on their way to B's house anyway. That suited them just fine.

Then later that afternoon, before she went to work, Eler Beth took Remiel over to B's house so Anthony could meet him, and she stayed and visited for quite a while. I dropped by there to speak to B's mom on my way with Thomas to run an errand, and I was able to observe the two of them for several minutes. I told Thomas later that I was pretty sure each of them was pretty smitten with the other and didn't even know that the other one was feeling the same way. That night Eler Beth told me she was going to be staying in touch with Anthony and would probably go up to Columbus to visit him in the not so distant future. 

Beginning that night she texted him once a day, not all day, not long texts, nothing involved, just a hello and maybe talking about something of mutual interest. For example, Anthony likes to mountain bike, which is something that Eler Beth has wanted to do. So she began asking him what kind of bike she should get and how much she should spend and things like that. After a few days she didn't text him at all one day because she was afraid she might be bothering him. That night he texted her. And that night he told her that he'd wanted to tell her, but hadn't because he was so awkward (his words), just how pretty she had looked at the dance. (And yes, I know all this because my daughter tells me these things. lol) She showed me the text and asked if that was an opening. I said that that was most certainly an opening. For the next little while, then, they texted about everything under the sun.  

Now, shy my little girl might be, but! -- like her mother and every one of her aunts and her grandmother on my side, once she has made up her mind about something, she goes with it and there is no holding her back. So one Saturday she told me she'd decided to visit Anthony's congregation in Columbus the next day if I didn't mind. She wanted me to go with her, but I was really not feeling well that weekend. I wasn't sure if she'd go by herself, but she did. I told Thomas that night, "Oh, by the way, Eler Beth is going to Columbus' meeting in the morning, if that's okay." "Sure, that's okay." "You know she's not just going to visit other friends up there; she's going to see Anthony." And Thomas said, "Yes, and all I have to say is, 'Phew!'" And he wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. You see, both of us really, REALLY like Anthony, and of any young man she could possibly have fallen for, we were very, VERY glad it was he. (Anthony is smart and funny and sweet, with the same kind of sense of humor as ours.  He is quick-witted, with a high IQ, and is a very responsible and conscientious young man. He is a hard worker and has run his father's business for him when his dad had to be out of town for several weeks to care for an ailing parent. He is respectful, down-to-earth, and doesn't have too high of an opinion of himself. I think of him and Eler Beth as equals in so many ways.)

So she went to his meeting that morning; then they went out to lunch together, and then she went to his house and sat and visited with him and his parents for a while. She didn't stay late, as she had to work that night, but not long after she left his house she pulled off the highway and messaged me that she was just going to come right out and ask him out. She texted him something to the effect that she hoped it wasn't too weird, but she figured she'd just come right out and ask him if he'd be interested in going on a date. And he immediately texted back, "Can I call you?"  Unknown to us at the time, (but told to us by Anthony at a later time because he and Eler Beth are just so extremely open and communicative with each other and with us) he had called his favorite sister, Eler Beth's friend, right after she had left and told her he was going to ask Eler Beth out but that he was so nervous about it, she (his sister) was going to have to really boost his nerve. He was still talking to her when Eler Beth's text came through. He called her and said, "Yes, I would LOVE to go out with you." (And he still loves telling people that SHE asked HIM out first.)

Now here's where the "old-fashioned" part comes in again. He wanted to come down to ask Thomas' permission. This isn't something that is required. This isn't something that is sexist. This is Anthony being the respectful and mannerly young man that he is. He thinks highly of me and Thomas, and he knew, even then, just as Eler Beth knew, that deciding to date, for the two of them, was more than just "going out" together. And he knew that we would know that as well. So in effect, he wanted assurance that he would be approved of by Eler Beth's parents, and he wanted to show respect to Thomas by asking him personally if he would have no problem with that. Well, I thought that was charming when Eler Beth told me, and I told her not to assure him that Thomas couldn't be more pleased, even though that was the truth, because this was something that obviously meant a lot to Anthony and should be between him and Thomas. So on Tuesday he came down to see us, told Thomas that he and Eler Beth had been talking, and that they'd like to start dating if he had no objection. Thomas put him out of his misery pretty quickly. (Told me later that he had always looked forward to making a young man sweat if he started looking at his daughter, but that he couldn't do that to Anthony.)

So, since then, they have been a couple and getting on like a wildfire. So much has happened.  Anthony came to Andrew and Alexandria's wedding with us (pics at left, right, and below), Eler Beth is now an official employee of his family's business, he has showed up on our doorstep with a dozen, long-stemmed roses and two boxes of her favorite candy, he calls me Mamma, he has gone fishing with Thomas and Eler Beth, and Thomas has bought him his own climbing tree stand to use during deer season IF he decides he wants to go hunting with them, his dog, Molly, has fallen in love with Eler Beth and pouts and mopes when Eler Beth leaves their house, and Bryant, Eler Beth's dog, treats Anthony like he has always been one of the family. Andrew has always liked Anthony and thinks he and Eler Beth make a good couple, and after the first time meeting him and observing the two of them together for a while, Alexandria declared that they "mesh well with each other."




Some people, not knowing the whole story, have said that this is very, very sudden and have advised caution and that they take their time, but I have been putting it out there among our acquaintance that it isn't actually as sudden as it might seem, since they've been friends for many years. Seriously, what better foundation for a relationship than to have known and liked one another as friends for years? And thankfully, Anthony's parents adore Eler Beth and are supportive of the couple as well.


Thomas actually proposed to me after we'd been dating only two weeks, so perhaps our view of such a sudden romance is a bit skewed. lol  I actually made him wait a month before I gave him an answer, and then we were engaged for 10 months before we got married because I wanted a June wedding, but still!  They have already discussed just about everything that can be discussed by a couple contemplating marriage. They are not officially engaged. They do consider themselves engaged. I am pretty sure there will be no announcement until he presents her with a ring, but I expect that at any time now. (He has already got all the pertinent information out of me -- size, favored stone and metal, etc.) And I am so okay with it. I've been asked how I can be so okay with the suddenness of the prospect of losing my cherished daughter, my best friend, probably within the year, and all I can think to say is that it is because it is Eler Beth and because it is Anthony. They are so perfect for one another. They are still amazed with each other and with the whole situation, because in many ways it was sudden. But it is seriously as if they had been waiting for one another.







Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Little Girl is in Love!

I knew when she finally fell, she'd fall hard. Apparently he has fallen hard as well.

Their story to follow when I have a bit more time to write it.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thomas and Lori, Thirty Years

Today is our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It's a Tuesday, and we actually celebrated with family over the weekend, so tonight Thomas is cooking dinner for me. It's a simple, low-key anniversary day. 

I wanted to make a post but really couldn't think of much to write about. I mean, I'm amazed sometimes that we've stayed married for thirty years, but then after I think about it a minute, I know that I am not really amazed.  We've put up with a lot from each other, and we've been through a lot together, and we've made two very wonderful children together -- why wouldn't we still be married? :)

So in honor of our marriage I'm going to re-post a blog post from 2005 that I actually wrote about my father, but has to do with mine and Thomas' marriage.

Here it is:

"Letting Go of Prejudices"

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Closing Out April with Family and Creek Wading

The kids and I were able to get down to Mom's when my sister Maxine came in from Florida. Andrew and Eler Beth both happened to have that weekend off, so they and Alexandria could go down with me. Thomas had planned to go as well, but at the last minute on the Friday before they scheduled him to work all weekend. 

We had a great visit though. Maxine was the only one of my siblings who hadn't met Alexandria yet. I'd been hoping Alva, Alex's mom, would be able to go down with us, too, but she wasn't able to.  So maybe next time. But at least all of Mom's kids were there, all seven of us.

I surprised the engaged couple with a cake decorated with Alex's two favorite colors, and we had a wonderful dinner, with (eldest sister) Dennice doing most of the cooking this time. I still marvel at how well Alexandria fits into our family. 



I got a picture of the kids with Mom. Who knows how many more years we'll have with my Mother? I need to get down there more often. I managed to visit three times in April, and I'm going to try to get down at least two times this coming month. 

Andrew and Eler Beth wanted to take Alexandria to the creek where I learned to swim as a child, Dorridge Creek (called Dodge Creek, locally), and they wanted her to experience the winding, curvy, steep road to get down to it, so I obliged and drove them there. They waded in the creek and climbed up the banks a few times. Even Alexandria took off her shoes and socks and waded right in. 
  


Earlier they had taken a long walk down the road and were still gone when dinner was ready, so I took the car and went to get them. I put the passenger window down and told them to hop in, dinner was getting cold. Eler Beth promptly hopped onto the car door at the open window, and Andrew sat on the trunk of the car, telling Alexandria, "Hop on!" She looked dubious and said she'd ride inside, but then he said, "Hop on! This is how we do it in the country!" So she hopped on, and I drove VERY carefully back to Mom's house. (Didn't want to have to explain to Alva how I'd injured her daughter!)  It was funny because Andrew is very much a city boy, although he does love to fish and go exploring in the woods. But it just really sounded funny coming from him. I wanted to say, "How would YOU know how WE do it in the country?" LOL  But later, coming back from the creek, I drove a different route and he began noticing all the "Dowell" names on mailboxes and even road signs -- Coleman Dowell Road, Burton Dowell Road -- and I saw an interest in his roots taking root. Eler Beth has always been interested in her KY roots and has paid more attention when I talk about ancestors and relatives that are no longer with us that were a part of my childhood. Seeing those names caused a feeling of connection in Andrew that I hadn't sensed before. He was so very, very close to my Mom and Dad when he was little and still cries when he visits Dad's grave, and he adores my sisters and brother and the cousins that he knows. But I'd never seen him go deeper into a feeling for family and family history before then. He really paid attention as I pointed out where this or that ancestor had lived.  All in all, it was a nice weekend.

I went back later in the week, just me, and had a wonderful time playing music and singing with my sisters. Going to definitely have to do that more often.

Thomas is doing well. On the 19th he will have the CT scan to map the radiotherapy. Then approximately two weeks later, the therapy will start. We are expecting the best outcome, and so far he doesn't seem to be slowing down in any way, so -- so far, so good!

This isn't much of a post, but I kind of wanted to close out April with something, and this is it!

Hope everyone is doing well.

~~ Lori

Friday, April 7, 2017

C is for ... {sigh}

Over the winter Thomas had his yearly exam which included blood work. The blood work showed his PSA levels were elevated. He had a follow-up in March that showed they were even more elevated, and his prostate was enlarged.

So, C is for Cancer, specifically Prostate Cancer. 

He had a biopsy of the prostate on March 9 -- not a pleasant procedure. Then on the 21st we went in for the results and found they were positive. We were neither of us surprised, but it does still hit, doesn't it? Even when the prognosis is good, and you feel as positive about it as you reasonably can feel, the diagnosis still hits you as a solid blow, doesn't it? 

The urologist was very good. He listened and took his time explaining everything. Out of 12 biopsy sticks, 10 showed cancer. None of the locations had very high numbers. Thomas' age and the lower numbers (T-numbers?) would put him at the low risk level, but because it is throughout the prostate and the fact that his PSA numbers had increased so rapidly between the two blood tests, raised him to the intermediate risk level. 

Three options were put before him -- surgery to remove the prostate, radiotherapy, and a different, new, very expensive surgery that doesn't remove the entire prostate and that most insurances won't cover. Each was explained and later we did our own research as well. The urologist explained that, in his opinion, each option would be as effective as the other, with the main difference being the side effects.

Thomas decided on the radiation.  We met with the doctor at the radiotherapy clinic for a consult on March 28, and he explained what would happen over the next several months. One other optional thing was explained -- a shot that would stop the production of testosterone, which would slow down the cancer cell growth. This would make the radiotherapy more effective, although it would postpone when he will begin receiving the radiation. It isn't "putting off" the treatment, though, because the shot is part of the treatment. 

Now, not to give TMI, but my husband has a very healthy sex drive, so, aside from the whole "deadly cancer" thing, I have to admit, my other main worry was how he would deal with the possibility of any part of the treatment affecting our love life. He never hesitated. He said it made sense to him to get the shot, and that if there was a noticeable diminution (well, that was MY word, not his) in his ability to perform, there are things that can be done to help that situation. So, Monday, April 3, he met again with the urologist, and he got the shot. 

On Wednesday, April 5, we went to the urologist to have three gold markers placed in his prostate for the imaging that will be done next month. That was a procedure very similar to the biopsy, although it didn't take as long and the discomfort was a bit less. We joked about whether they would take the gold out after his treatment or if they'd be part of my inheritance if I outlive him. He will have to remember that they are there any time he has to have x-rays or go through a metal detector.

On May 19 he goes in to have the CT scan, to determine what path the radiation will take to hit the prostate. Approximately two weeks after that he will begin the radiotherapy. That will be every day, five days a week, for nine weeks. They can do late appointments, so he won't even have to take time off from work.  The most common side effect from the radiation is fatigue, but most men, according to both doctors, continue working their regular jobs with no problem.  

The day we got the results, Andrew dropped by just as we were getting home, so we told him and Eler Beth at the same time. Andrew's fiancee and her mother, all of my family, and two other good friends are the only ones we've told. Thomas does not want it going around among our circle of friends or his workmates in general, and he does not want his family to know until after the treatments are finished. His sister who lives near us is quite a drama queen, and he'd probably be ready to strangle her if he had to listen to her going on and on about it every time he saw her. Also, his brother's wife died only a few months ago, and his sister died even more recently, so we figured there was no reason to have them worrying or simply thinking about it at all.  So I'm not posting in general on Facebook, but I have no problem writing about it in my blog. I knew it would probably make me feel better, and I know my J-Land friends -- any who still read this blog -- will be supportive but not oppressive. 

The prognosis is very good, but I have to admit that once in a while I get a bit nervous when it comes to mind. Then I feel silly for that because it is a very curable cancer, and we've caught it early. And for that I have our GP to thank. Before he renewed a prescription for one of Thomas' maintenance medications, he insisted that Thomas come in and have his yearly tests done because he was overdue. It was the blood test and that alone that could have shown evidence of this cancer. At this stage there are no other symptoms. If he'd continued putting it off, and if the cancer growth was as rapid as it appeared to be, this whole story could be totally different. So don't put off getting an annual physical, gentlemen. This is my birth month, and I plan to get all of my yearly things done this month as well. 

Thank you for letting me write about this.

Now, Mary said she hoped that C could be for "Caracal," and I think that's a wonderful idea. The Caracal is that African cat with the long, tufted ears, if I'm not mistaken -- a wonderful, beautiful bit of creation to write about! As a matter of fact, I'll close this post with a Google image of one.

Until next time  ~~ 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C is for....

...Cookies

...Caring

...Calm

...Cabriolet

...Cancer


Guess which one I'm going to write about.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 2017 ~~ Full of Positives

Two big things happened this month. Eler Beth turned 21, and Andrew and Alexandria got engaged! 

I could not ever, in a million years, have chosen a better life partner for Andrew than Alexandria. She is a sweetheart. She is funny and true and fierce. She is gentle and smart and exuberant. She knows Andrew's faults and loves him in spite of them. She builds him up where he is lacking, and he builds her up where she is lacking. I have seen them, over the past two+ years, work through problems together, learning the proper way to communicate with one another. Andrew told me once that they suddenly realized that when they have an argument it is usually because one of them hasn't properly understood where the other is coming from. But that once that person is able to explain what's behind the point that one is making or the reason that one is being insistent, then they are able to talk it through. It sounds like a simple thing, but I know couples who have been married for many years who haven't figured that out yet!

Thomas and I are thrilled to have Alexandria as a daughter, and her mother is thrilled to have Andrew as a son. Eler Beth and Alexandria are so very close. Alex is an only child, so now each of them has a sister they didn't have before. They've confided in one another over the years and gone to one another for advice. Eler Beth and Andrew are so very close that not just any woman was going to be able to smoothly enter into that dynamic, but Alex has. She respects their relationship and traditions and gives them space to deal with brother/sister spats when they need to. She hasn't pulled Andrew away from his sister but has just become a part of the glue that keeps them together. 






 



And my family adores her!