Deb and Barb Have A Three-Way with Annette
For this month’s three-way, we asked Annette to join us. She’s a regular reader and commenter, a beloved longtime friend of Deb’s, and a new and cherished one of Barbara’s.
Annette: As you ponder today’s post, allow me to immediately disclose I owe my participation herein to the old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!”. However, before chafing at this preferential treatment, recall the original basis for these lively exchanges was––but charmingly has turned out to be not limited to––the exploration of that most fabulous of manifestations … the female friendship. Now, upon learning that I am middle-aged, female, and a friend to both bloggers, perhaps you’ll agree the burning question becomes, “Why wasn’t I asked to contribute sooner?”.
By way of background, lovely Deb and I go back several life-affirming decades. Gracious Barb and I, once merely seasonal pals bonding annually at Deb’s magical holiday soiree, have seen our relationship flourish courtesy of the exponential power of Facebook. Two of the most incredible women I know, I am beyond grateful for their camaraderie … which leads me to today’s musings.
Having had the magnificent kismet to reach this age and stage, I think a lot about gratitude … specifically the shifting, ephemeral nature of thankfulness … while wondering why it’s so hard for us to truly appreciate our lot. Oh sure, most of us pay lip-service to counting our blessings and all of us can claim occasional bouts of true mindfulness, but it’s the inconsistency that intrigues me. How easy it seems for us to suddenly consider our glasses half-empty instead of half-full…
Case in point, recently I endured an affront courtesy of a family member … not a “Gosh, you people don’t get me!” slight but a really disconcerting dig that normally might send a person to a professional’s couch for an extended period. Intellectually, I understand the perpetrator operates out of ignorance rather than malevolence, yet still emotionally the sting was surprisingly bitter. Suddenly my considerable good fortune was overshadowed by my fixation on this offense.
Wounded thus, I felt compelled to share said transgression with my first-born 21-year-old son. Upon hearing of his beloved mom’s trial, his response was to burst out laughing and facetiously declare, “Well, that’s a surprise!” And so it was––courtesy of his succinct but still illuminating assessment––that I entertained simultaneous realizations. The first was that it’s an extraordinarily efficient shortcut to madness to expect more of people than they are capable of delivering. And two, when I consider the largesse of the forces in the universe that saw fit to deliver the gift of this insightful boy, who knew I knew such a thing and needed only a gentle reminder, gratitude should be my default.
Barbara: Dear, sweet Annette. Just so you readers know, of course I HAD to find out what said affront was, even if Annette wasn’t going to share it here. And, trust me, it’s a doozy. Without compromising Annette’s privacy, let me just say it was a carelessly dropped announcement that revealed a terrible betrayal. The kind of shocking declaration where you would not have blamed her one little bit if her glass had drained completely dry. But our wonderful Annette did what most us here try to do: she put on her rose-coloured glasses, shrugged off her pain, truly noticed the things for which she was most grateful, and shared her beautiful spirit with us.
But the thing is, we all have those moments of cathartic shock in our lives, don’t we? There we are, innocently chugging along, trying to live as good and wholesome lives as we can (by our own definitions), feeling pretty good about stuff––and BOOM, some act of treachery knocks the friggin’ wind out of us and we are left reeling. “Where did that come from?” and “Whhhhhhhyyyyyyyy?”
I’ll give you one of my own examples. My husband and I were just starting our married lives with a new baby when a trusted friend embezzled money from us. Yeah, the kind of friend you share secrets with. The kind you hang out with on lazy weekdays when you’re waiting for the next acting gig. We were a struggling young family and money was very tight, which our “friend” knew. And then we were tens of thousands of dollars in the hole … only to discover that this “friend” had taken all our money. It is a long, tortuous story, but the absolutely worst of it, I swear, was the shock of the betrayal … by someone who was our trusted ally.
The good news? No, we didn’t get our money back. The good news is that we managed to put those rose-coloured glasses back in place, hug each other close, and carry on. To this day, I am grateful for that.
Deb: Barb, I have never heard that story and I am shocked! What a dick. May the bluebird of happiness crap on his birthday cake! And how wise of you to put on your happy faces and move past it. It is with that example that I would like to pay tribute to my dear friend Annette.
Annette is the poster-girl for the expression, “God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle.” And believe me, she has been given more than her fair share of shocking and disastrous issues. And I am here to attest to the fact that she has handled every single bomb with grace and with humour. Annette is one of the most honest, straightforward, fair people I have ever known. She is the real deal. It is easy to be honest and kind when life is running smooth. But when life throws us curves our true mettle is tested. Annette, through it all, has employed her secret weapon and it has seen her through every single time: Humour. Annette can find humour in everything. She never plays the victim and yet she has been victim time and time again. And all the while I can see the wheels turning and she is thinking, “This sucks … but it will make a great story”. She has hung her hat on that mindset and she has been rewarded for her efforts. The universe has seen fit to deliver to her a wonderful loving husband and two gorgeous, smart, magical kids. But she has paid the piper, oh yes. Hopefully the piper now has enough money to take a holiday. Annette could use it.
Annette, a transplanted Torontonian, currently lives in the Buffalo, NY area and makes a living as a freelance writer penning pieces about stuff she knows. Sadly, given that parameter, she won’t be getting rich any time soon. Her move to Western New York was motivated by her marriage to her Math Professor husband with whom she is currently overseeing putting the finishing touches on their four college-student children.