A Thirty Year Fling!

Jane and Joe

Today’s story is my favourite because it is mine! My husband Joe and I have been married for 31 years.  I first met my husband through a mutual friend.  I was in my early twenties and had just come out of a divorce. I got married when I had just turned 19 which is a story for another day. A good friend of mine, Susan, said “I have this guy I really want you to meet.” and she tried to set us up.  However, we both said “No, we don’t need to be set up.”  Then one night we were in a bar together and this guy came over to say hello to Susan and she later told me that that was him.  I didn’t think anything of it.  Soon after, I left Winnipeg in Canada and went to graduate school. In the first year of the MBA program each student belongs to a study group that meets regularly to discuss cases. In my second year we remained close and I hosted a dinner party for my study group and before it was over, my friend said he had to go and meet his high school buddies who had come from Winnipeg for a visit.  Later in the evening, I met his buddies at the bar and again at a party afterward.  My thoughts were cute but drunken goofballs–a little harsh on my behalf because I know I over imbibed in university once or twice. 

We all graduated a few months later and I went back to Winnipeg and the company that hired me flew me back to find a place to live and I met up with my girlfriend and she said “Now that you’re back, I’ve got to set you up with that guy.” Susan started to describe him and it turns out he was one of the drunken goof balls. Then I moved into my apartment and she was with me again and she said, “Guess who lives in this building?”  Okay Universe, I’m getting the message. 

Shortly after moving back, I called Joe and his friend and asked if they would like to have lunch with me. Joe said we’re both up in my apartment which was a couple floors above mine, and we can come down now and have a beer with you. And that was the beginning.

My friend from my study group wrote me a letter telling me about his travels and asking if I had met up with Joe and Colin, his two high school friends. He wrote, “If you want a long term relationship you should go out with Colin but if you want a fling you should go out with Joe. I had already started seeing Joe and besides, at the time, a fling seemed like a good option as I was planning on moving to Vancouver within a year. So I like to refer to our relationship as our ongoing fling.

It was a short romance because I think both of us knew early on that we would be together. We started dating at the end of May and he asked me to marry him in December. I definitely knew by about October that I was going to marry Joe. When I returned home from a business trip just before Christmas, Joe wanted me to open a present from him. Inside the wrapping was a piece of paper asking if I would marry him.

I would take the bus from work and then walk down the street to my apartment and on at least three occasions Joe “happened to be” in the elevator when I arrived. He has since confessed that he would wait and watch for me and then jump on the elevator. One time I asked if he’d like to come up and have dinner. I made Hawaiian Meatballs. When I asked Joe when did he know that I was the one, he said it was the dinner with the meatballs. So I had to include the recipe even though I haven’t made it in years and no longer eat beef. I have made them with turkey meatballs and vegetarian meatballs and they also work.

When I asked Joe what he thought made us work, he said

That’s the easiest question, it’s respect. I respect you.

Joe

If we had advice to give to people it would be to not give up. When the kids were around 6 and 3, Joe and I separated for ten months. We decided to get back together and of course there have been ups and downs in our marriage since and we know that we are committed to making it work.

I think the other thing that makes us work is our ability to go with flow. When you live in different countries and different homes, situations are not going to be as you anticipate all the time. For example, renting homes in Australia was a completely different experience than North America and took some time to adjust. You have to be able to go with the flow and just laugh sometimes.

Friendship Turns Into Lasting Love

Tom and Malcolm

Married 2 Years

Toronto

It was their first year of university at McGill.  They happened to be in the same residence, a floor apart.  Malcolm remembers the first day he saw Thomas—it was the second day of residence and there was a party going on in the basement—a mixer to help the nervous first year students meet people.  He walked in and saw this handsome, loud, extroverted guy in the corner running a drinking game and it was the only life in the otherwise awkward party. Malcolm made his way over there and got into the game and was pretty smitten right from the start.  Malcolm thought to himself, university is going to be great.  Tom has no recollection of this meeting at all.

Malcolm was a floor below Tom but he quite quickly became part of Malcolm’s friend group.  Not unlike many first year students, Tom had a tough time his first year of university being detached from his support system and putting pressure on himself regarding grades.  When he started to isolate, Malcolm was there to pull him out of his room to fun events. Malcolm had this way of helping him out not just with his grades because he was in Tom’s words, super smart, but also he was a social butterfly and determined to make the most out of his first year. Tom found reprieve from his studies when hanging out with Malcolm and was drawn to the light he was giving off.

Tom said he had just come out after high school, had a lot of internalized homophobia and was very emotionally guarded .  As much as he was attracted to Malcolm he was also scared of the vulnerability.  He put up a lot of boundaries and didn’t know how to navigate them.  Tom explained, “If you’re queer and you aren’t out in high school, you don’t get a chance to practice your feelings and emotions, the way others do with dating.  Being just friends with Malcolm was easier.”   However, towards the end of first year university, Tom and Malcolm were playing Call of Duty–a video game where you shoot zombies, Tom kissed Malcolm for the first time.  Malcolm was so excited he ran into his best friends’ room the next morning and told him because he had been hopelessly pursuing Tom for a year. But then Tom and Malcolm never mentioned the kiss again for a full year.  It was the elephant in the room—always between them and never spoken of. Shortly after the kiss, Tom asked Malcolm to move in with him and some other friends for second year.  So they lived together in a house but Tom was still not ready for anything other than friendship.

In the second semester of Tom’s second year, he did an exchange in a different city. For the first couple of days away he felt these very intense pangs for Malcolm and thought that’s weird what is my body trying to tell me—maybe I should listen to it.  Then he shoved those away and thought I’m gone for the next few months I don’t have to deal with this.  When he returned, Malcolm had a boyfriend and Tom had a very emotional reaction to this news. Finally, he just decided he was going to let himself be vulnerable and it was very transformative for Tom—he felt open and cared for and invigorated by this vulnerability that he had been afraid of.  He felt alive and happy. He had talked himself out of this possibility for a long time– he took a big risk and Malcolm met him where he was at. 

Malcolm is such a generous spirit to be around, an amazing friend and person to talk to. 

Tom

Malcolm quipped, “Don’t pine after someone for a whole year, go after someone else and they’ll suddenly decide they want to be with you.”  He ditched his boyfriend and the rest is history.

Malcolm knew right away from the very first time he saw Tom that he was the one.  He said it was bordering on an obsession—he didn’t think about anyone else more than he thought about Tom in both a romantic and friendship sense.  Tom helped him come out to his family and that was a keystone in his life.  When he told them, Tom’s voice was in his head egging him forward. 

Even before we were romantically together it was always Tom.

Malcolm

Tom joked he would never profess early love for anyone as he’s much more cautious—he didn’t want to be hurt.  Tom didn’t want to commit to anything and wanted to be free and independent.  At the same time, there was so much passion and feelings for Malcolm but his insecurities kept coming up and he had to figure things out.  He knew Malcolm was the one when they could talk about these things and work them out and Malcolm was committed to doing this and to making this the best relationship ever.  Once those dynamics were figured out, it gave Tom a sense of security and he could relax and knew it was a longterm thing.

Malcolm told Tom that he had to propose to him and left it in Tom’s corner.  Tom planned a very romantic proposal.  It was Pride weekend in Toronto and there were a number of fun events celebrating queer love, and they went to some marches and gay bars, had some dinner and cocktails.  When they got home, their roommates had set up their gazebo with plants and candles and Tom read Malcolm a poem that he had written about what Malcolm meant to him and the last line was Will You Marry Me? And Malcolm said “Yes.”

I didn’t realize I wanted a big proposal til I got one.  It was perfect.

Malcolm

A personal poem after an amazing day was exactly what he wanted.  A bunch of their friends were hiding in the house and when he said yes they all came out and it became a big party. 

Tom says he internalized a lot of messages about sexuality as a kid.  Although he feels confident about who he is and his relationship, in the back of his mind he still thinks twice about things like walking down the street holding hands. He’s hopeful someday that will no longer be an issue.

As a nurse, whenever Malcolm wears his ring, people will often go “Oh you’re married” and proceed to ask questions.  A lot of spaces don’t feel safe to have that conversation because there are religious hospitals where administration has certain beliefs and conservative staff and your patients may not hold similar beliefs to yours.

It’s weird to have a symbol of love yet it’s a constant conflict over whether to wear my ring or not in a professional setting.

Malcolm

He’d like to feel like he should be able to wear his ring whenever he wants. 

Tom commented that they surround themselves with people who love and accept them but they are also in regular contact with people who are judging.

Tom believes there is a narrative around love that it’s all roses and sunshine because people don’t talk about their challenges even with their friends.  There’s an expectation when you’re in a relationship that you’re a pair and you are figuring your stuff out on your own and you don’t want anyone else to know that you have challenges.  That can be a disservice because it gives the impression that relationships are always super easy and that they don’t involve work and challenges mean that you have to break up with someone.  Relationships are hard even if you’re deeply in love. Tom believes couples should talk about their issues because it’s not whether you have issues but how you work through them and move forward and figure things out together.  Malcolm realizes as they grow old together, different challenges will come up and they’ll have the skills to deal with them.

Tom has grown so much personally from being with Malcolm. 

Relationships have the power to force you to search in yourself, look at your insecurities and unpack those. That’s the powerful growth aspect of relationships if you’re willing to go there you can be transformed and you can be so much more comfortable and knowledgeable about yourself through having this other person in your life. 

Tom

He’s so grateful that Malcolm was able to guide him through various issues and allowed him to take risks and be vulnerable and still feel safe.  You have to have trust in your partner.

Broadcast Love wishes this couple many more decades of fun, adventures, discoveries and joy together.

Music and Dance Brought Them Together

Married Over 30 Years

Jody and Jim

When I was in my early teens, my Mom took me to a show called Up With People (UWP) in a nearby town. I was a huge fan of the show and thought when I grow up, I would like to join UWP. As time went on I focused on other pursuits after high school. For some reason the theme song of UWP stuck in my long term memory and Jody was a little surprised when I was able to sing it to her when we first discussed doing their interview. Jody and Jim met through Up With People.

Started in 1965, Up With People is a program open to youth aged 17-29 that brings people together from different mindsets, cultures, ethnicities and beliefs.

The vision is an inclusive and sustainable world where people are equal in dignity and rights.

Up With People

After training at the headquarters in Denver, the youth travel to nearly 20 communities across two or three continents, spending about one week in each community. Each week, they live with a local host family, participate in service projects, learn about various cultures through educational workshops, and perform in Up with People’s musical stage production. The goal is “to teach young people how to interact in a multi-cultural environment and create change in communities with varying needs.”

Jim, 21 flew from his home in Indiana to Arizona to begin training for Up with People and the first person he met at the airport was Jody, a 20 year old from Washington State. There were 500 people at the training session which lasted six weeks. In their cast, there were youth from 25 countries.

Jody jokes that Jim dated just about everyone in their group first–Jody says 10 and Jim says 4 or five. Dating was limited because they were on the bus touring and it meant that you sat beside them on the bus and hung out together. They went home at Christmas, and when they came back, Jim says that ‘s when he fell in love with Jody.

Jody, Jim and one other guy became close friends and Jody remembers saying,

These guys are good eggs and I’m probably going to marry one of them.

Jody

One of highlights of their time with UWP was doing the half time show at the Super Bowl in 1981. The real highlight was Jody’s and Jim’s first kiss in Lemmon, South Dakota after a show at a high school and they kissed in a classroom. They spent six months together touring Europe with shows every two or three days. After their time with the traveling show, they were hired on as staff and spent the summer working at Sea World in Florida doing five shows a day.

In the fall, they both returned to their studies at university–Jim in Indiana and Jody in Washington. Jim and Jody had a long distance relationship for two years during which time Jim wrote Jody every single day. Judy wrote once a month. At that time, there were no cell phones and long distance calls were a big deal. Jody lived in a Sorority and whenever she got a phone call, they would make a public announcement, “Jody, long distance on line two.” and all the girls would squeal with excitement and want to know what was the latest.

Jim graduated and moved up to Tacoma, Washington where he got his first full time job while waiting for Jody to finish her degree in dental hygiene.

Jim couldn’t decide whether he should ask Jody to marry him or go to the opening night of the first Rambo movie. Jim had asked Jody’s father for permission beforehand. He decided he could do both–the movie and the proposal, so he asked Jody to marry him in her bedroom in her parents’ home and then Jim and her whole family went to the movie.

Jody was able to use her Grandmother’s diamond in her ring which made it extra special. They settled in Tacoma, Washington and raised two sons and now have a granddaughter.

Jody and Jim were friends first and when they first started dating they were together 16 hours a day with 123 other people. While they were traveling they saw each other’s highs and lows. The environment wasn’t real–in their words it was like a cocoon where they were sheltered from the outside world. They took their time once they left UWP to get to know one another. They created a strong bond which stead them well in their relationship.

For 31 years, Jim’s job has taken him on the road and if they didn’t have trust in one another their marriage would never have lasted. They continue to enjoy each other’s company–Jim says “We have a ball together. Yes, a relationship is work but it’s fun work if you have a good marriage.”

Currently, in keeping with the philosophy from Up With People of giving back to the global community, they created Hardwick Dental Teams and their team of 12 have provided dental services to the Masai people in Kenya and they are planning to return in 2022. If you would like to assist them or find out more, you can go to hardwickdentalteams.org

Still On Their Canadian Honeymoon

Joseph and Denise

Denise and Joseph, both having been raised in a farming community in Belgium, met at a local Saturday night dance. Saturday night was the one night of the week that people went out. They couldn’t stay out too late because they had to get up Sunday morning to do chores. The dances were held regularly in different agricultural communities around where they were raised and they would meet up on the dance floor. Joseph is a good dancer and literally swept Denise off her feet. For a year they met up at these dances.

When it started to get serious, they would go to each other’s homes. Denise says things changed when Joseph fell off a horse and was in the hospital. Joseph says things changed when he asked Denise if she would be willing to immigrate somewhere with him. Denise said yes.

His younger brother was going to take over the family farm in Belgium and Joseph wanted a farm and knew he would have to immigrate to a different country in order to do that. Denise and Joseph started looking around initially in France and then his Uncle came to visit from Canada. He said, There’s lots of farms available in Canada and it was settled that they would immigrate to Canada.

Joseph knew Denise was the right woman for him when he had her in his arms on the dance floor. For Denise, it was gradual as she talked to Joseph and got to know him, it just felt right. She did not have any doubts. Joseph and Denise have the same religion which was very important for Denise. They both came from church going families.

When it came to the proposal, Joseph said, “It wasn’t like in the movies.” Denise doesn’t have a memory of a specific time–they just talked about their future and decided they would get engaged. First Denise’s father had to be asked and this was done publicly, in front of the whole family at the dinner table. Joseph was quite nervous. Then, in keeping with the custom, he gave the ring to Denise right then. Denise gave a ring to Joseph at the same time–that was the tradition in Belgium at the time.

Denise and Joseph have four children including two daughters and the sons-in-law asked for Joseph’s permission before proposing. Joseph says, “It was easier for them as they didn’t have to do it in a family setting.”

For immigration purposes, it would be easier if Joseph and Denise were married. In Belgium, there are two weddings–a civil wedding and the church wedding–this has been the law since the early 1800’s. They got married in a city hall ceremony on May 8, 1970 in order to apply for immigration to Canada. After their civil wedding, they went back and lived with their parents until they were married by the church on July 2–that is the anniversary they celebrate. Joseph called and asked to speak to Mrs. Sanders and even though Denise was on the phone she didn’t know who he was talking about. It took her a moment to realize she was Mrs. Sanders.

Four days after their official church wedding, they moved to Canada.

They had a beautiful wedding and everyone was happy and then came the tears.

Denise

Denise and Joseph had never flown on a plane or left the country before. They didn’t know when they would see their family again and it was an emotional departure for Canada. Joseph said, “There was more crying at the airport than at a funeral. ” That was their honeymoon and Denise jokes, “We are still on our honeymoon.”

Joseph and Denise were met by Joseph’s uncle when they arrived in Canada and they bought a farm in Pilot Mound, Manitoba. Times were tough for farmers then–grain prices were the lowest they had been in a long time. In the beginning it was quite hard–they didn’t speak much English and had to ask people to speak slower but their language improved through watching television and when their kids went to school. They had four children and continued farming for 40 years.

They had been married 45 years at the time of the interview. Now that they are retired, Joseph and Denise spend even more time together. There are ups and downs when you spend all your time together. When they are starting to get under one another’s skin, Denise says they are either hungry, tired or they have cabin fever. Cabin fever can last for a few hours or less. They recognize why they are bothering each other and they know how to address it–some time alone, some food or a nap.

Joseph and Denise forgive every night and say their prayers together as that is their foundation. Denise says, “Their prayers hold the solution to a happy life for them. To love and to be together are the basics of life.” Joseph commented that, “The guy above has our cards in his hands and he’ll pull you a different one once in awhile to straighten you up or to bring you closer together. ”

Joseph and Denise don’t believe in worrying (even though sometimes they can’t help it) because it doesn’t add time to your life on earth–that is in the hands of their God. Joseph says, “You have to earn your Heaven and if it isn’t your time, you have to work a little harder.”

Broadcast Love wishes Denise and Joseph many more years of love and happiness together.

Sometimes Sneaking Out Is Worth It

Lindsay and Cole

Lindsay and Cole disagree as to when they first met. Cole knew of Lindsay through a mutual cousin. They are not related–they checked and the relation is through marriage on both sides. Lindsay says they met initially when they were both at a house watching a movie in Pilot Mound (my home town). Lindsay claims Cole left early because he was in high school and had a volleyball game the next morning. Lindsay friended Cole on Facebook and they had an extended conversation. Cole had no recollection of meeting Lindsay nor of their Facebook conversation until Lindsay retrieved it and showed it to him.

Their second encounter occurred when Lindsay, who is my niece was visiting her Grandma, my Mom, in Pilot Mound and ended up at Cole’s high school graduation party. As a lifeguard, he knew first aid and someone pulled him aside and asked if he could assist Lindsay. Cole said she was showing off for the boys playing volleyball and scraped both her knees. He took her down to the basement of the skating rink and rinsed off the blood and sand, dried off the scrape and put peroxide and a bandaid on and then left. They didn’t meet again for four years. Lindsay went to Vancouver to study and Cole went to Lethbridge and Saskatoon to study. However, Cole likes to refer to this incident as the time he planted the seed.

Lindsay went back to stay at her Grandmother’s house in Pilot Mound to visit with both her Grandma and my daughter, Nicole who was visiting. Lindsay went for a hot tub with some friends and Cole was there. They then went to the bar–Cole made sure that Lindsay was in his car and Nicole met up with them. After the bar closed, Cole invited them to his “house” which turned out to be a 1976 motor home in his Mom’s backyard with no heat. It was February in Manitoba, Canada where temperatures hover around -20 Celsius. In a game of truth or dare, Lindsay had no choice but to kiss Cole. They were frozen and covered in blankets but that didn’t stop them from staying out until 4:00 a.m!! My Mom was waiting for them and was rather upset–she was ready to call the police. The fact that they were both in their twenties did not stop my mom from grounding them for the rest of the week. After that night Cole went to add Lindsay on Facebook and realized that they were already friends and had had a length conversation.

Cole asked his Mom the next day for advice about how he could attract Lindsay and she said, “Don’t bother, she can have anyone she wants and I don’t want you to get hurt. You aren’t really worthy of her–maybe you would be if you became a cop.”

A couple of nights later, Lindsay and my daughter Nicole devised a plan. They were sharing the guest bedroom and they decided to stuff a pillow in the side of the bed where Lindsay was supposed to be sleeping. Nicole remained at home while Lindsay snuck out after her Grandma went to bed. A car was waiting for her down the street where the lights wouldn’t shine in her Grandma’s bedroom window.

To spend a bit of extra time with Lindsay, Cole agreed to drive Lindsay and Nicole back to Winnipeg which is about a two hour drive. Cole was on his way to Saskatoon for school. He would drive back to Winnipeg every couple of weeks to visit Lindsay in Winnipeg. Cole moved back to Winnipeg and lived in the same apartment building as Lindsay who was living with her Mom. Eventually Cole moved in with them and when Lindsay’s Mom moved out, Cole stayed.

They joke that it’s been four years and they’re still not sure. Cole says he knew when they were visiting his family and his little sisters were calling Lindsay his girlfriend. He asked Lindsay if she was okay with that and she said yes.

At the time of their interview, Cole had just found out he had been accepted to train for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)–Canada’s equivalent to the FBI. Cole has since graduated. As the two of them were driving out to Cole’s first placement as an RCMP officer, they stopped to stay at a resort and Cole asked Lindsay to marry him. They were married the following year.

Lindsay says communication is really important. If you want to put that to the test, buy a camping trailer that is pulled on the back of your vehicle and have your spouse help you back it up into a camping spot. I could relate to this as I have had that pleasure a couple of times with my Dad advising me and once my spouse–maybe that’s why I’m not a big fan of camping.

Cole’s advice related to spite. He said, “Don’t do things in spite–like eat the last two eggs for breakfast when you know your wife really wants them and there are other things you can have.” We have all been there before where our passive aggressive nature takes over and we do something in spite. It never works out for the best and usually escalates the initial issue.

Lindsay and Cole no longer need to sneak out to see one another as they are married and now have a beautiful little boy, Nate and a sweet dog called Harper. Broadcast Love wishes Lindsay and Cole many more years of happiness, outdoor adventures and stress-free camping trips.

Sometimes you Just Need a Good Wingman to Find Mr. Right

Gabriel and John

Together 14 Years, Married 8

Gabriel had moved to the States from Mexico 7 years earlier and had decided to return to Mexico City as he wasn’t happy. At his going away party, held at a bar, his friend said to him, “You just need to find someone to share your life with.” Gabriel’s response was, “Like that’s really easy.” His friend, being the good wingman that he was, suggested he introduce him to this guy who had been noticing Gabriel. He was reluctant and said, “I don’t think so it’s the wrong time to get involved.” Despite Gabriel’s protests, his friend went over to John and asked if him if he would like to meet that guy and pointed toward Gabriel. John thought his friend was pointing at another gentleman and said “No not really, I want to meet that guy.” and pointed his finger at Gabriel. His friend brought him over to meet Gabriel and they hung out the rest of the night.

The next day John called Gabriel at the salon. Gabriel played hard to get, pretended he didn’t know who he was and and asked him if he was calling for a hair cut. Gabriel was just playing it cool because John had used an old trick by taking John’s phone and calling his number so he would have a missed call from Gabriel’s phone and he would have his number. John asked Gabriel to a movie and he said, “I don’t watch movies with strangers.” After further back and forth, they ended up going to a coffee shop–one where Gabriel could get a tea. John mentioned how he loved Gabriel’s eyes and this was when their love story really began. Gabriel decided to stay in California and they began dating.

John knew pretty early on. Gabriel lived with his sister and the way he interacted with his sister was similar to the way that John related to his sister. It felt right from the very beginning and as John exclaims, He’s gorgeous!

For Gabriel, there were many things that told him, he was totally attached to this guy. He too realized early on that they had similar values when it came to family. He invited me for dinner and his sister came and I started to meet his family. Then it just carried on until one day John asked him where this was going and they decided to try living together.

After being together for 6 or 7 years, John had to leave the country when his visa wasn’t renewed. Gabriel knew that it would take time for him to return and he gave John the option of moving on with his life. John decided to find out how to work one week a month in Mexico so he could fly down and see Gabriel and for three years they lived apart, only seeing each other one week a month. They had already been together for years and had a car and business together. They had a month to plan what to do and they sold the business, and the car and Gabriel took the dog and left for Mexico. Every six weeks John would go and work remotely from Mexico City for a week.

During this time, they both had immigration lawyers who were working on getting Gabriel back to California. John had just spoken to his lawyer and called Gabriel on the phone, explaining

I spoke to our lawyer and he said we need to get married, what do you think?

John

Gabriel said Yes. That was the proposal. John’s parents flew down for the wedding. The Mexican lawyer had set up a beautiful chapel for them but it fell through and they ended up getting married in a little tiny hole in the wall government building. The judge was friendly and made the ceremony quite personable. The judge’s words resonated with them when she said, “Now you are family no matter what happens.” They have been married for coming up 8 years.

When asked if they have ever faced issues of non-acceptance, John replied that luckily they have very supportive families and friends. They did have to wait until the law changed within the United States and Gabriel was recognized as John’s spouse in order to start the process of bringing him back to America.

Gabriel believes you have to trust in yourself and your partner and if you need help you have to learn to ask for the help. We try to do everything ourselves and together is easier. With the pandemic, he has noticed how many couples are struggling and he feels blessed because they are enjoying each other’s company and have adapted. Gabriel feels it’s important to be able to ask your partner for what you need.

I think you need to have patience and support each other through everything. You have to be a little selfless to be in good solid relationship.

John

John said that if you really think of your marriage as a partnership then you need to be willing to support the goals of the other person rather than always what is going to work best for you. For example, whatever is going to support Gabriel’s salon is going to be better for me too.

They always say thank you for coming after seeing each other’s family but they both enjoy each other’s family and feel supported by them. Their support is an important part of their marriage.

This couple works because they have similar values around the importance of family and they support one another and help each other move forward with their goals. Broadcast Love wishes them many more years of happiness and joy together.

The Gift of Motherhood

Peggy and Her Girls

When my friend Peggy said she would like to tell me one of her love stories, I wasn’t sure what we would be talking about and I was thrilled to find out it was motherhood. For Peggy, she has experienced great loves in her life starting with her parents, and family. Peggy cruised through her childhood with not a care in the world and felt great love for her parents. Along the way, she developed friends who she loved and then Peggy got married and shared her love with her spouse. The natural next step was to have children but nothing prepared her for the love she would feel toward her children.

“There’s no greater love between a mother and her child.” Peggy would agree with the poet and playwright, Robert Browning’s words, “Motherhood–all love begins and ends there.”

Peggy said, “You parent your children as best you can–you discipline and you fumble through and you hope you are doing all the right things and keep loving them and helping them to become happy, fulfilled and productive.”

Every parent has their ups and downs, their sorrows and joys and beneath all of that there is an undeniable, unconditional love. Sometimes you question it and sometimes it’s tested but it’s always there.

Peggy

It’s in times of struggle and trauma that it really hits home for Peggy. Looking back at parenting, Peggy recalls certain times where she really felt that pang of motherhood: handing her first born child off at daycare for the first time after six months of maternity leave; forgetting to pick up her youngest at lunch one day and listening to her quivering voice on the phone calling from the school office; watching her fall of a slide at a playground and thinking has she permanently injured herself; and then leaving her eldest at her dorm in university and thinking how did she grow up so fast.

Each of those instances and many other parenting events elicited a visceral reaction within Peggy–a physical, gut-wrenching, heart racing, panicking feeling. Each time, Peggy remembers feeling she didn’t realize she had emotions like that and it caught her off guard. She would ask herself where are these feelings coming from and then realize that’s love and the love you have for your children. This feeling is one of the many gifts of being a mother–the understanding that the love runs so deep, and it’s so unconditional and its forever. The bond is there and will always be between children and their mothers.

There is no play book to being a parent and you stumble your way through and there is always this amazing love and bond. Peggy knows father’s share similar feelings for their children, but Peggy believes for mothers the bond is on a whole different level.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Peggy. We know that your girls are very lucky to have such a warm and loving parent. Broadcast Love wishes you many more fun adventures with your girls.

Small Dog Spreads Big Love

Baby

Terry, who, now in her 70’s, has known several loves in her lifetime–the falling in and out of love, some romantic, some short and painful, some family and many longterm and lasting loves. However, there is one love story that has left an indelible print on Terry’s heart–the love of a three and a half pound, twelve-year old chihuahua called “Baby”.

Terry received a call one day from a friend at a rescue society who asked if Terry could foster this little dog. Terry was somewhat reluctant having already three dogs and a cat and was afraid they wouldn’t accept her as they were all older themselves. The lady explained it was just for a couple of weeks until a forever home was found. Baby arrived with a mangled foot, a limp, and an insatiable appetite. Upon arriving she gobbled up her food and then proceeded to eat all of the other dogs’ food as well. The other dogs seemed to know she needed the food and they didn’t mind.

Terry and her dogs had a morning routine to walk for an hour through a park and then to the beach and then home for naps for the dogs. Baby, despite her limp was able to keep up with the group. They learned quite quickly that Baby hated the beach–she could be found hiding behind washed up logs. As a result, Terry and her crew of three dogs, changed their routine to accommodate Baby.

Terry watched with amazement as Baby seduced each of her housemates one by one. Terry’s granddaughter adored her and was immediately smitten. Baby understood the household dynamics–Murphy was the oldest and only male and he easily succumbed to Baby’s charm. It took a little longer for Baby to win over Muggins-a four pound multipoo and her daughter Sashi but by day 3 Baby had moved into their day baskets. Then there was Big Blue–a very independent cat. Despite Baby’s ridiculous shows of bossiness, Big Blue did not retaliate. After four days, Baby had taken over–she slept where ever she wanted, they had changed their walking habits so she wouldn’t have to go on the beach, and she ate out of any and all dog bowls.

Baby was born a party girl–just like her owner, Terry admits. She didn’t mind having her toenails painted pink by a granddaughter or being dressed in ballet clothes. When attending a party, her feet never touched the floor until the party was over–always in some guests’ attentive arms. She had a fan club in the neighbourhood and it didn’t matter where she went with Terry–drug store, gift shop, the bank, she was greeted by shouts of, “Here’s Baby!” and out came the treats. The bank made a point of buying special small treats for Baby and she was even included in their staff photo. There’s Baby scooped up in the arms of the well dressed bankers in the middle of the corporate photo.

Somewhere along the line, Baby stopped limping–maybe a year after she arrived and she realized she didn’t have to eat everyone’s food anymore–that she would be taken care of and want for nothing. Terry, who has adopted a few dogs says it can take awhile–years for them to recover from trauma and a significant dose of patience but they are the most grateful, loving companions.

Baby never left the “foster home” and lived there til she passed away at twenty. Terry wonders how such a tiny little chihauhua could spread so much love and gratitude to so many.

All four of the dogs and the cat are gone now but my memories of their beautiful, unique Spirits will live with Terry forever. That is love.

Self Love–It All Starts Here

Alison

Alison is a long time friend of mine and this is one of my favourite interviews because every time I watch and listen to her self love journey, I learn something new. In this interview, rather than our usual questions, I gave Alison three quotes and asked her to respond to them. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us Alison!

Alison came from a family of chaos, abuse, and a lot of addiction issues. When Alison had her own family she wondered how she would parent when she was never parented herself.

How was I going to be highly functioning when I didn’t have a lot of self worth? I had a lot of self hate and self loathing.

Alison

When you bring up your family you want them to have a better experience than you started from. As life went on the trauma kept showing up most often where and when she didn’t need it to show up. It all came to a head when her daughter was assaulted and the incident changed her life. It was her daughter, who survived and is blossoming getting through the trauma with grace and dignity, that inspired Alison–she needed to match that. Alison went for therapy and had to learn to love herself because she was not loved as a child in a way that would allow her to be an emotionally stable person. She was filled with a lot of anger and resentment. Alison felt she didn’t have validity to be here on earth and that her only purpose in life was to look after her alcoholic mother who raged at her everyday. Through these experiences Alison learned that her purpose was to meet everyone else’s expectations. The thought that Alison could have a life of her own and be her own person was a totally foreign idea. Through a process of ten years of working through the traumas she experienced as a child, she now has much reverence for the process of self love. Her caveat for anyone thinking I don’t love myself and I need to work through this would be–it sounds easy but it isn’t. It’s hard work and worth doing the work no matter how long it takes you or how late in life you start your journey. In 2014 Alison came to a realization, that if she got cancer and died she would have no regrets because she had finally come to a point where she loved herself. Learning to love herself was an epiphany and she hopes that by sharing her story more people can come to that point.

Work on being in love with the person in the mirror who has been through so much but is still standing.

“That statement is me–now let me put some context to that,” she said. When Alison was in therapy, her therapist asked her, “Why do you think through all of this you’ve been able to keep going?” At first Alison didn’t know and she pushed Alison to really think about it and Alison said “I just have this need to persevere and put one foot in front of the other.” Upon later reflection, Alison realized that down deep inside, she’s an optimist who sees beauty in every corner of the world. Alison kept seeing the beauty and grabbing on to it–connecting with it even if she wasn’t conscious she was doing that. That belief in the beauty of the world, kept her going.

Alison admits, she couldn’t meditate to save her soul and went for long meditative walks instead. She walked everywhere in order to stop the rumination that was usually negative thoughts or things that were bringing up anger and resentment. Walking calmed it all down so she could be at peace for those moments.

I don’t think you have to be exceptional to find something worth loving in yourself. Just the fact that you woke up and did something, you are so important just for being you. You don’t have to accomplish anything to still be valuable in this world.

Alison

The more you love yourself, the less nonsense you’ll tolerate.

Alison quips that she thinks that’s just getting older. She feels lucky to be older because her parents both died at 52 and her brother at 36. Alison is more tolerant and less tolerant as she has aged. She is less tolerant of people who have harsh judgements of her or other people having lived that as a child and as a young adult. Alison explained, “I’m not that person but I can be drawn into the negativity and I didn’t want to stay around people who are negative and judgmental anymore–catty women, or holier than though people. ” She’s not tolerant of that. Instead of fighting them and lashing out, she cleaned house of all the people that did not bring her joy, positivity and kindness. Kindness, compassion and joy became so much a cornerstone of her life. Now she is able to just walk away from those people.

On the other hand, Alison is extremely tolerant of different ways of living. She knew when she was 11 that her brother was gay before that was even a term. He was who he was from birth. She loved him dearly and it was very painful to her when he took his life. She has compassion for alcoholics even though she lived a miserable life around alcoholics, Alison understands that these people are suffering. Alison has much empathy and compassion for people who don’t love themselves. Empathy because we’ve all been there.

Alison believes that sometimes we’re going too fast and we don’t realize we’re just all human beings just putting one foot in front of the other. Although there are things you shouldn’t tolerate like the judgment and judging of others, there are things we control for the most part–our actions and our decisions around who we spend our time with. When you spend time with healthy, happy, positive people with strong values it affects you. Alison pays attention to who she spends time with now, whereas before she was too concerned with being liked and accepted. She would mold herself to be accepted. Now she realizes,

You can never have self love when you’re trying to live others’ expectations.

Alison

To love yourself is to understand you don’t need to be perfect to be good.

Alison was not a perfectionist but she was really hard on herself. Anybody’s judgment crushed her and she would be mad at them and then mad at herself and then resentful and it just created a vicious cycle. She’s learned to cut that off and have boundaries around herself. Alison learned to know what she could and could not do and be okay with that. You’re not meant to meet other people’s expectations. Learn your own boundaries and respond to them. She believes that we have access to way too many other people’s voices through social media and we need to find time where we can listen to our own voice whether it be through meditation (she’s getting better at it) or meditative walks. These other voices are distractions and tempt us to respond to every other voice out there but our own–they make you think you have to do this or that. We need to sit with ourselves and remind ourselves that we are good enough.

When we act from the heart and from a place of love, compassion and empathy we are all good enough.

Alison

Alison jokes that she’s glad she didn’t live during Pinterest–she would have had a nervous breakdown. Her daughter reminded her of all the fancy cakes she made for her birthday and Alison said, “I did it and I enjoyed it but there was always part of me that was questioning, am I doing this because I want people to see what I can do so you’re more apt to accept me. Now if I were to make fancy cakes, it would be simply because it was fun to do and it would be okay if it didn’t work out Pinterest ready. Part of that is the wisdom that comes with age.

Alison’s final piece of wisdom was that the journey is worth it. It can be very painful especially when you bring up dark times but make the effort–get a therapist to assist you along the way. She found journaling her journey helped Alison listen to her own voice. Sometimes the voice says you didn’t handle that well. Don’t beat yourself up–it’s okay, just stay focused and moving forward-making little changes on whatever resonates with you. For Alison, she found the book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills very helpful. The four agreements are: Speak Impeccably; Have the courage to ask questions; Don’t take anything personally; and At the end of the day, Do your Best.

Life is a journey and we’re only here for a short time. No matter what your circumstances self love is worth the journey.

Alison

Broadcast Love is grateful for you sharing this crucial journey with us Alison and we wish you many years of love and joy.

Take a Chance on Me

Engaged to be Married

Colin and Sheila

Colin and Sheila met on Match.com and Colin got a message that they had been connected. He had seen a couple of other women from the site prior to meeting Sheila. However, her profile intrigued him. Sheila mentioned that she had an Irish father and enjoyed kitchen parties, playing games and was influenced by her time spent in Prince Edward Island (PEI). Colin’s father was from PEI and his mom is from Nova Scotia and there was this Maritime connection and he thought,

I have to meet this woman because I know it will be a cool experience.

Colin

Sheila was trying to get off of Match.com because she didn’t like it and she had been pestering her daughter to help her remove her profile. Often our daughters act as personal assistants when it comes to technology–just ask mine. Sheila’s daughter was busy and kept putting her off. Sheila hadn’t been answering any of the requests but the beginning of Colin’s response caught her eye because he said his mom is from Nova Scotia and his dad is from PEI. Sheila decided to open his response and it was very sweet. Sheila had mentioned in her profile that her friends say she reminds them of Aunt Clara from the sit com Be Witched and at the end of his response, Colin said, and by the way my boat is called Be Witched. Sheila decided she would respond to this one last guy. She said, “I love your picture–you must be on a magazine.” Colin in his self-effacing manner responded, “If I was on a magazine, they wouldn’t sell many copies.” They decided to meet that night because Sheila was leaving the next day for PEI. They met at Vittoria Trattoria in Ottawa, Canada.

When Sheila walked in, the first thing he said was “Your pictures don’t do you justice. Sheila sat down beside him and replied, “Now I’m sitting next to Superman. Has anyone ever told you you look like Clark Kent?” They stayed and talked til the restaurant closed and then carried on their conversation in the parking lot as they watched all the staff leave an hour later. Sheila was talking about how much fun she has in PEI in the summer and then suggested that Colin join her. Colin suggested that was the wine talking. Sheila taunted him with “Aren’t you whimsical?” and Colin said “I can be whimsical but in the cold hard light of day that might not be the best idea.”

The next afternoon she texted Colin, “Guess where I am.” She had left at 1:00 a.m and driven to PEI arriving at 2:30 in the afternoon. Sheila wanted to know if he had booked a flight. Sheila told all her cousins and children, “this might seem crazy but I went on one date with this guy and I invited him down here.” No one thought it was crazy with the exception of one cousin–he was more skeptical and checked Colin out on Instagram. Her kids thought it was fun and great until the day before he was to arrive and then her son started to question whether he might be a Ted Bundy and would the family be safe. Sheila had given strict instructions not to tell her parents that they’d only been on one date. When she mentioned Colin was coming to her parents she made it seem like she had been seeing him for awhile.

Colin was a little nervous himself and joked, “How do I know that you aren’t a member of a cult and you’re going to sacrifice me off the red cliffs of the ocean?” When she picked Colin up at the airport, she had two carpets rolled up in her backseat that she was returning to a store. Colin joked about being somewhat concerned he’d be rolled up in one of them.

Despite their initial concerns, they had a fantastic time together. They went to a ceilidh–a kitchen party where her dad played and entertained a group of tourists. The following night they went to a hootenanny–open mic night close to their cottage where Colin met about 130 family members. When they crossed over the sand dunes onto the beach there were all these umbrellas set up and over 100 people milling around–like Colin, most of them were over six feet tall and Sheila said, “This is my family.” Colin felt like he had known Sheila for years. He left a favourable impression on Sheila’s parents bringing them rum and wine and coloured drinking glasses. Behind Colin’s back, Sheila’s family members were giving her the thumbs up. After dropping him off at the airport and returning to her family, Sheila exclaimed she had never met such a salt of the earth gentleman in her life.

A couple of weeks later, she met Colin’s mom and was asking herself “Is this for real? Are we falling for each other so quickly?” At the time of the interview they had been together only four months but they had been on different trips to Toronto and boating adventures and had fallen in love.

Colin and Sheila are currently engaged and will be married in 2021, Covid allowing.

Colin had advice for people using the dating apps. He said he felt badly for some of the women reaching out to him. They came across as really lonely and anxious and wanting to meet someone. His suggestion was to have a friend review your profile because it’s your first impression and you want to get the messaging right–what do you want to present. Colin believes everyone deserves to find love and if you’re ever on these sites and someone reaches out to you, as a sign of politeness you should respond to their message even if you aren’t interested just to say “thank you and I wish you well on your search.” He spoke to people who’s feelings were hurt by no response.

Colin told Sheila on their first date that he really liked her profile but her pictures didn’t do her justice and told her that she should get better photos. Sheila was thinking obviously he’s not interested if he’s giving me advice on how to move forward, which was the exact opposite of how he was feeling. Colin’s suggestion to others is to get a great photo–have someone take a photo of you that you feel great about and really reflects your personality.

Sheila, thinking Colin wasn’t interested, totally relaxed and they were able to talk freely and it seemed like they’d known each other for years. Sheila’s love of games and kitchen parties painted this picture of a fun-loving person and that is what Colin was looking for. Sheila’s friends comment that they are very similar and they get along on so many different levels. One of the things Sheila looked for on profiles was whether a person seemed to have a lot of friends because that’s really important to her. Maybe not everyone thinks about looking at that aspect of a profile but for Sheila there would not be a match if one of you was very extroverted and the other person quite introverted.

Broadcast Love wishes Colin and Sheila years of fun-loving kitchen parties, hootenannys and houseboat adventures together.