10 Reasons Why I Could Never Be A Cougar

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I enjoy surfing long into the still of the night.

Channel surfing, that is.

Hours after the hubster is gently…okay loudly…very, very loudly snoring next to me, my insomnia has me flipping through 300-and-something channels in search of something suitable to watch until I’m sleepy enough to join him in dreamland.

Many times in my late night TV travels, I’ll come across a commercial for a website for called cougarlife.com.

Now, in case there’s some confusion, this particular site isn’t dedicated to informing the masses about the instincts and habits of some sleek and powerful mountain cats. No, this is a site dedicated to the human variety of cougar; middle aged women in search of men half their age or significantly younger in the interest of pursing a sexual relationship.

When I see these commercials I admittedly shake my head and roll my eyes.

I’m a happily married Christian woman, and for those reasons alone I could never bring myself to do what these ladies do,  but of course it still makes me think…what if I weren’t? Could I commit to becoming some cradle-robbing baby chaser under a different set of circumstances?

I decided that no matter what type of life I chose to lead, the answer would be still be no. I could never become a ‘cougar’, no matter how desperate for male companionship I became, and here are some reasons why:

1. Who’s Lynyrd Skynyrd and what’s an 8 track?

Come on…Freebird? Sweet Home Alabama? No? Okay kiddo, you just go back to listening to the ‘Flying Meatmonkeys’ or whatever drivel is streaming through those buds in your cute little ears.

Its called common ground…or in this case, lack thereof. To be able to connect with someone on even a physical level, there has to be some key element that we can both relate to, some sort of chemistry, a conversational spark. Coming from completely different eras, I don’t think that the Golden Gate could even bridge this generational gap.

2. Club hop? I couldn’t even club hobble anymore.

Generally speaking, the younger crowd tends to get their kicks indulging in whatever social scene that nightclubs have to offer, and it’s the best place to go if you’re on the hunt for young, available, easy men. I used to frequent the clubs when I was young, as did all of my friends.

I, however, grew sick of the partying scene and grew up somewhere in my late 20’s. Now I have maybe 2 or 3 drinks a year and only dance at weddings.

I can’t really say this fact bothers me much, either. When my husband and I go on our yearly cruise, there’s always several young drunk people making complete idiots of themselves, and it always makes me think, “Man, did I used to act that foolish, too?”

3. I was graduating high school when your mother was begging for an epidural.

I don’t know how these women can overlook a fact that to me just seems, well…twisted. If this is the case, I am literally old enough to be your um…hot older sister…and as such, I should be offering you some snippets of wisdom and life advice, not trying to get into your pants. Seriously though, as a mother figure, I should be looking out for you, rather than trying to pick you up in some shady bar or on some equally shady website.

I doubt I’d even be able to live with the guilt that came afterward if I were to pursue an encounter with someone that many years my junior.

4.That’s someone’s son for Heaven’s sake.

Maybe one has to have a male child to actually get this, but I’m capable of putting myself in a parent’s position here. Someone, somewhere, has tried to raise their darling baby boy with a hint of morality. While the fact that he’s out chasing women old enough to be his mother holds some indication that they’ve failed in their endeavor, I’d still have to ask myself if I’d want my son involved with a much older woman.

I’d be lobbing snowballs at Satan before I’d ever let that happen.

5. My parents would be so proud.

My parents are still both very much alive and very quick to offer advice when they deem that I’m screwing up my life. They did their best to raise me with certain ethics and moral standards that set me apart from oh…hyenas and vultures, and while I may not always adhere to the way they’d like to see me handling my life, I think I do a pretty good job at being the upstanding citizen that they raised me to be.

While they may not know exactly what unsavory activities I’d be involved in if I chased after men half my age, the guilt would still be there. I was raised better than that, and knowing that my behavior would be going against every value that my parents tried to instill in me would be a terrible testament to their legacy. I’m not sure I could forgive myself for that.

6. Age is just a number you say?

I get disgusted every time I hear this statement. Granted, I’ve mostly heard it from men in my lifetime, but there has to be some degree of this line of thinking to be able to pursue a man half one’s age.

You see, age does matter. The progression of time in a person’s life equates to a greater level of stability and wisdom brought about by years of experience; emotional, mental, social, etc. Well, at least in most cases it does anyway.

By the time a woman reaches 40, even 30, she should be smart enough to understand what are or aren’t healthy relationship habits, and she should have the ability to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable social behaviors…like chasing after men half her age.

7. That’s like, hashtag, hella cray cray G.

You, young sir, sound like a moron.

With the passage of time I’ve learned that speaking in full sentences with real words has it’s social advantages, like oh…people with some measure of intelligence can understand you.  I can’t get to know someone and carry on a stimulating conversation with street slang, and it’s a huge turn off to boot. Heck, I don’t even know what half of the words in the vocabulary of today’s youth mean. This blowout’s about to turn up, huh? You want to try that sentence again in a way that my old, lame self can understand?

On the flip side of the coin, young men that try to sound overly intelligent in an effort to impress an older woman appear equally as ridiculous. I don’t listen to indie-rock, don’t drink iced mocha-chinos, and have zero interest in progressive politics. While you blindly believe that you’re hipster ways will impress me, I’m just grateful that my hips are still my own.

8. We could go back to my place, but my parents might still be up.

For oh-so-many reasons, I don’t even need to expound upon that sentence. No woman wants to hear that, whether the guy is 21 or 40. I’d imagine there’s more of a chance of hearing it from the younger crowd, though. By 40, if a man doesn’t have some sort of financial stability and a place of his own, he should be far too embarrassed to even be out trying to pick up women.

9. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

There are so many more productive things that I could do with a Saturday night than go out and try to pick up a man- any man, let alone one that’s half my age. It’s called having a sense of responsibility. My laundry isn’t going to do itself, my kitchen won’t clean itself, my blog won’t write itself, my kids could probably feed themselves but I don’t think reddi-wip, nila wafers, and processed cheese slices qualify as a well balanced meal, and I’m sure there’s a new episode of something on TV that I won’t want to miss.

10. Oh my aching back.

While a man in his early 20’s may pride himself on his 2 hour stamina, I pride myself on being able to go 5 minutes without hearing anything crack. So sorry, tiger. I couldn’t keep up with you even if I were a cougar.

And there you have it.

I’ll leave the pursuit of younger men to those older women who just don’t seem to know better…or simply don’t care, in pursuit of other avenues in life…

Like having respect for myself as a seasoned woman.

 

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The 12 Year Honeymoon

Daily Prompt: First Sight

Whether a person, a pet, an object, or a place, write about something or someone you connected with from the very first second.

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I had never been one for long term relationships. I would make excuses for myself and place the blame solely on whatever guy unwittingly had one foot out the door at the time (even though at times it genuinely was a wise decision to move on), but in retrospect I can chalk it up to mostly my own selfishness. I had developed a “grass is greener” mentality, and when the butterflies in the stomach were gone, the guy that wrought them was soon to follow.

I went through a plethora of “relationships” in my younger years, with my 2 longest being 3 years and 5 years respectively, and even those were on and off at times.

I would dump a guy for the most absurd things, too. This one because he had too much nose hair, that one because I didn’t like the way he laughed, another one because he’d hold his fork like a 2 year old at the dinner table.

Yep, just give me a willing heart, and I could break it into a million pieces in the most creative ways.

I had developed an unhealthy relationship pattern, and I honestly didn’t even recognize that I had a problem at the time. I mean, society had made this type of behavior perfectly acceptable, how could I possibly see that it wasn’t right?

So on I went, hacking away with my relationship machete, oblivious to the  wake of destruction I left behind…

Until HIM.

It started innocently enough, with a “Happy Birthday” from a distance of 1200 miles via the online game we both played. If I think about it now, I was probably hooked from just those 2 words.

Over the next few weeks, more words were to follow in the form of lengthy conversations long into the night. We discussed hopes and dreams, wishes and desires. We got to know each other on an emotional level, without that pesky physical attraction business getting in the way.

We exchanged pictures after a time of course, and neither of us were disappointed. Exchanging pictures led to phone numbers, and after several lengthy phone calls (accompanied by astronomical phone bills), we were making plans to meet in person. He bought a plane ticket to Michigan to come see me, and I counted the days until I would see him with bated breath and nervous anticipation.

When he walked down the gangway and into my waiting embrace, the sparks were instant. I mean sure, we had connected on an emotional level already, but this…this was chemistry.

He told me later that his very first thought when he saw me was, “I’m going to marry that girl”, and I can’t say that I wasn’t thinking much the same. Love at first sight was always a trite and ridiculous concept to me, but there I was, with stars in my eyes, feeling like my heart would explode out of my chest.

As he walked me to my car, he held me close, placing a string of soft little kisses along my fingertips and up my arm to the tune of me giggling like a schoolgirl. This guy…oh…this guy.

Our first weekend together was magical, and our first kiss was off the charts. He had spent the day teasing me…getting close enough to move in for a kiss, making me think it would finally happen, and then he would quickly back away, leaving me breathless, confused, and still longing for our lips to finally meet.

He waited until a time when I was least expecting it. I had just stepped out the door when he turned me to face him, and the passionate connection that ensued left me with wobbly knees and rendered me speechless for some time to follow. I couldn’t even rate that kiss. On a scale of 1 to 10, that kiss was somewhere in the 50’s.

He was no sooner on his flight home than I was planning a trip down to Florida to see him the following month. Another amazing weekend was spent together, and that was all we needed to be sure. Truth be told, we were both sure even before that second visit.

I flew back home, found the perfect wedding dress, and 4 months after the words ‘happy birthday’ flowed in bright green letters across my computer screen, my hair was tressed up in flowers and curls, and I was shivering in chiffon while making a promise to love that man for life on a Florida beach in the nippy January air.

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Our ‘love at first sight’ is now going on year 12.

I still look at him sometimes and wonder how I got lucky enough to win over this beautiful man. We drive our kids crazy with our frequent smooches and love affirmations. “Get a room”, my son will say. I’ll retort with, “Got one already.” Then they’ll roll their eyes and groan. My husband and I will just look at each other and smile.

Sure we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve wanted to kill each other at times, and we’ve wanted to kill for each other at times.

We are each other’s world, though, and we wouldn’t trade that…

For the world.

Sister Stockholm Syndrome

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My poor son just happens to be cursed.

The boy has been afflicted with 3 older sisters.

Well, one actual birth sister and 2 step-sisters, but in our house, a sister is a sister. Titles aside, they all torment just the same.

He has a step-brother, too, who sometimes crosses the line from simple sibling aggravation into straight up bullying. We put a stop to it when we know about it, but under threats of further torment, my son will opt to keep silent most of the time.

My husband has theorized, however, that some sibling oppression is good for the boy. Character building, in fact. So, he’ll often respond to my distress over any given situation with, “Well, my brother tortured me as a kid. I turned out just fine and still love him very much. Besides, he needs to toughen up a little.”

I just huff exasperatedly and shake my head at him.

We will probably never see eye to eye on the subject, but hey, I’m an only child so my views are naturally going to be different.

Anyway, I believe that the boy has weighed his options and realized that sister torture is marginally less painful than brother torture, so he’s decided to let the sisters do to him what they will and go with the flow.

I think he was conditioned by the girls at a young age when they made the assessment that he was a living doll put on this earth strictly for their personal entertainment, and would put him in dresses, complete with hair accessories and jewelry to match.

I would peek in on them to find them all staring up at me; the girls with big cheeky grins, and the boy in full female regalia with a defeated look on his face.

Over the years he’s been dressed up, made up, had his eyebrows plucked, his hair sculpted, his nails painted, and countless other atrocities committed against him compliments of his sisters.

When I would find him in such predicaments, I would go and get my camera to the tune of his screaming admonitions, “NOOOOO, MOMMY!! NOT FACEBOOK! YOU CAN’T PUT ME ON FACEBOOK!!!”

After a while, though, he gave up when he learned that Facebook was an inevitable fate.

Now he doesn’t even try. He has adopted a “just do to me what you will” attitude with his sisters, and even plays into their little brother bothering games with enthusiasm most of the time.

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This could mean one of 2 things. Either he’s been tormented by his sisters so much that he honestly genuinely enjoys it now, or it just proves how smart the boy is, because he knows that if he’s not acting like their antics annoy him, they’ll give up on him out of boredom.

If the former is the case, I see therapy in the boy’s future.

If the latter is the case, then…

Well played son, well played.

The Journey of You

1001659_589403451081918_1815348475_nSlow down, my dear,

don’t be in such a rush.

Stay a little longer as a child.

Just yesterday I held you,

now your hand is on the door.

Tomorrow you will be off running wild.

 

 

To my daughter:

May you always know I’ll be here when you need me, and may God bless you more than you could ever dream.

The Journey of You

A blink ago my star was born.

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At one you held my heart.

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At two you were my little light.

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At three a work of art.

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I took a breath and you were four.

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Exhaled and you were five.

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At six I couldn’t love you more.

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Then seven had arrived.

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I turned around and you were eight.

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Turned back and you were nine.

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At ten you were my silly girl.

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Eleven you did fine.

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Age twelve had come and gone again.

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And So did age thirteen.

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At fourteen you were tomboy.

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At Fifteen a beauty queen.

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Sixteen is almost over now.

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And seventeen is here.

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When I blink again you might be gone.

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And that’s my greatest fear.

I Have Let You Go

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To the man that I know loves me:

I have let you go.

I know that it may seem silly to say this to you right now. You’re probably puzzling over what this could possibly mean. Why would I choose this moment in time to say this to you? You’re perfectly healthy. We’re the strongest in our relationship that we’ve ever been. There have been no threats of separation. No diagnosis of disease. Yet here I am letting you know that I have let go of you nonetheless, because I need to.

You know that I’m a worrier. There isn’t a moment when you’re not with me that I’m not worrying about what’s happening to you. Are you sick and we don’t know it? Are you safe? Are you paying attention when you’re driving? Are others watching out for you? Has someone pulled a knife on you? A gun? Threatened you? Hit you? Hurt you?

When I know that you’re on your way home and I hear sirens in the distance, the fear takes my breath away. I pray that it isn’t you that they’re coming for.

I have lived with this overwhelming fear for 11 years. I have lived in fear…for you.

So many times I have thought about what would happen if I lost you. I can never imagine this world without you. I can picture myself curling up and dying right along with you were you not to make it home to me someday. I always think that if I did not die, too, I would just shut down. Never get up again. Stop functioning at a normal human level. Cease to think, reason, or even move.

I admit that I’m co-dependent. I rely on you. You cook because you know I hate cooking. You always put gas in my car because you know I hate doing that, too. You pay the bills. You drive the kids around. You spoil me as much as our finances will allow. I often start to wonder if I might be taking you for granted. Then I think, “No. I always appreciate all that you do, I just don’t tell you enough how much it means to me.”

I could likely never put into words how much I do appreciate you. More than mere appreciation, though, what I feel for you is adoration.

Even after all this time, I am still completely head-over-heels, droolingly, babblingly smitten with you.

After 11 years together, I continue to look at you with stars in my eyes and butterflies in my stomach. I will watch you singing on stage, or working, or teaching, and think, “Wow. That’s my man.” Then this feeling of overwhelming need will wash over me. I don’t know what it is about those times that I can’t have you that make me desire you even more, but for some reason, it happens.

Yet I’ve been taught the evils of lust. So I have wondered, “Is it okay to lust after your own husband?” Surely that’s an exception, right?

Then I realized that my desire is not always purely physical. I sometimes feel a need just to be near you. Simply touch you. Just hear your voice. Know that your heart still beats. Feel your aliveness.

My love for you had crossed the line into unhealthy obsession. I knew it, and God knew it. As I looked at you on stage again today, and thought, “Look at that guy. He’s amazing, and he’s all mine!” I heard that still small voice tell me, “He is not yours to keep.”

You would think that those words would have crushed me, and maybe, had I had any farther to fall for you, I would have been hurt when I landed on the solid ground that I had just been knocked down upon. I could not have crawled any deeper down into my pit of selfishness, though, so those words had an effect on me that I would not have otherwise imagined that they could have.

You see, it all came to an end for me today. The fear of losing you. The fear of what the future holds. The fear that you will be gone from this world someday, it’s just a matter of when and where.

Understanding that you don’t really belong to me took a burden off my shoulders and freed me in a way that I had never thought possible.

I know that we aren’t promised tomorrow, but if something were to happen to you before the next sunrise, I now believe that I could make it through. Yes I would still mourn. I would hurt. The pain would likely stay with me for longer than I care to even think about.

But I would be okay. I would survive it. I would press on; because you don’t belong to me. Your life isn’t mine to hold on to. You are simply a loan that will need to be repaid someday, and when collection day comes, I will still be able to stand because you were never truly mine to begin with.

You will still hold my heart in the palm of your hand while you’re here, and I will likely hold yours as well, but I understand now.

It’s just for safe keeping until we move on from this world, and someday, we must.

I still love you just the same, and always will, but I’m letting you know that I’m okay with letting you go…

Because now I can.

Collaborating With My Kid

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On a recent trip to Michigan to visit my parents that included my husband, daughter, son, and one of my step-daughters, we found ourselves attending my cousin’s college graduation party. It was just a simple outdoor gathering with a barbecue style buffet spread.

While there, there was an item made available to the gathered guests and children that caught my ever-artistic daughter’s eye:

Sidewalk chalk.

She proceeded to grab the bucket of chalk and set to work doodling on the cement driveway.

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This eventually led to her working on a detailed picture of one of her favorite things to draw:

Her “Mushies”.

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Being the huge Alice in Wonderland fanatic that she is, she loves mushrooms, and she loves to draw colorful and creative pictures of whatever toadstools her imagination can work up; among other things, of course. She has a very vivid imagination.

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So there she was down on her knees, diligently working on her chalky cement creation while other party-goers were slowly packing up and heading out one by one. The party was coming to an end, and my husband and parents were trying to hurry my daughter along so that we could leave soon ourselves.

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My child, however, takes after her mother in that she’s not only an artist, but a perfectionist as well, and walking away from an unfinished work of art just isn’t an option for her. I understand this incessant need to finish a masterpiece while others may not.

In a crunch for time, however, I bent down and asked, “Would you like me to help?”

She responded with a relieved “yes,” and we proceeded to finish the creation together that she had started herself.

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Now, in the artistic world, one does not simply allow other people to dip their hands into one’s creative cookie jar. This is especially true with me and my daughter, considering how seriously we take each project that we set our minds to. There has to be complete trust in another person’s artistic abilities to even consider allowing them to touch your own masterpiece.

My daughter and I share a bond that goes deeper than just mother and child, though. We share an artistic bond, in that we have almost the exact same sense of artistic style, imagination, and ability. We have complete trust in one another artistically, and often times, we’ll find ourselves working together or running ideas by each other on any given project.

We collaborate well, and we complement each other quite nicely. It means a lot to me that I’m the only one on this earth that she trusts enough to touch her work. This goes both ways.

We recently worked together on a project to rework a beat up old gun rack that had been kicking around the thrift store for almost a year into a sword rack for my step-son. My husband screwed a wooden plaque on the front for us, and I painted the whole thing black. I had intended to paint some sort of Asian dragon design on it, but I asked my daughter if she would be willing to do it instead, because I knew it would turn out just as well if she did it.

And it did.

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I look forward to collaborating on many more future projects with my kiddo. As a matter of fact, we’re wracking our brains even now trying to come up with something amazing that we can work on together. I have a few ideas. You’ll have to stick around if you want to see what we come up with.

I told her yesterday that I was throwing her out of my art class. Not because I don’t love her, of course, but because she’s just way too advanced. Then I decided to let her stay, but only as my assistant. I think that would be a much better arrangement, don’t you?

Wheye

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This is my 16 year old daughter’s latest creation that I thought I’d share. It amazes me what she can do already at 16, and I can only imagine what jaw dropping stuff she’ll bust out with another 5 years down the road.

She named her creation “Wheye”, because as she so aptly put it, “I have a lot of questions for this crazy world and it inspired me.”

Good job, Amber. Eye love it!

I’m very proud of you.