I started to answer this questionnaire a week or so ago but left part two for another day. Today feels like that day.
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know? I would want to know when I will die.
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it? Yes, to publish a book or several. I am working on it.
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? My children are mostly grown, and they are mostly whole, good people. I am still married, despite early indications. I am not afraid.
16. What do you value most in a friendship? Love, honesty, loyalty, forgiveness.
17. What is your most treasured memory? Perfect days, spent with people (close family, very close friends) I care about, outside usually. No one memory, although I think of one day when we drove up to Raccoon Mountain, Ben and Katey sat in back of a truck as Joe drove around the reservoir, and we walked in the woods, played baseball on an overgrown diamond, laughed.
18. What is your most terrible memory? When my step-dad lost his temper and hit me or Kim, i.e., “spanked” us for minor infractions. When he drop-kicked my cat. When Katey had tubes put in her ears and I took her to the babysitter later that day instead of staying with her. When we left our dog Lucy while on vacation with food and water and pee pads but came home to discover she had been locked in the bathroom for almost a week. When Joe’s mom died from an opiate overdose, his stepdad passed out from morphine, and I knew nothing would ever be the same.
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why? Yes. I’d write more instead of steadily pacing. I’d be nicer, make it easier for people to be nice to me. I would not tell anyone.
20. What does friendship mean to you? Being honest while being forgiving, listening to spoken and unspoken needs, helping through difficult times. Not ever worrying that if you call if it is an inconvenience or unwanted.
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life? Affection — not as much, at least physical displays of affection. Hugs, sweet gestures and the like tend to be limited to responses (will accept hugs) or within the realm of sexual intimacy. Affection is shown in other ways, through small gifts, thoughtful acts. The role of love? I don’t know. I love, am loved.
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items. 1) Driven to do more, to question status quo, 2) Loves me and our children fiercely, 3) Sexually skilled and dependable, 4) Usually appreciates gestures of love or affection, 5) Will say he’s sorry when he understands that he has hurt someone, 6) Continues to evolve.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s? I don’t feel like I have a dad, really. I see my stepfather on family birthdays, holidays, Father’s Day, but I am not close with his family. I see my biological father rarely, but he is nice enough, and I was close with my biological parents’ parents. Warm? Never thought of us that way. Childhood was not especially unhappy or tragic, but I’ve never considered it happy. It was lonely, mostly.
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother? Good overall. It was never bad, although it was absent when I had moved out but my sisters were younger and still lived at home. I think I have given her more advice about relationships (with friends, spouses, family) than she has given me. She would always get my back. Her intentions sometimes outmatch her execution. We have some similarities in both our physical appearance as well as how we handle certain situations, although the similarities are not so numerous or remarkable as she would like to believe.