Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Big V-Day

Today is Valentine's Day! The day of romance, chocolates, flowers and love! For some of you singles, it's your worst nightmare and the most dreaded day of your life, causing you to break out in sweat, hyperventilate, or even cry, while in the fetal position, watching movies like "The Notebook" all day! (Big mistake, by the way).  I've had single friends ask me not to call on Valentine's Day because they just need to be alone. Seriously?!

If you're like me, you live by the motto "it's better to be single, than wish you were!"  If you're consumed with thoughts of "where is she/he?", then may I encourage you to look at the positives of your singleness in the waiting period?  Don't hear what I'm not saying.  I'm not downplaying how hard the single life can be.  I get it.  But, I'm asking you to stop wasting your life away in self-pity just because you don't have to share the bathroom with someone!

Here's my first piece of advice. Stop feeling sorry for yourself! Not only is it sad and pathetic, it's very unattractive. There are worse things than being single.  Why not embrace this time and make the most of it? Get to know yourself, figure out who you are, what you like, don't like or even what you are or aren't willing to compromise. This way, as you're meeting potential partners, you'll know if he/she is a good match for you and you'll recognize the "red flags", which saves you both time, disappointment and heartache.

Some of us are happier single! Maybe we were in marriages which were painful or miserable and now we can finally breathe.  Sure, there are those lonely times, but being part of a "couple" doesn't mean you'll never be lonely, nor is it a guarantee your life will be "complete".  You can't look for someone else to make you whole no matter what Tom Cruise says! Besides, another person will only "complete" you for a time.  Once the Oxytocin and initial "love" hormones wear off, you'll need more substance for the long haul, hence why it's so critical to know yourself and the other person well, long before committing to a lifetime together.  You've got to have things in common with one another, but this doesn't mean you need to be exactly alike.  I don't want someone who is a male version of me!  Sure, we need commonalities, but I want him to bring something different to our relationship, as I will as well. Opposites may attract at first, but eventually, they may repel!  If you're willing to marry someone you barely know, you have only yourself to blame if and when it doesn't work out.  Sure, some of those relationships have survived the long run, but they are quite rare.  Stop being in such a hurry or believing the lie "this could be the best I'm ever going to get so why not?"  There are plenty of reasons for "why not"!

A life partner should bring out the best in you, encourage, support and love you unconditionally, despite your flaws, imperfection or even your past. They should be someone you trust explicitly with your thoughts, feelings and even when they're away from you.  A person you share some of the same interests, morals and values.  These things are very important.  But, demanding another human being "complete" you is way too much pressure and frankly, impossible to achieve.  That kind of security comes from within. You've got to love yourself before you can love someone else.  When you're filled with a sense of self-worth and your identity doesn't come from a person, you're much better off, more desirable and more fulfilled.  People will always let you down, even in the best relationships, but when you're sure of who you are, your world won't end when it happens.  And it will happen.  Others will disappoint you, just as you will disappoint others. This is why you must find a sense of contentment in other places, besides a partner.

For me, it starts with my faith.  I find my strength from God's opinion of me, not other people.  There are those people who have high opinions of me and those who don't.  For that reason, I choose to believe who God says I am, that I can do what God says I can and I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. You'll have so much more to offer someone when you truly have the security of knowing you're enough. Confidence is sexy!  If you're constantly telling yourself, "when I'm a couple, then I'll do this or that" or "when I meet him/her, I'll be fulfilled" "when I lose 10 lbs., then I'll be good", or the greatest lie of all, "if I just had a husband/wife, then I'd be happy"!  You're only kidding and torturing yourself!  The good news is you don't have to wait to be a couple to enjoy your life!

Make the best out of your single life while you're in it.  Granted, my life doesn't resemble anything out of "Sex and the City" (nor would I want it to, although I do love Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe!), but I've learned so much about myself and frankly, it's been quite liberating.  Stop waiting till you're in a relationship to enjoy all that life has to offer! Get out and live!  Go to the concert, movie, play or take that trip!  Treat yourself.  Your future partner will appreciate you're secure in who you are.  I was in a relationship with an insecure man before, who was jealous of my success, my relationships, my personality and incredibly needy.  He looked for me to make him whole.  I couldn't do it and it was not fun.

Yes, I'm excited about being in love again, being in a healthy relationship and sharing my life with someone and I'm ready for when that day comes.  I know he's out there, but I'm not constantly looking for him.  Besides, I want him to find and pursue me!  In the meantime, I refuse to wallow in self pity or believe I'm missing out simply because I'm single. 

I put together a list of some of the things I've discovered living this single life.  Get out a pen and paper and start your list today.  You'll be pleasantly surprised by what you find:).

Here's my very Partial List:

#1: I've learned that I like being with me. How about that? Most people can't stand to be alone with themselves longer than 30 minutes. I, on the other hand, enjoy my "me" time. My friends ask me to go out with them lots of times and even have set me up on dates, but honestly, sometimes I just want to be home with a good book, a cup of french vanilla coffee or watch a movie in bed with a bowl of buttery popcorn by my side.

#2: I've learned how to change an AC Filter! (Did you know these need changing periodically?)

#3: I've learned how to use a plunger!

#4: I can actually change a ceiling light fixture!

#5: I get to choose whether I want to cook or go out to eat!

#6: I can clean out a garage all by myself!

#7: I can start a push lawnmower and use it!

#8: I can carry a live Christmas tree out to the curb for trash pick up!

#9: I can use a ladder!

#10: I can change the battery on a smoke detector!

#11: I can make investing decisions (with the help of my financial planner)!

#12: I can use a grill!

I know one day I'll be writing a different kind of "Love" Blog and I can't wait!  But, until that glorious day arrives, I'm enjoying my life and the many relationships I'm thankful for, which are so important to me.  I encourage you to search for the blessings in your life.  They're there.  I promise!

And, lastly! Until my Valentine shows up to shower me with love, respect and his undying affections, if I want a box of candy, flowers, balloons or a Valentine's Card, I can go out and BUY them myself!!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

What's On Your List?

When I speak at youth conferences, women's events, organizations, churches or schools, I ask singles to make a list of the characteristics they'd want in their future spouse. It never fails. Both genders invariably want the same thing and are very surprised to hear this from one another. The girls/women thought guys just wanted "big boobs" (and some shallow ones do) and the guys/men thought girls just wanted guys with tons of money and muscle (and some shallow ones do).

But, for the majority, it's just not true. This is literally what I hear all across the Country, no matter the age of the audience. Their "want list" consists of a person of integrity, honesty, faithfulness, loyalty, dependability; someone generous, kind, a good communicator, trustworthy, fun, positive, a person they can laugh with, someone who knows the "real" them and loves unconditionally. These are just a few answers I receive.

I remind them if this is the kind of person they want to marry one day, they too need to work on becoming that same kind of person. Singles, you can't expect someone with these kinds of qualities to want anything less than someone with these same kinds of qualities. No one expects perfect. We're all a "work in progress", but these are good goals. Something each of us should strive for. Yup. These kinds of people take patience and prayer to find. But, when you know you're a "good catch", you'll wait for another "good catch".

Happy Saturday! :)

#itsbettertobesinglethanwishyouwere

Thursday, January 12, 2017

"I'm Your Mom"

I'm not getting any younger.  Each year seems to pass by more quickly than the one before.  At times, I still find myself looking in the mirror asking, "Who are you and what have you done with me?" Hmmm, sounds like the title of my next book.  I may see a 52 year old woman staring back at me, but inside, I'm 25.

Sure, I can't do some of the same things I used to as a younger woman, but honest to God, I still think and feel young.  I take good care of myself and try to look my best, but, let's face it, no one is going to escape the aging process or death.  No one.  This is the one thing we all have in common, no matter our race, gender, political affiliation or sexual preference.  Guys date younger women to make them feel younger and some women do the same.  Personally, I could never date someone young enough to be my child, but to each their own.  And, it would be very difficult to date a guy who enjoys dating women my daughter's ages.

The days of being able to eat whatever I choose, without gaining a pound, are gone too.  Although I still do it, those times riding roller coasters for hours are a distant memory.  One time around and I'm nauseous.  Sometimes I can't even remember what I ate the day before, let alone what I was wearing!

Am I the best version of the "me" I could be?  Assuredly not.  When I was married, was I the best wife I could have been?  Nope, I'm sure I could have done better.  Was I the perfect mother?  I would say I tried my heart out, but even though I did my very best, I still wish I'd done more.  There are things I'd change, but I can't do anything about that now.  And, I choose not to dwell on it.

So, I've been thinking.  God willing, I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, but who ever thinks the next minute or day could be their last?  This is why I'm convinced we need to make each day count. It's been said before this isn't a dress rehearsal.  I don't believe in reincarnation, which means I won't get a "do-over".  So, before I go anywhere, I want to make sure I explain a few things to some of the most important people in my life.  I would also like to say, before I go any further, to those of you who've sadly already lost your Mom, I would almost guarantee she'd say the following same things to you if she were able.  And, I'm truly sorry for your loss.

It's so hard to believe this year my girls will be 35, 32, 25 and 21.  I have a 35 year old!!  It really does feel like yesterday they were living in my home, fighting over shampoo, clothes and, sometimes, me.  My beautiful daughters.

Teryn, Tawni, Kendra and Kolby,

I've said this before and I'd say it a million more times.  You girls are four of the best things I've ever done in my life.  It's been my greatest joy being your Mother.  I pray I'm around for many years to come.  I love watching your lives unfold, seeing you become wives and mothers.  When I'm in my last days, my prayer is each one of you will be fighting over who takes care of me!  The days I became your mother were the most exquisite, exciting and beautiful I've ever experienced.  As I held each one of you in my arms, I was in awe.  You were so beautiful, perfect and mine.  I vowed to be the best mother I could be.  I promised each of you to put your needs before my own.  How could it be any other way?  "I'm your Mom."

Trust me, I don't need to be reminded of the mistakes I've made along the way, some of which still haunt me to this day.  But, the majority of every decision I've ever made, I made because I felt they were in the best interest of each one of you.  Even the decisions you didn't understand, including ending my marriage to your father.  Now, granted, had I known then what I know now, I would have waited until the last one of you graduated and left home before I ended my marriage.  But, at the time, I truly felt it was the best decision for not only me, but you girls as well.  That may sound a little crazy, but in the midst of all that was going on, I truly believed that.  Looking back now, I realize it was selfish.  I failed all of you.   I will go on record and admit this decision is my greatest regret, as I've seen the pain and anguish its caused each one of you.  And, even though, through it all, you survived and became well adjusted, incredible human beings, for the pain I caused, I apologize. With all my heart.  The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you.  How could I want to do that? "I'm your Mom."

Too many times, I've put my foot in my mouth and said the wrong thing or communicated the wrong way, but my heart was always in the right place, never malicious.  I've always been on your teams. I meant it when I said I'd lay my life down for each one of you.  I still mean it.  Those aren't just words. You girls are the air I breathe.  You're my greatest accomplishments.  How could I not feel this way about you?  "I'm your Mom."

I know you thought I was butting in your business when I'd force my opinions upon you, disagreed with some of your choices, made you change those shorts or fought to keep you away from a guy I knew was wrong for you.  I know your value.  I knew the men who made you their wives would be the luckiest men on the planet.  You deserved the best and I wasn't going to sit by and allow you to settle for less than that.  How could I do such a thing? "I'm your Mom."

Plenty of times, I'm sure you'd wished you could come home from school to a Mom wearing an apron, baking cookies, smiling and keeping her mouth shut and opinions to herself.   Well, sorry, but you got me. "I'm your Mom."

I want you girls to know I knew you never meant it when you slammed the occasional door in my face screaming "I hate you".  So, remember that when I'm gone.  Please don't let that memory torture you.  Do I know how much you love me?  Of course, I do!  "I'm your Mom."

For the times you didn't like me very much, I get it.  Sometimes, I don't like myself very much either. But, I just keep trying to do better.  Why?  Because "I'm your Mom."

I want each one of you to know how much I love you.  No other mother could be as proud of her daughters as I am of each one of you.  I literally hit the jackpot when God chose me, of all people, to be your Mom.  I truly did.  Do you understand what that means to me?!  How could I not feel this way?!  "I'm your Mom."

There are times when you're not looking when I find myself staring at you.  I take a deep breath, pinch myself and thank God once again for the incredible blessings you've been to my life.  You may not know how much God outdid Himself when He created you girls.  Well, I do.  "I'm your Mom."

In closing, I know there were times I failed, hurt, embarrassed, disappointed or shocked you, but you can each rest assured.  I've always loved you.  Every single day of your lives.  Even on those days I didn't like you or your choices, I never stopped loving you.  You girls are my heart walking around. You've taught me so many valuable lessons in life, including the most important.  You've taught me how to love unconditionally.  And, nothing brings me more joy to say, "I'm your Mom."

"High as the sky, deep as the sea and all the air that's in between."



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I love it. I hate it. Social Media.

I have a "love-hate" relationship with Social Media.  I feel the same way about all the technology we've come to know over the last 10+ years.

Someone once said,
 "I fear for the day that technology will surpass our human interaction.  The world will have a generation of idiots."


My fear is that day has arrived or it's just around the corner.  I'm not here to bash an outlet of communicating with the masses because that would be stupid, being I use it daily myself.  But, this doesn't mean I can't or don't recognize the dangers of it.

It's absolutely astonishing to me how people put everything and anything "out there" for all the world to read, hear or see.  And, I mean everything.  

Because of my platform on radio, television and the non-profit world, I have over 5000 "friends" and over 2000 followers on my Facebook Page; over 20,000 followers on Instragram; and over 12,000 on Twitter.   Of course, I don't personally know 98% of these people, but they're my "friends" nonetheless.  I lose and gain followers daily.  Mostly I lose them after making a controversial statement or have an opinion someone finds opposite of their own.  I'm OK with and respect that.

It's humbling anyone cares what I have to say anyway, nor do I take that lightly.   At times, I've even heard from them through a comment or an email from something I say or post.  Trust me.  My friends and followers have no problem thanking, praising my opinion or even voicing their disdain when they feel it necessary to do so! I don't expect everyone to agree with me either, nor do I always agree with my own friends on social media. Opinions on politics, social issues, etc. cause stirred, passionate emotions.  I get it.  

But, it's astonishing to me when, on any given day, you can read a post on social media bashing parents, siblings, cousins, friends or even spouses.  You'll read about specifics of someone cheating, not paying child support, a fight that just happened, a cursing rage towards someone, etc. etc. Many of these posts are shocking and my mouth has dropped several times in disbelief from the shear lack of class, decency or empathy for others.  Does anyone keep things private anymore?  Nope.  After the shock wears off, I find myself feeling pity for the one posting.  Don't they realize the post says much more about themselves than the person they're trying to vilify?  Come on, posting about poor customer service is one thing, but posting by name about a person in your life, is something else altogether.

And, what about the selfies?  Personally, I find myself dreading taking the required profile or promotional selfie, so I've never been able to understand those who are so comfortable posting so many.  So, to clarify, I'm not speaking of the required "selfie" for those reasons, I'm talking about the continual influx of the "selfie" on a daily basis.  I see many negative, nasty comments towards those who post selfies up on a daily basis.  I get it, I have some of the same thoughts.  I just don't write them.  

But, I'm going to ask you to shift your paradigm for a moment on this subject.  Try considering a different view pertaining to the "selfie craze".  Don't get me wrong.  They annoy me as well.  I know how you feel, I used to feel the same way, but what I found out is most of these young people are in need of more compassion than criticism.   

Many, if not the majority, of these young people posting daily selfies are just dying to be noticed. They're screaming "Look at me!", "Tell me I'm beautiful!", "Please like my picture!"  This makes me sad.  They're somehow convinced their worth is measured by how many "likes" or comments they receive.  To me, this is incredibly heartbreaking and tragic.  We have a generation of young people who truly believe my "like" or comment dictates who she/he is as a person or determines their value. These people break my heart.  If they'd spend just a fraction of the time on themselves and building their self esteem, maybe they wouldn't need those endless clicks to get the "perfect selfie". Sometimes they hide behind "do you like this lipstick? my new hair? does this outfit look ok"?, etc. etc., just to get the desperate click of a button from a friend, or even sometimes, a stranger.  It doesn't seem to matter who or where the attention comes from, as long as it comes.  This is the society we live in today.  The society we've created?

In the next 5-10 years, I am of the belief we will see more ramifications from the high-tech society we live in and it won't be something to brag about.  Social skills are suffering, families are losing precious time together, children are starving for their parents undivided attention.  The consequences we face in the near future will not be worth the price we are paying today.  

When you have some time, go to the mall, take a seat in the food court and observe.   Next time you're at a restaurant, look around.  Take a long, hard look.  You'll witness it for yourself.  People sitting across from one another, never saying a word because they're too busy on their phones checking Facebook.  Your sons or daughters on snapchat, taking selfies to post on Instragram. 

What I've noticed time and again is that it's not only the younger generation finding themselves lost for hours at a time on social media, it's all of us.  Life is passing by so quickly, yet millions are strolling along living on their phones, without ever noticing the beauty of the very people or beautiful nature standing right in front of them.

We are missing important moments because of a small device that fits in the palm of our hands. We take pictures instead of enjoying the event and creating a memory!  I've been guilty of looking at pictures on my own phone wondering, "When did I go there?"

What can be done about it?  Probably not much.  It's here and it's here to stay.  Social media is only going to grow larger by the day.  Can we make adjustments?  Sure, but it will take as much, or more, discipline as a new, healthy way of eating or an exercise program.

Unless or until parents stop using television, IPads, IPhones or Computers as their babysitters, there's not much hope at all, is there?  These children are the future leaders, after all.  

Unless or until adults make a conscience effort to limit their own time on social media, nothing will change.  Our society started on this track since Fast Food was introduced to us.  We've become spoiled to living a life of convenience.  We want the quick fix.  We want what we want when we want it, no matter the cost.  And, trust me, friends, it's costing us.

Relationships have been replaced by superficial, fake interactions with people we don't even know.  

Yes, social media, computers and the like have their place.  The problem is they've taken the place of everything.


 "I fear for the day that technology will surpass our human interaction.  The world will have a generation of idiots."




Saturday, December 10, 2016

It's a Mindset

Friends, if I've said this once, I'll say it a thousand more times!  Being single is NOT a death sentence, a plague or the worst thing that could ever happen to you.  It's also not the most depressing, sad, pathetic position you could find yourself in.  (Some of you need to watch the nightly news and get over yourself).  Just sayin'.

It's tragic to me how many people, including some of my friends, become so depressed sitting around toiling over not being part of a couple.  Personally, I think it's much more depressing to be in a "couple" situation which brings heartache and misery.  I always say, "it's better to be single than wish you were".  I'm not trying to be insensitive.  I get it.  Some of you have been waiting a long time. But, life is short.  You decide how you live it in the midst of your circumstance.

So, single friends, listen up!  I understand it can be lonely sometimes, but if you truly have a faith which promises "God gives us the desires of our hearts", then fear no more!  Because if your desire is to be married one day (or again), it's not a question of "if" this will happen, it's "when".

So, in the waiting, why not make the most of it?  Here are just a few suggestions.

Spend more time with God.
Find a Church.
Learn to know yourself better.
Figure out your purpose.
Dance around the house naked (works best with 70's music for me!).
Leave the door open when you use the toilet.
Sing loudly, not just in the shower.
Take up a hobby.
Learn a new craft.
Take trips.
Visit historical places.
Go to a Museum.
Go to the Library.
Spend time cultivating the relationships you already have in your life.
Spend quality time with friends, children or grandchildren.
Take up a sport.
Go on a hike.
Sleep in.
Eat out.
Learn how to cook.
Go to a concert.
Go to a movie.
Take a new job.
Skip that shower today (just today!).
Don't wear make-up.
Gain those extra few pounds (just not too many!).
Splurge on yourself.
Watch those Hallmark Movies.
Watch Sports all day.
Leave those dishes in the sink.
Pray for your future mate daily.
Start living.
Don't miss out on your life.

My point?  Being single is what you make of it.  Your "person" is out there and will show up right on time.  When he/she does, you'll have someone else to consider than yourself, so why not enjoy some "you" time while you have plenty of opportunity to do so?

For whatever reason, accept this is God's plan for you right now.  It's a season. He really does know what He's doing.  I mean, He is God, after all.

If you're a woman, stop pursuing a man.  Begin developing the self-esteem you need to help you understand you're worth being pursued.

If you're a man, suck it up, stop being a coward and ask her out!  If she says no, it's not the end of the world!

Above all, trust God.  Trust He knows what and who is best for you.  He knows when you're both ready for one another.  Your "person" is coming.  That "person" deserves a "whole" you.  He/She needs you to be ready when you find one another.

In the meantime, enjoy your "alone" time because one day, believe it or not, you'll miss it.

I'm going back to bed now.  :)




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

THANKFUL

Growing up with the parents I had, who did the best they knew how, I was determined to do things different with my own children. Yet, I'm not one of those people who believes bad behaviors should always be blamed on the parents. But, in light of things going on around our country today, it's caused me to reflect on my own parenting skills. I'm very thankful for the choices I made raising my four daughters, who are now all grown women. Although, I'd change some things, I'd do most of it all over again.

Believe me, I screwed up too, but overall witnessing the kinds of wives, mothers, friends, hard workers and the people they've become, I'd say I got most of it right, with God's help. Although my parenting decisions weren't always popular and sometimes painful, I'm thankful I required my daughter's to earn money to purchase things they wanted, rather than always giving them everything they asked for. I'm thankful I taught them good work ethic and the power of saving. I'm thankful I taught them to always do their best to honor their word.

I'm thankful I taught them to leave a place better than they found it. I'm thankful I taught them they would be rewarded for good choices, not bad ones. I'm thankful I taught them when they messed up, it wasn't the end of the world. I'm thankful I taught them "No" wasn't a bad word, even when it hurt. I'm thankful I taught them admitting you're wrong and apologizing is humbling and good for the soul. I'm thankful l taught them not to hold grudges.

I'm thankful I taught them to choose friends wisely. I'm thankful I taught them to fight for what they believe, while respecting others. I'm thankful I taught them I cared more about who they were becoming than trying to be the "popular" parent. I'm thankful I taught them their weight or a bad hair day didn't determine their worth. I'm thankful I taught them the value and gift of losing. I'm thankful I taught them to love themselves, others and be generous givers.

I'm thankful I taught them it's OK to get knocked down, as long as they get back up. I'm thankful I taught them about God's forgiveness and grace. I'm thankful I taught them the wisdom they'll never be perfect. I'm thankful I taught them they weren't better than anyone else. I'm thankful I gave them permission to hate me when they needed to.

And, I'm thankful I recognized my girls needed a mother guiding them, not one trying to be their best friend. What proof do I need in whether or not I made the best parenting choices raising my girls?

Well, one just needs to meet and know them to have that answer.



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"I'm Great, Except When I'm Magnificent"

I just had the most incredible week.   My little sister, Brenda, and I just spent six days in Bar Harbor, Brewer and Bangor, Maine. I visited these places as a child once, but remember very few details from that trip as a 6 year old. 

My father, Robert Mayo Robinson, was born in Bar Harbor, then moved to Bangor when he was around 8 years old. He then lived right across the river in Brewer and graduated from Brewer High School in 1958, where he was extremely popular and excelled in both football and baseball. He and his teammates led the "Brewer Witches" to a State Championship in 1957. 

Ever since Dad died 11 years ago, Brenda, myself and our brother, Robbie, have talked about visiting the places Dad grew up.  We've always been so curious about our father.  He rarely spoke about his troubled childhood. 

It was a year of planning, but the time finally came. Since Dad was such an avid runner, running Marathon's across the country, we thought it would be cool to run the Mt. Desert Marathon in Bar Harbor to honor him. 

Our registrations for the race were paid months ago, plane tickets were bought and the hotel was booked.  Unfortunately, due to some last minute scheduling conflicts, Robbie wouldn't be able to make the trip. 

Brenda and I had no intentions of cancelling.  We were disappointed our brother wouldn't be with us, but there was no way we were going to back out.  This was too important to both of us. 

I'm so thankful we saw it through. From the moment we arrived, we were filled with excitement and anticipation. As we drove through Brewer, we kept wondering "Did Dad walk on this street?", "Do you think Dad went here?" "Do you think this building or house was here when Dad was?", "I wonder if he ate at this place?"  It went on and on all day! We were both feeling so connected to him. 

Brenda brought along a letter Dad had received decades ago from one of his many female admirers, so we started there.  The letter was addressed to an address on Holyeoke Street in Brewer.  Thanks to GPS, we easily found the white, two story house! As we sat out front, we imagined him walking in the front door. It was surreal. 

We referred to ourselves as "Nancy Drew Detectives", as we successfully found his high school, the homes he lived in, and discovered his 1957 State Championship Trophy, which stands proudly in the glass case at the now new high school. 

As we drove into Bar Harbor, we passed one of his favorite restaurants, "Lunts", which apparently has the best lobster around. We weren't able to eat there since they were closed. 

Every mile we drove, Dad was on our mind. Every, single one.  

In Bar Harbor, we visited "Sonagee". This is the former Atwater-Kent Estate where our great-grandparents worked as the cook and groundskeeper. Kent Atwater was a wealthy radio inventor tycoon.  Dad spent a lot of time there as a child. He was very close to "Mimi" and "Gaga", as he called them. It's now a nursing home, but that wasn't going to stop us from entering the building and walking the grounds. The same grounds Gaga meticulously took care of with great detail. We saw the boathouse that used to be attached to a pier that stretched over the ocean. Brenda told the story of how Dad, as a young boy, walked to the end of that pier, left his clothes on the dock and hid underneath to scare his parents and grandparents into believing he'd drowned! He was always a prankster. 

We even learned our great-grandfather, "Gaga", had actually been a police officer before taking over the duties at the Atwater-Kent Estate. 

Brenda also brought a picture of the house our father was brought home to following his birth. We only had a street name and a picture to go on. This took some patience, as we drove down Ledgelawn Avenue in Bar Harbor, searching and studying every house on the street, trying to line up windows and roofs from the picture we held in our hands.  Finally, I spotted it. I told Brenda "This is the house!" It had been painted yellow, but the structure looked the same.  There were men in the yard doing some remodeling, but I knew it was the house!  As we got out of our rental car, a woman walked out of the front door.  We approached showed her the picture and told her our story. She said "This picture is from a long time ago, but yes, this is our house."  We were overwhelmed. She graciously invited us inside and told us the floors and corner shelves were original. We actually walked on the same floors our father did as a child. We were absolutely elated!  We ended up driving by this house several more times during our stay.  We couldn't help it.

Afterwards, we drove to the hospital, Mt. Desert Hospital, where our father was born. It was all so surreal. 

We decided to go to the library and search for anything relevant.  We ended up discovering where the graves of our great grandparents, Liston and Alma Mayo, aka "Gaga and Mimi" were laid to rest!  Brenda and I couldn't wait to make the trip to the cemetery in Somesville the next day!  We were on a roll!

It was a beautiful drive to the Mt. View Cemetery.  It sat on the side of the road.  If you weren't looking for it, you'd most likely miss it, but we were determined.  We jumped out of the car and immediately began walking the grounds looking for them.  We were so surprised and excited to see the graveyard filled with people who shared the last name of "Mayo" and "Higgins".  "Mayo" was our Dad's mother's maiden name and there were relatives everywhere!  We've since found out we're related to the Higgins' families as well!  Brenda and I were so excited, reading the headstones and learning of our newfound ancestors.  After about 15 minutes, Brenda yelled to me, "I found them!"  I ran across the cemetery, careful where my feet landed, and there it was.  The gravestone my father had purchased years before.  It read "Liston and Alma Mayo".  We stood there for a little while and told them hello.  We were so proud of ourselves.  We set a goal and made it.  It was surreal spending time there with ancestor's we'd barely known or never met.














When our Dad was alive, he made it very clear to all of us that when he died he wanted to be buried in Maine beside "Mimi" and Gaga".  He'd even written this in his own hand on a makeshift will.  Unfortunately, the woman he was married to at the time he passed away, refused to allow him to be buried there.  Instead, she placed his urn in a vault beside a man he despised.  To this day, this still infuriates me, even more so after visiting this cemetery where so many of my father's relatives have been laid to rest.  He wanted to be with his family, with the people he loved and cherished the most.    

The next day, just when we thought we had done it all, Brenda received a text from Nancy, Dad's 2nd wife. Nancy knew we were searching for anything and anyone associated with our Dad.  She told us about one of Dad's childhood friends. She said he used to live in Bar Harbor, but she didn't know if he was still there or even still alive. Nancy told us Dad visited this friend every year and they spoke regularly when Dad was alive.  They'd been best friends since 5th grade.  She gave us his name.  That's all we needed.  His name was Jimmy McInnis. 

I pulled the car over and immediately got online.  We checked yellowpages.com and found him. Unbeknownst to us, we'd already passed his house several times throughout the week and hadn't even known it!

I dialed his number and got his answering machine.  I explained who we were, what we were doing and asked if he was the same Jimmy McInnis who knew our father, Bob Robinson.  Then, I hung up.  We were only two blocks from his house, so we made the decision to drive to his house and knock on the door. We figured we had nothing to lose. 

As we pulled onto his street, our phone was ringing! It was Jim's wife, Donna. She said they knew exactly who we were, but Jim was overcome with emotion and couldn't talk. He finally got on the phone and asked me if we'd like to come over. We told him we were already seconds away!

As we drove up, Jim and Donna were waiting for us on the porch. They were both crying. We were too. Jim could barely walk and needed assistance.  He was overwhelmed.  He said we looked just like our Dad.

It was an emotional, beautiful moment for all of us. Brenda and I would spend the next 3 hours with Jim and Donna hearing about our father, the trouble they got into as kids and how much he loved and missed him.   We FaceTimed our brother Robbie, so he could meet Jim too.  He sobbed again as he spoke with our brother.  He couldn't believe how much Robbie looked, sounded and acted like our Dad.  It was precious.

I can't begin to describe how my sister and I felt as we left Jim and Donna's home.  We were walking on clouds! We'd just spent hours with a man who knew our Dad well, long before we'd even made an appearance on this earth.  We left with the promise to visit again soon.  Brenda and I are already planning our next trip back and hoping our brother will make it next time.

All the emotions we'd been experiencing all week and now, it was race day.  The morning started early at 7 am. We had until 3 pm to finish the Mt. Desert Relay Marathon or we wouldn't medal.  This wasn't an option for us. We crossed the finish line at 12:07!  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.  The hills were treacherous, but the scenery was spectacular.  Quitting wasn't part of the plan, so we both persevered.  When I found myself feeling I couldn't go on, I felt my Dad's presence with me, cheering me on.  I would talk to him and ask him for help.  I truly felt him with me.

This trip changed me.  It made me want to listen more, paying more attention to what and who's around me.  It caused me to reflect on how short life really is.  All the places we visited where Dad had once been are still there, yet he's gone.  Brenda and I talked of how we wished we'd made this trip with Dad before he'd died so he could have shared this part of his life with us.  He was such a storyteller and would have engaged us with the stories of his youth.  If only we could go back in time.

One thing's for sure.  Dad would have LOVED that we took a week out of our lives to visit the people and places he loved.  He would have felt so special to know how much we cared to connect with his past.  He would laugh at our "Nancy Drew Detective" work!  He would have been proud.  

Our last day in Maine still brought another sweet surprise.  We stopped at a quaint restaurant called "Coach House" for a delicious breakfast.  As we were paying our bill, the sweet lady behind the counter asked us where we were from. We told her our story about Dad, running the race in his honor and visiting the places he grew up. She asked, "Well, who was your Dad?"  We told her, "Robbie Robinson, he graduated from Brewer High School in 1958."  The smile on her face was priceless.  "Robbie Robinson?!?  I knew your Dad! He and my husband were good friends and one of his best friends, Everett, comes in here every Friday!"  The perfect ending to a perfect trip.

This week was special for so many reasons.  Not only was I able to share it with my best friend, my sister, Brenda, it was special because we were able to share it with our Dad.  

I leave you with this.  Jimmy, as Dad would call him, told us every time he asked Dad how he was doing, he would answer, "I'm Great, except when I'm Magnificent!"