Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wherein I Realize my Love Life is Like the Series Finale of the Golden Girls

Surely, you've seen the series finale of Golden Girls; because if you haven't, I seriously need to reevaluate our relationship. I mean, this is one of the best TV shows ever.

So anyway. It was on this week on WE and I was watching it, for like the 30,000th time. And it was funny in all the places where I've always found it funny; and kinda sad in all the same places. But this time, there was something else there. There was me crying when Blanche toasts Dorothy and Lucas and talks about people who have been afraid to reach out who found each other and fell in love. There was me crying harder as Dorothy said good-bye to the girls and she says that her time with them is an experience close to her heart, and that "these are memories I'll wrap myself in when the world gets cold and I forget that there are people who are warm and loving and..."

Yup, that was the line that did me in. Because what I realized then was that I was crying because this - this episode of a TV show about older women and that basically has nothing to do with my life - was making me think about my relationship with jevo, and the way this relationship has changed everything in my life.

It makes no sense and it makes total sense. Dorothy and Lucas were playing a trick on Blanche and somewhere along the way, they fell for each other, and were surprised to discover this. When jevo and I were just friends, we talked a lot about what we thought the future held for each of us, about our fears. We had similar thoughts about dating, love and relationships, and a similar outlook about our situations. I was in a darker place, more closed than him, mainly due to Max, to being a mother and feeling very sensitive and worried about how allowing someone into my life would only complicate it and damage Max. But neither one of us thought our respective roads ahead would be easy ones. And then, boom! One night, we looked at each other differently and sparks flew and - despite our efforts to deny and prevent it - we ended up falling for each other. We were two people who'd been through a lot, who were scared and who'd been holding back emotionally, and who were surprised to find something beautiful with the person they least expected to. I've known this all along, but somehow, Dorothy and Lucas brought it home in a new way.

And later, Dorothy's last lines, her leaving the life she had and thought she'd have for the rest of her life, to start a new one with a man she loved... those hit something deeper. Those hit the part of me that feels transformed by the pain I went through. There's no way to compare my failed marriage to her experience of living with the other ladies; there are no similarities there, but this: we each had to leave the place we thought we'd always be in. There was a time when that place had been good to and for me, a time when it was nothing more or less than my life, and I was happy. Whatever relief there was in ending a relationship where I felt unloved, unwanted and disliked, it was still the life I'd chosen and wanted. Well, I wanted the healthier, more loving part of it, but until it all fell apart, I fought for it, believing these things were within reach.

Anyway. Dorothy and I were leaving two very different lives, but we each walked into something beautiful and exciting. It was really that that was making me an emotional mess. I kept thinking about the surprise that entered her life, the surprise that entered mine. I thought about the adventure she was embarking on, the one I've embarked on. I thought about all the happiness and affection and love in her life now, all the happiness, affection and love that surrounds me on a daily basis. I thought that Dorothy must have accepted a degree of loneliness, must have figured that the years ahead would be good and joyful, but maybe a little empty, a little lacking. I thought about how I felt, before jevo, that I could build a wonderful life for Max and myself, but would feel a little incomplete without romantic love. I thought I would be happy and fulfilled, but would nevertheless miss having someone to come home to, someone I could share my life with.

I thought about all these things in the span of a few minutes, my mind a jumble of thoughts and emotions, the strongest one being this: I am infinitely grateful to know this - this awesome, loving, incredible jevo and his sweet, real love. If I lose him tomorrow, I still knew this. I've had something I never thought I'd have, something I didn't know existed.

And Dorothy, she would know what I'm talking about. Because she got to experience this, too.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/29/2010   | | | links to this post

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Day in the Life

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. today. That seems to be my new wake-up time, as it's the latest I can wake up and get myself and Max ready for work and school and make it out the door on time. I've got a new job (have I even mentioned that? but yeah, I do) where my office is way out east, while Max's school is out west, and my house is in the middle. So I head west, then head east in morning traffic, and... whatever. I have a whole new routine, one that makes it impossible for me to get out to Max's school to pick him up on time, so my dad's been helping me out by picking him up so that I can just head right home after work. This new routine, I'm pretty sure, has thrown my son for a loop. He's having to wake up earlier and is not being picked up by his mother, and we're both basically in adjustment mode. It's been hard for me, especially because I'm seeing how hard it's been for him.

I wish I could help him, but I really don't know what to tell him. I need this job, because this is how we won't lose our house, and this is how I'll be able to pay all the bills and provide for us and maybe, just maybe, how I'll be able to save a little bit each month so that we've got a safety net. So I have to deal with the change in routine, with the earlier wake-up time and longer drive and the impossibility of being able to pick my son up at school because by the time I get out of work, fight through traffic and get there, the school's closed. I have to not think overmuch about these changes and just accept them, and try to figure out how to help Max cope with it too.

So today.... I woke up at 5:30 a.m. As I do every night, I had left his uniform and my clothes out; I had prepped the coffeemaker, left his bookbag ready by the door, filled his lunchbox with snacks so that all I'd need to add in the morning is his lunch and drink. Though he didn't need to be, Max was also up at 5:30, and I told him to stay in bed while I got ready. He did, for five minutes, then bolted off to pay with his trains. I trudged out to the living room and asked him what he wanted for breakfast, then prepared it. I reminded him about his responsibilities (eat breakfast, get dressed, brush your teeth, then you can play), and went back into my room to get ready.

I took longer than I wanted to; I always do. I'm not one to do a full face of makeup for work, but either because I'm new or because it's a higher level position, I feel compelled to slap on some powder, eyeshadow and eyeliner in addition to the concealer, mascara and lipstick I normally wear. There's no way to do this quickly because I'm too unused to it. Periodically, I check on Max, who is, of course, not eating his breakfast or dressed, but is instead completely absorbed with his train table and trains and the latest scenario he's acting out with them. I tell him we're leaving in 10 minutes, that he'll have to go to school in his pj's and with dirty teeth if he's not ready by then, and leave him to mull that over while I finish getting ready. (I've done it before, put him in the car in his pj's and driven to school, so he knows I'm not foolin'.)

We made it out the door on time, and eventually, I got to work, where I walked right into a meeting. It was 8 a.m. at this point, and after the meeting ended at 10, I dove into a full day of work, busy because there's a ton of work but also because I have so much to learn that my brain can barely handle it. At 5 p.m., I left my office but my workday wasn't done, for I had an event to attend. Max's dad traded days with me so I could work this function, an important one for my employer and one I couldn't miss.

I spent most of that time on my feet (in heels I'm still trying to break in, so my toes officially hate me now), doing as my job always requires me to do at events like this, which could really be anything: listening like a polite hostess and throwing in appropriate, harmless questions; troubleshooting little things that inevitably pop up; answering questions of a wide variety, from facts and figures to where so-and-so is to how long I've been with the company to where I'm from to where media can and cannot be to where the photographers should position themselves... the kind of information I need to know and impart is never the same. It was past 9 p.m. when I walked out of the event and back into my car. Home. Shower. Laptop. I have a final exam to finish, but am instead here writing these words. I'm nodding off.

It's time to get to bed. I have to start all over again in just a few hours.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/22/2010   | | | links to this post

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Routine

Last month, I found myself writing him an email that was unlike any I'd written him to date. It was basically a list of all the events/things we had to attend/take care of that month, with notes: "3/13: insane day. I have class, then the 3 of us have Thomas the Train, then dinner for (my sister's) b-day. At night: the concert (Max w/mom & dad)."

And as I received his response and we got into this back-and-forth email planning session - March was crazy busy and I was stressed about it - I got this thought: reality is setting in. The crazy-deliriousness of the early days now includes routine, the work of making a relationship flow. We are now practical.

It was the email that made me aware, but it's been happening for some time. Early on, our time together was our time to shut ourselves from the world. We didn't have to (and didn't) do anything but be together - no obligations, no immediate responsibilities (time together being the days Max was with his dad). It was very literally just us two, for days at a time.

And we needed that. Falling for each other was so surprising and intense that we needed for it to be just us two reveling in each other. Looking at those earlier days now, I realize that they took what had been a platonic but important bond into a completely new universe, tightening that bond in new and awesome ways.

But times like that can't last; at some point, you have to start answering the phone and venturing out and incorporating each other into your lives in news ways. And we've been doing that for some time. Everything you do as a relationship progresses - meeting family and friends not previously met, planning things (life in general) together or with reasonable assumption that the other will go along with the plan - we've been building on that for months now.

These things are to be expected. But there are subtler ways in which we are changing that strike me lately; we're joining our lives in much more complete ways. We plan our schedules together, or shoot notes reminding each other of this chore or errand or social outing. We commute to work together sometimes, and talk about the things that maybe early on we shied away from, not wanting the spell to break: crap going on at work, family matters, uncomfortable relationship stuff. (And poor Jevo, for I like to talk about everything.) We are not an argumentative couple and are blessed with an easy companionship. But like all couples, we have our disagreements, and in these, however few and relatively minor they've been, we've found ourselves reaffirming our love and commitment to each other even as we're each pushing back. That he could be frustrated with me and mid-argument still tell me that he loves me and is glad we're throwing this out there to hash out (plus a bunch of other loving stuff) is something extraordinary to me. It is an act of love so kind and tender that it defies all understanding I've ever had of what it means to be committed to someone and to actively live that commitment out. (It is, too, an antidote to my anger, turning this raging lion into a mewing kitty, but let's not tell him that, m'kay?) It's easy then, to see the argument through without giving up or pushing him completely away or sinking into melodrama; it keeps everything in perspective.

There is this, too: it is one thing to blend lives and and to make the necessary adjustments to make everything fit. But it's quite another thing to do these things and feel so excited about it. I didn't think that at this point in my life I could experience this level of enthusiasm and excitement and overall goodness. The waves of surprise are regular, always peaking in intensity when I hit that moment where I'm aware that I feel all this with the full weight of the experiences I've had and the lessons I've learned behind me. I harbor no illusions, nor am I deluded. I'm no longer insecure about myself and what I want and need, nor do I make any excuses for any of it. I have no specific goals to meet or things to convince myself of. I've got nothing to prove, nothing left to lose. I've got nothing but whatever I am, and Max, and my commitment to providing for us a healthy, happy life. I've spent these months adjusting to this grand surprise, and adjusting to all that comes with it. I've felt overwhelmed, and scared, and worried at times that I might fail him and us.

Meanwhile, we truck along, our lives joining more deeply, new habits forming, new routines developing. We become ever more common. And I remain crazy-delirious.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/15/2010   | | | links to this post

Thursday, April 08, 2010

I'd Title this if I Wasn't so Exhausted

This is supposed to be a post about music, but hey, look at that! It's not. I've had these thoughts for days now music, about the way it affects so much of my life, and how I tie so many things to it. I was specifically thinking about the conversations BF and I have about music, and the mix tapes we've made for each other. And then in that train of thought, I found myself thinking about the role music has played in my life these last few years, especially as I tried to heal from the Great Tragedy of 2008. And from all that, I've had this post spring up in my head, lists of songs and such that I want to share.

But honestly? I'm soooo tired. These last two weeks have kicked my butt. Life's gotten hectic and overwhelming - not in a bad way, but in a new way. And like all new things, I need time to adjust. In the meantime, as I try to absorb and adjust, I'm plumb exhausted. Like, I'm looking at the clock right now and freaking out that I'm not in bed yet, and it's not that late. Like, I don't have any energy when I get home to clean or fold clothes or pick things up. Like, I can't even sit at the computer because the mere thought of having to use my brain to write something thoughtful - be it to my BFF, to whom I've owed an email now for weeks, or here, or even on friggin' Facebook - hell, to sift through so many unanswered emails, or to search for this topic or that that I've been meaning to look up -- it all requires an effort and attention span I'm simply not capable of right now.

But of course, even this is frustrating. I can't let things get too neglected or ignored, you know? My house looks like a hurricane hit it, and I need to get back to a routine, and I can't let my inbox overwhelm me (apologies right now to all currently ignored emails. It's totally not on purpose).

Ugh. I need to get to bed.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/08/2010   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

My Greatest Hits, and You Didn't Even Know I had an Album

Mainly, because I don't. There's a tape somewhere of a 12-year-old me singing with some girlfriends, and another one from that same year, a hideous, hideous tape of me singing Phil Collin's "Another Day in Paradise" over the music (I will die, die, die if that tape ever leaks! Thanks goodness I have it buried somewhere; must remember to destroy it).

Naw, seriously. I wrote for a while for the good people at GNMParents, and I heart them. They gave me a great opportunity to write, to share different thoughts, and I appreciate that. I stopped writing for them in the wake of my marriage's explosion, though I keep telling myself that soon soon I'll be ready to take the responsibility on again and will crawl back to them. I keep their logo up on the side over there because I believe in them and the great work they do.

Recently, they put together this neat post that showcases my greatest hits with them. I selected these, as I felt the writing was good and the topics relevant and interesting. So what you need to do right now is click right here and go check my greatest hits out. Then you need to peruse the site and discover all this great writing by interesting, diverse, smart parents.

I promise you won't be disappointed.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/06/2010   | | | links to this post

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Well, Well, Momma's Back

Aaaaanndddddd..... we're back to regular programming!

I wish I could tell you some great, dramatic story to explain why the blog went private for a few days there, but truth is, there's no such story. I had some stuff going on that I felt required shutting the blog off, so to speak, till I spoke to the other party and sorted things out. But that issue in itself was nothing bad; this was more of a precaution on my part.

Anyway, all's good, and here I am. Back. To keep on keepin' on.

You're thrilled, aren't you? AREN'T YOU?? Say you are, say you are!

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Posted by Tere @ 4/01/2010   | | | links to this post