A Slow Ride Home – “Tales from the Momside”

traffic jam

“Okay, that was our last stop.  Ready to go home?”

“Ya.  I’m hungry and tired of shopping. ”

A morning of last minute Christmas errands was finally finished.  Three malls, numerous toy stores, one very crowded book store and some serious sugar cookie bribery has tired her eight year old out.  As she pulls out of the covered parking lot the rain starts again.  Great.  Traffic is chaotic and people are doing stupid things in an effort to get home quickly.

“Can you put the radio on?”

As she flicks on the radio the dj is right in the middle of the traffic report.  Apparently there is a massive accident on the bridge and their only route home is a total parking lot.  Awesome.  As she maneuvers onto the highway and into the mass of cars a little voice comes from the back seat.

“Mom I have a question.”

“Okay, but make it a good one.”

The truth is her daughter never has just one question and she has occasionally had to limit her barrage of wonderings.

“If you are gay can you have a baby?”

“Yes.  And no.”

“What?”

“That’s two questions.”

“Mom.”

Crap, she thought maybe she had an out with that one.  No such luck.  More cars are merging into the already packed lanes and if she doesn’t pay attention somebody is going to try and sneak in front of her.

“Okay, so two women, or two men, can’t physically have a baby together.  Remember we talked about how a baby is created by an egg from a woman and sperm from a man?”

“Right.”

“Well a gay woman would need some help from a man.”

“Help?”

“Wow, I suck at this.” She thinks.  Isn’t there some great way to use the traffic they are stuck in to explain this?

“A women would need to get some sperm from a man before she could have a baby in her tummy.  Once the baby is born then the other mommy could adopt the baby as their own too.”

“But what about a man?”

“Well a man could asks a woman if she would have his baby and then he and his partner could adopt that bay.  Does that make sense?”

“I guess so”

Empty silence.  Beautiful empty silence.  How long would it last?  As long as it took to get to the off ramp?

“Do gay people get divorced?”

“Sure, if they aren’t in love any more.”

“Is that why you got divorced?”

“That’s one of the reasons.”

Damn that was too open ended.  Hoping it wouldn’t result in more questions on that subject, she quickly asked her what she might want for dinner when they eventually got home.  Wow, nice deflect?  Nope.

“Will you and Daddy ever get divorced?”

“Not planning on it.”

Could this traffic go any slower?  If she could just get across the bridge and to the first exit ramp they would be home free.

“Did you have two weddings?”

“Yes, but when I married your dad it was just him and me and your brother on the beach.”

“Hmmm.”

She sneaks a peak in the rear view mirror and her daughter is gazing out the window with that look on her face.  This conversation is not over just yet.

“But you still had a wedding dress?”

“at the beach?  Yes.”

Her daughter perks up.

“Cool.  You got two dresses?”

It’s taken over an hour for them to get home and after a discussion on babies, gay marriage, gay adoption, marriage and divorce it all boils down to one thing.

She got to wear two wedding dresses.

She is clearly the parent of the year.

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Finally Learning What Love Is

romance couple

Is it possible that after fifty years I have finally figured out what love really looks and feels like? I mean, really feels like. Deep in your heart and soul. It’s not that my life has been without love for that long but until recently I don’t think that I really understood love. How powerful it can be and how it can complete your life and bring you contentment and peace. I have been happily married for almost fourteen years but in the last couple of years I think that I have finally accepted how great love can be.

When I met my husband I had only been separated from my ex husband for 10 months. I had some trust issues you could say. I had pretty much sworn off men but my co-worker was convinced that I needed a date. She even went so far as to list all the single attractive men that worked for our company. I hate to say it but I said “no way” to her suggestion of the man who is now my husband. He was eight years younger than me and well, did I mention that I had sworn off men. As a new mom I just wanted to try to enjoy the few moments I had to myself outside of parenting and work. Yet somehow, on a company road trip to Seattle to see a basketball game, I found myself drawn to this man. And once the connection was made a couple of months later, there was no turning back. I knew right away that I would spend the rest of my life with him. So much for swearing off men.

heart

There was a moment very early in our relationship when I knew I could fall in love with my husband. It was just before Christmas. We had been trading emails and chatting a bit at work. I must have mentioned the fact that I had lost all of my Christmas tree ornaments in the divorce and had a tiny little Charlie Brown tree with only a couple of sad ornaments on it. I walked past his office one day and he called me in. On his desk was a gift wrapped box. Inside were four beautiful dark green glass ornaments and matching green and gold bowls. I was so touched that he not only remembered but had been so thoughtful. My divorce had left me in a fairly fragile state and this simple gesture restored my faith and put me on the road to learning about real love. Every year I take them out and tell my kids this story while we decorate the tree. My seven-year old thinks it’s romantic. My eighteen year old just rolls his eyes and sighs.

The journey from then until now has not always been an easy one. We have been separated for long periods of time due to work. We have had differences of opinions MANY times. We have co-parented with a sometimes difficult ex husband. We have made the decision to not have any more children and then changed our minds and embraced our little fireball. We have struggled through self employment and all that it entails. We have fallen down and learnt how to get back up. We (I) have given up trying to control the direction my life and the life of my family takes. We have cried and raised our voices and gone to bed angry. Yet somehow we are still married and in love.

The reality is that I love him more now than I did on the day we got married. I know him better. And he knows me better. He has taught me so many things. Because of him I am more open to love and kindness. A combination of the way I was raised and a bad first marriage left me closed up and afraid to get hurt. Did you know that you can be angry with somebody and then let it go and move on? I didn’t. I believed that if somebody did something to make you angry that you stayed angry at them. For a long time. Who knew that letting go of anger so quickly was so easy. I also didn’t know (or believe) that if I had done something to make somebody angry that they could forgive me and still love me. On the same day even. Again, I believed that forgiving and moving on took days. If it happened at all. But I now know that this is what love really looks like. The security of knowing that you can screw up and the sky won’t fall on your head. This is what my husband has taught me.

A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. The Best Thing in Life is that over the years he refused to give up on me and I refused to give up on him. So, don’t just look for love. Look for real inconvenient, ridiculous, can’t live without you love. Because that’s the love that you deserve. And don’t give up. It may take years to fully embrace, but it is most definitely worth it.

Today I Am Fifty

fifty cake

When I was in my twenties I looked forward to birthdays every year. I have always looked young for my age and starting out in my career I never felt that people took me seriously because they thought I was younger than I was. I secretly hoped that some day I would actually look older. I know, a bit weird. So now I AM older ( not necessarily old) and I’m asking myself, as are other people oddly enough, how does it feel? Really it feels like just another day, but that doesn’t make for a very good blog post does it? So, as I sit in my cozy kitchen on this rainy October day and reflect, I have come to some realizations about what it feels like, and means to me, to be fifty.

Over the summer my husband and I were having dinner with some friends, one of whom had recently turned fifty. He told us about the party he had thrown for himself earlier in the year. It was a wild one from the sounds of it. A packed house party with loud music, lots of drinking and the mandatory requirement for any really good party, a visit from the police in the early morning hours. Sounded like one of the parties we had been to in our high school days. The next day he felt like hell, but it was all worth it for him. I am apparently not a party animal because just the thought of doing this makes me tired. I am a social person but I have never been a night owl (ask my college room mate) and am perfectly happy to be in my pajamas by 9:00pm most nights. My husband makes fun of me, but it makes me happy.

For others friends, the big 50 has been marked with a once in a lifetime trip, completing a marathon or overcoming a lifelong fear. When I quit my job last February I decided that this was the year I would train for a marathon. I even wrote a post about it. It took me about two months to decide that it wasn’t going to happen. It took me another month to come to terms with that and be okay with my decision. Now don’t get me wrong, I admire the people who have done these things immensely. I’ve just finally realized that it’s not who I am. I have always thought I needed to show people that I had accomplished some feat in order for them to be proud of me. Why it has taken me fifty years to realize this is not true, I am not sure. I still struggle a bit with who I am supposed to be, but I am getting closer to being happy just being me and realizing that I may not have a “mission” or a “thing”. I may just be…..me.

The past eighteen years of my life has been a bit of a roller coaster. Divorce and single parenthood at thirty three. I remember people asking me how I got through leaving my first husband with a three month old baby. You do what you have to do and you get up every day and move forward. When I did re marry, a few years later, my husband’s work took him 3000 miles away for four years. For anybody who hasn’t had one, long distance relationships/marriages really suck. Then at forty two another baby. Totally planned but nonetheless a challenge. I feel like it has only been in the past two years that things have finally felt settled down. I read a great quote the other day from, of all people, Nancy Reagan. “Women are like tea bags. You don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water”. It’s a good thing I like tea.

I’ve made some changes in my life over the past few months. I quit a job that I didn’t really like and am now able to be more present for my family. I overhauled the way that I eat and now physically feel better than I have in years. I have determine that killing myself trying to run up a mountain really has no benefit and have come to embrace yoga. I have come to terms with my relationship with my siblings and parents and am learning more about myself because of it. These things have made a huge difference in my life and I can say without a doubt that I am happier now than I have been in a very long time. I’m healthy, I have awesome friends, a loving, supportive husband and two great kids. Today, the Best Thing in Life is turning fifty.