So maybe I’ll try this blogging thing again. I was hoping to work some things out in my own and and just come back to posting normal life and adoption stuff, but I guess we are beyond normal. I guess I thought that when things were “interesting” around here I would post more often; however, this time I couldn’t find anything terribly funny about it. The short story is that there was a pregnancy scare and S-man and I have been dealing with the fallout.
Clearly, he already has issues with commitment, and a baby is nothing but commitment. He is absolutely amazing with both Mijo and Junior, but I suppose he feels he can always walk away. That also scares me a little bit because Mijo at least is old enough to suffer yet another loss if he suddenly disappeared. It’s not like it’s exactly the right timing for me to have a surprise baby either but S-man’s freak out definitely got me thinking in a different way. It isn’t that I want the baby. I don’t. It isn’t that I someday want a baby with S-man. That doesn’t matter to me. I am pretty patient with all of his issues because I at least understand where they come from for him. I was not surprised that he needed some space in the midst of all of this. I took some time for myself also. Brother 1 was awesome about making sure I could go out to dance to see my friends and blow off steam. Brother 2 was great about offering support through the internet while globetrotting. And somewhere in all of that perhaps I realized that I might just want a man that will commit, a man that won’t need so much space that I am forced to turn to other friends. Yes, I know it is ok to need your friends – and I have some pretty amazing friends, but I guess what I really want is to be someone’s person. To know that I can text in the middle of the night and not be a bother. To be the priority. With S-man I am nearly always the first person he would call. Only his family would trump being somewhere with me and even some of that is negotiable. But his family might trump me. And sometimes when he realizes how much he does love me, it makes him nervous enough that he tries to push me away. Mostly those times are so momentary it doesn’t matter. But this time, there was a moment there when I thought that might be the end of us.
I am stuck trying to determine if we can get past this or not. He is trying; I know he is. But even though I am starting to act normally around him, my heart is scared. I need to figure out how I really feel about commitment. There is definitely a part of me that doesn’t care at all about getting married. I totally respect marriage; however, I have seen so many marriages fail that it just doesn’t seem like a safety-net or commitment in and of itself. I guess the commitment of any relationship is based solely on the people in it not the legal status, titles used, or words said. I guess it’s that kind of thinking that made it very easy for me to be in a relationship that was not defined as a relationship and be with a man who I knew I had very little interest in marriage. It didn’t really matter what other people thought, because he truly is very good to me and we fit together very well. Mostly, he does act like I am his person, which I guess is why this has worked for the better part of a decade. Is that commitment? Is our moment only different from that of other couples because I think his issues make it easier for him to walk away? Can’t anyone walk away at anytime, really? Clearly, he hasn’t walked away.
Funny, I don’t think it would bother me as much or would I be in the same place if there was going to the baby. If there was going to be a baby, then I would be focused on the baby, not myself. It would be very easy for me to say to him ‘you can be in or you can be out but is not fair for a child for you to come and go’. The baby’s emotional needs would easily trump mine and there would have been disappointed but not the same sadness. The baby would have given me strength.
I don’t know if I can go back to normal. I don’t know if we can continue to fit together so well if I am now craving some sort of commitment. Or at least some understanding that he can’t just walk away? I don’t know if I have the patience for even momentary walking away and demands for space. Maybe we do have as much commitment as others just without the words. Can I go back to letting him be my person? Will he ever admit that I am his person? Does it even matter if he does?
While I try to figure all of this out, I am trying to focus on other things and let it fall into place. I have already started working on Christmas for the kids which is fun. I have started researching what I need to know for starting a container garden next spring. Any help with that would be appreciated as I have a black thumb of death. I guess that’s where I am. Thank you for listening. It did help me to write this out. Maybe I’ll write again soon about what the therapist said to me about it all, but I’m not sure I like her take so I need to let it simmer a bit longer.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have known that in the last couple of months there have been some work stress for me. What it boils down to is that I did not get the promotion that I expected. Rather I was told “you’re not quite ready” and someone I’ve never met was appointed my supervisor, when I had largely been working without a supervisor prior to that. I had a good cry about it. I ate too much pizza one night. S-man has been nearly perfect in his support. I don’t know what I would have done without him; I probably would have been a tearful mess for days. People can say what they will about S-man, but he truly is extremely supportive when the chips are down.
It has made me really think about what is most important and what I want my life to be about. I am one of those rare women who is more concerned with respect rather than love. Have you ever heard of that? According to the therapist, most men want respect, and most women want love. When it comes down to it though, I have always craved respect. That may seem odd for a single woman, but I think it has a lot to do with my family of origin and never questioning I was loved. Also my parents are kind of intellectuals, so I probably felt like I had something to prove – ok, I did feel I had something to prove. So for me this felt like I had to earn respect. I tried so hard to get my mom to think I was wise beyond my years. But there are people who respect me… One of my girlfriends has no idea how much she helped me by asking me for advice last night.
Things I want to prioritize:
- Mijo and Junior – there is nothing more important than these two little boys and my beyond normal family. They need my time, attention, and emotional stability, which means I’ve got to get over this and not let it get to me again later.
- Love with all I’ve got – S-man, my friends, and all of my extended family. I cannot be faulted for loving too much. Spending time with and investing in those I care about will likely have the greatest returns of anything I could spend my time doing. I tend to check off my list and then give attention to others, but perhaps it’s time they move to the top of my list. S-man will be around less in just a few weeks (for the foreseeable future), so I want every minute to be quality.
- Prayer (maybe even church) – It is the source of all wisdom, right? There is a part of my job that feels like I was placed there. Maybe it’s time to figure our what I’m supposed to do with that beyond doing my job.
- Food – Cooking and meal planning make me feel better about myself and my attempts at domestication. I’m still learning, but I want to think ahead more and do take out less. That stuff adds up!
- Scrapbooking – I enjoy it, but I think it’s important for the kids too. I’m behind on their albums, and I want to start a LifeBook for Junior. I think it totally applies in his situation even if he wasn’t adopted and that way he won’t feel left out when he’s old enough to realize. I feel accomplished, creative, and loving when I’m working on scrapbooks for the kids.
- Organization – ah, it just calms my mind to have things completed and organized right now there are too many things on my list and much to “Spring Clean”.
Things I don’t want to prioritize:
Since I first drafted this blog, a few things have been occurring to me about what I need to let go.
- This blog – I’m not walking away, but I am going to let go of the pressure. I’m an introvert. Some days I even have problems commenting when I really want to comment on your blogs. Even when I’m not writing, I am reading. I tweet more than I blog, and I think that fits for me. I really only want to blog when I have something to say… even if they are just silly soapboxes. This also means that I am going to continue taking my sweet time fixing the broken images. Now, if there was someone who wanted to sponsor my blog posts, I’d be happy to write every day, but until then….
- Yard work – the back yard can fend for itself for a while. It’s hot and it’s really only the dog and us who are ever back there. I’ll be much happier if I’m not avoiding scratching mosquito bites, even if the bushes look a bit out of control.
- Guilt about cleaning during work hours – I work from home most of the time, although I do go in or Skype in for meetings (this may be increasing). I can finish up things that weren’t done after bedtime, and I feel like I just might be succeeding at this adult thing when my house stays clean. It should be totally okay to do laundry, load the dishwasher, and even sweep the floors before 5pm.
I’m not really sure how I’m going to accomplish all of this. The first two priorities will likely happen in my decisions simply by keeping them in mind. The last three priorities I may have to schedule or put at the top of my to do lists. While I’m at it, I want to exercise more. Any suggestions for me on resetting my priorities and taking my lumps with a positive attitude?
Told Abby on twitter that her post got me thinking in an unexpected way. I don’t have shame about being a single mom. In fact, I think those who discriminate or even pity us need to grow up and grow their minds. Some who know me who might discriminate probably give me a pass because I adopted. (They can still imagine that I did not have *cough* pre-marital sex). I get Abby’s desire for a partner, but I have S-man, and he is pretty amazing.
Maybe it wasn’t Abby’s post that spurred my heartache. Maybe it was Facebook. Right after reading Abby’s post, I had a bit of a perfect storm – PMS, some (clearly minor since I cannot recall) personal stress, and finding out S-man was going to be around even less frequently. The pièce de résistance was the start of wedding season on Facebook. I am truly very happy with S-man so rarely do I feel left out, and I can genuinely experience joy for friends embarking on the grand adventure of marriage. The wedding I attended that weekend was one of those scenarios. The wedding I saw on Facebook of one of the less than a handful of men I’ve dated as an adult with who I actually saw a potential relationship was not that scenario. I crushed hard on this guy who should not have been my type, and he seemed like real marriage material (clearly, I was right). There were never any hard feelings between us, so I suppose the crush never evaporated.
Today when I saw a marriage announcement of a friend who truly deserves every wonderful thing she has, who missed out on romance until much later in life, I hated that I was jealous. Jealous? Me? Of marriage? I think marriage is awesome, but I didn’t think it was something I wanted, at least not intensely enough to be jealous.
I am not opposed to marriage. There are certainly things about it that I desire. I don’t think my commitment issues started when the engagement of my youth ended disastrously. I think that came after the two major involvements I had afterwards. The point is I do have commitment issues, but not anything like S-man does. The therapist has helped me figure out the origins of his issues surrounding relationships, and I simply take him at face value. I don’t think any issues I have would hold me back from marrying him, but I’m not sure if it would be a good idea for him even if he thought he was over those things
But he’s pretty amazing. He is certainly not perfect. I don’t think he’ll ever learn to shut the cabinet doors. He couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag. He will be distant when he is stressed. But he is so good for me. He calms me. He balances me. He loves me. And I love him. I know where I stand, so I don’t need the title of marriage. I actually think I’d prefer a courthouse (well, the pastor’s office), so it isn’t the wedding planning either. So what do I do when I feel jealous? It isn’t that I question if I’m good enough. I don’t wonder where my life is going. I am ok if I am perpetually single with or without S-man (although I am sure I would have bad days without him or anyone else). Yet I am jealous, jealous of the grand statement of being chosen I believe. It isn’t the commitment because I know things can change….
Writing it isn’t helping me figure it out. Talk to me; what could be behind my jealousy when I feel like I have everything I need (and more) already? And what do I do with this stupid feeling?
*Posting now for Abby. I will add a picture soon.
**Also, today S-man has been amazingly supportive. Seriously, amazing. So please no hate on my boy just because his life experiences have made him hesitant to “commit”.
I promised you guys a lighter post. I certainly don’t want this to only be a place where I rant about things that I cannot say publicaly. I realize this is public, but most of you do not know who I am “in real life”. I would love to tell you about the Valentines date I had with S-man, but I am afraid it wouldn’t translate well. I would think it was humorous, but someone would comment with ‘the nerve of him.’ So I’ll suffice it to say that I am loved and I am happy, but S-man certainly isn’t prepared for a traditional relationship. I guess I’m not all that traditional myself, anyway.
Before I get into any real content, I want to say that things are really great around the BNL house. Junior is sick often, but it is never anything major. We have settled back in after the remodeling. Pinterest has helped me re-discover my inner wanna-be domestication. I have a lot of freedom in my job right now, so it is easy to balance time with S-man when he is not traveling for business (he travels more than he doesn’t these days) with cooking, cleaning, and spending time with the kids.
In my domestication, I have really mastered the laundry problem I see many other moms on twitter complain about. While this works for me, it may not be as easy for those of you that are in an office 40+ hours per week. I work from home three days each week (two if there are big meetings). On the days I am home (weekends too), I do one load of laundry. One load isn’t much to remember to move as I am making more coffee or taking a bathroom break. One load isn’t much to fold while on a teleconference or listening to the report of ome ones day at work or school. One load isn’t much to put away at bedtime. There have been messy days when I have done several loads, but those are generally about stain prevention.
I’ve actually caught myself washing some things more often, simply because I have the time. Mostly I have learned that I have way more clothes than necessary, yet another symptom of first world excess. I continue to downsize my definition of need, and I hope to continue to reduce the amount of stuff we use and store. So, tell me your hints to downsizing mentally and physically!
I’m still working on the clean one thing each day tip I found on Pinterest. It’s definitely an improvement, but I think my chore list and Trey’s chore list need some alterations. What chores do you think are appropriate for a kindergartener? I’m trying to teach housework as simply something we do to take care of our home, just like we brush our teeth every day or exercise every day. I haven’t used chores as punishment, and I don’t want to unless it is a natural or logical consequence liking cleaning up a mess that was made.
Today I (the proverbial back of a camel) was broken by a straw. The straw was a mess from the dog. I told him he wasn’t coming in for a long time (He’s sleeping at my feet now), and I went to bed to cry. After a week of dealing with people’s complaints at work and renovations to the house with workmen tracking in mud, cutting my electricity, and turning off my plumbing for hours, I had already noticed that I was sensitive to any disappointment or frustration. The added mess from the (goofy, innocent) dog just overwhelmed me.
I’m not very good at feeling sorry for myself. Pouting rarely gets me anywhere, so while there were still some tears, I was out of bed after about two minutes. I changed into yoga pants, pulled my hair into a ponytail, and started cursing between my tears, attempting to do something about the mess that was overwhelming me. So what does pouting, a dirty house, and tears have to do with love?
I have my own personal ‘Stedman’ who has been a part of my life in one form or another for years – even before kids. This afternoon, it was just S-man and me at home when I had my melt down. He didn’t get mad at me for throwing a fit. He didn’t go to the gym to escape my crazed cleaning. He didn’t zone out on his iPad. Before I even left the bedroom, S-man fed the dog and put him outside, moving all the doggie stuff out of my way. Without a word to encourage my tantrum, he started sweeping the living room. As I scrubbed the kitchen top to bottom as only an angry woman can, he brought me the steam cleaner for the floor. I had moved on to scouring the bathroom before he uttered his first word, asking only if it was ok for him to vacuum downstairs. That’s a wise man. That is love.
S-man doesn’t talk about love much. He doesn’t clean at my house much either. He abhors tantrums. Acts of service is his love language – that and gifts. I don’t get emotional often and he wouldn’t know how to deal with it anyway, but he did recognize at least my situational stressor and care enough to help me get it under control. Sometimes it’s the fact that someone cares that makes the impact even more than their efforts to help fix the problem. Because he cared I was able to pull it together without putting everything away because we are still renovating and down a room (oh the clutter!) and before anyone else could see that crazed mascara-smeared look in my eye. Only the ones that really love us get to see the mascara smeared by tears angry face, right?
For the record, I did have to clean up the bathroom again after he left, but I’ll forgive him – this time.