Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

So I am now in month two of my long distance relationship with Mr. Wonderful. It is everything and nothing like I imagined it to be.

We Skype almost every day at some point. This has proven to be very difficult because our days and nights are completely opposite. There are a few brief windows where we are both near computers, his morning and my nighttime, and then my morning and his evening. We have jammed a lifetime of conversation into these tiny windows of "face"time.

People kept telling me that a long distance relationship would sharpen our communication skills and make us stronger. I honestly didn't see how.

But after the last several weeks of having nothing to do but talk talk talk, I am amazed at how true that is.

Our talks are intense, passionate, and stimulating. We have already had several disagreements, but I have learned something great from these disagreements: I AM SAFE WITH HIM.

Something very interesting that just came up...we had two nights of conversation with several disagreements back to back. I panicked when I realized that he must be starting to see me as a whole entire person, scars and all....and there are SO MANY. My plan for my future post-divorce and as a single mom to three kids, was to keep men at arms length, because I couldn't imagine someone being strong enough to deal with all of my baggage; and frankly, I didn't want to see it all unravel. Who wants to be there, vulnerable, while the man you have feelings for discovers exactly how screwed up you are thanks to the cards you've been dealt? It seems like insult to injury. I think that this is why, in the beginning, I pushed him away and felt so averse to him. He thought I was this amazing, wonderful strong person, and maybe I am...but sooner or later he would find out the truth. That I have trust issues, that I have so many fears, that I have an ex who will be in the picture until the kids are grown, that I am insecure about my body, that I tend to run away from pain and confrontation, that I tend to think the worst after so much has gone wrong. The raw, real me, the good the bad and the ugly.

And because of our accelerated situation, we're now in the throes of that part. He has seen all of the above.

This all came to a head today. He was being calm, understanding, and amazing while I freaked out. But my scared little girl voice in my head was telling me "Run, run now, run fast. It's just a matter of time before he can't take this anymore and leaves anyways." I was rude to him, short, and punished him for nothing. I told him hey, this is it. Love me or leave me, but this is who I am.

I fell asleep and woke up to a beautiful email from him. The first line: "I choose love."

The rest of the email went on and on about how I am safe with him, and that as long as I love him and never betray him, nothing that I say or do will make him leave me. It was a letter of reassurance, of promise, of love. It's as if I threw a tantrum and he waited patiently for me to stop, then embraced me and said he understood. Wow. It takes my breath away.

Tonight I saw the movie Julie and Julia with two girlfriends. The movie is centered around two marriages. I was thinking about the blog post I wrote not that long ago about how I couldn't watch movies like that anymore, because I wasn't sure that kind of love existed for me, and it just depressed me.

Now here I am not only living the kind of love they make movies about, but I think my love is better.

Another really great thing about him being across the world is that I am forced to continue to live my life, and learn to incorporate my relationship in slowly. I still hang with my precious friends, I had a date night Friday with my son, I am seeing a concert this weekend, I'm enjoying my career, I'm still living the happy life that I made for myself before I ever met Mr. Wonderful. I never want to give it up. He is and will be a great addition to it. But never again will I need to rely on anyone else for happiness, it's there already. He is just the icing on the cake.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Sitting here trying to work and feeling totally and completely overwhelmed with life. I don't even know that "overwhelmed" is a strong enough word. I feel like I'm in the middle of the ocean and it's thunderstorming on top of me.

I know my posts lately have been super happy and I am still happy with that aspect of my life. I wonder sometimes if being so close to having a partner again is making me impatient with doing it all on my own.

Or it could be the fact that it's August, school is about to start, my busiest time of year with work is also cranking up, and sometimes single motherhood just SUCKS.

Maybe it's the fact that my soon to be ex is enjoying himself this week on a vacation in my favorite place in the world with God knows who, and I'm here with no co-parent to ask for help.

First there's back to school. New clothes, new shoes, new backpacks, school supplies, school lunches, paperwork paperwork and more paperwork, open houses, meet the teacher, parent orientations, grade level meetings. Times three. Then there are extracurricular activities. Soccer practice and games, basketball, gymnastics, and dance. The exhaustion of practice nights when practice falls smack in the middle dinnertime, and rushing three kids out the door to get there on time, making sure we are in the correct clothes and shin guards and have all the right equipment and water. Times three. Then we have the busy season for work. On top of the already overwhelming duties of laundry, cleaning, cooking, buying groceries, and making sure our sick dog doesn't die. I'm behind on bills. I need to find health insurance. I have paperwork to sort through to finalize the divorce. I need to take my ex off of all my accounts. All while a two, six, and 10 year old terrorize my house.

My shower doesn't work, I need to get a plumber out. My carpet and couch are disasters. My office is a disaster. Everything is a mess.

I feel like a horrible mother. My kids watch way too much tv and never listen to me. I've been yelling a lot.

I feel myself hitting that spiral point where I'm starting to lose control. I can't seem to sit down and get anything done. My mind just wanders to the next problem and then the next, then I start beating myself up for everything, then I panic over it all. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

When I get to this point I just become paralyzed. I'm hoping that sitting it down and writing it all is going to help me sort through and mobilize again.

But all I really want to do is crawl under my covers and hide.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This. Is. Right.

It's truly amazing how terrified I am of being judged.

I know where it comes from and I've always been this way. I know that friends and people who read my blog worry about me because I've been hurt SO MUCH over the past few years.

But right now, I feel like everything in my life that has ever happened to me has prepared me for this moment.


I remember when my parents got divorced. I was probably more devastated over that than the failure of my own marriage. I was 28 years old, and they had been married for 30 years. Their relationship was my foundation. It was all I knew of love. Did I ever think that in just a few years, I would be so grateful that they divorced that I can't imagine it not happening? No. But God. This was meant to be. My father lies in a hospital bed right now, and has been there for FIVE MONTHS. First of all, had my parents still been together, my Dad would not have health insurance right now. His work dropped his after 3 months, and my mom is self-employed. My Dad's wife works and has the best health insurance that has covered just about everything. Second, while I may not feel that Dad's wife is the perfect "step-mother" for ME, I 110% acknowledge that she is my father's soulmate. The person who was meant to get him through this. If not for her vigilance and devotion to him, my Dad might LITERALLY be dead right now. She watches out for him, she raises questions. She has caught things that the doctors missed, more than once. She keeps his spirits up. She loves on him and snuggles with him and does her own physical therapy with him. I used to be upset that his wife had sort of taken my place in my Dad's life. But I couldn't handle this. Not with the situation I went through, not with my three kids, not at all. I am so grateful for the way things turned out. That's such an understatement.

Many nights I have cried myself to sleep wondering why I have had such a tumultuous life. I don't feel I've done anything to deserve it or to bring it upon myself. Everything that has happened has been out of my control. It has all been so incredibly devastating. But from everything I've been through, I've learned...I've perfected...I've listened to the lessons...I've changed...I've regrouped...and I came out stronger, wiser. I really, really like who I have become. I'm grateful for the bad because it created so much good.

I have been able to find my own happiness without outside influence. I found it inside of myself. And the minute I did that, I found the icing on the cake. Mr. Wonderful.

He is what everything in my life has been leading up to. I've never been so sure about anything before, EVER. I never felt this way about my husband. I never felt this way about anyone. It's as if the energy between us has always existed, and we just tuned into it. This is IT. This is the pendulum swinging the other way, paying me back for the years of hardship and difficulty. This is what it was leading up to. Because if I had not experienced all of those things, I would not have been in the place to find him. And if I had not lived through so much darkness, I would not appreciate the unimaginable beauty of the light.

And so yes, I decided not to see other people. I could put hundreds of men together with the qualities I wanted in a man, in a relationship, and not find someone so perfect for me as Mr. Wonderful. Something I have learned over the course of the demise of my marriage is to listen to my instincts. The thought of dating others and wasting everyone's time just literally made me sick to my stomach. The fact that he was so patiently waiting for me to do this because he knew I felt I needed to made it that much harder to go through with. I just know. I don't need anyone else.

I understand that people will worry for me. I love them for that. I know this is a huge risk, or that it may seem like one to the outsider looking in. I love what my sister-in-law said about me. That I don't do anything half-ass, that I go big. In job, my family, my win big, you have to take risks. Yes, I might lose him and I might be hurt. But I'm ok with that, because the pain of that could be nothing compared to how this feels now, and I will always be happy that I went through this. My own personal fairytale.

And to someone who has never experienced that moment of "synergy" with someone else, it's going to be hard to understand. I myself, before meeting Mr. Wonderful, would have looked at this situation as a huge mistake. That's before the light went off. I know I have made the right decision. I feel it so strongly. This is right.

He has been back in Afghanistan for a week. We keep a blog for just the two of us that is private. We write to each other everyday and post pictures. We Skype every night. It's going to be a long 4 months (106 days to be exact :) ), but again, I feel like it was meant to be. I'll be able to perfect living my own life and being my own person, and slowly incorporate a relationship into that. I'm learning, he's learning. Our communication skills will be sharpened by being half a world away.

Something he wrote to me this morning on our blog I think really sums up my future with him:

"There is so much I want to do and experience with you. Everything I have ever done I want to do it again, but this time I want to do it with you."

I, my friends, am madly in love with Mr. Wonderful.

Monday, August 10, 2009

All is Well

He left to go back overseas on Saturday.

We spent every single waking (and non-waking) moment together for the 6 day reprieve that we got from his cancelled flight.

We talked all night, all day. I feel as if I've always known him. He feels the same about me.

He printed up a list of questions he found online, "86 questions to ask someone on a first date". After less than 3 weeks, we found he already knew the answers to most of them.

I swore to my friends that there was no one out there for me. That I would hold everyone from here on out at arm's length. That I'd never trust again. That no one would be right for me because of all my stipulations and baggage.

And yet here he is. Placed in my life as if by a force greater than us.

I'm not dillusional. I have my head on straight. I am being super analytical. Watching for red flags and such. I've talked through any thing I've seen with him. He has assured me that I am not crazy. We have found each other...this is for real.

On Saturday, I drove him to the airport. We stood in the terminal holding onto each other for an hour before he finally had to go through security and head back. We talked about how we were going to make this work. How it would make us stronger...sharpen our communication skills, give both of us time to think things through and tie up loose ends. And then he looked at me and said "It's time." Until that point, I had my thoughts together, I had control of my emotions. Those words left his lips and I lost it. Started not only crying, but sobbing. Yes it is temporary. But here I found something AMAZING, someone who I never thought could even exist...and he is leaving to go halfway across the world. As far away as you can get without coming back closer.

I cried. He reassured me that we would be ok. That I was strong and independent and a whole and complete person without him, and that I'd be fine. That this was good for us. I knew it all to be true, but I couldn't stop the tears. Then the sobs. He walked through security. Walked over to kiss me. Got to the other side, blew me a kiss, and that was the last I saw of him. The next time I see him in person, it will be cold outside, and Christmas decor will surround us.

Where does that leave me??? I am being very honest here because this blog is here to help me. I will go on some dates. I've already had some guys I've been in contact with in the past call and/or email me. I'm gonna go through with it. But I don't want to.

The struggle here for me, and even for some of my friends: I need to find a balance between doing what I need to do, and figuring out WHY I even need to do it in the first place, and not losing the best thing that's come along. Ever. There are details I'll never go into because they're so sacred. This man thinks I am amazing, and that is mutual. He sees ME, the real me. He brings out my best. He has my children's best interest in mind. He is willing to forego having his own children for their sake and mine. He has his own admirable goals and dreams, and is already following through on his plans. He's smart. He's funny. He's devoted to his family and friends. How often does this happen?? I'm walking a fine line between being "realistic" and smart, and hanging on to something so obviously amazing and meant to be. It's tough. The realist in me is battling the romantic in me. Who will win....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two 1/2 Weeks.

I have been living a fairy tale for the past 2 1/2 weeks.

I have also learned some of the most amazing life lessons, things about myself that are going to prove invaluable in the future.

Where do I begin???

There was the first date. Then the second. Then the third. I was being pampered, complimented, surprised, swept off my feet. Things changed on the third date. This man, whom I like to call Mr. Wonderful, picked me up and I felt so averse to him all of a sudden. I texted my friends and told them I was soooo over being treated like a princess and now I was bored. That it's boring being told how great you are all the time. I was thinking these things the whole way to our third date (a baseball game) and decided to just ride out the rest of the two weeks and then he'd be gone.

About halfway through our date, he made a comment about me dating other people while he was back overseas for 4 months. I turned to him and said "Listen, I have to date other people while you're gone. I really appreciate all you've done, really and love how you treat me. But I'm just not ready for a relationship and I have to see what's out there."

He was pretty much completely unphased.

And then, all of a sudden, he was totally and completely irresistible to me. Total confidence, total masculinity, and a real desire to see me and know me. ME!

The pressure seemed to be off, and we both let loose. We laughed, we talked all night, we learned about each other. The next day he sent me flowers. My mom called and upon learning of the flowers, informed me that she thought he was just trying to pressure me and she was suspicious. And then it hit me why I had become so averse to him that night: my mother has brought me up to believe that if someone, particularly a man, is nice to me...they must want something. And it can't be good. No one could actually be that nice, I'm not worth someone treating me that way, is the message I got.

I'll admit that about some men, she would be right. But I've been soul searching for a year now. I've learned how to stand on my own two feet and not only that but to be happy that way. I've graduated from therapy. I've done the support groups and read the books. I know what I am doing now and I trust my instincts. This guy is seriously just plain crazy about me, from what he knows so far, and happens to know how to show it. And why shouldn't he be? I'm a pretty good catch.

Many dates have followed, including a few nights of staying up and talking all night. We texted all day and all night. I wanted to know everything about his life, and he wanted to know everything about mine. He has the utmost respect for me, and for my life. The night before he was set to leave to go back to Afghanistan, I got the most amazing card from him...the card every girl dreams of. I thought about sharing it here but it is just too sacred to share word for word. Here is my favorite part, that made me cry: "I cannot believe that anyone could be so blind as to do anything to risk losing YOU."

Sunday morning was our goodbye. We stood at my front door. I couldn't hold back the tears. I can't explain the connection that has been made between the two of us in only 2 weeks. Except that if you have ever fallen hard for someone and something has just been so RIGHT, you know exactly what I mean. I didn't want to let go of someone who not only gets me, but respects and appreciates me. Treats me the way I always dreamt about as a little girl. I've always said in this blog that I would know a guy was worth my time if he felt about me the same way my friends do. And he does, so much. And I've loved learning about him, his fascinating life, his family relationships, his passion for music and the world and all the little things in life. So yes, I cried saying goodbye to him. He left, and I decided to give myself a day to recover, climbed into bed, and we texted back and forth his whole ride to the airport.

We sent messages of wishing we had just one more night together. How hard it was going to be to let go of something so amazing so soon after finding it. And then he let me know that his flight was delayed. And then delayed again. And possibly cancelled?????

I was at the grocery store when he called and said "So...what are we doing tonight??" I left my grocery basket right there in the store, ran to my car, sped to the airport; and we had a movie moment of me jumping out of my car in the middle of the road and us embracing. We both laughed the whole way home at how it was like this was all pre-ordained, the universe trying to tell us something. We spent another amazing night together.

He sent an email to his boss in Afghanistan asking for one more week. He said that realistically, he was doubtful...but for some reason we both felt it was supposed to work out...and it did. He's still here, and we have two more date nights together before he leaves on Saturday.

I know some will worry that I'm getting ahead of myself. Here are my thoughts on that.

I knew exactly what I wanted from someone this time around, and I have fine-tuned my instincts and I'm watching for red flags.

He knows that I will still be dating other people while he is gone. I still look at this 4 month separation as the best thing that could have happened. I will have the chance to finalize the divorce, date a little bit, get things in order, and have him come back to someone who is very sure and thinking straight. If it's truly meant to be (and doesn't it seem like it is??) then it will still work in November. He isn't crazy about the idea, but he understands it.

While he is overseas, he will be sorting through the whole children thing. I let him know right off the bat that I am D-O-N-E DONE having kids. He wants his own. The fact that he does makes him even that much more desirable to me. But I just can't and I won't compromise on this one. I wanted to tell him now so that if this is a dealbreaker, we can break it off now rather than years later when things are more complicated and serious. I don't want to waste his time and don't want mine wasted either. As I told him, I've done the marriage and kid thing, and now I am just looking for the love thing, and that is all and that is what he gets with me.

So many more details that I would love to write down for my own records, but I'll refrain because they are just so sacred. This is an interesting new twist and one I never expected in MILLION years, especially not this soon. But I am feeling somewhat vindicated. It has been an awful 2 years. Actually, my entire 20's were pretty damn horrible. I deserve this, damn it. I SO DESERVE THIS. Whatever "it" is...even if it is just for 2 1/2 weeks.