Archive for February 2015

Sigh.

I burned the tacos tonight.

I didn’t mean to, really who ever means to ruin dinner.

He would ask me if there was more food and I would surely reply that yes there was.

“Then what’s the big fucking deal, you’re human”

We had this interaction a million times, never about tacos but about all of life. The day I walked into his office I was at my wits end, lost beyond belief, overwhelmed to my core. “You pick the counselor or get a goddamn lawyer” I screamed at my husband. I was 28 weeks pregnant with my second child, I had a 12 month old at home and for the second time in as many weeks he had pulled an all night party situation, no communication, just off the grid. Me sitting in our dinning room until the sun came up, rubbing my stomach staring out the window, alternating between tears and fury. Absolutely unable to grasp how I had come to be there.

He picked a counselor and we went and when we were walking in I was unprepared for all the ways my life would change over the next five years let alone the next 45 minutes.

His office was in a little house, converted. There was a couch, his chair, tables, lamps and him: a short, solid, gray haired hippie, barefoot and with the warmest eyes I had ever seen. I mostly listened that night, tears sliding silently down my cheeks as I heard all of the ways I wasn’t living up to being a wife, how I was stifling my husband and wasn’t any fun. Al stopped him there and said with all due respect, Jenn is clearly fun.

Through the tears, and shame and fear and doubt he saw me. Who I was, who I could be, who I wanted to be, he saw the good, the scared, ugly, joyous. He celebrated next to me and picked me up when I couldn’t. There would be no bridge shopping on his watch. He saw me weekly for years, through the birth of claire and the fog that enveloped me, through major surgeries and the end of my marriage. As long as I promised to show up he would be there… I never received a bill

I can say with 100% certainty that he loved me unconditionally. Wholehearted. He and I are a rare breed, arms so open, minds so understanding, hearts so full of joy and love. Giving all of our space to others and often forgetting to reserve anything for us. It wasn’t all shits and giggles but man could we laugh, foul jokes and silly limericks.

The message came in today, “happy belated birthday… on a more upsetting note Al has taken a very bad turn”

The words slammed into me. I knew this could happen. I didn’t want to believe it. The last time we saw each other he didn’t want to burden me, always giving the most space, “you’ve been through this too many times” he said. We talked, we said our things. On a level I knew this would be the last time.

He has given me every tool he had, every hug I needed, every word I needed know. I’m a better woman because of him. I’m a better mother and someday I will be a better partner because of his patience and refusal to give up until I knew I was worthy.

My thoughts are with Jan, his amazing wife and partner in crime. The way his eyes would light up when he talked about her… His kids who he adored and his beautiful granddaughters.

I’m writing this because he would have told me to, if it’s too big to hold in then let it out any way you can.

“There is always a door, Jennifer.”

I love you, Al.

The feels man

written on 01/08/2015

In July of 2013 I found myself staying in an upscale private hotel/social club, I had run away from Medford for the weekend, using the excuse that I was visiting a friend who had just had a baby. I wasn’t running to anything I was running away from a disastrous month that had seen my ninth wedding anniversary come and go only to be marked with a fight and him walking out for the night and me calling a girl friend who showed up with plastic cups and a bottle of wine, no dishes necessary. It became a month in which I knew to my very core that this couldn’t go on and that more than once the phrase “I’m only staying for the kids” had been tossed my way with a slur and a glare, as casual as “take out your own trash” and “hmmm salad or fries? I just can’t decide”. It felt awful and hard and like neither of us would call uncle so I left for the weekend.

I was sitting in this hotel room, drinking coffee and listening to the city and thinking about how I ended up here. where did we go wrong or for that matter right? The girls. It always comes back to them, no one for a second would call us less than devoted, I may not be the most conventional but I’m unwavering in my devotion and love. I knew we were on the brink of irrevocably changing their lives forever and ever. Some parts for the better some for the worse. I have said it before but I will say it again, the worst part of motherhood for me is that I have no control over the memories they keep, I can do my best to try and provide more good than bad but even then who knows what other bits sneak through.  Below is a letter I wrote that morning, through my tears, sealed and stuck it in my safe deposit box, I just recently came across it, one year, five months and seventeen days later. My oh my….

S+C

I am in a swanky hotel room on Salmon + Park. I can hear the city coming to life below me this morning and yet I feel myself shrinking inside, an inner storm I have fought too long. Things are changing in our lives. It is going to feel scary and unsettled but I promise it will be exciting and eventually peaceful.

Things you can count on from me:

Unconditional love – You are forever my always, nothing and no one can ever change this.

Trust – I will do my VERY best to care for and anticipate your needs, I just need you to trust in me enough to use your words when you have them, you won’t always have the right words  and sometimes you won’t have any, it’s okay to be inconsolable, just don’t get stuck in that feeling. You both shine so bright, remember that and create it for yourselves.

Firmness – You’re going to test me, I know this but know that no matter what words or actions you throw at me I’m not going anywhere. I may be sad sometimes and you may feel I’m at a distance and sometimes when we have to be apart it will be hard and hurt, but we will always come back to each other.

I don’t claim to have any answers on the big things in life but I do know that it is ever changing, as people you have to keep growing, you will one day make your ways into this world, you will keep some of the values I teach you, some will fade and you will find you have strong feelings in the opposite direction of how I feel. Never be afraid to be who you are, I will love you without judgement forever. Failure and fear are two things I loathe, they tend to go hand in hand, one of my greatest wishes would be for you to see your failed attempts at things as a stepping stone rather than a step backward. At the very least striking out means you stepped up. Vulnerability will be at once the hardest and most exhilarating experience of your lives, my assvice? FALL INTO IT no matter how it turns out you will be grateful you didn’t hold back. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it is indifference, remember it takes more energy to hate than to let go and go forward.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Je ne regrette rien

                                                                                                                                                                                                     You are my greatest joys,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Mom

Picture, if you will, me finding this unmarked envelope not remembering what was inside and being met with that. So many tears, so many fears and yet one year, five months and seventeen days later we are still standing.