my pinch me life

At the moment, I sit in my favorite leopard print chair in my bedroom, feet perched on the brown leather ottoman, cup of tea on the bench to my right.  Around me is my bedroom, with all its familiar photos, lamps, and furniture.  And yet what I notice is the unfamiliar — the family photos that are not mine, the television sitting on the second dresser, the baseball cap hanging casually from the doorknob.

In the bed to my left sleeps a man I love possibly more than I have ever loved anyone.  He breathes softly and regularly, sleeping the sleep of the supremely tired.  In a few moments, I will crawl into the bed next to him, he will drowsily pull me close to him, and I will fall asleep feeling safe and adored.

James and I have moved in together.

The circumstances of our decision to take this bold move were, in some important ways, not ideal.  A personal and professional crisis hit his life like a tornado, coinciding with a planned move from the gorgeous family home he had built as a his dreamhouse.  Major life changes were afoot and, as we talked through his options, the logical one — for practical and emotional reasons — was for him to stay with me and my daughters for a while.  At first, that idea took the form of him keeping a few clothes and things at my house, while using his parents’ ranch in the foothills as his main homebase.  But the more we talked about it and got comfortable with the idea, the more it evolved into a decision to actually merge our lives.

And so, one Sunday, a mere 6 weeks after deciding to give it another try, we took the biggest step of our relationship.

The moving part was arduous but also fun and exciting in some ways, as we watched our individual things blend together far more harmoniously than we’d expected.   Boxes were unpacked, artwork was hung, clothes were shifted, and space was made.  We admired our progress and smiled at each other — a lot.  There were also moments of deep sadness, as James was giving up a home that he’d truly thought would be where he’d raise a family and have grandchildren playing someday.  But I think, for me, those early days were mostly like a surreal dream.  How in the world had this really come to be?  How had we, who had for so long viewed each other over the top of a thick, high wall of emotional defense, suddenly found ourselves sharing space with the intention of becoming a family at last?

The first week, James and I were on our own, as my girls were off at their dad’s and his children live out-of-state with their mother most of the time.  This was a good thing, as it gave us a chance to deal with the basic logistics how we’d combine our material possessions and schedules, but also because it allowed us to shake off the initial jitters of our decision.  At one point, at the end of our first day as a co-habitating couple, after considerable prodding from him, I admitted that I was freaking out just a little bit.  Since then, we have spent much time talking about how scary this is for both of us, working through the same kinds of feelings that would have held us back previously and instead finding ways to leverage those feelings to a deeper connection.

My life these days seems to be a series of unbelievable moments.  This weekend, we went house-hunting for a house that could accommodate the two of us, our five school-age children and one college-aged child, and three dogs.  Over the last 2 1/2 years of knowing each other, I have spent many, many days house-hunting with him, but never with my own family in mind.  And yet, there we were, side-by-side, contemplating taking that wall down or creating two bedrooms out of that space, expanding that kitchen or re-landscaping that lot.

I awake every morning to his smiling face, and return every evening to the delicious smells of his cooking in my kitchen.  He is constant and steady and solid.  And I, who spent so many months wishing for a relationship with this man that was even half this good, am amazed every moment.

The obstacles in front of us are huge.  How to blend our families, rebuild his company, strengthen our crippled finances, and stave off our fears of loss and abandonment.  There are moments in which those obstacles seem overwhelming and insurmountable, but then I remember that the only way we can be together is to move through it, and my resolve returns.

When most of us dream about a relationship after divorce, we think only of the beauty of a new love, but the reality is far more complicated.  And I cannot imagine taking this journey with someone with whom I was not crazy in love.  When I think of the men that I have dated who were perfectly nice and yet completely not right for me, I realize how impossible it would have been to face the challenges inherent in a post-divorce relationship with any of those men.  Because this journey can either be a struggle or an adventure, and I think the definition depends, in large part, on your travel companion.

I am not naive about us at this point.  James has revealed too much truth for me to be so.  I have a pretty good understanding of what happened in our first 2 1/2 years together, and I know that I have no guarantees that the man sleeping so beautifully near me tonight will always be there.  But none of us gets any guarantees of lasting happiness; my divorce taught me that.  And so, each day, we simply affirm our commitment to each other and this road we are on.  Because, in the end, that is all we can do.

That, and love each other.  Truly and deeply.

photo

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16 Comments

Filed under happy endings, love, relationships, single mom

16 responses to “my pinch me life

  1. Lady E and yourself have made 2013 into a banner year, and it’s only January…

    Again, my congratulations. I wonder if it was hard to write this post, knowing that putting it into words is even more final than doing it in some ways.

    I’m tossing and turning and unable to sleep tonight. I like your comment that James is “constant and steady and solid” as stability is important as you knit together your lives, finances, and families.

    It’s a big step and I’m glad you took it.

    Cheers, SD.

    • Sorry to hear that you’re tossing and turning, SD. Can’t count how many nights I’ve spent like that….

      And, once again, you nailed it — publishing this post was very, very difficult… I know you don’t believe in a jinx, but you know I do, and I fiddled with this post waaaay more than I usually do (not that it’s quality reflects that!) simply because I was nervous about hitting publish and angering the love gods.

      There is, of course, more of this story to come…. Stay posted… 🙂

    • I agree with SD, big steps, are we finally getting grown-up, with grown-up relationships to boot ? So nice to hear your heart overflowing over the internet like this TPG … May this new happiness be there to stay ! 🙂 xx

  2. Grinning:) So happy for you. It’s so true that there are no guarentees but that should not mean that we put love on hold. Wheverever you are, be fully there.

    Good luck with the house hunting!

    • Thank you for the support, Lisa, and for the reminder to be fully there. A good one, for sure.

      Now you see why you and Brock inspire me so…. the idea that we can make something sweeter and better the next time around is so very wonderful.

      Happy Wedding Planning to you!

  3. When it feels so right, it usually is. Good for you!

  4. So happy for you! Everything we do is chance, and you’re right, guarantees don’t exist in this life. The best we can do is make the best possible decision we can make at the time we’re supposed to make it. I think it’s most important to do what makes you happy, because in the end… that’s all that matters. 🙂

  5. Wow that is awesome, I am really rooting for you and James, together you can move forward and take life by the horns! congrats!

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