Working on the last details of the wedding, and T~ and I are researching music. We found the processional song to begin our ceremony as the bridesmaids walk down the aisle. It tingles with anticipation and excitement. Love the energy of this song!
Every now and again, I get this incredible itch to look for a house. This yearning will well up and I will scour the internet checking out realtor websites to research homes in different neighborhoods of where I live. This is not the first time I have felt this overwhelming desire to find a home, dreaming of settling into a life where having a family seems more tangible...or maybe more bearable without a child because less of life will feel in limbo.
Last winter, a friend, who knows about my history with IF and was pregnant at the time, said with a smile that I'm nesting. She is hopeful that one day I will be a mom.
It is difficult to have these feelings with nothing to nest.
Earlier this week, I finally received the letter in the mail from the Archdiocese of Orlando granting the annulment of my past marriage. It took thirteen months to complete (and a hefty sum of money). I felt a quiet relief when it finally came through. One chapter of my life that has come to a close and I feel I can more wholly put it behind me.
It also helps that Pope Francis has spoken about Catholics and divorce. Here and then here. I appreciate his compassion for those abandoned in a divorce and possible future consideration that annulments may be fast tracked when an extramarital affair takes place. Significantly lowering the cost and making it a 45 day process also seems helpful. While it does not change things for me, I'm glad the Pope is suggesting these reforms.
The timing of the annulment is good because I really wanted the process complete before T~ and I get married in December. While we are not getting married in the Catholic Church, it still would have bothered me greatly had the annulment not come through. T~ has agreed with me to have our marriage validated in the Catholic Church once we are married. It would be nice to have the ceremony in a church, but that would take another year. It would not necessarily be an issue with securing a time and date with a church, but the time it takes for the marriage preparation classes. The Church wants people to be engaged for at least a year before marriage and it likely would not recognize the time T~ and I have been together before the annulment. Sometimes you can have a clergy person vouch for you. However, we just moved and do not have an established relationship with a church yet. Plus, the churches that tend to be more understanding seem to tend to be more liberal. So, finding a new person to vouch for us may take time to seek out. Maybe not ideal, but I have made peace with the validation option.
I hope God is understanding and compassionate of our choices. We are older and time is not on our side for having children. Adoption may give us a little more time, but it is not a guarantee. However, please know we are not rushing into kids. We want some time as a married couple, but we are also balancing the reality of our aging bodies. Our hearts are in the right place, and I hope He sees that.
I'm glad I got a couple of comments on my last post because I was feeling a little vulnerable admitting my bristling about marriage and best friends. I am not saying you can't marry your best friend. It is just not the only option or that there is something lacking.
I am happy to say I am marrying my partner and lover and adventure mate. There is mutual love and respect. We both want this relationship as much as the other person. There is balance. I feel we are both in this together, and that seems like a great way to start!
August is the anniversary month of my previous marriage. Had we stayed together, we would have been together for more years than apart this year. Funny how the math goes that you can hover so long and so close before reaching that tipping point. It is like one of those age problems from Alegebra I. When we were happy, we used to marvel at how much of our life we spent together and acknowledged that we really grew up together having been college sweethearts. We were young and so much happened during those years.
Then suddenly, he left.
August has been a tough month for me after that part of my life was cleaved away. The first year was awful...raw. I was thankful for a kind friend's phone call. I tend to try not to dwell on specific dates, even if they are etched in your brain. I am more aware of the general season of those memories as they run in the background of my mind, getting further in the distance. It has gotten easier over time, especially with wanting to let go...as sad as that is, but neccessary. This year was the first that the day came and went and consciously it didn't seem to bother me. The undercurrent of sadness and malaise seemed a scant phantom.
However, I had the most terrible nightmares for a better part of the month. And he was in most of those dreams, leaving me feeling unrested, upset and feeling used. In a few of the dreams, I missed him and felt sad. It was hard to shake the feelings after waking up. At the time, I didn't connect the dots because the day had passed and I thought I was fine. But, somewhere deep I am still letting go.
All of the dreams kind of made me worry about my relationship with T~. I think it is all of the wedding stuff and how people say you only get married once and the person you marry should be your best friend. Somehow it hurts. Somehow there is guilt. I once married a person who I felt was my best friend and intended only to be with him. (Cue Don't Speakby Gwen Stefani, No Doubt.)
I feel badly that T~ cannot be my first and only spouse. I recoil when people make references to us being best friends. I cringe when he says it. My visceral reaction sickens me and I feel awful. I don't want to marry a "best friend," after the last one. But, would a best friend ever treat you like garbage with so little regard? Can true friendships implode, deteriorate or devolve in such ugly ways? Maybe he wasn't a friend in the first place? Betrayal is so insidious. It is difficult to believe that someone you loved and whom you thought loved you could actively make such choices. It wasn't an accident or unintentional. It was selfish, grossly selfish. That is the hard part, when trust and respect are broken so horribly.
I know T~ is his own person...a wonderfully loving, kind and intuitive person. I'm just having difficulty separating the term "best friend" from my past experience. He either was never really my friend or he was, but then stopped somewhere along the way.
So, I try to reframe it by thinking about children giving each other friendship necklaces, the ones usually divided up into halves. Kids will often give these kinds of necklaces to more than one person. It is kind of like you are only supposed to have one best friend, but the secret is that you can have lots of best friends. It can be flexible due to context and purpose of that friendship. I think the important part is to let go of "the one and only" part. It somehow makes it feel like I didn't use up my only shot. It makes room for more. It makes room for T~.
Once I put it all together, the dreams stopped and I have been more at ease. It may or may not look like progress, but to me it is. I am glad that I am not actively dwelling on that past relationship. As a friend once told me, the ending of a relationship is like a perspective painting where the road keeps getting smaller and smaller as it meets the horizon. That road will always be on my map, but that part of my life is near that dot in the distance. T~ and I are together in the foreground, in the present. I'm ready and excited about our adventure!
This year, my birthday was good. And that made me feel great! No feelings of doom or glum or anticipatory sadness. It started as a pretty regular day. Got to talk to my Mom and Dad on the phone. Later, A~ was going to take me out to dinner or make me a fancy dinner, but my arm felt sore from a doctor's appointment and I wasn't really feeling it. Instead, we went grocery shopping together and meandered through the aisles. Picked out a fancy slice of cake from the bakery case and a bottle of wine. He made me macaroni and cheese, and we curled up on the couch and watched an episode of Call the Midwife. It was simple and lovely.
Much has happened this summer and it will continue to be busy until things settle down in the fall. Here are some highlights:
New job is going well. The work I do makes me happy and I like the people.
T~ got a job offer and will be joining me next week!
Temporary housing has been tough and a blessing. There was a lot to finangle before my move to get things set up for my new job and finding a place to live. I also had to rush to do some pre-packing before hitting the road. Although, my tetrising skills came in handy with fitting most of what I needed for two months in my car. The rest was brought with strategic flights with checked baggage. My wedding dress came with me in one of my bags for carry on luggage! I had thoughts of Ben Stiller trying to hug his bag and not gate check it like in the movie, Meet the Patents. I also do not like feeling unsettled with so much up in the air. But, I am rolling with it and floating along. However, living in temporary housing gives me pause from moving to focus on my new job without having to settle into a new home. Cooking and cleaning are a minimum with a small space. The commute is short. It was planned and I just keep telling myself it will all fall into place.
T~ and I planned two trips to see each other while being apart during the transition. He came to visit me for a long weekend. We went to a gaming convention for a day and spent time by the pool. I went back to Florida for a weekend and got to go with him to his farewell party hosted by his co-workers. It is easy to take for granted the time apart as another thing on a checklist and chalk it up to it will all be alright. But, spending time together is so important, to feel each other's touch and hear each other laugh and to talk. Intimacy is a delicate thing to nurture.
With me being in Ohio and T~ being in Florida, I have taken advantage of visiting with my family and friends. I am grateful to have this time with them and just hang out. There is no rush of holidays or the feeling of trying to cram it all into one visit. We cooked out on the grill, ate outside and made smores. Went to Cleveland to go to the flea market, the Westside Market and some local restaurants. Flipped through some family photos and sorting through things from my childhood. To just be is wonderful.
Got to see my brother on my original drive up to Ohio. He lives in North Carolina, so it was a good stopping point. Glad to spend some time with him and hope I can plan another trip soon. The weather will be great for biking.
Wedding stuff is plugging along. Invitations got lost in the mail. Have to now pick them up from my parents' house. T~ picked out his tuxedo and for the groomsmen. Bridesmaids are nearly done getting their dresses. My sister fell off her bike, broke her collarbone and had surgery. So, that put a delay in shopping. But, more importantly she is doing better and will have full movement in her arm. Rings should be ready soon. T~ is hoping to take them with him before he leaves Orlando.
T~ and I will camp out in our new apartment until the rest of our stuff arrives. Yay for making deals with it being the off season for moving!
That kind of wraps things up. A sprinkling of things to remember the summer before it becomes a blur. Cannot wait for T~ to come home!
While chatting with someone recently, I asked about their pregnancy and if they knew if they were going to have a boy or a girl or if they were going to wait to find out. They said they did not know, but we're planning to find out. She said she was really excited to have a gender reveal party. Happy for her, really.
Then I thought about how if I were to have a child, I had always wanted it to be a surprise. I don't know if I will be able to have a baby of my own. If I can't, I will feel sad not being able to have that choice and experience. I wonder, if you adopt do you have to find out the baby's gender ahead of time?
Today was the first day of my new job. It is the start of a new chapter. I've returned to my home state of Ohio, and it makes me feel happy. I have not lived in Ohio for nearly 16 years, and I have been longing to come back home.
I missed being closer to my family and long time friends, a car ride verses a plane ride. Just doing everyday things together and not feeling like every visit is about trying to catch up. Wanting to be there instead of living through pictures. Feeling the hugs and hearing the laughs instead of remembering them or imagining them as we spoke on the phone or sent messages.
I missed the seasons, the snow and the fall. I missed it being cool enough to enjoy hot tea or hot chocolate. I missed the rich warm hues of fall leaves. I missed having some gray days to hide away and curl up with a blanket. I missed the quiet brightness of the snow. I missed the tulips and daffodils. I missed the rustle of leaves when the wind blows. I missed the cool summer nights. I missed the reduced humidity, so as not feeling like you need gills to breathe. I missed the sweet corn. I missed the richness of the varying shades of green and grass that feels soft beneath your feet.
T~ will follow once he secures a job. Then he will come with all of our stuff. I will be in temporary housing until then. He is also excited to return to Ohio as his family live here, as well. It will be nice to be closer to family. And we have friends here and near by, too.
Something about home runs deep. It feels good to be home at last.