Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tuesday Mourning

As I was flipping through my personal journal today, I came across an entry that was dated in the beginning of December. And it was then, that I realized was the large turning point in my readiness for a greater intimacy.

About three weeks ago I gathered up the courage to tell RJ how I felt about him. We were laying in bed and reading when I playfully put down my book and snuggled closer behind him. I looked at him peaking around his shoulder and said, "You know, RJ, I'm crazy about you." I told him that I was thinking about the saying that life happens while you plan it--and that I was ready for more. He asked me if it was because I was over my ex and I said yes, but it was more than that. I told him that I know it might sound a bit premature, especially not having a job yet, but that I didn't want to wait to tell him how I felt. He smiled and asked, "So, when did you decide this?" I cocked my head to the side with a pause and said, "I don't know. It just sort of happened." I told him that I loved him and he said it back as we turned off the light and cuddled up to sleep for the night.

I thought of RJ's question as odd and it has been lurking in my brain. I also didn't think that he really got fully what I was trying to say either. So when I was on the phone the next day, and somewhat against better judgement because I would rather be face to face with this kind of conversation, I revisited what I said because I loved RJ so much and I just did not want to keep it in any longer. I wanted no regret in having waited to tell him how I felt. So I clarified that what I was saying the night before was not about my past relationship and getting over my ex. It was about having that space in between to build that knowing and trust and confidence that I really loved him and that I was really ready for more and that I wanted more with him. It was about being future oriented, or more accurately present oriented. With getting as close to saying that I was finally ready to start thinking about marriage again, I asked RJ if he understood what I was trying to say. He said yes with a slight knowing laugh as I probably sounded a bit like a school girl trying to admit a crush.

There was a pause in the conversation with that feeling of "Aaaand?" But he did not say anything. I nervously changed the subject as I did not want to pressure him. We made plans that I was going to pick up some sushi as I was leaving from the gym and he had just missed his turn to go to the grocery store on his way home from tennis.

"So, when did you decide this?"

It kept floating in the air.

Today I reread the journal entry and where something small shifted inside of me to build the momentum of a large change within me.

Then I had a weird dream with A~ in it. It was a gray kind of day that was seeming to wait to rain but it never does. He was wearing jeans and a white t-shirt and a tan spring coat--like our sophomore year in college. Suddenly, we were kind of polka dancing side by side down the sidewalk of Woodstock by Surrey Lane--the path I took when walking to high school. It was a weird, kind-of-happy-to-see-each-other feeling, although happy is too strong of a word. It was distantly pleasant and somewhat reminiscent. But we could not keep a beat together. We kind of lightly laughed it off and continued to drift apart in our own separate dances. It was somewhat peaceful and somewhat sad.

Then later this evening, I sat in the car as a song came on the radio by Adele--Someone Like You, while also remembering the dream as I woke in the morning. Sometimes I cannot make up my mind if I like the song or if I hate it. It is like the song has a new twist of sadness or relief each time I hear it. This time was sad. I sat and cried because all of a sudden I just really missed the old A~. It was a sadness that runs along with distance. It was not a longing to want him back. Just a plain old, I miss him. I miss the good times we had. I miss the old, lighthearted A~ with almost not a care in the world--relaxed--with a boyish innocence.

The dream seemed to represent a final, peaceful good-bye--the one I did not get to have. There was no bitterness or anger in the dream. It just was. It was a good-bye to what I held close to my heart, the good part of what I had loved about him. And in the dream we could not make it work, but somehow it was okay. And I was okay--and I was freed.

Something was lifted and a new calmness, certainty and confidence began to grow inside of me. I was finally building towards the readiness of truly wanting to marry someone again. And I didn't want it to be just anyone. I told RJ I was ready for more with him. I did not define it or put a timeline on it or a request for details--just a signal to let him know I was ready if he was ready to maybe explore or consider the possibilities--whatever those may be.

And so I waited for his response.

I waited patiently for almost two weeks--not pushing, just waiting.

On Tuesday morning, RJ told me he feels badly because he feels that I am more invested in the relationship than he is and he feels guilty because he does not want to waste any more of my time. He feels that he should be wanting to put a ring on my finger and move in together, but for some reason those feelings are not there. He says he has doubts he cannot put into words and he cannot ignore them. He asked me twice, "You know that I love you, right?" I did not answer him, I could not answer him. He said he loved me to pieces and wished he felt differently in wanting something more. I wanted to ask, can't you nurture love? But it escaped me and I felt like it could be viewed as a desperate response to an unfair question.

I told him that my confidence was shaken when he started to question the relationship in the fall, but that I still loved him so very much even though I was afraid to fully admit it. I told him if he would have asked me to marry him before all of the questioning, I would have said yes. It was always yes, even when it took time to rebuild the confidence to be able to admit my feelings again.

RJ did not outright say it was over. But he did not want to have this conversation four months from now. He said you are never ready for it to be over. With tears, he left for work.

On Wednesday he went to Florida to visit his parents at their winter home. He hasn't called me or talked to me since Tuesday morning.

I am sad and disappointed and will miss him terribly--because it seems that it is over and it is really hard for me to admit it. There is so much that I could write here, but I am still taking it in and sorting it out. I don't think this break up was planned and in someways there were clues and in someways I was not prepared for such a stark change in direction. What makes this difficult is that I still have feelings for him and I am not sure what will happen next. There was no closure in how he left.

But I still have that strength and trust in myself from the turning point from that day of the dream in that I am ready--ready and wanting to take the risk in experiencing a greater intimacy with someone special again--and perhaps more fully. It may not be with RJ and I will need a bit of time to heal, but in many ways I am much more open to love.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bananas & Babes

Last weekend I was in Cleveland visiting family and friends. One of those visits included hanging out at Christine and Erich's house and their three children. The youngest was born in September (great month by the way) and it was my first time to meet her. I love the time I spend with Chris because it always feels like we just pick up right where we left off. Her kids are also hysterical, witty and smart.

Case in point, N~ was putting on the two-year-old charm. He was making me banana smoothies and banana cream pie with a side of bananas with the blender and dishes from his sister's Barbie dollhouse. He set up a tiny plate and cabana style glass for each of us. Of course, we would say "cheers" before enjoying the pretend beverages and morsels of food. And repeat, about four more times as N~ cleared the table and so seriously got into his play of making the meal again. I love how kids will replay over and over a scenario. It is so cute!

But what melted my heart was that as I was holding baby G~ she fell asleep in my arms.

Now, I realize that it was getting late and that it was a time that she would usually fall asleep. However, I have not had a chance to hold a baby that long for an uninterrupted period of time in quite a while. Chris is great because she is trusting and she knows that I love holding babies. She has always been wonderful about inviting me to hold her kids as we are hanging out and gabbing. And as we were talking, I noticed that baby G~ was starting to get a little fussy, so I stood up and gently rocked her as we went over to the kitchen island to continue our conversation. At some point, I felt that shift of when a baby suddenly feels heavier and knew she probably fell asleep. So sweet. I asked Chris if she wanted to put her down in her crib and she said the baby was fine if I was fine because the baby usually nods off for a bit in the evening before her last feeding before sleeping for the rest of the night.

What makes this moment extra special is because baby G~ let me hold her for so long. Long before I was in a place to seriously contemplate starting a family, I had a knack for holding babies. They would smile and coo or fall asleep as I held them. Sometimes a person would warn that the baby might be a bit fussy and did not always let anyone hold them, but many times these kiddos would also warm up to me, too.

Then somewhere around the height of the emotional time of IF, it was like no baby wanted any part of me. And this continued after my divorce. I know there are times that are just plain not good times for a baby to be held (i.e. hungry, over tired, teething, been passed around too much, or just really wanting their mom--all really good reasons). But it seemed like I went on this streak of having poor luck around infants and it kind of hurt my feelings. I felt kind of rejected, not by the baby, but more like from the universe. Was this supposed to be some kind of sign that I was never meant to be a mother? Or was it a signal to tell me that it is just not my time and to focus on other parts of my life?

Interestingly, in my development classes I have read plenty of articles about bonding and the reciprocal relationship between a mother and child. Sometimes it is the child who may have a difficult temperament that can make it challenging for a parent to bond. Sometimes it is the parent's fears that it will not happen that can get in the way of bonding. Maybe something has changed in me and maybe I am in a better place in my life--not just in getting closer to my career goals, but emotionally.

As a friend said to me yesterday--yes I am moving beyond the troubles of my past. It is not about dealing with them or processing them, but that subtle difference of having built enough space between it and my present to be ready to take on the next adventures that I want out of life. I am ready!

In the News

As I continue to put more distance between my present self and my past self, sometimes there are things that tug at the heart. I'm not sure if I just happen to notice more news stories related to IF because of my experiences, but it seems that IF has been getting more press and it seems to be gaining ground as a topic that is starting to be talked about more openly. I hope that if that is the case, that those who struggle with IF are finding more support, compassion and hope. But for me, I am just going to have to stop clicking on the links to the stories. The sadness is not worth the curiosity and it leaves me feeling like there isn't a place where I belong.

But hey, props to the Cleveland docs! Gotta have a little hometown pride. :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The tiny twinges still come every now and again, followed by a distant sadness and a more present guilt. While I do feel much more closure with my past experience with IF and adoption from my previous relationship, the stir of mixed emotions surface, catch me by surprise and send me into a cycle of mourning and frustration.

For example, just before Christmas I was walking along the street back to my apartment. I was smiling to myself taking in decorated the store fronts and thinking about seeing my family for the holidays. In the mix of the busy shoppers along the sidewalk, a neighbor girl and I noticed each other at the same time and caught up with each other to hug and say hello. I had known for months that she and her husband were expecting, and I asked her how she was doing and feeling. Pulling aside her winter coat she showed her growing baby bump and said it was getting harder and harder for her to move about and having a lot less energy. She was beaming and looked so excited in the wonder of her experience. It was very touching and I felt her gratitude.

As it was very sweet and I felt happy for her, I was caught off guard yet again by my internal turmoil--a tiny twinge of hurt that I cannot control. The grown-up part of me rationalizes that of course I am happy for the pregnancies and children of the people in my life while recognizing the importance of being genuinely happy for others. But there is also almost this protective layer where I have to build up those thoughts of happiness into a wall because I am afraid and I do not want to show any trace of my own simultaneous sadness at that moment. And then in trying to suspend my feelings of sadness, I start to feel guilty and frustrated that I cannot always just plain feel happy for the other person. And in walking away from that kind of moment, I begin to silently acknowledge those mixed feelings which sends me into a longing for a life that I so want--a husband to share a life and maybe a family together.

The inside/outside box significantly helped me to bring a validating context to a specific mourning of the twins. I do feel released from that pain. I feel myself moving forward.

Then I am feeling less and less angry about the fourteen years I spent with my ex--in the precious time that was robbed when it could have been spent with someone who could have been more honest about shared dreams instead of the perpetual waiting--waiting for him to be ready, waiting on account of his career goals, waiting for the "right" time, waiting for our bodies to cooperate, waiting for the news that it was not going to happen, waiting... It may not sound like I am less angry. But really, I am. I am because I am so tired of being angry. I am done. I am accept where I am right now.

So, my thoughts turn towards the present and I find myself looking for a job, wanting to be settled and more stable. The pain I feel surrounding career, having a house, marriage, pregnancy, children has shifted from the mourning of the past into a yearning for the future. And I ask, why can't I have that? When is it my turn?

I realize there are plenty of other women out there wanting the same things with a variety of stories from their own life journey. As much as I don't want to admit it, the biological clock is ticking. And it is ticking very loudly. I feel like time is slipping away and that my window is getting smaller and smaller. And it isn't all about babies either. The fact is that I am getting older, and my body is going to get older, and I enjoy being active and doing things out in the world and I want to do them with the man I hope to spend the rest of my life. I try to put it out of my mind, but then when another six months goes by and I feel like I am still so far away from so many of my dreams, it feels like it could crush me.

I feel so frustrated with feeling like my life is in a forever holding pattern. It is really difficult starting all over again and feeling like I am in the same place that I was as a recent graduate with my bachelors degree. I've been there, done that, had a career, and I now I am doing it again. And I feel like I am being passed up by so many in the world on soooo many levels. There are times that when I think about it, it is really easy to have a pitty party and I all I want is some acknowledgement that yes it can suck. And then there are other times that I just want to scream my head off--This is not stink'n normal!!!

Finally, I just don't want these dreams with just anybody. I want them with someone special, someone I really love and care about, someone who is just as gaga for me as I am for them. I want to have someone to dream with and to share a life together. I am ready!!!

But I have to spend less time wanting and more time doing. My patience is being tested to the n-th degree and that is when I have to take a deep breath and try to go with the flow and not to force things. I have to be more focused on what I do have and appreciate that because otherwise I am likely to drive myself crazy.