Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Raspberry and plum

I find myself making endless revolutions around my condo.  Picking up things, reorganizing, making piles of things to put away, then changing them into new piles.  The endless cleaning I'm used to. The extra stuff I am not.  I have this three year old who stalks about my house, following me from room to room, and leaving a trail of food/clothes/debris/dirt and anything else you can think of.  Miraculously I also have this thing called a fiance that follows us both around and cleans up most of the trail.  This morning on my way to drop my daughter off at preschool, I went to grab the trash to take it out and stared blankly at the clean trash liner that was mysteriously in my trash can.  I was about to smack my hand against my forehead because I had not put the dishes away, yet my kitchen was clean.  My patio has been swept clean and organized.  All of my laundry is folded.  What the fuck is going on around here, people? 
I've always hated the idea of being a nag.  I figure that if I have to tell you to do something around the house five times, it would probably be faster to just do it myself and move on with life.  Then everything gets done and all that's left is some resentment for you being worthless and me doing all the work.  That totally sustains a relationship long term, right?  Or maybe not.  In fact, not at all.  Now I know I've alluded to my health issues on several of these posts, but I try not to go into too much detail about it all the time because, well, it's depressing and I don't want to deal with it to start with.  Everyone has aches and pains and issues and we all know they come and go.  Unfortunately I have things like irregular heartbeats and dangerously low blood pressure and dehydration issues that literally leave me on the floor.  I have arthritis in my hands that stop me from doing simple things like starting the washing machine, opening jars, and tying my shoes when it's cold outside.  I don't know how to begin to explain to someone that I love that I have these issues.  How do you tell them that they're there and expect them to accept that you have these limitations and love you regardless?  How do you expect them to pick up the slack and not resent you for it?  Honestly, that's all I've ever known.  So I try to keep it to myself, push as hard as I can, and not ask for help.  It's one thing when it's you.  It's another when you have kids.
The other day I was exhausted.  My heart was not beating normally and I couldn't get myself exercising to help regulate it and I found myself in bed with hot/cold flashes and sweats, unable to move for an extended amount of time.  Normally in such an emergency, I would've called my daughter's father to come pick her up. I would've begged him to bring me something to eat or just not had dinner that night and prayed to feel better in the morning.  I would've cried and felt alone and depressed and thought once again that maybe this world would just be better without a useless person like myself that can't take care of her own child.  Instead my fiance made us dinner.  I laid in bed and listened to my little girl laugh as they tried to do cartwheels in the grass outside of my bedroom window.  Once she was in bed, he curled up with me and told me about his day and how much he loved me.  I looked carefully into his eyes and I didn't see any resentment there.  And while I have never, ever wanted to rely on anyone for help, that night my heart was peaceful.  All of a sudden it didn't feel like someone apart from me helping my family.  It just felt like my family working together.  The tears that night were grateful ones.  I let them slowly slip down my cheeks while I laid in bed listening to two of my loves play together.
I've frequently wondered why a man, any man, would want to take on a woman with a child.  To add health issues on top of those is beyond me.  Would I do the same?  Would I be so loving and understanding?  Why would I even put myself in that situation to start with?  I guess these are questions I can't answer.  When I ask him, he smiles the way you smile at a small child who doesn't understand.  And I don't.  What I can see is that he seems to think this life is the one he wants and that must include me and my daughter.  I couldn't ask for a better step dad for her to add to her collection of adults that treat her like a princess.  I sit and wonder what I've done to deserve a love and dedication like this.  And more importantly, what I would do to keep it.  Pledge my life to it?  Give my life for it?  It sounds extreme, doesn't it?  But for a person like myself, I do live for my family.  I sacrificed my life to have my child and I will do the same for our next baby.  I feel like the risk is well worth it.  Every parent knows the indescribable joy a child brings into your world.  There's no way to tell you the magnitude of that impact.  I can't tell my fiance.  I hope I can show him. 
So here I am sitting in my fiance's comically large bed in the very small room of our condo.  To my right hangs 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, given to us as an engagement present from our dear friends. I read it every day and it makes me smile: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." There are days I feel like he's been here for years and times when I forget I'm not alone.  I think in the end I've come up with this mixed bag of treatment that can only be classified as the behaviors of an insane single mom who has gone though hell and managed to fall in love again.  I remember a time when I never lost patience with my husband.  I never spoke badly about him or thought negative thoughts.  I couldn't imagine my life without him.  Then he left and I felt so cold and disconnected inside.  After being alone, I had no tolerance for men.  I didn't want to compromise or include anyone in my life. By some miracle I've fallen in love again and what does that mean?  You have a woman who will listen to you and go on adventures like a best friend, cook you dinner and wash your clothes like a mom, and fuck you like a one night stand.  I have no idea what that means, but here it is.  All I can hope is that by picking someone who is in the same stage of life that I'm in, I've given myself a chance to be with someone who can really relate to me and understand why I act the way that I do or have the priorities I have.  Test run on living together, sharing finances, running a house, and parenting complete.  Next stop courthouse and if I'm lucky, baby booties one day too.  It's for these things I pray.
Dear God, thank you for giving me another chance.  Please give me the strength to let go, the wisdom to see what is really important, enough faith to try to have another baby and know I'll survive to raise my children, the patience to receive what I have sown, and the gratitude to really appreciate what I have been given.  Because wedding colors don't matter, love is what keeps me warm at night, and my value doesn't come from hours worked, items purchased, or from how many mistakes I've made.