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Archive for the ‘marriage’ Category

Beloved is in graduate school.  He attends a pretty cool low-residency program in Vermont specializing in children’s literature.  He’s doing really well, and is accomplishing VERY long-standing goals.  However, we (you may have noticed) do not live in Vermont.

Because it is low-residency, he only has to attend school twice a year, for 10 days.  January and July.

Last January, I was such a baby-lawyer, I could barely open my eyes.  I was a little busy, and it made me nervous when he was gone.  What if something comes up?  What if I get a new assignment?  But it was fine, and I think I left at 4:30 every day.

Last July – the girls were in the Middle of the Country with the Ex, and Beloved and I had already started our moving process.  There were no difficulties.

This January – total different picture.

I’m fully engaged in a case that is culminating this month in every way.  Discovery is closing, summary judgment is being filed, experts are being hired, court hearings are happening.  It’s insane.  INSANE.  And I’m heavily involved in every aspect of it.

I was already nervous – that getting out of work at a reasonable hour was going to be difficult.  Of all months, this is the one where deadlines happen.  I was nervous.

Then, ha ha!  What made me think I knew what nervous was?

It looks like I have the great honor of traveling to a very different part of the country to tend to one of the many aspects of the case that is my Life, even though it’s a bit beyond my seniority level.  It just so happens to be during Beloved’s absence (and over days that are (a) a national holiday, and (b) inauguration day.  Feh.)

At first, it looked like it was just one day, and it was a day that was a school holiday, so I knew that the kids would be fine with friends.  Then it ended up two days, and two long days – long enough that once you add in travel, it may affect 4 days.  Yikes.  Beloved’s only gone for 10 days — I’m having issues for HALF of them?  Unbelievable.

I was going to post about how my decision to make my community one of my many priorities with my time becomes oh-so-valuable in times of need.  I have friends that I can ask for a hand – friends who I’ve given a hand to in the past, and who know that I’m an active and engaged member of our community.

But now, it seems like my needs are too big, and instead, I’m turning to family.  I’ve begged my mother to (re)arrange her work schedule so she can come while I’m gone.

E is mad at me – she overheard me talking to a friend who is my back-up plan, and insists that I hadn’t told her the whole story about next week before telling the friend.  She is mad about the options I have considered for her while I’m gone.  Some friends are out of favor, and others are just plain old “annoying.”  Humorously, she thinks she should be left home alone.

It was hard not to laugh at that one.

All in all, the stress levels are high.  I keep thinking about how, in the past, I’ve looked forward to certain things – or dreaded them – and then they happen.  And before I know it, it’s behind me.

I keep telling myself … it will be January 22nd before I know it.  Beloved will be home, and this difficult time will have passed.  i have a lot of friends.  I am very lucky.  The girls are well-loved, and people are happy to be supportive.  We live in an awesome community, where people are nearby and hyper-willing.

It will be okay.

And I will miss my Beloved.

And I am sad that I should be more supportive, and excited with him about his exciting time, and instead, I’m kinda on the verge of tears over my own stress and fears.  He gives so much, and deserves better.

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Years old!

Today was my birthday.

Through fantastic home cooked meals, disproportionate investments by offspring, phone calls from loved ones, and yes, Facebook Wall posts, I felt as loved and celebrated as I wanted to.

And through 10s of thousands of documents that HAD to be reviewed today, and the ever-growing to-do list at work and at home (i.e., kids’ school commitments, which may or may not include, oh, i don’t know, producing a major school play????), I was reminded that 3 dozen is far from 3.  Or One Dozen.  I am old.  And my birthday does not matter all that much, except to those who are dear to me.  And I thank them for their love and consideration.

Onward !!!  (because tomorrow is Beloved’s birthday!  And I have gifts to wrap, and a cake to wrap!!!)

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I’m  sure Beloved would “get more sex” — if he weren’t so damned tired all the time from shopping and cooking and picking up kids and cleaning that he does.

__________________________________

But seriously – why is it still framed in these terms?  Men “get more sex”?  What about us?  Do we “have to endure  more sex”?  Do we “give men more gifts?”  What the FUCK are we doing?  Why doesn’t it say “when couples are healthier, couples are healthier”?  (i.e., when they have a true partnership, they have a healthy sex life).

When will the sexism STOP???

Dude!  I like sex!  I have a vagina, and I like sex!!!

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Pouting

I hate fighting with Beloved.  It makes me sad.

When we argue, we spend so much energy focusing on the bad about each other.  It is hurtful to hear all these bad thoughts he has about me … I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut every time.

What do you mean I never wash the pots and pans?  But I thought you loved me?  

I hate hearing things come out of my own mouth that I know aren’t true.  I can feel their untruth as I say them.

I wish, just for once, you would respond with, “yeah, sure honey, I’ll take care of that.”  [regarding his response when I ask him to vacuum] “but you never say that!  Never!”

And rushing through my head are all the times that the kids’ plans change, or I’m tired at the end of the day, and he says, “I’ll pick E up from basketball,” or “I’ll take care of going to the store,” or some other equally helpful thing, which I do appreciate in the moment.

Sometimes,  I say, “wait, that is not true, that was unfair.”  But today, I justified not saying anything.  I thought, “well, those helpful moments have to do with the kids, not with the house, and we’re talking about housekeeping here ….”

But of course, it all makes the house run, and it is related, and I should have stopped, and said “no, I’m wrong.”

Our fighting style sucks.  I really think it’s his fighting style.  I do.  I think I’m capable of discussing things we do not agree about in a rational way, but he gets [his word] defensive, and as most people and animals do when they feel defensive, he attacks. And all of a sudden, what felt like a spontaneous and indulgent complaint about the dust on the bookshelf has morphed into a one-hour duel over who does more around the house and who is meaner to who and why did we even get married in the first place if this is how we feel?

Ouch.

I am always perplexed, and confused, when this happens.  I never understand how it’s so BIG so quick.  My preferred way of dealing with the argument – once it becomes an argument instead of just a snipe, is that I retreat.  Or I try.

You know what they say (at least what 90% of the parentings books I read when the kids were young) – when a person feels threatened, they will choose to react through either “fight” or “flight.”  He chooses fight, I choose flight.

It really sucks.

And now we get to smile pretty and be good hostesses for the friends we’re having over for dinner on this last evening before the kids come home.

Yee ha.

If we weren’t having company, then I know what would happen.  We would stay icey for a couple of hours.  I would read a book, he would write or something.  Then we’d just start talking again, and then we would hug, and we would say we’re sorry, and all would be well.  Maybe later, I would (again) talk about how I hate the way we fight.

But we don’t have time for that second act.

Actually, we only have 35 minutes before our friends arrived and I’m not dressed.

To be continued …..

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First and foremost:  I love Obama.  I love him.  I want him to be my president.  And if he gets to be my president, I want him to do well.  And if he does, he will be my Kennedy.  I will swoon for him.  I will pay gobs and gobs of money to attend fundraisers where he just might appear.  I will love him more.

And if Hillary wins, I will hate her.  I will hate her more than I do today.  I will despise her for her manipulation of the only party that offers the tiniest spark of a chance of _______ [God – what can you plug into this blank that hasn’t been used before?  Not hope – absolutely not.  Solutions?  ptooey.  A country we can be proud of?  I think I’ll choose that – I will gladly shoulder some of Michelle Obama’s flack for saying what millions of us feel.  Even millions of us who have lived in this country as part of the powerful majority – we feel that way.]  I will be angry.

And I will vote for her anyway.

Despite my love and my pledges of undying support, I did not watch the debates tonight.  I went to dinner with my friend.

What???!!!

The girls are gone!  I was looking forward to this week!  And then I had to go and get a stupid cold and use the time to do nothing but sleep extra, and that was not my plan!!  I didn’t want to just SLEEP.

So, I let my friend drag me to the cool part of “town” over across the river.  Where the smart people live, and the pre-children people live, and where the post-children people or “my kids are in private school” people live,  and I let her take me to a funky and delicious restaurant.  I can’t wait to go back with Beloved.  He would love it.  I would love to return.

Conversation was good, sharing was had.  Parenting – romance – career.  The whole shebang.

And all of that was a follow up to an awesome day of work  – a day where I felt happy that I put the time into school that I did, and where I felt – even moreso than usual, which is a lot – that I made the absolute right choice for my career, my life, my personality.

The timing is nice, too.  Only a week or so after worrying that I’m not stretching and growing enough, I’ve had the most yoga-esque week of all, with many new skills and opportunities, and general happiness with the way of things.

On the homefront:  1)  I love my husband; and 2) my apartment is cold.  Despite the fact that in years past, we could not ever get the place below boiling point, blaming it on the boiler that our apartment sits on top of – we are now cold.  I’m chilly!  I need a blanket!!

I think it’s kind of nice.

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Beloved and I went out to dinner tonight.  First he came and collected me at my office.  That was fun.

As we were leaving the office, at 7:15, my phone rang.  I was assuming it was my office mate, who had just left, and so I answered the phone.  Oh, no, I was wrong.  I should not have made such an assumption.  I ended up sitting at my desk, with my coat on and my husband in the [empty, dark] office next door, taking notes frantically and negotiating what documents I would be receiving possession of before next week’s depositions.

But then there was dinner.  Where we discussed Barack (our boyfriend), Beloved’s Book, my evaluation process (eek!!!), food, and – for one brief moment – the children.

This was the context (boy=blueish; girl=pinkish]:

Who would be the weirdest person you could run into in this restaurant, right now?

Does it have to be someone who would be in Boston?  

Yes.

[random classmate from school.]  What about you?

[J’s teacher.]

Much laughter ensues, at the thought of running into J’s teacher in the restaurant.  His was funny.  Mine wasn’t as funny.  I wanted a do-over.

E!!  E would be the funniest person to run into!  

more laughter.  

E, in the corner, with a book and a raspberry brandy.

No!  She would not!  She’d be saying, “can I have more ice cream?  Those three balls of sherbet were NOT enough!”  

No, she would say, “Mom!  Can’t I have some PRIVACY?  Geez!!!”

_______________________________________

We took a cab home.  The cabbie gave me Swedish fish.  Seriously.

Once home, we quick changed into comfy clothes, threw on some totally inappropriate shoes considering the 19 degree weather, and ran outside to gaze at the eclipse.

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Instruction

I have a “recently favorite” blog. This ridiculously humorous woman who possibly farts more than I do, and who is so honest and clever and loving.

She is so famous and popular, she does not know that I exist.

But still, I love her from afar.

Today’s post was one that I would like to savor for a little while. I am writing about it so that I have to remember it – despite my illness, despite my girls’ gone-ness this week. I have to have it mind when E comes home and starts yelling at me for making assumptions about her behavior. And about how unfair it is that just because she’s on the computer, I assume she isn’t doing anything productive. About how I should not accuse her of playing games all the time, when she is in fact writing a story. About how no matter how hard she tries all the time, everything she does is wrong.

All of that, in response to my asking her to put the computer aside, and to hang out in the kitchen with me while I cook dinner.

The nerve.

But it is true, as a more experienced mom related to Jessica, that I respond with a similar level of passion. I’ve been noticing this lately (with some help from my Brave Beloved), and working to change this. I try so hard to unentangle myself – emotionally – from these rejecting outbursts. From the fact that a hug from me no longer makes things better. It is no longer the pinnacle of resolution. It’s just me invading her privacy.

This is her development. And as she is struggling to make sense of it all – in the irritating “tweener” manner: one part teenager (rational, logical arguments) and two parts child (tears, foot stomping, reaching the emotional tipping point) – I need to see that it not my development. That my role is no longer the mother of a 4 year old, 5 year old, 8 year old – or even 10 year old. I need to buck up.

I know that her friends are going through similar things. No one is doing it exactly the same. Some kids are being really mean to their moms. (In ways that I would not tolerate.) Some are just shutting themselves up in their rooms. A luxury E does not have, since she still shares with J.

(Which is a whole other can of worms, and 1/2 the reason why I am getting ready to call a mortgage broker so I can decide if I’m buying or renting in the next 8-12 months. Even that feels too long.)

But the story linked to above, I think, helps to ground me in the understanding I already have, but have a hard time keeping ever-conscious of when in the throes of an outburst.

It is funny, because Beloved and I having been laughing HARD at the response he got a post he had written on his blog. Despite his posting having nothing to do with babies walking, it’s been absolutely swarmed to by people looking for poems about “baby’s first steps.”

And I have been vehemently mocking these women – these mothers. I believe some of my utter disgust with the idea that someone honestly feels that their child’s first step is poetry worthy is because I know that was me. And I no longer understand that me.

When E and J were little, every little milestone was my entire world. Everything a photograph. Everything a phone call to my mother. What they ate. What faces they made when they saw something for the first time.

It all felt so big.

But it got smaller. It happened naturally. I didn’t need to know about every bite they took. I didn’t need to know when they pooped. I didn’t need to watch every single social interaction.

I didn’t mind that. It’s kind of nice to no longer have an intimate relationship with someone else’s waste. It’s nice to have more space that you can occupy alone. Without a little one attached to your leg.

Now that the distance should keep growing, it’s a little harder.

I’m working on it.

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Last Saturday (or the one before?) was mine and Beloved’s wedding anniversary. Whenever Groundhog Day was – that was our day.

Before our anniversary, we talked about what we would do. Perhaps I asked. He responded, “Well, it’s not that big of a deal to us, right? Isn’t that the way we’ve always felt?”

There was a little sadness in me. Because while I know that we have always played down “marriage” and our participation in the game, we are married now. I am glad about that. I love him. I’m glad he’s my husband. I think he is such a true, real, fantastic partner. And I thought it would have been nice if we had a babysitter, and we could go out and just gaze into each other’s eyes. (I must admit – I am capable. I’m capable of being hugely giddy over my adoration for Beloved. It’s scary sometimes, really.)

But alas, it was a busy weekend.  I had work to do, E had a school project to do, the house was a mess.  Beloved was working frantically on school work.  He took the day of our anniversary to work at the library for the day, and was planning to be home as dinner was going on the table, at 7 p.m.

I did cook a very nice pot roast for dinner that night.

After dinner, I went looking for him.  He was hiding … wrapping a gift.

A gift!!  But I didn’t get a gift!  I was going to stores looking for circuitry items, and reviewing documents, and roasting a cow!  I thought our anniversary was “no big deal?”  Why a gift????

The gift was sweet – he went with the paper theme of our first anniversary.  I told him I felt like a heel – he told me to think nothing of it, that I’ve done enough for him already (like he hasn’t done enough for me already).

Then Valentine’s Day rolls around.

We never have done Valentine’s Day.  We always did Chinese New Year, instead.  Some of this was timing – when we were living in CA, the girls had a 4 day weekend at President’s Day which they tended to spend with their father, and that just so happened to be the same weekend as the Chinese New Year festivals in San Francisco.  So Valentine’s came with a quick kiss, and Chinese New Year became our Valentine’s Day.

One year, since we moved back to New England, we made it to New York’s Chinese New Year celebration for a romantic weekend.

This year, once again because of work and school and kids’ projects, I only heard it an odd chatter out of the corner of my ear “gung hay fat choy!”  Crap.  Another holiday missed.

So here’s Valentine’s Day.  The kids are too old to make cards (J still brought some purchased cards with lollipops taped to them), work had me running more ragged than ever before, life is just insane.  I’m on my way to work thinking, “Wow, this is such a non-holiday for us.”  We had, however, discussed how we were going to make our girls feel special – Beloved got them chocolates from their favorite neighborhood specialty chocolate shop, and I brought the home roses.

(What the fuck?  Since when does it cost $50 to bring roses home for your kids?  Since you buy them from the florist in the lobby of a fancy-pants downtown office building, that’s when.  Apparently.)

I had a meeting that morning.  I spent a lot of time out of my office.

When I returned, there was, sitting on my desk, a gorgeous vase full of tulips.  I was stunned.  When I first saw the box, I even wondered if it was from my father.  Beloved has never sent me flowers before.

The card was signed by all 3 of my loves, because Beloved is not greedy at all.

At least there was a fancy chocolate shop on my way home, and I could save face.

These are two of the 1,000 ways that I suck.  I don’t think ahead, I don’t plan, and I end up a lousy wife.  I was thinking later in the day on Valentine’s Day, as I was figuring out how to scramble on the way home to prove that I don’t suck 100%, that I have become a shitty husband.

I was at lunch yesterday with some colleagues, and the other woman said she got flowers on Valentine’s Day, and I said, “You know, we don’t really do Valentine’s Day” and the man interjected to say, “us either,” and I went on to say, “but my husband surprised the crap out of me and sent me flowers.”  To which the man slumped over in dismay — thinking he sucks, too, because he did not get anything for his wife.

But it is typically a man who does that – who takes someone’s word for it that “it’s no big deal” just to find out later that they let someone down.

Although – to be fair – Beloved did not seem at all let down on our anniversary.

But I want to be better!  I want to find the PERFECT thing every year.  Something unique, something wonderful, something that shows how well I know him, and how much I adore him.

That’s going to take some planning.

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For almost 4 years now, I have been riding a wave of utter spoilation.

I have done what I needed to do in order to make it through school, through the bar exam, and through the early days of full-time lawyerdom while trusting that the rest of life would work out around me.

This was because of one thing:  My Beloved.  He has cooked, he has coordinated, he has covered sick days, snow days, busy days.

This past week, I did without him entirely.  I was tired.  I was stretched (a snow day? really?  THIS week?).  But you know what?  I did it.  I met all my obligations, I took care of the girls and the house completely.  Hell, even the cats were fed twice a day.  I even cleaned out their litter box.

It’s a good thing.

Because it appears my free ride is over.

Beloved was able to take on all of the slack I let go during high stress times because we long ago decided I would go to school; then he would go to school.

Now, he’s in school.

Because he’s in a low-residency program, he was (still is) only gone for 12 days (my heart couldn’t take more, I don’t think).  But when he comes home, he has work to do.

And it’s not yucky ewie work.  It’s what he loves.  What his personal circumstances have required him to put off and put off and put off.

He isn’t putting it off anymore.

It is time for my Beloved to do the things that were put on the back burner twenty three years ago.   Things he is supposed to do.

Wow.

Has he deserved this, or what?

So yeah, I’ll need to cook more.  And I’ll need to take the driver’s seat on school projects more.   Not only can I do it, but I could do more, if I had to.  I can do it all – just like he could (and did).

I think it’s likely that we’ll have some growing pains.  There will be times my work is pulling me to stay in the office for later than we’d planned; and there will be times that his deadlines hit at the same time as a filing deadline for me.  But I think we have the foundation that we need.  I think we respect each other, and each other’s work, and we can make it work.

It helps that we also have OLD kids, who can do things and go places and work stuff out without the same intense parental supervision that was required of them in their younger years.   (I realized today that J is almost 10.  Almost 10.  This means that I almost have ZERO kids in single digits.  They are BOTH old.  J is already drooling over which cell phone she’ll get, and wondering what activities she’ll do in high school.  E is running a newspaper, texts like a pro (has yet to go over our limit), and went to a restaurant with JUST her friends for lunch on the snow day.  They had to figure a TIP, and to split the bill!!  By themselves!!)

So now he should come home so we can work it all out.

I still miss him.

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There isn’t really loathing. Just fear.

Over what?  You may ask.

Beloved is leaving me!!!

What is a [well, an … incompetant spoiled brat of a] girl to do??? My husband – my support – my love [my cook] is going to a neighboring state for ELEVEN WHOLE DAYS!!! gasp!

He leaves this coming Saturday and isn’t back home until the NEXT Wednesday.

Considering that work is heating up, the house is in disarray, the girls’ lives are full as hell, and I haven’t cooked in 6 months – this is NOT a minor thing.

I will be okay:

I have friends lined up for emergencies; I’m starting a recipe list and meal plan; I have a plan to go to my mom’s for the long weekend in the middle of his absence –

I think I’ll be okay.

But I’m not certain.

I’m gonna miss my Beloved 😦

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