Lessons in Love

I try not to dwell on the past, but I remember, so that I can learn the lessons and continue to grow and blossom. This weekend amidst a conversation with my girlfriend, we started to talk about love, particularly in the context of the past. She asked me, if you never cared what he did or who he did it with, did you never question if it was really love?

And I always tell myself, that I never asked the questions that I wasn’t ready to answer. That I wasn’t ready to change my life, so rather than reflecting and truly evaluating the choices I was making and the life I was living, I just kept following the ‘recipe’ for a happy life.

But if it was that simple, then I have to believe that the question would stop presenting itself to me time and time again. As we talked I had yet another realization; I barely had time to process the thoughts before I shared them with her.

It seems so obvious now, there’s still a lesson for me to learn about love, about why I was willing to settle for good enough, why I didn’t strive and dream and want for more. For the past year and a half, I’ve been allowing myself the comfort of an “I wasn’t ready” excuse, because in all honesty, I wasn’t yet ready for THIS lesson.

I can feel within me, this lesson is one of the important ones.

This lesson, like every one before it, is going to change me and its going to change the way I interact with the world. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but in time, I know another switch will flip and the world will become a little clearer.

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The Magic Ingredient

Sometimes, I still can’t believe this is my life.

I am currently sitting on my girlfriends couch, clad in panties and her tee, her golden lab and my boston terrier snuggled up against me with a cup of coffee, my computer and my thoughts, while my girl is cozy in bed.  This is the only weekend we will have, all summer, where I can remove my Mom hat, where I can be me, she can be her and we can just be US.

We contemplated going away, going camping or perhaps on a weekend getaway, but instead we chose to be wrapped up in each other at home. We have visited the farmers market, cooked amazing food and enjoyed the tranquility of home.

Never have I made food with someone, the way we make food together. It starts with ingredients, thoughts, ideas and then one of us is chopping, prepping and marinading and when we sit across from each other at the table, we have the most delicious meal that neither of us could have created on our own. Together, we make everything better.

My youngest son, at the age of 6, recently told me that a meal we had made was so delicious and then he proceeded to ask me, if I knew why it was so good.

Because its made with LOVE Mom, love is the magic ingredient.

I can’t argue with that son.
Love is Love and its the most beautiful thing.

All the Time in the World

I was almost 19 when I met my ex; it was supposed to be a summer fling that turned into a 14 year relationship where I lost myself for a long time. I followed the societal ‘recipe’ for happiness: got a degree, got a job, got married, had kids and bought a house. It was  easy to just do the next thing on this list without ever considering if it was truly what I wanted. I want to believe that if I had taken the time for that reflection, perhaps I would have reconsidered at least some of those steps.

But the past is part of the journey and its brought me to a most amazing present, so I rarely dwell, but part of that ever important journey, is the lesson. I learned through my first post-separation relationship that even though the path may appear different, simply going along with what’s easy is just a variation of the same mistake that I’ve made before.

So this time, I have my eyes wide open. We talk about life and our relationship, we are honest about what we feel and where we want to go in this life, together and on our own. And the truth is, I want it all with her, but not too fast and not today. But someday. And she wants that too.

I remember one day, early in our relationship, we were discussing all the possible adventures that we could pursue and she told me ‘we have all the time in the world’ and my heart melted, just a little, because I knew I wanted all of the adventures without any of the rushing, the pressure or the need to meet some external standard.

It’s been over 9 months and we live by those words; we do what feels right to us in the moment and nothing more. And it’s the most beautiful feeling.

We spend a lot of time together, we can barely make it two days without each other and we almost always have a sleepover because there is no greater feeling than falling asleep in each others arms. We live in different cities and without question, we both know that one day we will live together, that she will come to the house that I’ve bought and together we will make it home. But when?

Every single time that we spend multiple days together, every damn day is amazing, even if its a day filled with chores and errands. Things truly are better when we are together, so after much discussion we have decided to change our someday, to a someday soon.

We’ve decided that on November 1st, the anniversary of our ‘not-date, first date’ we will take that step, she will move in and we will begin the next step of our life together. In truth, I can hardly wait for that day to come, but I’m happy that we are giving ourselves time to process, to prepare and to grow a little more on our own. More than that however, I’m confident that this time living together is what I WANT and so just like everything with her, it will be different than anything before

Mean Girls

As a young adult I remember asking my mom why I was never teased; I was always nerdy, awkward, clumsy and looking back, probably pretty sexually confused. I have definitely lost friends over the years, but have only one recollection of being teased. My mom told me that kids probably tried to tease me but I was likely busy in my own world, oblivious to those around me and therefore not worth the effort since I never solicited the right response.

I’ve always carried around this naive belief that when you are truly good to people and treat them with respect and good intentions they will at the least, attempt to return that kindness. I am an extrovert and I recharge by talking about and sharing my feelings and my experiences with those that I consider my friends and family. I will bare my soul and I will share pieces of me, if we share any sort of connection.

Foolishly, I’ve always believed that though I share them, the pages of my book are sacred and those that have seen them respect all that they contain. But I know now, that in a moment everything can change; I find myself standing here with the pages of my book fluttering in the wind for everyone to see.

It’s not the first time that I’ve lost friends but I do think its the most painful.

Maybe its because I’m an adult and I expect that the people in my life can and will act like adults, that there can be a conversation, some space and some shared understanding of how a situation can improve.

Maybe its because in a town of ~2000 people, starting over isn’t exactly easy especially when you’re a working mom who has very little free time. Making new friends when you’re rarely around is difficult at best.

Maybe its because my heart breaks every time my children ask me why they can’t go see the kids they thought they were there friends, or why I’m not friends with the mom’s anymore and I have literally no answer to give. I don’t know why.

I think its the latter that is the hardest for me; I don’t want people in my life that can’t support me in all my authentic glory, but my kids are suffering too and that hurts my soul. They miss kids they thought were their friends, shared barbecues, camping, kayak trips, laughter and smiles. This summer is nothing like their last and I can’t change that for them.

But I’m also disappointed, never in my life have I ever felt like I was truly part of a group of girls, I just never seemed to fit, until I moved here. It was an adjustment for me, to learn what it meant to be part of the crowd and then just like that, I was out.

It turns out mean girls aren’t just for Disney movies and they don’t just disappear after high school. Mean Girls become Mean Mom’s and quick as you can blink, they may turn on you when you no longer fit their mold.

thankfulness

Each evening, we go around the dinner table and share both our favourite and least favourite part of the day; its an opportunity to revel in the joys and acknowledge the frustrations of the day. We also share something we are thankful for about once a week and I continue to be astounded by my boys and the gratitude they express for their home, their family and food in their belly.

home

Yesterday, after four nights at my parents home, I was thankful to be home, in my space and with my people.

As my girlfriend walked by, I reached for her and pulled her to me, so we could share the briefest kiss. Breathlessly, I whispered, I missed you; she smiled, responding with a simple me too.

She came with us to see my family and welcoming as they have been (and as much as I love them) it feels different. At home, there’s no hesitation, no question and no worry because there is no judgement or concern. At home, WE are free to be our shared US, to instinctually reach for one another with our bodies, our souls or our lips as the moment requires.

Home is so much more than the structure in which we live, home is the place that affords us the freedom to exist in our purest, truest and most authentic form. Home recharges us and provides a space to feel and to exist and if we’re lucky, home is filled with love and light and happiness.

I am thankful to be home, to hear my boys playing and laughing together, to sit around the table with my people and share the little things that make our days our own and I’m especially thankful that she has chosen to take a seat at our table.

They say that home is where the heart is and that’s absolutely true; my home and my heart are both so incredibly full and for that, I am eternally thankful.

*after publishing this, I realized it was fitting for the Daily Prompt: Partner

by the Lake

my body sighs,
letting  go,
and drawing in,
tranquility.

soft earth beneath my feet
grounding me,
connecting me,
balance.

Ripples catch my eye,
growing,
spreading,
fading away.

My mind wanders,
but my heart remains true
always seeking,
home.

I’m Glowing

I’ve had a lot of people tell me lately that I am ‘glowing’ in my pictures on social media, that I look so happy and that people are proud of me for finding my happiness and being true to myself. And I can’t help but wonder, if my people can see THAT much from my photographs, what must they see when I’m standing right in front of them?

My parents spent some time at my house last week and although I missed it, my lovely girlfriend caught my dad looking at the two of us, and smiling as we all shared a meal. Then when we went to the pub for dinner, my mom pulled out her camera and asked us to smile for a photo; it turned out terrible, but when she posted it to Facebook the post was accompanied with a simple ‘Happiness <3′. I just couldn’t tell her to take the picture down, such a public compliment and expression of her acceptance of our love.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’ve been spoiled with acceptance when its come to my being out. My cousin is getting married in September and when my invitation arrived, I was excited to see a plus one included and promptly asked my girlfriend if she was free and up for the family affair that is a wedding.

And then I realized, my cousin isn’t on social media, maybe he didn’t know I was gay. Maybe his wife’s family is homophobic. Maybe my gramma is homophobic. And suddenly, RSVPing wasn’t quite as simple as it had once been. But when I contacted my cousin to check in, he told me quite simply ‘I know about the love of your life, and yes she’s invited.‘ And my mom assured me that she had already talked to her mom and although she sometimes speaks without thinking (don’t we all), there was nothing to worry about when it came to gramma either.

Just like that, I realized that our crazy circus, my boys and my girl are going to a wedding and my entire family is going to see all my damn happy. If they can’t see the joy and authenticity that this life brings me, when I’m standing right in front of them, then I guess they aren’t paying attention because apparently, I’m glowing.