Last night it happened. I've been waiting for this night for almost a year now. I heard the warnings and watched for its arrival. Last night it arrived.
It came innocently enough - a cool breezy night of 70's air after many weeks of oppressive heat. I stood and watched daughter play 7v7 soccer in her summer league on a perfect summer night, chatting with mom friends old and new, fielding phone calls from friends in between. Went grocery shopping leisurely with Son, enjoying his attitudes toward junk food (yuck) and hearts of romaine (yum can we buy this?). Where did I get this boy?
After a lovely dinner menu developed by Son( gambas al ajillo, ham steak, fresh baguette bread and spinach salad) we all watched a movie together: "P.S.I love you."
I cried for two hours.
And then I cried for more.
And I'd try to fall asleep but I couldn't breathe for the stuffy "I've-been-crying nose" so I'd get up to blow it only to wake up enough to think, and wham the cycle started again.
I awoke with two large "I've been in a street brawl-or-crying-all-night" eyes. Please pass the visine and the cold cucumbers ...
The Movie: He loved her. And she loved him. He loved her enough to send letters for a year after he died, setting up a path where she could let go. Oh they fought and yelled and had problems in their marriage when he was alive. But under it all he loved her. He loved her crabby ass and her inability to keep a job. She loved his reckless dreaming and the stupid things he said.
He loved her the way I wanted to be loved. The way Ex promised me he'd always love me. But he didn't love me. Ever. I came to know that over the years and learned to live with it - or I thought I did anyway. Last night something about the movie, the kids, the night air, the weekend, the proximity and distance all at the same time of next door, somehow it all came together to a place - a cliff - where I have to face it. He never loved me. And he never will. And it's truly time to move on. To move past that place. To thank God for my excellent kids and my life today and let go of yesterday.
Yes somewhere in the last year I've gone from tears of "why am I not lovable - he didn't love me like that and it's all my fault" to last night when I finally realized "He didn't love me like that. Ever. Period." Not his fault. Not mine. He just didn't. So I viewed that as progress.
But why does it still hurt so much? Perhaps it's the letting go of the idea that I can change myself into someone lovable - at least in his eyes. Perhaps it's the hard look at 20 years of life together and really seeing the way we lived and the way we didn't fight. We had some good times and shared many similar interests. And in the beginning we shared some deep feelings of what we called "love." But even in the first year we started cutting each other out as he looked at who I really was and said, "Egad am I married to that?" and I cringed and wondered what was wrong with me. And I remember moments like being pregnant with the twins and seeing how distant he was. How hard he had to try to be around me. How other men commented on the beauty of my pregnancy or regaled me with stories of when their wives were pregant while mine made fun of my vomiting and admitted he thought I just looked fat. How he disappeared for 4th of July with his friend for a weekend sail and I've never seen anyone so happy to get away and so sad to come home. Crying myself to sleep even then listening to Reba sing, "I can't make you love me." But oh I tried. And then, eventually, I stopped trying. And things got ugly.
And somewhere along the way, mostly this past year or two, I realized: "Nope I can't change my stripes." I am who I am. My family loves me the way I am. My friends love me the way I am. Sometimes even I think maybe I might begin to love me the way I am. So I have to be happy with that.
And Ex? Well that just wasn't meant to be.
And so today, I try to start new. To accept that life was the way it was. That he is the way he is. And I am the way I am. To stop blaming him or me or Fate for the fact that we were together and lived apart. To realize that life isn't to be lived as a movie or a book or as someone else's life. But to be lived as my life, in whatever way God meant my life to be. Apparently without Ex. Perhaps with someone else, perhaps not. But to find me, to be comfortable with me, and to enjoy the gifts of love that are in my life: My kids, My parents, My siblings, My Friend, My extended family, My friends, and the people yet to come.
It all makes so much sense when I write it down, but the living it part, that's the challenge...