Life is all fast these days, all clichéd and fast. Summer, where have you gone? Kids, how are you already starting Kindergarten? Snick, how are you months away from turning 40?
I find myself without much to say, but wanting to come here and say nothing. The struggling continues, although it is letting up. A Facebook friend wisely commented that just when you can't take any more, you get your break, and that seems to be holding true. Work was complete pandemonium, then I got a bunch of stuff off my desk—not done, but on to the next cog in the wheel—and high-tailed it out for a five-day vacation with the kids and my mom and dad in Eastern Oregon. Gorgeousness. It smells so good out there, those pine trees with the sunshine and blue sky and lava rocks. I drank my coffee in the hot tub every morning after going running, took long walks with my mom in the evenings, let the kids eat sugary cereal and chips while watching movies, and read most of a book.
And yes, I was there with my mom and my dad. My stepdad was not there. Seems like it could be awkward, no?, to be there with my 35-years-divorced parents. But it was not; they have a real friendship, my mom and dad, for which I am grateful, and the kids and I delighted in their company.
We are back now, basking in the afterglow. Our re-entry to the real world after family camp was harsh and jarring, but this transition has been easier, thank goodness.
Work is still dicey. There's just so much to do. I'm glad I have a job, and there are many things I enjoy about my work, but I'm in a place right now where my shortcomings seem to be right on the surface for all to see and for me to witness. I try to take this as a learning opportunity, but it's hard to be Zen and positive and ready to grow all the damn time.
I had what would have been my seventh anniversary while we were on vacation. It was a nice day. It didn't feel any different than any other day, but I have had John on my mind a lot. On our way home from Eastern Oregon we stopped at state park for a picnic lunch. A group of about 20 Korean kids on some kind of organized tour were having their meal at the tables next to ours. One of them looked just like twelve-year-old John. The spitting image. It was kind of eerie, actually, and I kept staring at him, which I'm sure he found eerie in and of itself.
I went on a first date a few weeks ago, a very fun first date. My date asked me, "What are you looking for in a relationship?" and the question, which is perfectly reasonable, took me by surprise. Since then, I've been thinking about my marriage and what I miss about it—which we ended up discussing, as he's divorced—and also what I enjoy about being single. I didn't have a good answer for his question, whereas good is defined as well thought through. And after a few weeks of thinking about it, I still don't really know how to answer that. What I said was that if someone had asked me that right before I met John, I am certain that my answer would not have in any way reflected what I then got. Point being that you can think you know what you want, but all you can really be is open to the possibilities. Cop out? Maybe. But it's true for me, for now. Many days, I don't feel like I want to get married again. I'm overwhelmed by the idea of integrating another adult's life into my own, and into Maddie and Riley's. But I do miss some things: sharing a good passage from a book I'm reading, having someone who can give me perspective on things that I can't see anymore, being able to release some of the burden of making all the decisions all the time about everything to do with the house and the kids.
One thing I have learned a lot about in the past few years is being patient. (Mom and Erk: stop laughing.) Just as my wise Facebook friend said, you have to wait things out. When you think you can't go on, something will give. I have historically been a fixer, a people-pleaser. But I've learned that sometimes, even often, the best thing to do is just wait. Not that I always do that, but I have come to understand that it's a good choice. The right thing will either happen, or something will happen that will make the right way clear. Perhaps it's the same with relationships, or more generally with knowing what I want, what one wants, in a general sense.
I'm sure I'm overthinking it. I mean, it was a first date! I was just surprised by how little thought I'd given that question recently, and it's been interesting to try to sort it all out. The second date is this Thursday. I wonder what question I'll be stumped by this time?