Relationships

Let me preface this by saying – I don’t have a heck of a lot of experience with long term relationships – aside from with my husband.  I have a history of short and very short term relationships, if you can even call the very short term ones relationships (well, that just sounds bad, doesn’t it?).

That does sound bad.  I would not by any means call my past a very seasoned or “well traveled” one.  I just never really had much in the way of long term stuff until I started seeing my husband.

We were friends in high school.  Hated each other at first sight.  Or he hated me anyway, apparently I said something to him the first time I spoke to him that referred to him getting the **** out of my way.  We were both working backstage in a high school production, it was a very fast paced environment and well, he was in my way.  I don’t remember this particular exchange, but hey – if he says so.  Apparently he went back to his side of the stage and asked his manager who the hell I was.  She told him, mentioning that I was really a nice person.  He was quick to voice that he did not agree.

We met up again a year or so later in a class.  We fell in “like” rather quickly.  I loved spending time around him and we soon became inseparable.  So I wasn’t as bad as he thought I was.  I developed a crush on him in my last year of high school that I didn’t share with him and nothing really came of it at the time.  I went away to university and as he was a year younger than me, he stayed behind to finish his last year.  We eventually lost touch.

Until about a year or so later, there was a message on my voicemail one day when I got home.  It was him.  I immediately called him back and we picked up right where we left off.  He was just out of a relationship at the time and I was in one (one of my short term, very different ones) and we fell back into the groove of hanging out with each other very quickly.  My relationship ended, as it was meant to, being short term and all.  Within a few months we began dating.  That was almost 13 years ago.  We were married 8 years ago and have a beautiful 2 and a half year old son.

We have a good relationship.  We’ve had our ups and downs, made our mistakes, but we’ve always managed to find our centre again.  We’ve grown from our mistakes and our marriage is stronger now because of them.  He truly is my best friend.  I enjoy spending time with him.  I miss him when he’s not around.  We worked together for about 9 years and a year or so he left his job and went back to school.  He is now a PSW.  He’s happy and loves his job, but it has certainly changed our schedule quite a bit.  I work straight days.  So did he when we worked together.  Now he works all shifts.  We don’t see each other nearly as much as we used to.  At first that bothered me quite a bit.  I am slowly adjusting to the change and so is he.  I don’t mind so much when his job keeps him from being with his family.  I wish he was around more but I’ve also seen it as an opportunity to spend more quality time with my son.

I think, and I have always maintained this and will continue to stand by this – that communication is the key to a good relationship.  If your communication suffers, your relationship will suffer.  All the other things – trust, loyalty, honesty, passion, etc, all stem from good communication.  I don’t feel that you should ever fear telling your mate something because you are afraid of how they are going to react.  If there is something that you are keeping from them….well, it usually means that you are avoiding getting in trouble for something that you know you shouldn’t have done. (I knew I shouldn’t have went into the Coach store armed with a credit card).

I think that the fact that we were friends before we were lovers helps us because we have a solid foundation to fall back on.  He is my best friend.  I still think he is sexy, and funny and wonderful, but most importantly, he is a part of me.  We’re not just family now, as our marriage license states, but we’re friends.  We were friends first, friends still, and friends always.

As I said earlier, I’m not too experienced at long term relationships, but after having a pretty good one for the length of time that I have, I’ve learned some of the keys to them:  Communicate with each other, love each other, forgive each other, and never, ever take each other for granted.

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” – Fredrick Nietzsche

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Judgement

We’ve all been judged at some point in our lives.  By the people we love, by the people we don’t love so much, by people that don’t even know us.  Some of us (not me — yet) have been judged in a court of law.

It is so easy to pass judgement on someone.  In all our perfectness, we look at someone and if they are doing something or saying something or professing beliefs in something that we don’t agree with, we automatically pass judgement on them.  It’s something that happens without even thinking about it sometimes.

We all have beliefs.  Some of us believe in God.  Some believe in Allah, or Buddha, or The Source, The Force or Darth Vader.  Or we choose to believe in nothing, but even in that case, we still believe – we believe that we just are.  Nothing that science can’t explain or will be able to explain someday.  Those beliefs are often a large part of what shapes us as individuals.  If we believe that we are going to be eternally damned, we are less likely to take the cookie out of the cookie jar when we’re not supposed to.

What I don’t understand, and don’t like, is when people use their beliefs to judge other people and condemn them.  I think it is important to believe in something.  I’m a Christian, Roman Catholic actually.  I was raised that way from birth.  I believe in God.  I believe Jesus is the Son of God.  That is my belief.  I hope that because of my beliefs you understand that I am a good person, will do my best for my fellow man and woman.  I try to make it to church on Sundays, and I try to live by the law and guidelines that the church has set out for me.  I try my very best to be a good person and to be kind to everyone.  I am raising my son with these expectations of him.  Do I agree with everything?  No.  Do I think that because I’m a part of this church, that the teachings and ways are 100% right with no chance of anything else being correct?  I don’t think so.  It’s like believing that we here on earth are the center of the universe and we are the only beings and the only planet with life on it.  That’s kind of ignorant, isn’t it?  Arrogant too.

It’s part of all the problems that there are in the world today.  So many wars have started because of beliefs.  So many countries and groups taking it upon themselves to pass judgement on the rest of the world because of what they believe or don’t believe.  I have beliefs, but do I believe that you’re going to burn in hell if you’re gay?  If you marry a person of the same sex?  If you live with someone and have children with them before you get married?  I’m not gay, I’m married to a man, and I got married before I had kids.  Am I any happier because of it?  I don’t think so.  It’s just the way things ended up working out.  What if you are a wonderful person, do things for people, put other people before yourself, yadda, yadda, yadda.  But you just happen to, somewhere along the way, meet and fall in love with someone that is the same gender as you.  Does this cancel out all the good you have done?  Does this mean that you are going to burn in hell for all eternity?  Well, I’ve got no direct link to the other side, never had anyone come back to let me know what happens when you leave this world for the next, but I have a hard time believing that a truly good person can burn in hell for all eternity.  But that’s just my ignorance showing I guess.

I know that this tone doesn’t follow with the normal tone of my blog.  I don’t normally talk about things that are controversial.  “Hot topics” so to speak.  I leave that stuff for the girls at “The View.”  But I have to say that this has been bugging me lately.  The internet is full of people judging people day in and day out.  People thinking that they know everything there is to know about everything, and are so closed minded to other points of view that they are willing to believe in their own ways and no others.  Websites bashing people for just being who they are.  It’s coming across in the schools with all the bullying and online with the cyber bullying and the teenage suicides.  People who think so little of themselves that they feel their life is not worth fighting for.  People who are plagued with the judgement of others constantly.  It’s constantly being drilled into their heads that there is something wrong with them because they are who they are.  Just because of who they are!  Not because of any choice they have made, but because they have chosen to be who they are.  It starts young, in the home sometimes, with judgmental parents.  Happens in the school system from pre-school right through college with judgmental peers.  Happens in the workplace and every step of life.  It needs to stop.  We need to stop looking at what is “wrong” with other people and try to fix what is truly wrong with us.  What is it that makes us so insecure about ourselves that we constantly feel the need to point out the “faults” of other people?  If everyone took some time to look within and let everyone else lead their own lives in peace, the world would be a far better place.

I believe in God.  I believe that one day I will be judged by Him.  I really don’t need your two cents too….unless I ask for it.

Motherhood

If someone were to ask me, what is the best thing that has ever happened to me, I would answer without hesitation, becoming a mother.  I am 33 years old, my son is 2 and a half.

I got married at the “normal age.”  I was 25, my husband 24.  Yes, I’m an older woman.  There is so much pressure from people in life.  When you start dating someone, it’s all about “when are you guys going to make things official?”  We had been friends for years, and dating for about a year and a half before we got engaged.  We left things open for a while until we got asked so many times when the wedding was, we figured that we’d better set a date.  So we sat down with a calendar and set a date that was 3 years away.  Most people were appalled.  3 years!  Engaged for 3 years??

Those 3 years ended up flying by and we had a wonderful wedding.  Looking back at the photos always makes me smile.  It’s a great antidote for being annoyed at my husband.  I look at my wedding photos and remember how happy I was that day and how much I still love him now.  The wedding pics never get buried too deep.  Just in case.

So at our wedding, I don’t think we even made it out of the reception before people started asking us when we were going to have kids.  I mean seriously people! Come on!  Are you never satisfied?  Apparently not.

We waited quite a while to have a child.  I was 30 when I had my son.  A lot of people thought we maybe had problems, or maybe couldn’t conceive.  No, when we decided we wanted to get pregnant in July of 2007, I went off the birth control pill.  I got pregnant sometime in August.  We are plenty fertile, thank you very much.  We just (heaven forbid) decided to wait before we had children.  We maybe never went very many places, but we could if we wanted to.  We had the extra income so that we could go to one of our favourite spots, an inn along Lake Huron that is beautiful and luxurious and serve wonderful breakfast.  And stay a few nights to boot!  We didn’t have to decide if we wanted to go out for dinner at an nice restaurant or buy diapers, so we ate out a lot.   We didn’t have to look for childcare, so we stood in line at Chapters at midnight with all the other crazies when the final Harry Potter book came out.

I guess part of us wanted to get all that out of our system before settling down.  Because as much as we say it won’t make a difference, that we are going to continue to live life as we want, that we are not going to let having a child get in the way of doing the things we normally do, it does.  But it does it in a way that (for us anyway) doesn’t make you regret it.  Perhaps because we have been there and done all that.  We don’t feel cheated out of the things we sacrifice now, because we have a wonderful child in their place, but because we also had plenty of all that other stuff before he came along.  Now we’ve moved on to the next phase.  Mind you, we still will be in line on opening night at the movies when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 comes out.  We’re very fortunate that my son has a wonderful Grandma (my mom) that loves spending time with him and jumps at any chance to babysit.

I remember being pregnant.  It was a great experience for me.  I hardly got sick (with a few exceptions), I was tired a lot, and maybe a bit cranky, but I didn’t have any of the really bad side effects that many women experience.  The hardest thing for me to give up was Diet Coke.  I took care of myself, did what I was told, and had a truly wonderful pregnancy.  I know of many women who are constantly saying “I can’t wait to get this kid out of me.”  I wasn’t like that at all.  I liked being pregnant and I knew that we were probably only planning on having one child, so I knew that this would probably be my only chance to get to experience it.  Also, I was incredibly nervous about the birth process and what things would be like after he was born.  I had never been a mother before.  Grown up pretty much as an only child, had not spent a lot of time around newborns.  Read all the books you want on parenting, and many of them are good, but none help when it’s 3am and the baby just will not stop crying.  The book may hold the answer, but you’re not in the position to find it at that point.  I was scared about having the responsibility of a little person.  Providing all the necessities of life for him.  And then some.  And what if he didn’t like me?

I wrote this while I was expecting:

Message for Baby
Hi, Little One.
Can you hear me? In that dark warm place that you live, do you hear my voice?
Do you listen for my voice?
Wait for it?
Are you comforted by it?
Will you recognize it when we finally meet?I close my eyes, and I picture you, floating around inside me.
I picture your little hands, your little nose, your little ears.
I feel your movements, and wonder at how you’ve grown.
Turned into a little person, literally from nothing.
Created from love.
A part of Daddy, a part of me, fused together, to make you. 

Soon we will meet, the date of your arrival grows nearer.
The closer it gets, the more my excitement grows, and with it, my sense of anxiety.

For there are things I need you to know.

I’m new at this.
Every day of your life, as you discover new things, learn about life
I’ll be learning too.
Learning to be a mom. Your mom.
And I know along the way I’ll make mistakes.

But there are things I can promise you, and these I know for sure.

I will protect you.
I will be there for you.
I will love you.

I will give you the best of me,
And probably some of the worst too.
You can count on me to stand up for you, to be there…
…with a smile
…with a hug and lots of kisses
…with an open ear…and an open heart.

See you soon.

Love,
Mommy

 

I remember the first time I saw my son.  I won’t go into my “birth story” here, but I had to have a c-section under general anesthetic.  When I woke up, he had been born just minutes before and I had no pain medication until about a half hour later when I was in recovery.  Needless to say, I was in pain.  I remember being in recovery and lying flat on my back wishing I were dead.  Joe came over and showed me this little blue bundle with this perfect, round face and cute little hat with the blue pom pom on the head.  I remember being struck by how beautiful he was.  And how quiet at the time.
I got to hold him for the first time once I was in my room and feeling a bit better due to pain medication on a pump that I could push every 6 minutes or so.  I had always thought, throughout my pregnancy, that sparks would fly and mountains would move when I first saw and held my child.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved him more than I had ever loved anything.  I would have gladly thrown myself in front of a bus for him.  The thing was, I hardly knew him.  I knew him, but I didn’t KNOW him.  I don’t know if you understand that, it’s just a thing.
We went home, and had one of the toughest months I’d ever experienced.  I won’t go into it all again, but I had an infection after the c-section, my incision re-opened, I ended up back in the hospital for a couple days, and had at least two months of a nurse visiting my home every day until I completely healed.  This made it difficult to bond with him the way I wanted to, and though I spent every waking (and sleeping) moment I could with him, it wasn’t until I was healed that I was able to really get to know him.
Once that started to happen, look out!  I fall more desperately in love with this child every day.  I live to get home and be with him every night.  When I went back to work, we had a very rough time.  He would cry when I got home, not wanting to have anything to do with me.  He would cling to my mother, who was his caregiver through the day.  I would sit on the sofa and cry, hating that I had to work, hating that my son hated me and was punishing me for going back to work.
I’ve been back to work for about a year and a half now.  He runs to me when I come in the door now and we sit on the couch together and have our 10 minutes or so of cuddle time before I start dinner.  The more I get to know him, the more I love him.  Every day as he learns new words and phrases, learns new things about the world around him, he becomes more his own person.  He has a sense of humour.  We can look at each other and get the private joke between us.  And he’s only 2 and a half.  Imagine what more wonderful experiences there are to come.
“It seems to me that since I’ve had children, I’ve grown richer and deeper. They may have slowed down my writing for a while, but when I did write, I had more of a self to speak from.”
— Anne Tyler