15 January, 2012

Arboretum Sunday

All we have is today, assuming one is fortunate enough to wake up in the morning. Which also means you were lucky enough to fall asleep last night. In the past, I worked 7 days a week, without a break, unless I got a migraine or a really bad cold.  Eventually I cut back to 6 days a week, a decadent feeling of ease. To have just that one day  each and every week, without fail, to catch up on all those little maintenance chores that pile up like the dirty laundry in the basement, even just to change the burned out light bulbs was a blessing. Suddenly my life felt manageable. I could catch my breath and recharge, go to a movie or take a nap. And now,  at this time in my busy life, I have actual weekends: two days back to back. That gives me one day to catch up and one day to simply be, breathing, and smiling, observing, listening. To have an opportunity to day dream, walk around the arboretum, smell the flowers, look for the wild turkeys, feel the sunshine on my face, and to lounge around in front of the fire is something I always dreamed about, always imagined, I simply hoped I would be doing it with a lover, the father of my children, rather than on my own.
Life is surprising in that way. You plan one thing and you get something else, not that this is an unpleasant thing, but I believed he was the love of my life. No, wait. I believed I was the love of his life, after all he told me that often enough, and I based on that belief I assumed he was the love of my life. After all he was the father of my children, that had to count for something, or so I thought. And now I realize that I lived in a relationship built on assumptions and fantasy. Until I woke up one day and realized I didn't want to live with the denial and violence.
What was the deal breaker for me? After all I stayed in the relationship for over 22 years even when our children got old enough to plead with me to file for divorce. Even after he left our 2 year old outside in the winter in a locked car, for an indefinite length of time. Even after he beat me up in front of them. When his rage got out of control, he shoved them into walls and stairs, I still stayed and believed he would change. When he made inappropriate sexual remarks to them, touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable, I asked him to stop, and I still stayed. When we separated with the understanding he would attend domestic violence training, I heard him agree.
I heard him say he would do anything and everything necessary to heal our relationship. I didn't make a "plan b" because I believed him. I trusted him, not just with my life, but the lives of our children. And it turns out that I was wrong! And now I look ahead and sit with myself and I can hear my own voice again. There is a kind of blanket permission hanging in the air. I notice my feelings, and do not have to do anything more with them, but watch them like the clouds passing over a sunny hill. The full range of my emotions are there and I don't have to hide from any of them. I don't have to give anyone my attention on demand or organize any one's life and then try to fit my life around theirs. I have a relatively free existence only limited by my revenue stream. And my imagination. My life is no longer a crisis requiring my constant vigilance the main drama in my life is the sunrise, and everything unfolds from there.... 

1 comment:

Denise Emanuel Clemen said...

Amazing. Amazing.
Every now and then I sigh with relief at the lack of stress and remember how much work it was to try and make him love me.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. It's yours.