[sloppy and extemporaneous post to follow]

I am very very good at supporting and guiding others.  I’ve always had a passion for helping people discover and nurture their personal talents.  I love being part of a person’s journey toward achieving some goal and I feel pride in seeing them achieve it and knowing I may have somehow helped them get there.  I suppose that’s why I chose to be an educator.  I have been everything from an ESL teacher, to a writing tutor and currently, a preschool teacher.  I am proud of the fact that I have helped so many people, young and not so young, progress toward some much desired goal, whether it was learning a new language, or just learning to use scissors correctly. 

When someone is able to move forward, independent from my help and guidance, then I know I’ve done a good job.  This in fact, is also what I think a good parent does–we serve as guides to the development of independence in our children.  We hope we can inspire them to be good people, who ultimately will move the heck out of the house!  If we’ve done our job as parents (their first and most important teachers by the way) then our children will be able to confidantly work toward their goals, one of which should be to be emancipated from us!  We believe in them, they believe in themselves.

Now, here comes the big “but”.  I’ve recently realized that being someone who spends their time cheering others can have one huge drawback.  That is, if you spend all your energy supporting and cheering other people, and forget that you yourself may have some goals that have yet to be met.  I thought I was doing the right thing in being a mere supporter and cheerleader of the man in my life.  I threw my all into helping him achieve his goals.  I perceived his goals as “our” goals.  Just as I feel  a good parent will unconditionally stand behind their child and guide them toward their dreams, I felt a good wife does the same for their husband.  Herein lies the problem however.  Whereas I want to see my children follow their dreams and eventually no longer need me, I didn’t expect or wish for the same result in my husband once he achieved his.

I do not regret helping my spouse follow his dreams.  I am now and always will be extremely proud of what he has achieved.  He busted his ass (and still does) to get where he is, and I was more than happy to stand beside him and do what I could to support and encourage him.  What I do regret is losing sight of my own dreams.  I made his dream my own.  Unfortunately, he was the sole proprieter of the dream, and of the resulting business he now runs.  And now that he has obtained all that we strived for, well, where does that leave me?  He got what he wanted.  I have no role anymore. 

As a mom, I want to see my child grow and achieve and move toward independence.  But as a wife?  It doesn’t feel that great.  It feels more like I made myself disposable.  I cheered my husband right into a life that has no room for me. 

 

When tragedies happen, people always say “nothing can prepare you for this”.  I don’t think they mean the actual tragic occurance however.  After all, there are fire drills, and earthquake drills, and books and courses on emergency preparedness.  So really, there doesn’t seem to be a lack of trying to prepare for every possible horror anyway.  I’m fairly certain I’ve even heard about books that will prepare you to handle a zombie attack.  So, can we honestly say, in the face of some traumatic event that “nothing” can prepare us for it?  No.  But I think I’ve figured out what people are truly saying in that phrase.  It’s not that we aren’t prepared, practically speaking.  It’s that we aren’t prepared emotionally.  Of course, dealing with the reality of a trauma, even one that you may have practiced for a dozen times, like say, a fire, is bound to be far far worse than any amount of planning  could have anticipated.  So while you may manage to escape the fire because you spent years rehearsing your exit route, you couldn’t possibly practice an exit from the emotional aftermath.

What about the smaller, quieter, more personal traumas though?  These you can’t  rehearse ahead of time, because you can’t even conceive of their possibility.  Loss.  Lonliness.  Depression.  No one anticipates these things occuring.  These are the fires and destruction that occur within.  Sure, there are books that can help you deal with it after the fact.  And at a certain point you may even see these things coming, so you might try to head them off somehow.  But when they hit you, it’s always far worse than you can imagine. 

My marriage is in trouble.  I could go buy every book in the self-help section, but my emotions have already overwhelmed me.  I feel hopelessly lost.  The person I wish to lean on most is turning a deaf ear.  I could scream (and I have) but that only gives me a sore throat.  There is neither death nor destruction around me.  Buildings have not crumbled.  Smoke is not rising (only figuratively).  I certainly cannot compare my pain to that of anyone experiencing the heart-wrenching tragedies of shared loss, like those poor souls in Japan.    I pray I never have to know what that sort of pain feels like.   Nevertheless, I’m suffering.  My marriage is my life’s anchor.  I won’t insert some lame Titanic methaphor here, but forgive me when I say, I have been watching a sinking ship for several months  now and I’m terrified. 

Nothing could have prepared me for this.

No, not dandruff.  Gray hairs maybe, but nothing gross or flaky.  I mean the stuff inside my head.  I have too much stuff boppin around in there, which serves only to needlessly paralyze me from getting anything productive accomplished.  I’ve always had problems focusing (the ADD diagnoses finally came at age 39.  A case of NOT better late than never.) So when there are overwhelming amounts of stimuli around me, requiring my attention in some form or another, I do what any rational person with an anxiety disorder would do.  I avoid.  

While I may not actually be actively addressing any of the aforementioned shitbox full of stuff in my head, at least I can write about it.  Or bitch about it as the case may be.  Yes, this is heading toward the bullet points.  Bear with me dear Kitty.

  • Stress inducer the first:  moving again soon.  Yeah, cuz we haven’t done enough of that.  And even though one might think I’d have it down to a science by now, which I do, it isn’t any less stressful.  Particularly when I’m pretty much on my own with the packing aspect.  Oh believe me, we have definitely used up all of the from-the-goodness-of-their-hearts assistance we might have asked for from friends during our last 231 moves. I am on my own with this one!   All I’ve managed to accomplish so far, for a move that is scheduled to happen in T-minus 16 days, is to bring the plastic bins down from the attic.  That, and have panic attacks every time I open a closet in the house.  I swear, in the 6 months that I’ve lived here, things have multiplied like horny bunnies.  How all this crap manages to accumulate is beyond me.  Interestingly, the epicenter of clutter breeding seems to be in my 13 year old’s room.  Coincidence?  I think not.  This child saves every damn thing that gets into her hands: gum wrappers, clothing tags (“but mom! I love the little moose on it. It’s cute!”), study guides, scraps of paper with cryptic messages on them, pictures torn out of teeny bopper magazines (oh how I loathe thee, Justin Bieber), and too many unidentifiable things of questionable origin.  Most of which lives on her bedroom floor.  I think I may just drop a dumpster under her bedroom window and shovel it all out of there.
  • Stress inducer the 2nd:  the above-mentioned 13 year old girl.  I don’t think I need to elaborate.  She’s 13.  I can’t believe I ever thought 4 was hard.
  • Stress inducer the 3rd:  the spouse.  Or lack thereof.  I’m essentially a single parent these days, who just happens to be married.  The diner is consuming every second of his life, which though my logical self understands this, my emotional self is the main bitch in charge here.  It’s much more difficult to cope with than I’d ever imagined, particularly because in the few precious moments I do get to see him on a daily basis, he’s completely exhausted.  And by exhausted, I mean “cranky bastard”.   I depleted my stores of patience with this several weeks ago.  It sucks. I wish I was more understanding. I get a strong sense that he wishes I were more patient too.  However, I feel as though not only am I attempting (poorly) to cope with my own stress and worry about everything, I am bearing the brunt of his as well.  Add two young children, who voice their own anxieties on a rotating whine schedule, and you got yourself one crazy momma.  I am tired of explaining to the girls why daddy is never home.  It breaks my heart over and over again to hear them cry because they miss daddy.   It gets even more unbearable because I feel I have to always “prepare” the girls for the times he is home:  “Now girls, I beg you, please be on your best behavior tonight.  Daddy works hard and is very tired, and has little patience for any bickering or nonsense” (you know, like the normal behavior for siblings?)  But the pressure to be the perfect Cleaver family for him so he won’t get upset or show his temper is too much.  He is with us maybe 1 or 2 hours, 2 or 3 nights a week (I only count waking hours.  He spends more time sleeping here than anything else) so in that small amount of time, nobody wants anything but love and butterflies and rainbows.  And we all know how likely that is when it comes to kids!  Inevitably, one of the kids pulls the usual crap–eye-rolling or nasty attitude is the behavior du jour for the teenager.  For the 8 year old it’s whining or pestering the sister.  Again, it’s usually typical stuff that I’m inclined to ignore if it means an hour or two of peace rather than WWIII in my house.  So I’m not sure if husband feels he must step up when he is actually home, or he feels I don’t handle it like I should (in spite of the fact that I handle it all gaddamned day long) but he has a habit of overcompensating either way.  Not to mention he has even less than normal patience for the nonsense because he is exhausted or stressed or both.  It all adds up to ugly.  Someone always ends up crying when he’s home, and it’s usually me.
  • Stress inducer the 4th:  wondering how to cope with items 1-3

That’s where I’m at these days.  I’m sure there’s a silver lining in there somewhere.  I guess I could say it’s the diner itself, which is a great little place.  We seem to being doing a good job of making plenty of customers happy.  It is indeed the fulfillment of a long-held dream and I love seeing the business flourish.  With the diner’s lovely, curvaceous, shiny stainless exterior looking every bit as gorgeous as she did in 1948, I suppose I could in fact say she is indeed our literal silver lining!

Hanging in there…

Wow.  Here we are, almost a year after that last, pathetic post.  I can’t believe that much time has passed already.  (Insert any cliche resembling “seems like just yesterday” here.)  I’ve thought about my Hello Kitty diary from time to time since then.  I’ve often yearned to sit down and commiserate with the internets, or at least bang out a few heartfelt words here and there, just to get them out.  I’m not sure what stopped me, other than laziness or inconvenience, or even, at times, crazy busy-ness.  There were mostly those times when I yearned to simply sit down.  Period.  So when I finally did get the opportunity to just sit on my ass and chill, I generally chose to use that time as a brain-drain instead of a brain exercise.  I couldn’t write when warming the couch was so much more fulfilling.  And fast forward 11 months.

In the meantime however,  I’ve actually been keeping a good, old-fashioned OFF line journal of sorts.  It feels refreshingly old school to sit in bed, with a pen and a real composition notebook and just scribble out my thoughts as they come to me.  There’s no thinking about “who may read this”, “what’s my audience” bullshit.  It’s just me and my uncensored emotions, as it was intended to be, before the internet came along and stole our souls.  Sometimes my hand can’t move as fast as my thoughts and it is tough to be coherent with my chosen words.  I don’t care though.  The only negative thing about that is the inevitable cramping in my wrist, from writing so furiously for such a long while.   But at least I don’t have to worry about someone else’s reaction to what I wrote.  (Unless of course I’ve been careless about where I leave my journal.  Which happened, once.  And it was UGLY.  More on that later.)

Which brings me back to the online journal I keep here, for reasons still unclear to me.  Tonight though, something compelled me to check in.  I was remembering that last post and thought, well, it’s about damn time I followed up on that sumbitch.  I mean gee, my audience of what? 4 or 5? may have been holding their breath since then, wondering what’s happened!!  Hardy har har.  Well, that and the fact that I’ve missed writing.  I’ve missed expressing myself to no one in particular, with a few possible particulars here and there.

So here we are. Almost a year later.  Sadly, my emotional and romantic status has remained unchanged since that last post.  Everything else however, is, well, “change” isn’t quite the right word.  We’re definitely not in the same place we were a year ago.  Yet, we somehow have found ourselves in exactly the same place we were approximately 4 years ago–at least geographically!  Yes, without great fanfare, I can announce the official (and holy shit it’s about friggin time) opening of our Diner.  We did it.  Just when we thought it would never happen, it finally did.  The details and emotional peculiarities of this development would constitute an entire epic novel, or at least the last few hundred pages of my offline journal.  So I will just say this:  it’s been a crazy road back.   We are finally back “home” in the place where we started, though this time, the Diner is not just sitting up on blocks of wood, waiting for a miracle (or a buyer).  It’s open for business.  And even though my personal life is a godforsaken mess, I am very proud of what we’ve managed to finally accomplish professionally.  The diner is a beauty.  Best of all, other people seem to love it too–enough to part with their own money over breakfast, lunch and/or dinner anyway.

We are back where we started things, all those years ago.  Yes, we are back to begin again.  It’s a very strange place to be–familiar, yet unchartered territory.  The places and people are all the same as I remember, but this is not the past I have jumped into…it’s the future.        Here we go.

 

Warning:  this is long.  this is very personal.  this needed to be written.  it is without regard to style or grammar or audience.  but i need to post it.  on the very off chance that anyone out there has wondered why i haven’t written in ages, this will sum it up.

Once upon a time, there was a girl.  The girl was young and idealistic.  She was a “glass is half FULL” kind of girl, who always saw only the best in people.  This also made her pretty naïve.  She knew this, but because she was hopelessly optimistic, she didn’t care.  The girl had bigger issues, but she was good at tossing them aside and trying only to see the good in herself as well, even if it meant she ignored important, but difficult problems.  She preferred to cruise through life with rose-colored glasses.  She knew things would always work out.

One day the girl met a boy.  The boy was young and full of promise.  He was intriguing to the girl, because he was clearly someone who was not like her at all.  He seemed a bit rough around the edges, but he was the picture of confidence and self-assuredness—something the girl was not.  Of course, the girl being the naïve romantic that she was saw him not as someone she should stay away from, but as someone who could be the yin to her yang so to speak.  She was in love at first sight.

The boy seemed interested in the girl too.  Perhaps there is truth to the saying that opposites attract.  In this case, the sparks were sparkling, the pheromones were flying and love blossomed quickly.  They may have been nothing alike, but their differences were like the opposing curves of two puzzle pieces—it made them a perfect fit. 

The boy was kind and affectionate.  He didn’t mind that the girl was a bit nerdy and awkward.  She was pretty at least.  And smart.  The girl didn’t mind that the boy was more of a tough guy and a jock.  He was handsome at least.  And really smart.  He taught her about ice hockey, and parties and letting loose and above all, romance.  She taught him about romantic literature and art and seeing the world as an adventure waiting to happen.  They truly enjoyed entering one another’s worlds and soon fit into them as if they’d always been a part of them.  The girl could scream louder than any hockey fan and could party like the president of Animal House.  The boy could dress up a bit and stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art like a seasoned art lover.  They were passionate about each other.  They were young, but knew that they would always be together.

And so it was.  The smart, confidant boy graduated and began his life and the girl with the rose colored glasses followed.  They were very happy together and made plans to be together forever.   The girl encouraged him along the way, and always led the cheering section for the boy, whether it was in hockey or in life.  When it came time for him to find a career, it was the girl who perused the newspaper ads and bulletin boards for the boy.  The girl helped him type his resume and pushed him toward the interview for the job that would eventually grow to be a successful 10 year career.  The girl wasn’t worried about herself.  Those rose-colored glasses assured her that she would be happy whether she found something for herself or not.  The girl was more interested in her guy’s happiness than her own.  Besides, when the boy proposed marriage, she was assured that he would take care of her for the rest of her life anyway.  What more did she need?  She had decided that her job was to ensure the boy was happy.  She felt she couldn’t be any happier herself.

For awhile, this plan worked out well.  Both the boy and the girl were very happy indeed.  Until one day when the boy decided he wanted something more.  While the girl was content simply being a wife and now, a mother, the boy was yearning for greater fulfillment.  To the boy, this meant no longer working for others.  He wanted to work for himself.   Of course, the girl was all for it.  Naturally she encouraged his plans.  In fact, she may have even planted the seed of his dream when she had suggested that their fair city could use just such an establishment that the boy would soon purchase and plan to run.  So of course it only made sense that the girl would encourage the boy every step of the way.  Before long, the dream was not only the boy’s, but the girl’s equally.  While the boy invested time, money, and labor into this project, the girl invested her emotions.  The boy was always so smart and clever, and accomplished much in a short period of time.  But as with any business venture, it was fraught with setbacks and difficulties.  Since the girl was ever an optimist, she kept cheering on the boy, assuring him that things would work out and the dream would eventually materialize.  She didn’t want him to give up, even when it meant near financial ruin for their family.  The girl thought the best way she could help was to stick by the boy, encourage him, and fight for him.  She never considered ways to contribute in a more tangible fashion, like getting a job herself to help out.  She could only see herself as the stay-at-home mom she was.  Her children were very young and needed her.  Besides, she didn’t believe she could find a job that would make enough money to be worth it.  She was naïve, remember?  She had also spent all her time cheering on the boy and raising the babies, and had been content to do so.  Now that the boy was no longer content with things, well, it was only then that the girl questioned whether she needed to try something else to keep him happy.  But the girl had never finished her advanced degree and had not worked outside the home for many years.  They couldn’t afford college now.  The girl was not qualified for any real salaried jobs.  She would have to settle for hourly positions which certainly wouldn’t pay a babysitter if she needed one.  The girl suddenly felt useless and dejected.  The rose-colored glasses were becoming tarnished and scratched.

Nevertheless, the girl tried her best to keep that rosy outlook.  She convinced herself and the boy that things were going to be ok.  Yet sadly, after several years of setbacks, the boy’s business venture seemed to be at a dead end.  Even the girl had to admit that perhaps it was time to give up the dream, especially since it was beginning to erode her already fulfilled dream of a happy family life.

Heartbroken, the boy decided it was finally time to move on.  The girl was every bit as heartbroken as the boy.  In fact she may have been even more so because she felt his pain as well as her own.  It took many months, but it seemed that the boy was finally at peace with what was ultimately the death of a dream.  Sadly however, and unnoticed at first by the girl, the boy also suffered the death of part of his soul.  He would be unable to truly move on, which would prove all the more tragic when the girl was in fact able to move on without him.

Soon, the girl would finally have a new dream of her own.  This didn’t mean she was through with being her boy’s biggest fan.  She would never stop loving and encouraging him.  However, she started to recognize a yearning within herself as well.  That yearning was for stability.  The girl found herself mentally and emotionally exhausted from the years of uncertainty and risk and worry that came from the boy’s state of affairs.   She wanted to have a sense of security and hope for a better future.  Again, she looked to the boy to provide this.  In her naïveté, she didn’t see anything wrong with wanting it that way.  So when the boy landed a terrific job, with a good salary and benefits, all while seemingly at peace with everything, the girl couldn’t have been happier.

That’s when those nearly tarnished rose-colored glasses essentially shattered.  The boy suddenly found a way to reignite his business-ownership dream.  What he had given up was now taken back, full-steam ahead.  And shockingly, the girl who had once been unable to fathom anything but encouraging the boy, was now in the uncomfortable position of wishing this wasn’t happening.  Her first response was not one of encouragement, but one of disbelief and anger.  This surprised even herself.

Somehow though, the girl managed to pick up a rose-colored shard and used it.  She sought that proverbial silver-lining and thought that perhaps this would somehow be a good thing.  The boy could fulfill his dream, all while maintaining the girl’s dream that had seemingly come true—the stability.  The girl decided to focus on that thought.  She imagined the boy being able to truly do it all:  keep the day job and the stability, all while pursuing his true dream of business ownership to the fullest.  The boy was her superhero after all, why not??

Every superhero has his downfall however.  Superman had kryptonite.  The boy had tunnel vision and a broken heart.  He continued to try and try to achieve his dream.  He was determined to see his dream through, no matter what the cost.  The girl remained understanding and did her best to fulfill her self-appointed role as cheerleader.  This time however, the boy did not want it.  He could not get past his broken heart.  The boy felt his dream was not really his anymore.  He did not feel fully part of it, since he was no longer there geographically and physically.  He was not comfortable with the idea of running things long-distance.  The girl understood.  She didn’t know how to be the cheerleader anymore though, especially since the boy didn’t seem to want it.    In fact, the boy didn’t seem to want anything from the girl anymore.  He only wanted his business.  He wanted only to be somewhere else.  How could the girl be a fan of this?  Now the girl was lost.  Without someone to encourage and cheer for, she didn’t know what to do.  She had always made it her job to keep others happy.  In her naïveté, she thought she was doing just that through all the years she’d been with the boy.  She didn’t know how to deal with the boy now that nothing could make him happy except for being away from her. 

The girl was devastated.  The boy was depressed and angry and stressed.  The promise of stability was broken.  The girl’s inability to make a difference was killing her.  Adding insult to injury, the boy become insufferably antagonistic.  If he couldn’t be happy then he was determined that no one else should be either.  If the home was the girl’s place of employment, then she would be able to sue over a hostile work environment.  It became unbearable.  The boy was incapable of finding any joy in his family.  The family, sensing this deeply, could only respond in kind. 

The girl was giving up hope.  She grew weary of hearing resentment in the boy’s every word.  She grew incapable of optimism.  The boy’s anger became vitriol directed at the girl and their children.  The words he spoke grew uglier every day.  On occasion it even became physical violence.  It was at this point that the girl’s heart broke on its very own.

Where this story goes from here is undetermined.  The conclusion cannot be written as it hasn’t yet happened.  The girl, who had always been full of hope, if not determination, all these years, is struggling to find some.  She wonders if she made it this far precisely because she’d always been so optimistic.  If that is the case, then what will happen to her when hope is lost and optimism is gone?  If the very things that carried the girl and boy through the tough times are absent, then what?  Does it mean the boy and girl will lose each other?  Or are they already lost?  Without hope, one can’t imagine something better than that.

The only thing that is for sure is that the girl is indeed a broken spirit, like the boy.  Yet she still cannot imagine doing anything to hurt the boy in spite of all the hurt he has caused her.  The girl loves that boy.  To her, that is still the only thing that matters.   She just doesn’t know if the boy feels the same.

To be continued….hopefully.

I would love to tell you about my wonderful weekend, except for the fact that it was really pretty sucky with just enough glimmers of joy sprinkled in so as to hold me off from calling the the shrink for more Xanax.

I want to say how thrilling the first snowfall of the season was for us.  Except for the fact that it was accompanied by freezing temperatures, muddy Christmas tree farm fields, ruined Ugg boots and whiny, obnoxious eleven-year olds.

I would love to write a joyful, cheery narrative of the time we spent decorating the beautful tree we cut down ourselves.  Except that we spent an hour just trying to figure out how the hell we would fit an 8 foot tree into our cheap ass tree stand made for much smaller trees.  The tree, now known to us as “Fat Bastard”, had to lose a large portion of its lower limbs, and we had to lose a large portion of our sanity before we got it to settle in.  Did you know that you could get a painful and angry rash on your arms if you shove them into a pine tree and keep them there for extended periods of time?  Did you know you could get a pained and angry husband in the process as well? 

I wish I could say all was peaceful once Fat Bastard was upright and stable, and the family had all gathered to decorate him.  Instead we had bickering over what would be playing in the background–cheesy but mood-enhancing holiday music, vs. the iCarly tv special.  We relented on the cheesy Disney kidtainment in hopes that we would finally have a tranquil family moment of decking the boughs of Fat Bastard.  I wish I could say that is what happened.  Instead we had 4 minutes of “Oooh, I remember this ornament!”  followed by 14 minutes of Sophia crying over the fact that Emma had a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament and she didn’t (just wait until she someday compares the completeness of their baby books).  This was soon followed by 10 more minutes of sobbing over the perception that we must somehow love Emma more because she had more “photo” ornaments (nevermind that Emma made them all herself).  It was finally resolved when Sophia saw that she had more homemade ornaments than Emma, but it was too late.  The holiday magic was gone.

I wish I could say today was a better day, what with the snow melting, the tree decorated (mainly by myself, as the kids gave up after 20 minutes and one broken ornament later) and me back at work.  Except that my day started with a knock-down, drag out fight with my husband that at this moment (14 hours later) is still unresolved. 

I would love to say going to work helped some, except all I can recall is that sometime between manipulating preschoolers’ handprints into a Christmas wreath design and picking up eleventy hundred matchbox cars, I wrenched my back something FIERCE.  I am in major pain, and adding insult to injury, this is the first time I have been able to sit down for more than 5 minutes all damn day.

I want to be able to say that tomorrow will be better, but at the rate I’m going, who knows?  I’d say it can’t get worse, but we all know what a jinx that phrase can be.  I guess I just need to re-examine that glass and somehow focus on the half-full portion.  Which, right now, is the fact that everyone in the house is asleep, I’m sitting on my arse, pumped full of Advil and there is a box of Lucky Charms with my name on it, in the pantry.   Thank goodness for the little things.  And the xanax.

I try very hard to teach my children that material possessions are not the key to a fulfilling life.  I try very hard to remind myself of this fact as well.  Especially at this time of year, and particularly in the face of those damn commercials featuring a beribboned Lexus in some lucky bitch’s driveway.  But I will always want my kids to derive their happiness not from Nintendo DS and cell phones, but from the people who give them those objects.  (just kidding, sort of).   As Charlie Brown once said, “Happiness is warm puppy”.  He obviously never sat in the warm, heated leather seats of a Lexus RX350 however.

ANYWAY…seriously, I am a sentimental fool, and I prefer attachments to people, rather than objects.  Unfortunately however, I have a lot of objects to which I am sentimentally attached.  One of these objects, a ring I wear daily to be exact, got lost today, and now I am beside myself.  I don’t have a lot of expensive jewelry, and what I have is generally things that I wouldn’t cry over if I lost them.  However my rings, especially my wedding rings, are the exception.  Thank heavens I didn’t lose one of them (they belonged to my grandmother, and I would just jump into the grave next to her if I ever lost one of those!) but the one I did lose today is nearly as special as my wedding rings.

While I was pregnant with our first child, I used to tease Matt by telling him that it is traditional to buy your wife expensive jewelry after she gives birth.  She gives you a baby, you give her diamonds.  “It’s the least you can do”, I would tell him.  (Yeah, so it wasn’t until after I had kids that I realized materialism was bad.)  Of course he would just scoff at the idea of such a gift exchange.  “The baby is YOUR gift too”, he would say.  “What more do you need?” he would say.  I would laugh, but I kept dropping jewelry hints until the days in my last trimester when all I wanted was for him to shut the hell up and get me some damn french onion soup.

Then came Emma’s arrival:  23 hours of labor, BACK labor at that, several vomiting episodes, an hour of pushing, and all the technicolor glory of giving birth , shoved right in his FACE!   He was wonderful throughout, and clearly exhilarated and emotional when he first lay eyes on his daughter.  But yeah, he just saw one gory and raw reminder of the power and miracle of life. 

Matt stayed by our side until we were finally resting comfortably in our room, this new family of three.  Then, as I was drifting off, I felt him peck my forehead and heard him whisper “I’ll be right back”.  Lucky for him I couldn’t muster the energy to say “WHERE THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING LEAVING ME WITH THIS MINIATURE STRANGER BUSTER??” 

About an hour later he finally returned.  I was a bit miffed that he had mysteriously abandoned me and couldn’t imagine where he had been aside from perhaps McDonalds.   He sat beside me and placed a box in my hands.  It was from Bailey, Banks and Biddle.  I immediately began to cry.  (though as anyone who has given birth can attest, it wouldn’t have taken much to coax tears)  I had forgotten all about the jewelry teasing at this point.  Indeed I had been given the most extraordinary gift in the world–a healthy baby girl.  Yet here was my darling husband, who after witnessing what I went through to bring this baby into our lives, realized “Damn, she was right.  Jewelry IS the least I can do!!!”  Remembering that moment still makes me smile.

It is the sentiment attached to that jewelry that makes it so important to me.   So when I was walking out the door this morning and noticed that my beautiful, gold and amethyst “birth”day ring was not on my finger, I freaked.  I have yet to find it even though I have scoured my entire house, including the trash, the dog food bin, and intend to even examine the dog’s crap piles in case of an accidental ingestion.  I cried all morning.

But I wrote that story here for a reason: to remind myself that no matter what happens to the ring, the memory of the moment, the meaning behind it, can never be lost.  Well, and I do still have the matching bracelet. ;-)

Matthew, I love you honey.  You are an amazing husband and father.  Even if you can’t give me everything I want (beribboned cars for example), you give me everything I need.  And that’s all that matters.

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