Man, I love my life. I really, really love my life. I used to say, about three years ago, that I was living the very life I would choose if given the choice. I knew then that that was only about 88% true. The country living, my location, my children, homeschooling, all the activities which occupied our days, even our economic situation was not entirely antithetical to the lifestyle I enjoyed. Simple, frugal living is what I would choose if I had to choose between it and luxury, but it’s far easier to accomplish when you haven’t the choice. For many of us, it’s a conscious sacrifice; we’d rather have the time to enjoy simple pleasures at home than throw greenbacks at a fancy shopping mall in what little time we left after chasing the same greenbacks around a workplace.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know, of course, that the other 12% of my life, the unsatisfactory bit, was my marriage. No matter how I tried, that relationship wouldn't jell.
|Little took this pic of me & Den a few nights ago.|
I had so many insecurities when Denny and I hooked up. The merest bump in our peace and harmony would find fear winding its icy hands around my throat. I wasn’t good enough for my first husband, how could I possibly be good enough for an amazing man like Denny? But Denny understood my fears and was patient with me. He reassured me. He knew me then and knows me know and has a knack for saying just the right thing. In the beginning I shared with him what I suspect is not an uncommon fear for people entering a new relationship after a failed one.
“I couldn’t make it work with my ex,” I said through tears. “It seems like too much to hope that you and I build something lasting."
“Oh, but I see it so differently,” he said, taking my hand. “I don’t see failure, I see your success. If you can make it work for fourteen years with the likes of your ex, and come through with flying colors, which you did, there’s every reason to believe you and I together can do a whole lot better."
You can’t argue with this man’s logic.
And so here we are, thriving. My insecurities fade daily, overwhelmed by love, patience, kindness, recognition, appreciation, respect, admiration, and the occasional round of tickling. Things aren’t just good, they are great. And they just keep getting better. It’s a remarkable thing when you get the right two people together, how they both can grow into even better people.
Once upon a time, I believed that any relationship could succeed if you just work at it hard enough. I must have learned this watching my parents work out their issues, preserving, overcoming. I guess that’s why I didn’t think much about it when I married the first time. I was pregnant, this was the father of my child, and so naturally he would be my husband and we would make it work.
Two people, agreeing on those terms, could possibly create something lasting and, at least, tolerable, if not decent. If you can’t even agree on that, well...
But oh, do not overlook compatibility! Personality, life experiences (including upbringing), interests. Probably in that order. The more different, the more tricky. Two incompatible people could work at a relationship and still barely achieve what two ernest, compatible people might consider a bad spell in their relationship.
What I find interesting is that at nineteen, when I first married, I was less than half the person I am now. At thirty-four I obviously have more personality, more life experience, and more interests. And Denny has his share under his belt. We might have clicked 15 years ago, but nothing like we do at this time in our lives. We are compatible on so many levels it’s pretty much ridiculous.
I wonder then, do the relationships of the young automatically suffer a deficit because the youth aren’t as developed? Maybe they don’t know who they are yet and have a higher chance of getting together because this or that 'feels good,’ but then tend to grow apart? Maybe they just don’t know what they want yet? How many young loves truly blossom? Our genetic instinct doesn’t seem to be toward long-lasting, fulfilling relationships so much as rushing us to reproduce.
But if it’s true that most young loves ultimately fail, maybe mid-life relationships are more satisfying. But then, there are plenty of middle-aged people bouncing from relationship to relationship, lost and unsatisfied. Not everyone has the knack for knowing what they want and the ability and/or luck to find it.
Whatever. Just babbling. I just consider myself very fortunate to have found my way into a fulfilling relationship. And sometimes I give myself a little pat on the back because it wasn’t all by chance. I attracted Denny and Denny attracted me because of who we are.
All that to say what? The rich things in my life have become richer because I have a partner with whom to share them. Parenting is more of a pleasure than ever. My new worldview, that of a humanist rather than an God-fearing authoritarian, has changed the way I relate to my children. Denny continues to watch me with fascination. He hugs me and affirms me with deep sincerity. He also holds me when I cry, tormented by fear of screwing up my children. And he loves me all the more because I care so much. We talk over all the issues regarding the children, the attitudes and the education and the future. When the children are being particularly adorable we catch each other’s eyes and share the moment. If we’ve been doing our own things during the day, we catch up with each other and he never fails to gush about something sweet he overheard or saw. He is full of ideas and enthusiasm and energy. The children accept and love him, but I hope that someday they will truly appreciate how fortunate we are to have him with us.
Denny has settled quite well into Make-It-Do Farm. I’m always eager to hear his ideas regarding the property and he, mine. How about some fruit trees on the hill? And some more blueberries next year, maybe two dozen in all? And if we mulch these flowerbeds heavily with leaves this fall we could plant purple coneflowers and rudbeckias in the spring, maybe some chamomile. Yeah, we’ll have to build a little fence of twigs to keep the chickens and dogs out of it. If we cleaned that over there up it would look nicer, and we could build a doghouse there before it gets very cold. In 5 years time what would you like to see? Me too. We should write it down and make a list to accomplish each year.
A garden geek after my own heart.
And don’t get me started on finances. You know, I don’t think we earn much more than my family did before, but it’s managed carefully and gets us so much farther. It was at least a year before I stopped getting soggy-eyed with gladness when he would invite me to go over the finances with him and he’d wrap it up, saying, “So, we’re good for this month and next.” Money isn’t His and Hers, nor does it fall to one of us while the other remains “blissfully” ignorant. Together. Partners.
Some practical things have changed that I never saw coming. I sold the goats. I don’t sew as much. Denny is doing most of the schooling. Most of that is to free me up to write and do writing-related things. Identifying myself as a writer, an author… Yeah. Wow. It wouldn’t have happened in my old life. I love it. It’s different, something of an adjustment, but I love it. And Denny loves watching it happen.
I feel like a new woman. But when I tell Denny that he points out the parts of me that were always there, the parts that are just getting some air now. Strength, confidence, talent. He’s right, of course. That man and his logic.
Sigh. I sure do love my life. Thanks for letting me carry on about it for a bit. =)