Monday, April 22, 2013

He Said, She Said

 Just as a sunbeam can't separate itself from the sun, 
and a wave can't separate itself from the ocean,
we can't separate ourselves from one another.
We are all part of a vast sea of love,
one indivisible divine mind.
~ Marianne Williamson

Our dear friends Alex and Andrea (read Getting Caught ) recently celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary.  In my constant state of remembering and reflecting these days, it naturally makes sense to leap into the Delorean of my mind, flip on its flux capacitor to go back in time to 2003.  Are you humming Huey Lewis now too?

Boys are funny.  And by funny I mean peculiar, especially when it comes to their interpretation of events.  I've witnessed more overly exaggerated recollections for dramatic effect come from men than I have women.   Yes, that includes my guy, Boomer, too.

It was January 10th, 2003 - - a Saturday.   How I remember the exact date is all due to Boomer.  Because he did.  Or as he recalled it, "The day you dumped me."  Enter dramatic effect.  

You hear how some couples who have many pre-marital years together can also include several break-ups during that time.  That wasn't us. We were always together.   One of the greatest things Boomer and I often spoke of our relationship was our commitment and ability to weather storms.  And though we didn't get married until 2009, we surely endured everything a married couple can during our courtship - - financial ups and downs, job loss, job search, kid issues, former spouse stuff, family death, etc.

The early days of 2003, at the time, were the toughest.  Boomer was in the midst of a job search again, he'd been laid-off for the 2nd time in 4 years;  he also had the role of full-time, single-parent of his two sons for the first time.  His former spouse was remarrying, preparing to move to New Jersey, and wanting to take the boys too.  Then there's me - - the understanding girlfriend, 36 miles away, and feeling helpless, afraid of my inexperience on such matters and lonesome for my man.   Boomer was juggling a lot.  Out of shear necessity or unintended neglect, the SMO ball was often dropped.   While I didn't have direct experience for what Boomer was going through, my empathy was huge. Especially when it came to his dedication to his sons and being the best hands-on, single-father he could.  It's always been one of my favorite attributes about Boomer.  It was my dad's favorite too (read He's One of Us).

My desire for Boomer to be successful with all he had going on surpassed my empathy and guided me to making the call to give him space, free up his plate from worrying about managing our relationship amidst everything else, suggesting we take a break.   Notice how I'm laying this out? 

But that Saturday night in 2003, sitting in a restaurant, all Boomer heard was, "I'm dumping you."  Ah, more dramatic effect.   We hadn't even gotten our entrees yet, when he stood up form the table stormed out of the restaurant, leaving me sitting there alone.  In that moment I'm thinking,  "Oh boy, this isn't going well."   I followed him out to the car;  the silence in that 20-minute drive back to his house was piercing like nails on chalkboard.  Then we sat in the car, in the driveway and wept -- for an hour and a half -- together.  Both of us.  Sometimes the best decisions are the both hardest and saddest to make.  Our shared tears were in the knowing that for now, this was the right thing to do.  It didn't mean we were over, or that there was failure.  It was the selfless choice for the greater good, difficult and sad as it was. 

From our respective camps, we ached.  What was unfolding for us was a new understanding that we were stronger together than we were apart (read Left,Right).  A first recognition came just a few days later, when I called him seeking solace from some heartbreaking news I learned from my daughter.  It was awkward to call him, I was petrified, afraid he wouldn't take my call. Because I did after all, "dump him."    More than just romantic companions, we were friends, and in my moment of devastation I wanted to talk to my friend.  That call helped keep the door open.  Boomer wouldn't let it entirely close anyway.  Letters, emails, surprise packages were showing up regularly, all with the reminder from him of how great we are and the constant request of me to not forget that.   He was right.

Our relationship sabbatical, as I prefer to call it (part of our later shared humorous take on it), lasted 3 months.   We were on the cusp of reinstating our coupledom when I went to Puerto Vallarta for Alex and Andrea's wedding.    I called Boomer while I was there.  We talked and talked, and forever forward he said that was the best gift I gave him.  That was until, I said, "I do."

Our next dinner together went much more smoothly and we continued full steam ahead.  By the end of the year, the boys were living in New Jersey, settling in well and thriving.  Boomer and I had also begun the house hunt for our next chapter, because he said, "It is time."

He said, "The day you dumped me."  She said, "We were on sabbatical."  He said, she said, makes no difference.  What matters is our willingness and ability to weather the storms.   It's always worthwhile, because as Crowded House sings, "Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you."   Though I recommend skipping the dramatic effect.

Thank you Boomer for the weather you brought and continue to bring to my life.  I love you.  I miss you.  
And to Alex and Andrea - - Happy 10th Anniversary.  You're an inspiration.

Boomer sharing some cob w/Alex & Andrea's oldest son - 2006

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