It’s been almost eleven months since I moved to a new city. Now that I write that, I realize I could have had a baby by now in the same time-period if it weren’t for a little thing called menopause. While I could not imagine being pregnant at this age, I could totally imagine what a solid night’s sleep might feel like.
No matter. Between the two of us, our kid allotment is jackpot full. We are enjoying every (fine – most) available minute they let us spend with them that is not already spoken for by everyone else.
Even though I went kicking and screaming into this whole marriage “But I AM INDEPENDENT!” thing, the arrangement could not be any better. My job frequently requires me to be back in the city from where I moved and my husband not only graciously allows that (note to those of you who know me well, including he who “allows” – I am also laughing at that word choice), he embraces it.
While it would be easy for him to complain or have resentment or get all kinds of crotchety, he instead is nothing but encouraging and supportive. A few weeks ago, when I mentioned I had to be back in Fort Wayne 4 out of 5 days AND I was going to be gone most of the weekend, he was cheerful in his response, “Have fun! Glad you get to see your girl! I will take care of stuff that needs done around here.”
And…he meant it.
Which is really code for: I had to BELIEVE he meant it.
I am a natural skeptic, and my past experiences have taught me to walk around with a foil in my hand yelling “On guard!” like I’m an expert fencer.
So yeah, not only am I the luckiest former-gladiator on the planet, I also enjoy his humor possibly even more than his kindheartedness. This is a classic example of how our exchanges go:
Me: <silent, with a look of I AM DOING WHATEVER I DARN WELL PLEASE on my face>
Him: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
I mean, seriously, how can you NOT enjoy that kind of dueling? It’s the best. He is the best. Joust ask anyone who knows him.
(Ok, ok – maybe only one of us is actually funny.)
My point is this: hanging on to things you can’t control is counterproductive and missing the point of what really matters.
Whether it’s a person or material objects or a phase of life replete with difficult changes, letting go of the old makes room for the new. It helps you see, really see, sometimes for the very first time.
I go back to Fort Wayne and everything looks different. Smaller. Less significant. Less…like home.
And that’s ok. My daughter and I both know nothing can take away all the memories we created there in the span of sixteen years. It is not a physical location that defines us and our relationship. Honestly, our relationship has grown with space. It’s been simultaneously the most crushing and terrific thing that’s ever happened. I went kicking and screaming with that, too, when she left for college; now I look at things through an antithetical lens.
Her entire Senior year of High School I thought, no way can I deal with letting her go, and while I still miss her – letting go has made room for this new phase of our relationship. Dare I say she might even like me again.
Over the last few months, we’ve all seen and heard about people letting go of their homes, their possessions, their familiarity – not by choice, but by necessity. On the precipice of Hurricane Irma, one of my friends who lives in Florida wrote: “All boarded up and heading out. We are all together, so we have everything.”
Another long-time friend is in the process of becoming unemployed for the first time since he began working many moons ago. In his letting go, new room is being made for opportunities which he may not have had the space to experience otherwise.
And as I continually find myself loosening the reins of where I used to be, it oftentimes hits me: once you truly let go of the things that at one time you swore you could never live without, life becomes lighter.
What woman in menopause wouldn’t want THAT?!
P.S. I donated a pair of jeans I wore to a pep-rally in 1987 earlier today. Look out, people! I AM ON A ROLL.