Monday, December 10, 2007

Boxes and Committments

[this is an entry I started in early December and couldn't get quite right. So here it is, hopefully a bit better than first draft]

Besides being on time, I’m concentrating on saying less.


. . . . .

Of course blogs don’t count!!

More often than not I forget, and get busy with networking, cleaning, unpacking, travel and baking, etc. and forget when Gwyneth starts going on about something, aiming to hook me into it, that I can pretend it’s Little House on the Prairie, and just listen like Ma would, and keep washing dishes (imagining myself in a long dress and apron, hair neatly done, not jeans and chipped fingernails and crazy pulled back hair), and perhaps nod.

New mantra: “What would Ma do?”

I now have a "Pa" in the house, and it’s interesting to see if he will take the stoic, gentle role I want him to.

I began a new book the other day by Ken Follet – The Pillars of the Earth (great stuff) and have embraced his opening line: "Nothing happens the way you plan it.

In fact I came across a principal that defines a part of this idea – ... it's Harsstacht or some such. Will have to look it up. It basically says that everything will take longer than estimated.

I am SO relieved. Do you know how much guilt comes into a Project Manager’s life from underestimating?? Do you know how many times I’ve had to chew people out for what, it turns out, was not their fault?!? More on that later. I digress.

Nothing goes as planned. A corollary, perhaps, to Herschadt’s law.

So I would like Keith to be kind and firm to Gwyneth all the time – you know, beatific, unlike me. Just so the record is clear, I want this for all the adults in my children’s lives: teachers, care givers, sitters, parents, step parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, everyone. Hell, I want this for myself too.

"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle." (John Watson)

Cardboard cutouts and boxes
I have decided that two things have to occur for a true commitment to gel – first the kids and the S.O. (significant other) in your life (or VSO in my case) must get along. Even tho they will have to work out issues, basically they have to decide it’s ok for the other to breathe on the planet. Maybe not all the time, but most of the time.

Kids and step parents has to be a dissertation, and I'm not up to it this morning.

Secondly, you have to be willing to throw away the boxes.

You can accept a ring, meet the family, and even buy a fish together (“Ralph”), but if anyone insists that we keep the unpacked boxes, “just in case”, there is stuff to figure out.

Happily, I’ve been meeting family (and better still, liking them) and he’s been meeting mine – immediate family, check. Soon he’s going to meet more of mine. Stay tuned for an update after the holidays.

The boxes, ach. I do hesitate, tho I don’t say it out loud. But perhaps this is because I’m not sure of anything anymore. As much as I can, I know that this is a great man. He’s human and all of that (see: “Argument over Whether He can Insist on Opening the Car Door for Child who is Like her Mother and Makes up Her own Mind”) .

It won’t be entirely smooth sailing. It’s always something. But he davens, he hugs me, he shows up, and he breathes through tense moments. He laughs at me and with me, and he knows how to build a life and sustain it. He can make stuff with his hands, and camps and bikes, and cycles :) and can stop profuse bleeding or set a bone. He isn’t too proud to scrub toilets, and not too brilliant to learn something now and again. He isn’t afraid to call me on my mistakes, but is generally kind and firm (if a bit overreaching – that New Jersey brashness that both makes me laugh (hard) and offends my southern sensibilities).

Like I said it isn’t perfect, he isn’t and I sure ain’t.

The boxes are going. I’m staying. Life can be grueling, the job hunt is tough work, as is unpacking and working out parenting issues. But there is more good than bad, more safe than precarious, more peace than turmoil, more love than frustration.

Life is good, even when it freaks me out.

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