There are two of ‘me’ right now. Perhaps I should be thankful there aren’t more of ‘me’. That might be cause for an intervention. Or a margarita.
There’s the Mom-me and the Woman-me. The Mom-me struggles with the same things all Moms struggle with – being present with the children, not overwhelming them with direction and trying to control their behavior, pausing to laugh with them, seizing teaching moments to help shape them, remembering to clip their nails.
My responsibility to my children is clear to me. I am able to stop myself in the moment if I am being dismissive or critical and remind myself to love. To support. To parent. And to also simply be with my children wholly and fully present, with my light shining brightly.
The Woman-me fell overboard four years ago, and I let her. I watched her drift away in the currents. I couldn’t dive in to save her. I was too busy ignoring the fact that I wasn’t happy, and that my marriage wasn’t fulfilling. I was too busy not wanting to know that The Genius was living a double life, jetting off with The Happy Dance chick while I
herded cats raised our infant and toddler. I was too busy being caught up in the nets of day-to-day life to see that the very part of me that could come to my rescue was left at sea. By me.
The night of the Pocket Call I found her lodged in a storm drain, clothed in sea grass, her skin pricked to bleeding by shards of shells. I dragged her water-logged body onto the sand and back into my arms. But she’s still so wet.
Like a victim of hypothermia, she is slowly coming to. Unable to feel her extremities. Her heart beats are faint. But they are there. She looks up at me with pale green, questioning eyes.
“Why did you leave me there?”
“I didn’t know you were there. I didn’t feel you leave. I didn’t feel.”
“I didn’t leave you. You left me.”
“In case you haven’t noticed – but how could you, your face has been planted in a storm drain – it’s been pretty complicated here since you left. I mean, since I left you. The man I thought I could trust to love and protect me decided I wasn’t worth the effort. So instead, he created a sub-plot to a story we were supposed to write together. And I didn’t find out about it until he wrote the final chapter.”
We sat there looking into each others eyes seeing the sadness, the questions, the accusations, the deep need to be there for each other. We felt detached, but at least I had her back in my arms. This time for good. No one will part us again.
How did she end up in the drain? Because I didn’t stand up for her, for me. I didn’t say, “This isn’t working. My needs aren’t being met. So, Genius, before I start to resent your every breath, let’s sit down and tell each other about our needs and see if we can satisfy them, or let’s part ways.” That’s all I needed to do. Address the situation. But I didn’t. And I haven’t before. So I’m sure as hell going to start now.
As I pull the sea grass and shells from her hair I am reminded that for someone to love me I have to love myself. (We’ve been talking about this for eons, I know.) I’ve made great strides in loving myself over these last several weeks as I’ve watched my marriage vaporize and my soon-oh-so-very-please-let-it-be-so-soon former husband and his family cozy up to The Happy Dance Chick, but I’m feeling now that I haven’t been loving my whole self. I’m still a little bit on auto-pilot and a little bit Indestructo-Girl. Indestructo-Girl needs to transform into a mermaid, and I need the yoke in my hands again.
The part of myself that needs love and attention is the part that steps aside, or gets shoved aside, as I make my decisions here on the Blue Marble. Her. I wish she had been more brazen and slapped me on my ass a few times to alert me to the muck that I was wading in. But that’s not her role. If I tune in she will guide. If I tune out she will hope for the best, and shed tears over what she could have done to protect me, if only I had let her.
I want to know her better. I want us to fall in love again. So I asked her out on a date. Saturday night.
My Our place. I’m going to wash her off. Slip her into a dress. Dry her hair. Put on some makeup. And do the same for myself. I’ve been needing to dress up and don some heels – this is a perfect opportunity.
I’ll set the mood with candles, and uncork a bottle of red. Throw a grass-fed steak on the grill and cook it. Perfectly. She’ll spin tunes. We’ll sit down at the table and hold hands. Our eyes will meet, tears will surely fall. We’ll eat and drink, laugh, marvel at how well we mesh together and have an olive pit spitting contest. (She’ll win.) We’ll both feel an intense desire to never be apart. That no matter how challenging the road gets, we want to be on it together. We’ll protect each other and I’ll never leave her again. She’s beautiful. And so am I.
We’ll leave the dishes right where they are. She’ll feel safe enough to slip back into me. I’ll feel whole again. And then we’ll have a happy ending. I know you get my drift.
Then, maybe one day, I’ll sit across the table from someone who has only love in their eyes for me. Because I will have only love for myself. He’ll point out the spinach stuck in my teeth, tell me I’m glowing from within, and that he doesn’t want the night to end. He’ll celebrate my spirit and my courage. He won’t care if the steak is a tad overcooked. (It’s hard to grill grass fed!) He’ll think my flaws are badges of honor, that my size 11 feet are not flippers but brave soldiers that carry my far and high. The in-grown hair on my thigh that I obsess over he will not even notice.
He’ll be too busy breathing me into his body and telling me that this happy ending will go on forever. But even if he leaves, she’ll stay with me, and I will be forever whole.
It’s amazing what one great date can accomplish.