Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's

Today we went to IKEA.  We moved into our little house a year ago tomorrow and to mark the occasion we thought we’d refresh the place a little.  A new sisal in the kitchen, fresh duvet covers; minor changes that feel major.

Mihiretu has been feeling a little barfy the last couple days.  This isn’t necessarily unusual.  He was malnourished until he came to America.  He overeats and then his stomach rebels.  But it seems that he is bonafide sick at the moment.  His energy is low, he was up in the night spitting into a bowl. 

But we – ok, the girls and I - were excited about the IKEA idea.  I lured Mihiretu into the car with an iPad and a quilt.  Once at the Swedish Marketplace (as my Garage friends euphemistically title it), we settled him into the cart with a borrowed pillow.

Within an hour we were falling apart at the seams.  We couldn’t agree, the girls were competing over who got more stuff for their respective rooms (always a metaphor for parental love), everyone was hungry.  We took a break, waited in the crazy long line and got ourselves some meatballs.

Mihiretu ate everything in front of him in three minutes and then said, mournfully, eyes big, “Mama…”

I placed an almost empty plate under his mouth just in time to catch the torrent of barely digested ligonberry-mashed-potato mayhem.

When that plate was exhausted, I grabbed another.  And then another.  Around us, people kept eating, oblivious.  We were all laughing, even Mihiretu.

“Well,” I said as we hastily exited the cafeteria, “That certainly cheered us up.”

We somehow made it home with our booty.  Mihiretu promptly crashed on the couch.  And our plans of going to our friend Megan’s house for the evening were revised.

And so I sit on this blue leather couch that I found (and haggled for) on craigslist a year ago, listening to Death Cab for Cutie covering Yaz, a fire in the stove.  Something I’ve spent a lot of time doing this year.    I’ll ring in the new year alone, in the presence of sleeping children – something else I’ve spent a lot of time doing.  And it all feels right. 

This was one fuck of a year, 2014.  I wouldn’t trade it but it wasn’t easy.  I’m so, so curious about what 2015 has to offer.   If this year has been anything, it’s been unpredictable.  I expect the same for the next.  There’s a beauty in that.

Monday, December 29, 2014

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

So I’ve been thinking lately about love.  Romantic love.  If it exists.  If I’ll find it.  Why I’ve lost it on the rare occasions I’ve stumbled across it.

I’m a proclaimer.  If I feel something, you’re going to know.  When it comes to love, I’m big, I’m brave, I’m foolish.  I believe in grand romantic gestures.  I ask men out.  I tell them exactly what I’m feeling.  And while this is the only way I can imagine living, almost every time in my life I’ve gone big and loved, gone big and said as much, it hasn’t worked.  The relationship, for one reason or another, hasn’t lasted (as, granted, most relationships don’t).  And it’s cost me, this huge exposure of myself, my heart out there on my sleeve getting bumped and bashed.  There is a part of me, not the big brave part, but a small delicate part, that feels unlovable.  A girl somewhere deep in there that believes that this handful of men she’s adored didn’t love her back, didn’t return the grand gestures, because she’s unworthy.

I had a conversation recently with one of this handful.  The first one of the handful.  And he told me something mind-blowing.  He said that he did indeed feel that for me.  The timing was off, the situation was off, we were too young to do right by what we felt but – shocking, shocking! – I wasn’t the only one in love-land.  I had company.

Which leads me to think that I might need to rewrite my internal script.  Instead of that old line “He isn’t with me because I’m not good enough”, maybe it should read “He isn’t with me because, well, because he’s just not”.  Maybe he loves me, maybe he doesn’t.  Maybe the picture is so much bigger than I can see.  Maybe it’s not entirely my fault, maybe the moral of the story isn’t YOU SUCK.

Of course it all goes back to my dad.  A man I’m certain loved me but whom I always had trouble connecting with.  A man that always left me feeling unworthy, not quite enough, never able to truly please him.   A man that left this world long before I could begin to try to heal the relationship, before I was even truly an adult.

Sometimes this shit, this vast psychological morass that is my emotional life, seems insurmountable.  It seems absolutely impossible that I will find a long-term truly satisfying love relationship. 

I went and saw a psychic in the last dark days of my marriage.  She said, yes, my marriage was not long for this world.  And, yes, (and this surprised me) that I would find love, big love, beyond it.  She said a man would walk into my life, a “warm” man was the only way she could describe him.  I would know him the moment I saw him.  She said she could see the way I’ll look at him.  Like Bambi, she said.  And that feeling will last, the Bambi-eye phenomenon.  She said I don’t need to go look for him, he’ll arrive when I’m ready.

So ok, Warm Man.  I’m probably not ready yet.  I need to rest this big, brave heart of mine.  But I have great, terrific hope that you exist.   I’m going to hold onto that.  Maybe that small delicate girl inside me will someday meet her match.