The Best Kind of Joy

I am sitting across from my cousin, we are eating a delish lunch of jerk chicken wings and philly steak pizza. You know I say, I have to admit that as much as I hated it, and as much as it hurt, I am really glad about what happened. He knows, he was there. First time I had seen him in years, he was a big part of my recovery (return to sanity). The journey was difficult, and even though I met the pirate soon after the events took place, we did not actually start to spend time together for two more years. I was in no condition. Early on people told me it was time to get over it, friends, relatives, strangers on my blog, but the therapist said you cannot put a timeline on your grief. And I didn’t. My choice was to do it drug free, but not without the help of some intensive stuff. I know, I talk about this alot, but really it consumed my life for a year, for two years and now I can tell you in my waking hours it consumes me little. There are moments though when I look at my life as a before and after. I know you aren’t supposed to compare one relationship with another but sometimes I have no choice but to do so. The one I am in now is so different, so completely and utterly different that at times it takes my breath away. I tell my cousin, that first of all the events brought me back to my family, particularly him and his father, whom I call and talk to, and sometimes tell him, you are the closest thing I have to a father, since mine passed 19 years ago. It deepened my friendships with several people, including the woman who introduced me to the pirate. And I am filled with thanks for that previous situation, because a couple of the people I knew because of that relationship saw me through, and one of the them introduced me to this man. My cousin says that he is glad too, that we got in touch again and says something that is interesting to me, he said I don’t understand why you weren’t with a hunting, fishing, outdoors guy to begin with. My sister’s husband is not like that I say, and yet he is cool. True. But for me, now, in retrospect, this man is so right for me, precisely because he is that way. I am in the shower, I come out to breakfast on the table. I make breakfast, he clears the table, takes care of the dishes, and wipes down the table, the counter. We are out, he is always prepared, always with tissues, toothpicks, breath mints, water bottles. He puts his hands behind his head while we lounge in the hot tub, I love to take care of my family, to provide for them. I wish I was on that list I say, teasing, at least a little, what do you mean he says, you are my family. In a conversation about other people and other things, he says the thing about having children is that you have to give up certain things, and you have to make sure that you are doing what a man should do, and make sure you are providing for the mother and the child. You cannot just quit your job and expect the mother to pick up the pieces. I grow quiet. I wish I had known him 22 years earlier. I wish I had known myself better. I wish I had known him 10 years ago, when I was working two jobs and providing not just for my child, but for someone else’s, a grown child, a child who didn’t understand the rules, who used me quite without remorse.

And now that so much time has passed, I can see the slow progress of getting from there to here. The moments of utter dejection, rejection, loss, the tears that fell. The clearing of my mind, as though I woke one morning to a terrible fog that lifted day on day, week on week, year now, on year, until it has dissipated into a clear blue sky sunny day. But it isn’t just the fog of that relationship, but another kind of fog, a fog of confidence, security, and understanding. I don’t question my pirate, I never say to myself, does this guy love me? I know it, it is obvious in his actions, and he doesn’t fake it, not anything. There is no pretend. I tell him marriage means nothing to me, I don’t want it, I say, because if it is easier to get a divorce than it is to marry, whats the point. Why bother with it. And I tell him, I don’t want anyone to even bother asking to marry me unless its with the understanding that it is a lot of work, sometimes it down right sucks, but the idea behind it, is to keep your commitments and work through the hard times. He is quiet, I can hear what he is thinking, I tell him, but I know you, if you ever did ask me to marry you, you would mean it, all the way. You are damn right he says. In my heart, I mean it though, marriage isn’t the point, the friendship, and the family part of it are the point. You don’t just leave your family, you don’t just walk away when things are hard, never looking back, you don’t just dump your best friend, crying at the loss of it, but not caring in the end, about the heartache you have caused, and the emotional destruction you have wrecked on the other people your choices have wrought.

My daughter is in a place right now that isn’t good. And I am powerless to have an effect. This situation has left her in a place that I worry cannot be undone. It is as though her fog had never lifted, and perhaps never will.

I have let go of trying to fix it, though. All I can do is be there for her to help her put back together the pieces, and strongly impress on her the importance of the choices she makes today, on her long term future. It is heartbreaking to watch her self destruct. I know how it is, I have been there. One day, perhaps when she is 44 she will see, that if only she had known her self a little better, if only she carried her confidence a little higher. Maybe then she will know the best kind of joy.

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