twenty

Last week.. actually it’s almost two weeks now.. we had our twentieth wedding anniversary. This makes me happy. Of course.

Sometimes people say it’s something to feel proud of. Making a relationship work for that long and still missing each other during the day and still wanting to fuck and stuff like that. They’re like, you must have worked hard to do that. And I’m like.. well… no.

It’s easy.

Being married to Daniel is the easiest thing in the world. Being happy with him, wanting to make him happy, wanting it so much that it is easy to put aside other things I might want is not something that takes an effort to do. Making him happy makes me happy. When people talk about having to work to achieve this, it doesn’t seem like how my life is. Aren’t the “other things” meant to fade away when compared to your spouse’s wants and needs? If they don’t come first and you have to force it, why persist with the relationship? Is this part of the reason why so many places have such high rates of separation and divorce?

It isn’t that we never disagree about things or have different preferences. We do. It’s just that it’s rare that we might have different views and it is a super high priority for both of us. If something matters more to him than it does me, then it’s easy for me to let go of what I wanted and he is the same. Sometimes I do do things that don’t feel instinctively natural, like offering to give him a Creme Egg. Sometimes he will take it and say thankyou and sometimes he says it’s ok and I should keep it for myself. Sometimes I cut up onion for him.

Where I run into problems is when what I want to be able to give him does not match up with what I have the ability to give him. I want to give him everything. The world. All of the most interesting and exciting things there are to see and do. But not even all of those things that aren’t even realistic for most people. But maybe the luxury of a car with decent air-conditioning and a stereo that works properly. Of not having to feel bad when your glasses are going to cost a few hundred dollars. Something he has been interested in doing for ages is getting a motorbike license but the course to learn has always been too much. I would love to be able to pay for the course for him as a surprise for his birthday or something like that. Like this year would be especially good because he’s turning 40 and it could be his midlife crisis, right on time. As it is he will probably have to go without one because we can’t afford it.

He doesn’t complain about these things. He doesn’t ask more of me than I am able to give. He actually encourages me to take it easy and rest more than I am likely to do by myself. I apologise sometimes for not having managed to do a particular thing on a particular day and he tells me not to worry about it. And I am so glad that he doesn’t worry about it and doesn’t feel resentful or ripped off at what I can’t manage. But I do feel that. It’s not just material things. Sometimes I would like to be all kinky and throw him down and do unspeakable things to him and be the boss and whatever… but five minutes in and my body is saying ouch. Or he wanted to go to a boating and fishing show and I said I would go with him and he said he thought it would be a lot and I said I’ll do it anyway because you want to go, but then he said it’s at like [wherever] and I realised that it really was a gigantic place and I probably could not actually do that. It is hard not to resent the things that I have to give up on and let go of because of this stupid condition. When it means that he is also giving up on things, it’s almost unbearable.

But somehow he doesn’t seem to be bothered by that. He says he just wants me. And that’s where I have a problem understanding, because I don’t know what is so good about me. There are the obvious reasons, of course, with baggage and being conditioned to believe that I was a pathetic excuse for a normal human being and that is a big factor. But even logically putting that aside I recognise that there is nothing special. There are lots of people that share some of the same traits that I do that are what I think make me a decent person. Some of them even aren’t crazy or fibro’d.

But then I think about it the other way around. If he was the one with fibro or anything else, I would do all I could to ease things for him. And I wouldn’t be mad about it because it would feel worse to know he was hurting and not do anything about it. And he is a good person and has lots of good qualities but so do lots of other people. But none of them appeal to me. So what is it?

Je ne sais quoi.

No one else is him. It is intangible, it is something I feel in my heart and my soul and in my breath and dreams and through other dimensions and lives. And knowing and feeling that means that even though I don’t fully understand it, I can believe that he wants me because no one else is me.

twenty

the paternal relationship

When I was a kid, other kids asked me what it was like not having a dad. On occasion I felt the need to point out that I did have one, and death doesn’t equal not having existed at all. But most of the time I just pointed out that with so few memories of him, it was just normal to me for him not to be there. What is it like having one who is there all the time? They think that’s a silly question, because that’s just how things are. You don’t ask people “what is it like breathing?” And for both myself and the other person, the state of having or not having was a normal one and so not something you felt the need to stretch to describe.

For the most part it was not something that bothered me. With so few memories of what it was like before, when he was there, it was hard to put together a comparison in my head of then versus now and decide which one was preferred. Of course I would have liked it if I didn’t have a dead parent, but being so young when he died it was hard, as a child, to see how before and after were different, apart from the obvious.

When we got married my grandfather gave me away. That was fine, it was not any big heartache to me that my father was not there to do it. Perhaps because it was not something I had ever looked forward to or imagined happening one day. Five year olds are not generally fantasizing about their one-day wedding. So probably I always knew that if/when I got married, it would be my grandfather giving me away.

Neil tried to teach me to drive. That.. went. The first car he tried to teach me in was his car, a somewhat temperamental manual that you kind of had to have an intimacy with in order to work it. I couldn’t even start it. And that clutch business, jesus H. I don’t know if it was the way that Neil tried to explain it or if it was because of the way the car was, but I didn’t fully understand the way a clutch worked until I was in England and watched Daniel driving.. and wondered why he wasn’t doing it the way I had understood Neil to have instructed. Later after we came back from England he tried to teach me in Herta (auto) and that wasn’t going too terribly, I think, until the day he was directing me into the carport at his and my mum’s house. One of their cars was already in there, but it’s quite long so you can fit two in. He stood behind the other one and kept beckoning me forward. “Keep going, keep going.” So I kept going and he ended up temporarily pinned between the two cars. I believe that traumatised me much more than him and I don’t think there were many more lessons after that.

Neither of those experiences really made me feel any more bothered than I ever had been about his absence, though I do think that as an adult I understood more the types of things I had missed. But it wasn’t just adulthood that really made me feel his absence – it was motherhood. Watching my daughter and then daughters interact with their father and their grandfathers. And then, strangely, even more so as the mother of a son – seeing how his relationships with his sisters, parents and grandparents develop. There is something very special about watching the relationship your children have with your parent/s. To see the way each of them loves my mum and how she loves them – it’s a relationship that is independent of me and would carry on without me, but could not have existed without me. So it’s a wonderful feeling of appreciating the beauty of grandparent-grandchild love and knowing that I had a big part in that being able to happen. It’s not the same with Daniel’s parents, as I think that probably most people don’t feel exactly the same thing for their spouse’s parents as their own, and also with them being in England their relationships with the children must unavoidably develop differently. And it’s not the same with Neil, either. While I don’t doubt that he loves each of the kids and they all love him; I feel reasonably sure that he is not at all like the kind of grandfather that my dad would have been. So that makes me feel an empty spot, the sadness over what my children will miss because he is not here and the sadness that I don’t get to watch that and take away the warm fuzzy feeling for myself.

Strangely, I think also that as I am with Daniel for longer and longer, that also contributes to the feeling of loss. Because now I see and every day, household example of an adult male and how they “work” on a broad level. And sometimes when I am excited or sad or humoured or depressed, I want Daniel to either share it or heal it. And sometimes I want my mother. And sometimes I want my father.

driving to bendigo (by wiccked)

the paternal relationship