Monday, December 22, 2008
Changes, Soul-Searching, & Compromise
Hello, everyone! Welcome! C’mon in and get comfy. Don’t mind the mess…our cleaning lady had a bit of an accident so she’s been off for about a month. We’re picking up the slack, but not as well as she does! I *did* manage to do the dishes, so if you wander into the kitchen for a snack, there is nothing in the sink. Also, I made sure to stock the fridge, so feel free to grab a bite. Stay as long as you like. As I said, I did some cleaning so you’re welcome to wander ALL around the place. Oh - and feel free to turn off the music so you can read in peace. Or, if you're an 80s fan like me, turn it up!
The Husband and I are from different backgrounds…really different backgrounds. I grew up in the northeast – in the suburbs of New York City. We spent many weekends in the city walking around and gaining “culture!” My parents grew up in the city so there was always someplace to go. We spent a tremendous amount of time in the museums – there are so many! We made trips to the zoos (both Central Park and Bronx), the aquarium, the parks…you name it, we probably went there. We would even walk around Wall Street as Dad pointed out various buildings and Mom noted some of the architecture. We went to the philharmonic, the ballet, the opera, and, occasionally, the theater. Although I didn’t live in New York City, I was comfortable there – and I still am. Our children love to visit and explore the city (although we don’t go nearly often enough!).
The Husband is a Midwestern country boy. He grew up in the middle of a very small town and spent most of his time with his grandparents on their farm. His weekends were filled with corn and hay bales and the like. The farthest he went from home prior to graduating high school was the next state over for a baseball tournament when he was eleven or twelve. Just like his grandfather was, The Husband is a hard worker and loves the land. He wanted to go into farming but his grandfather was adamantly against it, saying it was far too risky a livelihood. Pap’s “main job” was working at the coal mines. Farming was something he did on the side. Our children love to visit their Grandma, who lives in that same small town in which The Husband’s grandparents lived. We own farm land there and the kids love to explore the land. Again, we don’t get the opportunity to visit enough.
The Husband and I met twenty years ago. We dated six and a half years before we were married. For the better part of the last twenty years, we have done things my way. Every compromise that had to be made was made more by The Husband than by me. Despite my leaving my “comfort zone” to follow his career path, I have made sure we have always done everything possible my way; we have always lived in the suburbs – in neighborhoods. We have always lived close to whatever I deem convenient. We’ve never lived more than 5 miles from a major grocery chain! We’ve never had much land around our home – our houses have always been on small lots in planned developments. Every major purchase we’ve made has had my influence…including The Husband’s vehicles! (I know – this makes me sound like a major bitch, but it really isn’t like that! I swear!)
We have both changed so much in the years we’ve been together. A lot of it has been good – he has grown up tremendously. He calls my changes more of an evolution than growing process. I can see that too. But back to The Husband. A lot of the changes have been “to” him, and not all of them have been for the good. Slowly, but surely, with each decision I’ve controlled, I have managed to chip away bits and pieces of him. I have managed to tear him down and break him in ways I never intended. If he didn’t love me so much, I’m sure he’d have left me years ago.
I have never put much thought into why we always do things my way, but yesterday was a day of serious soul-searching. Yesterday we had a LONG talk. A lot of tears were shed…by both of us…as we unraveled all that is our life (and I mean “life” singular because I’m referring to the life we share). My fear is what has driven us in this direction.
While I would never consider myself a “Daddy’s girl,” my father’s approval and opinion mean a lot to me. I cannot remember specifics, but I know he has said, “I’m proud of you!” to me. It has not happened often, but I could not truthfully tell you he has never said it. That being said, I have always been aware of him and what he *might* be thinking of what I do. One of the reasons it took The Husband and I so long to marry was because of my dad. He did not like The Husband. I know he believed I could “do better” but he was wrong, and I believe that he now sees that. Regardless, with such a rocky start to my relationship with The Husband, I am still always seeking that approval from my dad. I am in constant fear of doing things to disappoint him; of doing “the wrong thing;” or of his looking down on me in a disapproving manner.
The Husband has been championing for me for half of my life. He has never “disapproved” of the things I have done with my life. He has ALWAYS been in my corner, cheering for me. I’m not saying my dad has not been there too…but I am saying The Husband has never judged me the way a father would a daughter. It is time for me to leave my comfort zone. As I said, The Husband and I have lived the past 13 ½ years my way and it is time for me to make some compromises. It is time for me to stop worrying about what my parents will think and, in so doing, inadvertently tearing down The Husband.
We will be making some changes in the future. Some will be bigger than others and some will come sooner than others. We are incredibly fortunate and need to revel in that. It is time to count our blessings and make the changes necessary to heal ourselves. Sadly, it has taken me forty years to grow up and live my own life. I hope it does not take our daughter that long.