our story

Piggy backing off yesterday’s sap fest, I was listening to Pandora while getting ready to go to bed tonight and heard a string of words, a lyric, in a song and felt they really spoke to how Husband and I met each other.

Oh what a shame that you came here with someone”

not my best friend

Probably one of the dopiest wedding related sayings is “Today I marry my best friend.”

Just typing that enacted my gag reflex.

*shudders*

UGH.

When I was engaged, I spent a lot of time shooting down this phrase and loudly proclaiming that Husband was NOT my best friend.

 

Now, looking back, I don’t know why. I think it was because I don’t really have ‘best friends’ in general, and also because I believed (and still do) that your husband can not be ‘everything’ for you and labeling him as a best friend implies that he is ‘everything’ — friend, lover, psychiatrist, etc. But I was vehement that Husband and I were not best friends and that I could do better than him as my best friend. I played this off as a joke during our engagement and people found it very funny.

Married, I haven’t thought about this statement in a long time.

 

Today a coworker and I were talking about how Husband and I don’t have a TV. (It’s been 2 1/2 years, btw.) She was astounded and could not get over how we were surviving without one. I tried to explain that before I married Husband I was a TV addict, and I still really like Netflix, but she was brushing my protests aside. Because she really wanted to know.

WHAT WERE WE DOING, IF NOT WATCHING TV?

So I, holding a baby in my lap and absentmindedly shaking a rattle for him, told her. I read books, he goes online to research, read articles, discuss in various forums, we cook dinner, I watch Netflix, he calls friends to chat and watches YouTube videos, etc. BUT WHAT ABOUT ON THE WEEKENDS? More of the same, plus we clean, do laundry, visit the zoo, run errands, go to a museum or see relatives.

She sat back and looked at me, still dumbfounded, and said, “Wow. You guys have a really great relationship and must get along really well.”

 

And, you know? We really do.

Yesterday we got back from brunch and errands. Husband was looking on some bike forums; I was catching up on Switched at Birth and browsing Tumblr.

“Hey,” I piped up. “Let’s try geocaching. You put in some coordinates and find little treasures. There’s a bunch hidden along the Lake Shore trail.”

He looked it up to research the idea (of course), and then we were off. Four hours and three successful finds later, we were both super psyched about this new hobby.

 

Last night, before I even had this convo with my coworker, I was in the shower thinking about my relationship with Husband. And although I love him so so much and we are insynced on almost everything, I knew I still didn’t consider him my best friend.

He is just my perfect match.

 

Back in high school, I read so much but still couldn’t figure out how a relationship worked. I didn’t understand how you ‘put up’ with someone, how you found someone that dealt with all you had, met you on a certain points, and loved you unconditionally. The falling apart, the divorce, the break away, some how all that made sense to me. I could easily see myself finding someone and then having them slowly get to know me, only to desert me based on what they had found.

((Oh, this had already happened with so many friends.))

 

But Husband and I … oh man. It is so hard to write here all the nuances of our relationship without sounding cheesy or weird. If you had told me that I would find a guy that gets my Backstreet love, that would love JG as much as I did, that would visit a zoo every weekend with me and follow me on any adventure idea I had …

Are there hard times? Uh, yeah. I think I’ve written a few instances here. He’s divorced and has a kid, so there’s a shit load just from that, plus he’s a lazy procrastinator just like me, he doesn’t like to spend a bunch of money unless it benefits him directly, he has a really weak sense of how to maintain a relationship with family, he’s just ‘okay’ around kids, he can have a double standard, and God damn does that man hate to sit through movies (as well as eat seafood — he seriously like a fuckin’ two year old if you offer him seafood.)

 

 

But that list is such a bunch of crap, because of all he does. He’s there for me, even if he’s muttering crap at me under his breath. Did I mention we casually swear at each other? Oh yeah. And talk fuckin’ dirty just to make each other laugh. Speaking of laughing, that’s how most our less serious fights end up, sort of a chicken/no laughing contest business. The heavier ones? Start out with shouts and end with honesty and apologies.  There’s so much we started together as a couple, and so much we’ve hitched on for each other — like how he loves Josh Groban, and I’m a UFC fan now. He’s flawlessly work dedicated, smart as a whip, and an amazing tech geek. When I’m scared at night he’ll roll over and hold me, if I’m putting off a shower he’ll come sit in the bathroom so I’ll do it, when neither of us want to cook or clean he gets all ‘Let’s teamwork this’.

He gets along with my parents, my sisters, and their husbands.

He puts up with the Celine Dion I’ve been blaring from the laptop lately.

He lets me write and doesn’t push for details.

He listens to me rant about work and patiently says, ‘That fuckin’ bitch, what a whore,’ (which is what I told him I wanted to hear when he asked what he’s supposed to say to my rants.)

He gets upset about how I don’t drive stick shift now and then, but for the most part he’s brilliant about it.

He tells me I’m beautiful night and day, casual or fancy.

He gets the door for me, car or otherwise.

After all this time.

 

 

So no, my husband’s definitely not my best friend. What transcends that? Soul twin? Other half?

 

How about best fuckin’ person I know?

new connections

It’s funny how relationships between siblings change as the years come and go, ages and experiences changing you. I was flipping through my LJ entries a couple nights ago looking for a name and some of my entries were filled with complete disgust, yet resignation about my relationship with my sisters.

My sisters and I have been really close since birth, but we also fought a lot and had periods of times where we didn’t really want a lot to do with each other. There were years where my oldest sister (E) and I were close and went to the movies together and swapped clothes and just got each other. Then my other sister (C) and I worked together and hung out a lot, mostly with her friends, and we got into some not-so-good scraps together, but it was still fun. Then we started growing up and apart. E moved in with C and they were thick as thieves; though I visited sometimes and E&C had disagreements, they were still closer with each other than me. They went on a vacation together that I backed out of. I regret it now and wish I had gone with; I think it really contributed to us losing closeness, but at the time it was the right thing for me because I would have been miserable.

 

It was hard. It was hard because they had really similar tastes and body types compared to me. I hated drinking and going out and they both loved it. They are both incredibly social, brilliantly friendly girls and I’m … I’m me. I like to hide in the corner and conversation makes me hyperventilate. When we went out together, they ‘brought all those boys to the yard’ and I basically stood there with my low self esteem radiating off me like a repellant. They went out to talk and flirt and meet people, and if I was being dragged out I just wanted to ignore everyone and focus on our group; I’m like that now, too, though. New people make me hive because WHAT DO YOU TALK ABOUT? I mean, at the time I was fixated on Keanu/Sandra, Arthur, Backstreet Boys, and Josh Groban. I loved whatever we were studying in my courses at that time. How do you strike up a conversation about Chaucer, Middle English, in the middle of a club? You can’t. (Husband tried it once, when he was separated, actually started reciting a whole Romantic era poem to this girl because it had her name in it. She blanched and walked away.)

 

Between the end of college and getting married to Husband, I really didn’t want anything to do with my family. I am pretty ashamed of this now, but I think it was just a phase and some mental stuff I had to work through but didn’t realize it yet. I was excited to get married, move away, and I would tell Husband often that I didn’t think we’d be going down to see my family. I just wanted to be with him. E was getting married too, and C was a little lost at this time and jealous jealous jealous that we were getting married and on a path that she couldn’t see for herself yet. She was a good sport about our weddings and put on a good face, but inside it was hard. We hung out here and there, but I was really bratty about it and only wanted to hang out if we were doing things I wanted to. I think it was because Husband and I were so similar and always had the same ideas about what to do for fun; I wanted the same from my sisters.

 

Ok, so, we both got married, right? And at E’s wedding you would think nothing but rainbow and sunshine of our relationship; the three of us did a dance together at the reception and were constantly finding each other during the dancing portion to sing to each other and dance and be silly. The night before my wedding the three of us went out with our favorite cousin to see Bridesmaids, still decked out from the rehearsal dinner, and it will always be one of my favorite nights. Also my actual wedding night, where (because our reception was dinner only) we all met up at Chicago’s amazing bar The Hangge Uppe and danced all night. But that’s how it is for the three of us; when we’re together, we’re in it to win it, and we’re really great together.

 

After our weddings, though, the next two years were tricky. C and E lived a lot closer to each other than me, and saw each other a lot more. E got pregnant and had my niece. Then C got a new boyfriend and wanted to spend all her time with him (as you do). Husband and I were trying to navigate new lives in the city, plus visiting three different sets of grandparents with Stepson and keeping his ex happy. It was hard to see each other and really connect. Then my car died and I was chained to the city unless Husband could take me somewhere. C and E both moved and were now within 20 minutes of each other. They saw each other weekly, sometimes more often, and me once a month if that. Things were happening and everyone in the family knew but me; I would be told a week or so later. C was posting videos and pictures of our niece weekly, while I only saw her once a month and she barely knew who I was.

 

The thing that hurt the most for me was that for Christmas and their birthdays, I had no idea what to get them. I was vaguely guessing and felt terrible about it. Why didn’t I know my own sisters? But I didn’t really try to start a relationship again. I didn’t know how, and I convinced myself that they didn’t want one with me; they were happy with just each other. I can throw a mean pity party when I want to! Husband and I completely differ in familial relationships because his are very strained and barely existent. Mine have always been tight and secure; it wasn’t until I graduated college that things really started to unravel, and I didn’t know how to get it back together. I was frustrated and felt out of the loop.

 

Then Oct/Nov ( I can’t remember which month) 2012, two big things happened. C got engaged. It really changed the whole dynamic of our family that we were all going to be married, and ‘caught up’ with each other, so to speak. Even though she had a boyfriend, for a long time it still felt like C was ‘single’ and the rest of us had families. So her getting married evened it all out, as awful as that might sound. Also E confided in Husband and me that she was pregnant (again). It was our little secret, and I think her telling me and not telling C was a real sign to me that I needed to step it up and start giving back to these sister relationships. (WHY it meant so much: the first time E was pregnant she told C, not me, and they were actively keeping it a secret from me). So I started giving back. We began texting and talking more; meeting up when I could and hanging out. It wasn’t weekly, it wasn’t every weekend, but we were doing more than before. We were more involved with each other’s lives.

 

Another side effect of this was that we started talking about real issues. We were talking about religion, sex, and the struggles of being married. A big hurdle we leaped over was that my sisters stopped seeing me as their little sister who knew nothing to someone with a worthwhile opinion. Although truth be told I also stopped acting like a bratty know it all, so that helped too. I lacked in so many areas growing up that my intelligence was really all I had to cling to, and when I could show people up with it I did, and I did it IN THEIR FACE. Yeah, so toning that down definitely helped things too.

 

Are things perfect? No. For my mom’s birthday she, my dad, and my two sisters all went out to lunch together. I sobbed the entire time Husband drove me to work because I couldn’t be there for it. My feelings were so hurt. But now that E had her second baby, I’ve spent about three or four weekends this summer sleeping over at her house and helping with the kids. Memories and connections with her and her kids that C isn’t there for. C and I also Face Time when we can; I saw her new townhouse before anyone else because of it. We both have the same computer and went shopping a few times together. It goes both ways.

 

I wrote all this because I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of weeks; C got married on the 6th and she spent most of her wedding reception with her friends. I was really frustrated and upset about it that night (I was running on little sleep, unknowingly PMSing, and Stepson had been giving us a lot of attitude). It was towards the end of the reception (MIDNIGHT, yikes!) and I was just a crank. I think my aunt and mom thought I was being a bitch, but I didn’t really care. I just wanted to go home and sleep and was basically being forced to stay. My sisters were dancing together out on the dance floor (there was really no one left at this point) and they beckoned me out there and I went out there reluctantly and was like Gooooddddd this is awful! But I did it anyway. Because sometimes that’s what you do for your sisters and I’m finally getting that. Sometimes you just buck it up and put on a smile and then bitch about it later to your husband and then wake up the next morning and realize it wasn’t that bad and oh wait you were such a whiny asshole because you’re on your period. Ok. I saw them later that day and everything was okay, good, great.

 

We always thank our parents for forcing the three of us to share one bedroom for 18 years. But I also like to think there was some dedication on our parts as well. Dedication to keeping tabs on each other, to voicing our honest feelings, to supporting each other. It was and isn’t perfect, but it’s a good relationship.

caught in the tide

Whew.

Whew.

This has been … this has been quite a few weeks.

There’s so much I want to talk about, and yet everything’s pretty jumbled together and only ideas are spurting out here and there.

One of the big (negative) things around these parts lately is that I hate my job with a force unknown to man.

And I have no idea where it came from.

But I can not seem to get myself out of bed and to the bus with anything less than Herculean force and power. I am coaxing myself from 5:40 AM, when I wake up, to 4:!5 PM, when I get off work, that it is going to be all right. I struggle with coworkers that want to do the bare minimum of work, an unsupportive management team, and a handful of nutso parents.

A good example is of how I need pictures printed so I can put them up on the wall because the RM is coming tomorrow. As I type this, I’m stifling a laugh because it sounds so simple, so stupid — I need a fuckin’ handful of pictures printed! Doesn’t that seem like something that any other job would have handled in about 30 seconds? There was about a five hour wait by management before I was informed that the computer wasn’t printing. I hear this excuse about once a week, it is so untrue and overused.

I feel about my job the way I felt about high school — moments of hope in a cess pool of disaster.

I come home, and I write. The words, whether brilliant or stupid, rush off my fingers onto the page. Some days I write five words, others two thousand.

I fall asleep with Husband, entwined as if it is our last night together. We separate and come together, over and over, throughout the night.

 

I use the weekends as an escape from the agony of work. I play with my niece and snuggle my nephew. We renewed our zoo membership and went twice within seven days; I talk to zoo volunteers and keepers as if we are friends and am told by one that I should definitely, definitely volunteer. We spend $45 one Saturday night so we can spread our limbs in a queen sized bed and watch junk cable TV in the morning. I beg Husband to take me to Movies in the Park, brunch at Big Jones, the local park for a game of Frisbee.

 

Money is good, okay, so so so easy to handle now. Husband got his hearing aids AND glasses! Student loans and credit card payments went down down down. One is almost gone. We did have to pay for a couple months of daycare (which we did out of the goodness of our hearts) and it was $90/week and we DID IT! And no one had to get a second job. It was fishes and loaves, people. It just worked out.

And in those moments, I can breathe. We have no money saved for Montana, but Stepson was kept busy over the summer, Husband can finally see/hear, and we have passes to our happy place again (we spent five hours there on Labor Day).

 

And so it goes. I play Josh Groban at work like it’s my lifeline (some days, it is), and hum it to the babies and sometimes break out in song (“Please don’t keep your love hidden away”). I lay down on the ground and watch four or more babies crawl all over me because they can’t get close enough or enough kisses and snuggles. I talk to parents about their weekends and their good babies and how being non restrictive means everyone in class is on the move before seven months. I get rides on occasion from my co-worker and we laugh til we cry on the way home over things we forget later.

 

I work hard at it, but lately the negative is there, breaking my soul and crushing my hope. I think it’s a phase, but maybe it’s simply a driving force to get me out of this place and somewhere better, somewhere I belong.