This Magic Moment

proposalWe met almost a year ago. The first time we met, we wouldn’t stop grinning at each other. We had the worst sushi waiter ever. He did the whole stretch-yawn-arm thing and I impatiently asked him if he was going to kiss me. He then did this voiceover thing that was something like “if I kiss her now, she’s expecting it, but if I don’t kiss her then she’s going to think I don’t want to and then what if she doesn’t go on a second date. It may be too late, maybe the moment has passed, or maybe the moment is just right oh now should I kiss her or wait? Because my voice over may make her expect it now . . . “ that had me laughing so hard I didn’t know if I could breathe.

In so many ways things moved so fast and yet so slow all at the same time. At times we have asked each other, “Haven’t we always been together?” And yet, it hasn’t been a year. But it almost has.

So last night, while at a comedy night featuring our favorite comedian and friend, I saw my boyfriend get up on stage and I waited to see what foolishness was about to happen. Then he took the mic, looked at me and asked me to marry him. Our friend cracked, “If you like it then you better put a ring on it,” which made everyone in the crowd go “ooooooh” until my boyfriend pulled out a ring box.

It was all so surreal. I found myself heading up to the stage, grateful that I had decided to shave my legs and put on a skirt (yes, these are the things that run through my head) and hoping I didn’t trip on my way over there. And then suddenly –he asked me again and there was the ring and it was on my finger and I was trying to step off the stage without falling over.

We were back in our seats, the show continued on. I looked over at him and smiled. He leaned over and whispered, “Hey, you did say yes, right?”

I took his wonderful face in my hands, feeling the stubble of his recently trimmed beard under my fingers, and I whispered, “Yes, yes, yes!” and kissed him.

I laughed at all the jokes, I smiled at our friends at the table, I felt his hand in mind. My brain tried to process everything. We knew we were going to get married – we had talked about it – but I was not expecting to be asked that night. I had teased him that I can always guess these things – but I had no clue.

The night ended in a flurry of phone calls and texts to friends and family before posting it on Facebook. Somehow, we safely got home. Somehow we got to work this morning.

The day has been a chaotic euphoria of posts and texts and phone calls still. And work and lunch and getting gas. Normal life and surreality combined and intertwined itself like it always does.

But mostly I just smile and count the minutes until I go home and ask him to tell me all again.

On Pregnancy Tests

On Monday. I took my final pregnancy test.

“We’re required to do one whenever we are doing surgery”, the nurse explained.

The irony of a pregnancy test prior to a hysterectomy was not lost on me.

It just goes to show,” my friend Mombie texted, “There have been enough malpractices for performing hysterectomies on pregnant patients.”

Other than the 10cm dermoid that has attached itself to my left ovary (which I have nicknamed my alien baby) – pregnant is one of those things I have never been.

I remember buying pregnancy tests when I thought my husband and I would try for a baby. The box sat on the shelf haunting me as months went by and nothing worth testing was happening. I remember my less-than-joking conversations about him just putting some in a cup and I would use a turkey baster.

I remember discussing infertility options with my friends in couples class through our church. Our small group soon got divided as we became the haves and the have nots. Those of us who were childless started to feel like the kids who got held back and it was hard to deal with the depression of those around me who were trying so hard and yet were left without.

I knew what my problem was, as my marriage was rocky and lacked the intimacy required to even get the process started. But my heart ached for my other friends.

We looked briefly at becoming foster parents, but I realized in my heart that my husband would not be the kind of father I would want for any child – he had too many anger issues to provide a safe and stable environment. (It took me several years to realize that if the situation was not mentally healthy for a child, it was probably not healthy for me either, but I did wise up eventually.)

After my marriage ended, getting pregnant meant something different. I remember the first time that I thought I might be pregnant – the rush of emotions as I tried to figure out what I would do if I was. I had just started rebuilding my life, and the thought of being responsible for another being scared me so much.

I don’t know what it feels like to have a line turn blue, or show a plus sign, or flash “pregnant” and now I never will. I wouldn’t say I’m sad, nor would I say I’m euphoric. I’m more thoughtfully respectful that an aspect of possibility is now being laid to rest.

I Do. (Well, He Did.)

Yesterday, I got to watch my oldest nephew marry his best friend. It was a beautiful ceremony.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Lenoir, NC my former boyfriend got married as well. I was surprised when I first realized he was getting married this weekend – I originally thought it was going to be in December.

To be honest, a part of me hoped it wouldn’t have happened at all. I often joke that I want him to be happy . . . mostly. The truth is, I really do want him to be happy. But I am concerned. It surprised me when he got engaged less than 4 months after we broke up, mostly because a major reason for our relationship ending was the fact that he had told me he didn’t want to get married at all. He didn’t even want to move in together.

It’s always tough to swallow the reality that it’s not that someone doesn’t want to get married, they just don’t want to get married to you. No one wants to feel that kind of rejection from someone they care about. It’s easy to wonder, “what’s wrong with me?” even though friends will be quick to point out that it is his loss and he’s the one who has something wrong with him. I appreciate the love from these friends – but it still stops and makes you wonder.

On the other hand, I do have a sort of survivor’s guilt when it comes to my ex-boyfriend. When we broke up, it was civil. There were tears, but there were also hugs. I was hurt that he had replaced me before ending it, and therefore preferred to have a clean break while I recovered and repaired myself and my heart.

Prior to our break-up, there were 6 of us that had a pretty special bond. 3 couples, each with at least one librarian in the mix, and we used to email and communicate daily and get together as often as we could. The first couple to move away eventually ended up in Texas, the other couple relocated to Raleigh, and then it was just he and I. I mean, we still got together with the others when we could, and emailed the others, but locally, there was just he and I. Our weekends were always spent together, most of our social activities were with my friends or The Charlotte Geeks.

So when we ended, a big part of his social life on a weekly basis was gone. He did have friends from his work that he got together with occasionally – but really, most of the past 5 years had been spent in the world of Geeks or just the two of us.

So a part of the psychologist side of me wonders if being with this new girl didn’t somehow make it more urgent that she replace his whole world – that not losing her became more important because he didn’t have much else for a while. And that maybe he rushed in to marriage with her rather than risk being left alone. And I worry that me cutting myself off from him might have played a small part in that.

I could be completely and utterly wrong. I hope I am. I hope that his decision to get married less than 9 months after we broke up is because she truly is what I evidently wasn’t – his soulmate.

As for me, a dear friend pointed out that although she hated that we ended, she felt that in the past year she got to know me better than she ever had when he and I were a couple. I know I’ve gotten to know myself better as well. I’ve had several stumbles in love – thinking I’d found something only to realize what was there was not right. But I’ve survived – I’ve made deeper friendships – and I’ve learned a little bit more about me. I’m not rushing in to anything that will jeopardize the good things that have resulted from our break up.

I hope someday that I get to say “I do” to a good man. I used to say I wasn’t interested in getting married again. In reality, I said that because I didn’t want to scare off men. At times, I think I want to swear off men, but nope – I don’t think I want that either.

Marriage is a good thing when it’s with the right one – I’m sure of that. I’ve seen it with some great couples I have known. As I continue to watch my nieces and nephews head down the aisle, I wish them love that holds fast through sickness and health, for better or for worse. Someday, I hope to find it too, and when I do – I know it will be because I took my time to make the right choice.

Engaged, Number One

When I was a child, I lived on the Atlantic Ocean.  I loved walking on the wet sand and seeing the footsteps I left behind.  I loved to see the rippling waves moving ever towards me, criss-crossing themselves to reach the shore, and then swirling around my ankles before pulling whatever they could back out to sea. 

I remember digging my toes down in to the sand, and feeling the waves erode the foundation right out from under my feet. I suppose that’s how I could have felt yesterday when I got my ex-boyfriend’s text. 

When would be a good time to talk?”

 I stared at the phone for a minute. 

Umm.  Are you ok?” I typed back.

I thought  to what could be wrong:  something medical, the passing of a family member or friend, a bill collector trying to track down my ex-husband.

Rather than be distracted all day at work, I stepped outside and gave him a call.

He apologized for bothering me at work – he hadn’t meant to upset me.  He asked how I was doing and I was able to say confidently, “Great – and you?”

Really good, he said.  And then he told me he and the woman he had left me for were getting engaged. They would marry in December.

When it’s right, it’s right.”

I wished him all the best and we got off the phone.  I would be lying if I didn’t say I was surprised.  One of the major reasons why our relationship ended was because he had stated that he didn’t see himself ever wanting to live with someone else, let alone get married.   

It’s funny how things change. 

Had I gotten this news even a few weeks ago, I might have been angry and bitter and devastated.  I would have felt the tide pull away my foundation.  But the same waves that took him away, brought something better back to me.  And I’ve picked it out of the tides and have taken it home with me.

As I told a friend when discussing it, it just doesn’t make sense to hold on to what has ended – it just delays me from grasping hold of what can be.

Whether it be the waves below, or the ocean of stars above, I cannot regret losing what was never mine to have.  I will enjoy the things the waves brought in and out of my life, and my voyages on this life’s sea.

So, in the words of Jean-Luc Picard, Engage Number One!