I apologize for the completely ridiculous hiatus. Life has this weird obsession with me, and just keeps showing up. I mean, I get it- I’m pretty much the coolest. But, yo.
I will follow this post a little later today with an actual life update and my usual mental meandering. I have, indeed, stumbled through quite a bit in the last few months that has evolved me and made me just a smidge gray. But before I do, I’m about to get personal.
Well, more personal than a blog about my life already is.
So I know many of you have very gently hit me up with subtle inquiries about my significant other. Things like, “Who is that ridiculously good-looking, bearded guy you tag in your posts?” “Where do I find one?” “Does he pull up trees with his bare hands?” You know, the usual stuff. With a sprinkle of, “How did you meet?” and a dash of, “Do the kids like him?” the man in my life has garnered modest attention.
Go ahead a voice your mild displeasure- I’m not going to get into his personal life, history, or too much of our relationship. That’s not really how we roll. But I will give you the satisfaction of a, “D’awwww!” moment with us.
I am grateful for Darrin. I think, overwhelmingly, that is the first emotion I feel in his direction. Like me, and perhaps to an exponential degree, difficult things tend to find him or challenge him, and a relationship with me is no different. He is a mountain, solid and often immovable. He is a bear, protective and strong. But more than that, he is a simple heart, sincere and honest.
A man like him has already accomplished so much in his life. Five beautiful children. Twenty-six years in the military with more combat experience than anyone should have. Business owner. Mentor. Coach. You could just about wallpaper a room with all his awards and certifications and testimonies of how he has changed or shaped the lives of a small army of humans. Every day, he’s up at 4am to begin his work of helping other people, and it doesn’t end until he lays down at 9pm. Nose to the grindstone, steadily working away.
With all of this, some would say- and perhaps rightly so- that he needs to find someone quiet and professional who doesn’t add to the noise or work in his life. Someone who has also been running the race for some time, who can help him slow things down and enjoy the afterglow of the substantial body of work he has completed. For the love of God, the man has already completed four lifetimes’ worth of life.
Instead, he found himself with me- a single mother of three young, rambunctious, willful, gifted children. Sorting out legal situations. Running around like a crazy woman between work and a house and events for the children and events for herself. Full of thought processes that go on for miles and miles…always thinking, always curious, always navigationally challenged. A logistical nightmare pre-packaged with an eyebrow raised, a smirk curled, a laugh three seconds on the horizon, and a game plan that went out the window forty-five minutes ago.
In short, enough woman for all four of those lifetimes.
This is not to say that I’m not a good character pairing for him. We get along famously, and despite my foibles, my strengths are as useful to him as his hugs are to me at the end of a hard day. But, like most things in his life, this isn’t easy. Halfway through life, he’s starting over in so many ways – learning to love three new children, accept new ways of thinking, address past events in order to build foundations for a new future, etc.
That’s pretty much a metric shit ton on top of what’s already more than most humans can handle. But he’s doing it. He’s making the effort to understand and accommodate. And when Darrin drives half an hour to see me and the kids at the end of a day that started sixteen hours ago, and he walks into the house to see me exhausted with my head in my hands, he does what a brave man would do. He asks what’s wrong, tries to get a mental handle on it, and tries to fix it, through his own personal fatigue and mental noise.
At this stage in life, with previous marriages and children and properties and jobs and a kajillion really great ideas we don’t have time for, integrating lives is just damn hard. It is so freakin’ difficult, even though we love each other. And the truth of the matter is that it takes more than romantic feelings and fun dates to make a life together.
The man has brass balls.
And so I am grateful to be with someone who will try. I am grateful to take one bite of this elephant of a life we have at a time with someone who doesn’t abandon the task. There have been plenty of, Oh, shit, moments and hard conversations. There is no map for this (although, if there was one, Darrin would be all over that, and we’d be cutting through the brush going three miles straight up that mother f’ing trail to the ridge line). But he’s here and wants to be here anyway.
I am grateful for his very rare ability to change course. Even though he has spent most of his life seeing things one way, with time, he can and will accept that I see things another way. And, further, he’ll appreciate it. Darrin prioritizes our relationship and our future in such a way that I know he will always do whatever is in his personal ability to ensure its safety and longevity, even if that is difficult for him.
I am grateful for his honesty and sincerity. Right or wrong, as a matter of integrity, I can trust there is no deceit in his words or actions. That simple heart is worth its weight in gold, and it’s a comfort to me after the mazes I have been subjected to . He is a man of few words, but he means what he says. And God help the person who pokes the bear, especially if it’s done by antagonizing an innocent.
Darrin will Revenant the shit out of your life.
I am grateful for the personal evolution and incite his presence in my life has facilitated. While I believe that every person who enters our lives grows us in some way, being in a relationship with someone so black-and-white helps me understand all my shades of gray and sort them out objectively. I like superfluous amounts of words and feelings and experiences, and that muddies the water at times. But Darrin helps me see through those things when I’m too far down the rabbit hole and has helped me understand the value of boiling things down a bit.
Lastly, I am grateful for the base he has created in my home. Yes, the children love him, and in loving him, are growing in their own ways. And even with all the shenanigans and messiness of this house and this life, even when I’m tearing my hair out in frustration with the kids or even with him, he doesn’t let me go. He comes back, quick to forget the tension when it’s over for the day, and reminds me of what I am to them and to him.
Namely, that I am an actual person, unique and valuable.
So this is your introduction, world, to this person in my life and our relationship.
And this is your sappy Valentine’s Day card, love, for all that you have come to mean to me. Thank you for loving me, in spite of and because of all these things.