Last night, I spent my evening talking about the various key relationships of my life while out to dinner with a male friend. The conversation was therapeutic in the sense of it being nice to talk to a neutral party about the whole L thing, and interesting in the sense of the perspective that I received in response to my sharing.
I’ve known W since we moved to this town at the end of 2004. He couched BoBo in baseball for several years, with me taking on the Team Mom responsibilities for 1 of these seasons. During my struggles with BoBo, he and I talked at length on occasion for the purpose of comparing notes and creating a support system for tracking down each of our boys. Although each of us have previously shared sensitive topics with each other (W was one of the earliest readers of my blog in it’s beginning stages), our friendship has been one of distance.
My initial reaching out to W occurred only after a series of well-spaced invitations from him to “catch up.” The last of these invitations appeared on my “wall” (FB) after I’d written Happy Birthday on his. Like anything on FB, the back and forth that followed did not go unnoticed. The simple fact that I was planning to meet W in person was enough to spark an interest in L’s mind. He was amused that I just happened to call only seconds after his discovery. And when I had begun explaining the type of relationship which W and I had, as well as the driving force (which I am not sharing here) with L, he interrupted with “Julie, you don’t have to explain.” I did anyway, of course. Shortly after that, W and I took the writing off-wall.
W and I did a lot of talking. No, I did a lot of talking. W mostly listened, asked questions along the way, and offered up his perspective here and there.
Our conversation covered the kids. We compared notes, sharing our hopes and fears for our children. We validated the decisions made along the way and reinforced the convictions brewing in the background. The fact that W had no idea that I’d sent BoBo to live in Hawaii showed me just how far I had removed myself from him. Not wanted to have my decision scrutinized, I did this with many of the parents whom I’d known though BoBo’s activities. Of course, W completely understood my decision to send BoBo away as well as the distancing of myself that followed.
W, who is divorced and has been separated from his ex-wife for 3+ years now, is still not “dating.” He says that he is still in the rebuilding stages and prefers to just “hang out” with friends. No kisses. Nothing more than talking. I found this interesting and, at the same time, unsettling given my hopes for L and me. But W’s children are young and his situation complex. Perhaps the rebuilding process will be quicker for L. One would hope.
After conveying my attempt to minimize contacting L, W asked me why. I began with “Because that’s what people think I should do.” I then gathered my own thoughts and stated that I felt the need to protect myself from more pain, that I wanted to give L space to work through what ever he needed and, at the same time, miss me a bit. Then, I admitted that my attempt at distancing myself had failed – somewhat. I needed to see (via photo or other) the blanket that L’s mother had made him as I am trying to create one for BoBo’s Christmas gift.
Not only did I call him, I went to his house…and now have his blanket at mine. The funny thing is, that as I sat in his living room with him conveying my hurt as well as my revelation that I *had* known all along what he was crying out for — also pointing that L went right along with me down the path we traveled — L wore a look of confusion on his face.
I reminded L of how I’d had a well defined wall of separation between us in the beginning but had put down after he’d written in an email summarizing a conversation with Big Sis and Big-Brother-In-Law which described ” how far from ready I am to move into a husband/wife kind of relationship, how I’m still really screwed-up upstairs, scared, lost, wanting to keep it all simple, not even sure if I still believe in longterm relationships…” *This email* was a turning point where I took down my wall and took a chance at creating something from our friendship. I put it in writing, of course.
But I am getting off track. The confused look on L’s face told me something was amiss with my perspective of the last conversation. I clarified my point, saying that I finally hear what he’d been saying all along when he phrased it the way he did on Tuesday night. He asked, “What did I say?” Of course he knew what he said, but wanted for me to point out the specific message I was referring to. I noted that he’d said that he was “not over her” or “over his marriage” or “however you phrased it. It’s kind of hazy.” He tried to explain his point. He tried to convey the brokenness as well as his pain at never having had a chance to make it right. He clarified that he was not wanting, or willing, to return to her. I guess L was trying to state that he was in the “rebuilding” stage.
Anyhow… W just smiled at me as I told this story. As I finished, he asked me “Where are you today?” I wasn’t sure. I noted that I really liked L — loved him even.
W’s parting advice was this…
Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life. – Proverbs 4.23
Although not in Bible quote form, I’ve heard this message before. Thanks Mom!
Really, I’m trying to guard my heart. At least now have the distraction of finishing BoBo’s Christmas blanket before he arrives from Hawaii. There are only 5 days until Christmas. Yikes! I have a lot of work ahead of me on this gift as well as filling Santa in on who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.