Day 175: Debates and Friends that Become Family

There is not much to say about the debate last night.  Rand took a few shots at Rubio, Rubio had some back and forth with Cruz.  Trump said some crazy, ridiculous things, including, maybe shutting down the Internet and killing family members of terrorists, and Cruz said some things that were slightly less crazy, in a very Cruz way.  Fiorina played the woman card, after promising she would not, and apparently forgot why General Patraeus resigned.  Rand tried to sound like his foreign policy is mainstream.  Rubio still doesn’t know the difference between “less” and “fewer.”  Jeb had a few good stabs at Trump, but seemed to cross the line to seem petty at least once, and didn’t contribute much else.  Christie can’t help but bring up his experience as a prosecutor or 9/11 every time he opens his mouth, but appears competent.  I’m not sure why Kasich is still in it at all.  So, pretty much the usual.  My more eloquent thoughts are available on Twitter.

Over the weekend we had guests and we said our farewells just before the debate started.  Their visit has left me with a few thoughts.

First, because this is all about me, I don’t think I realized how much I needed direct, live, social interaction with a female human adult who is normal, interesting, intelligent, and non-judgmental, until I had it again. I’m not saying I haven’t had any of it since we moved, but it has been two months since I have had that in any substantial amount.  I knew I was missing it before she got here, and I knew I missed her in particular, but I didn’t realize how much.  It was harder to say goodbye than I was able to admit.  I tend to gloss over goodbyes, “We’ll see you soon,” no big deal, but actually I hate goodbyes.

This move has been challenging.  More challenging than I anticipated and more challenging than I have dared to admit, even in a whisper, even on my super-secret blog, because if I admit it, it’s real, and I have to do something about it, and I’m not sure there is anything to do, and oh how I hate that.  Admitting there is a problem I can’t fix is like…I don’t know what it’s like, but it has to be up there with one of the worst feelings.  The only thing worse is feeling like there is a problem that cannot be fixed and will never get better.

HW and the kids have adjusted beautifully, so beautifully.  They all love it here, and for good reason.  It is their new home, and they are happy.  The younger kids don’t remember anything different, and the older ones have already built strong friendships and have committed to living in Florida in a serious way, again, for good reason, because it is amazing.  HW is more satisfied at work than I have ever seen him, and he is killing it.  He’s busy, but he’s balancing it, he likes the work he’s doing and the people he’s working for, and his future looks very bright.

That should all be enough.  And, in many ways, it is.  There is no way I could be happy if those things were not true.  I am, truly, only as happy as the least happy person in this house.  I know, that sounds ridiculous.  Pathetic even.  But it’s true, and it leaves me with this great opportunity, and I feel like I’m wasting it, for which I feel guilty, and that doesn’t help anything.

One of the things I loved when we first moved here was this apparent openness and acceptance of people for whomever they are.  And to a large extent, I still think that’s true, but there are caveats.  There are these little distinctions.  There is a lot of freedom to be who I am in some ways, but in some other ways, doing things differently is not tolerated, and results in exclusion from certain circles, circles one wants to be part of if one wants access to the best schools and opportunities for their children.

I am already different in some ways I can’t (or won’t) change.  We have four children instead of one or two.  I’m thirty instead of forty.  I have a law degree, but I stay home.  We do not make $1 million+ per year.  We do not have a Bentley.  Or a beach house.  Or a full-time staff.  All of that, I think, is fine, as long as other rules are followed.  I’m still figuring out what those rules are, but I think it probably involves wearing a bra most of the time, which is not great news for me.

Anyway, because I am still figuring out these rules, and how closely I have to follow them to avoid causing my children to be social pariahs, I am cautious with people, and that’s not something I’m great at doing, as I’m sure I have written about before.  It’s always a struggle.  Some of that is probably bad.  Grown up people need to learn to establish normal boundaries, to figure out when to hold back and when to open up.  But some of that is also who I am, and as much as I am critical of myself for a lot of things, if I’m honest, that’s one thing I don’t want to change.

Now that things are settling down, or rather, after things settle down, sometime in early 2016, I need to figure this out.  I don’t have a lot of free time, and won’t, until at least the end of February (probably sometime in 2020), but keeping in better touch with long-distance friends and making new local friends needs to be somewhere on my high-priority list.

My second thought about our visit is that sometimes things work out the way they are supposed to.  Sometimes people come into your life, and it seems like a normal, natural thing, time passes, you build a relationship, and even when it would make sense for that person to pass out of your life, that person stays, and it’s exactly as it should be.  That’s all a bit vague, even for me.

A few years ago my younger brother (see any number of previous posts for background) married a girl I had never met before.  We spoke on the phone a couple of times and only met in person the weekend they got married.  In fact, I was the “best woman” that day, and didn’t get to spend much time with her until later.  Although we lived in different states, we stayed in contact and spent Christmas together that year, with more of my family, even though my brother was on another continent.  We were both going through a rather challenging time, but I think we connected in spite of that, rather than because of it.  She is just one of those people.  As soon as she spent time with my children, they were in love, and I can’t blame them, she was a total natural, and it felt like she had always been part of our family.

The next few months were tough for both of us, but she came to visit and we continued to keep in touch, and by the beginning of that summer we moved to be a short drive from her and we saw her regularly.  Things unraveled quickly between her and my brother, for reasons I’m not sure most people would believe if I told them, and I was very sad for her.  It was all very strange, and although I was truly happy for her and relieved for her when it was over, I was also very sad, because I worried it would mean the end of a relationship I had truly come to cherish.

I remember having this conversation with HW, in our old kitchen, admitting to him and to myself that it would probably be easier for her to move on with her life without us.  He agreed, but added that really, that was up to her, and we would just have to see what happened.

Time passed, and she did move on.  She was able to put the bad things that happened to her behind her, and thankfully, that did not mean us.  When we moved last year, we saw her less frequently, because we were a plane ride instead of a car ride away, but she made the effort to come out one weekend soon after the baby was born because she knew HW would be out of town and I would have been on my own, and she came last weekend and planned her trip to be able to see our oldest daughter perform in her dance recital.  She convinced her boyfriend (whom I actually like, which is kind of a big deal, and honestly, no one was more surprised than I was) to make their special trip together for the season to be to come here, to see us.  To watch one child in a dance recital, to play Legos with another, to twirl on the beach with another, and to be a teething soother for yet another.  Because that’s what family, real family, does.

I wish I had more time and opportunity to socialize with adult friends, and I wish I had a different, closer relationship with most my family members.  But I don’t.  They are who they are and I am who I am.  What I do have are some really incredible people, some related by blood, some not, who love and support me and my family, and for that I am extremely thankful.







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