Geesh this should be interesting.
Why I am posting about this topic I am not sure, except that I keep hearing tiny inferences to it directed my way in increasing frequency. So I am guessing that either the acceptable amount of time has passed and now people think I should be "moving on" in terms of love (which was blatantly said to me by an aquaintance whom I felt that it was completey inappropriate of him to be telling me any such a thing) or maybe people are worried that I might end up a lonely old lady. I don't know. But anyway, in terms of love, I would have to start at where I came from. This post will be part 1.
If you've read this blog for a while, you would know that the love that Joe and I had for each other was real. When I say real, I mean a few things. First and above all, there was a deep genuine desire for each other to be happy. Notice the underline, this does not work one-way. This does not work when one person repeatedly puts their own needs and wants in front of their partner's. I could not live happily unless I felt that he was truly happy with his life. He felt the same way for me. If I wanted something he always encouraged me, he was always 100% behind me.
A few months before he died this topic was brought to the forefront when a conversation took place in which a husband was complaining directly to Joe about "never getting to do what he wants to do" (which happened to be a week+ long trip somewhere, by himself). He blamed his wife and basically the fact that he had a family for impeding on his own life's desires. I watched this conversation unfold and felt somewhat horrified by it. Joe went along with the conversation basically commenting that yes, a trip like what the guy was describing seemed like it would be fun.
That night I kept having little tidbits squeek back into my head about what that husband had said. It was just wrong on so many levels to me (way too many to delve into here) but it led me to wonder, did my own husband feel the same way? Joe was always talking about things he would like to do, did he also secretly blame me and our kids in some way for the fact that he didn't do them? I could not deal with the thought of my husband, a person whom I loved and respected long before we got married and had kids, not living a life that he wanted. So before 10 or 20 years passed, and he was sitting on a couch somewhere complaining, I figured I would ask him. I sent him an email the next morning with basically one sentence asking him if he felt the same way as that husband did.
He sent me an email back that could have been just "No I don't feel that way" or "I don't know what you're talking about" or whatever. But he didn't. He sent me a long email (which I can't post here because it would be inappropriate to do so) in which he said he did not feel that way but he also said things like:
"Any week long vacations that I have I would rather leave that to enjoy my time with you and the kids"
and (speaking of the type of trip the husband was talking about)
"I guess that’s something that we could do as a family if the kids were older and we were into it.."
"I enjoy my time w\ you and the kids and they are not young forever and I would NEVER take that for granted......."
"I hope you get the point I am making…So, when he says stuff like that…I let it roll off my back… Even If we had months off, I would rather spend it with my family."
I was surprised at the time he put into his response to me, but I wasn't at the same time. That is the man I fell in love with.
My response back to him is so ironic it just makes me cry. This email exchange is from April 10, 2007, 3 1/2 months before he died.
"I am so glad that you are my husband.
When (husband) says stuff like that it makes me feel like it's MY fault that you "can't" do things that you want to do (especially since he looks right at me when he says it). That is so insane. I feel like we both make many sacrifices and they are first and foremost for our kids first, then each other, and we don't feel the need to complain about the situation all the time because we know why we are doing what we are. I don't feel like I am living the perfect life in terms of doing what I want when I want to, and I am sure that you don't either. But I do feel like my life couldn't get much better than it is.
There are many times in a day when I hug the kids or look at them and think "God please don't change anything" and I know and appreciate the fact that things could change in an instant. If one of the 4 of us got sick, if one of us got into an accident, etc this life that we have now would change and although some days my nerves are shot from listening to these kids yell/jump/argue/generally be annoying, what keeps me going is that I know why I am doing it and I know how lucky I am. I am committed to my kids and to you and the 3 of you come first with me.
I know that (husband) would just say you are saying these things because it's what I want to hear....that you are your real self when you are with "the guys" and I'll just have to trust that that's not the case."
To that he replied, "I love you."
The reason why this email exchange is part 1 of my topic of "Love" is because it shows that my husband was not the type of person that put his own wants/desires/wishes before those of his spouse. And neither am I that type of person. Joe and I were in our marriage and in our family by choice and purposefully. We did not lose sight of that. And that is the foundation that made our love so special.