So here I am again to wrap up this month. I really am trying to write at least once a month, but I’ve been thinking about this blog recently. I had an amazing therapy session and want to tell you all about it. And I want to brag about my husband a little, because he’s awesome and I don’t say that nearly as often as I should.
I haven’t really spoken about him too much on here, or about how we met. Our entire relationship was actually orchestrated by my mother. Can you believe that this woman literally has touched EVERY SINGLE aspect of my life, including choosing my husband? I’m not exaggerating in the slightest here, she actually sought him out with me in mind. Who can say that about their relationship?! Was there ever a time in her life that my mother wasn’t always thinking about her children? It’s because of this that I can say with complete certainty that my mother loved Dominic like her own son. She loved him so much. She would buy things at the grocery store specifically because he liked them. Whenever she needed something done around the house, or just in general, she would call him. She called him “Dobby,” which was Isabel’s name for Dominic when she was a little girl and just learning to talk. He called her “Dranny,” again a name Isabel had come up with, and this is what Isabel referred to my mother as. They never called each other any other name. Even after we were married he said, “I can’t call you mom – your name is Dranny.”
So around seven years ago I am a newly single mom with an almost 2 year old and I am zero percent interested in dating anyone at all, maybe for the rest of my life. My relationship with Isabel’s dad had ended about nine months earlier and we were struggling (to put it mildly) to co-parent with each other. To be honest, we hated each other at the time. It is easy to look back and see that we were both just being children and immature about many things, but at the time it was a really difficult relationship and it caused a lot of stress to my life in general. I had dated someone else in the spring and found that I was just really bad at picking potential partners and had come to the conclusion that I should just take a break from dating in general (and possibly forever). So I was going to school and being a mommy and living my life for those two things. My dad was the golf pro at the city golf course where we lived, and had held that position for the last 16 years of my life. Dominic had started working in the kitchen in the restaurant of the golf course that summer. My mom, who literally never went to the golf course, happened to be up there and met him one summer night, and spent the entire evening talking with him. They talked about life, his past relationships, his recent graduation, the car he just bought. And she actually said to him, “Why can’t my daughter date you?!” I had met him in passing at the course and thought he was attractive, but again, had a general motto of never dating anyone ever again, so I really didn’t pay him any mind.
At the end of October my Dad was being laid off, due to restructuring in the city, and my sister and I made plans to take Isabel to the course every day of his last weekend there. The first night we went there for dinner and sat with one of my dads friends. A mutual friend was bartending and came over to our table to get our order, and then to ask what I “thought about Dominic.” I told her I thought he was a good looking kid but that I didn’t really know him. She came back with our order – a chicken sandwich that Sara ordered, and Dominic thought was for me – so he put heart shaped tomatoes on it. I popped my head in the kitchen to say thank you, but he really didn’t say anything to me, just a quick “you’re welcome,” so I thought that was the end of that. The next night was Halloween and Isabel and I went up to the golf course to see my dad in our costumes – we were Captain Hook and Tinkerbell. Isabel danced with my dad and I sat with Dominic. In his defense, he was beyond drunk, so maybe that’s why he was so quiet, but he said next to nothing to me that night. And again I thought, well he must really not be that interested. Sunday I friend requested him on Facebook and we messaged back and forth, and I gave him my number. We went to see a movie that week and were officially dating two weeks later. A month after that he told me he loved me. That was seven years ago. It’s funny looking back at how everything played out between us, how quickly we fit into each others lives, settling into a rhythm that felt like it had always been there.
My ultimate point of this post is A. to talk about my amazing husband but B. to tell you all how he has been through this grief journey. We had a rough couple of days last week – I had a grief attack (that’s what they are called allegedly) and was irritated that I had to spell that out for him, that he didn’t even consider that could be what was wrong with me. So I went to my therapy session armed with this information and told her about what happened. And so I told my therapist that I asked Dominic to just understand what I was going through and to acknowledge that it was happening. I didn’t need him to fix it or to not do what originally triggered me, but just to acknowledge it was real. And she said, so what would that look like to you? I hadn’t considered that, what that would mean for him, how exactly he goes about doing that. And so that’s what I said, I don’t know. I don’t know what it would look like, I don’t know what he should say or do or not do, I don’t know. Right, because there is no ideal. The ideal is that your mother is here and alive and that is not possible. Did you tell him that you had an attack? No I didn’t. Because I don’t share that with anyone. Because I have a tremendously hard time being vulnerable with anyone, including a man I’ve known and loved since I was 19, with whom I’m raising two daughters, despite the fact that he has only ever loved and supported me, flaws and all. I still can’t share that. I don’t know why. It is easier for me to avoid my feelings and pretend they don’t exist, to have those moments in private and then collect myself and pretend that they don’t happen. That I’m strong all the time. That I can do it myself, that I don’t need help. So then how you can be upset with him? You didn’t communicate with him that you were having an attack, how can he do anything if he doesn’t know? Well shouldn’t he just know?! Shouldn’t he be able to read a situation and think to himself this might trigger her? Don’t you feel like if I tell him it doesn’t count? No he wouldn’t think that, because you pretend like you don’t have triggers. I’m not kidding when I say this changed my life. THIS CHANGED MY LIFE. I have, for whatever reason, felt that if I tell someone what I want, if they do that thing, the thing that will make me happy, it somehow doesn’t count, because I had to tell them to do it. And I said that to her, don’t you feel like it doesn’t count if I tell him to do it? No, it counts. I have to make my husband lists for him to do what I want him to, and he does it. If you asked Dominic to do something, would he do it? Do you think he would judge you if you told him you were being triggered, or if you told him you were having a grief attack? Yes, he would do what I asked him, no he wouldn’t judge me. He would be lovely and perfect and understanding and would take care of whatever I needed. So….you need to communicate what you need to him then. Because by making sure your needs are met, you are mothering yourself. This is how you mother yourself. You’re mother isn’t here anymore, you have to learn how to do this for yourself. It cannot be up to Dominic to mother you, he is not your mother. You have to figure out how to do that and how to communicate what you need from him. You can’t be upset at him for not giving you something you never asked for.
It might just be me, because these are obviously my own issues, but this for real changed my life. It will change how I am for the rest of my life. And let’s just point out that this will of course be a learning experience for me, and I will at times revert to avoidance because it is familiar and comfortable, but having it put so plainly for me is like. OH. Well when you put it that way, I guess I’m a lunatic. Again let me say, if you’re not in therapy I highly recommend it. I could be a fully functioning human without it, I would figure it out eventually on my own, but man is it awesome to not have to do that on my own. Sometimes hearing something from someone who is objective in your life is just the perspective you need. And so I leave the session having a better understanding of myself and also of my husband, who is trying to navigate through this too, following a mute wife who won’t say how she’s feeling. I drive home contemplative and then text him everything we talked about in the session, everything I’m feeling, and for what is probably the thousandth time in the seven years I’ve loved him, humbly admit that I have no idea what I’m doing, and fully expose and acknowledge my flaws to him, as if he didn’t already know. He responds about as perfectly as a human can respond, giving me only love and support, and acknowledging that when a person pretends that everything is ok, most of the people around you believe that. Imagine that. When we were first dating I used to tell him that he always knew the right thing to say, always had a perfect line ready. I don’t know when I forgot this, but I have been reminded of this talent in the weeks following therapy.
Thank God for mothers. Especially the kind that find you husbands.
Until next time…