Commitment. I have always felt that commitment is an intentional act. You make an effort to make something work. You sweat for it. You choose it. You sign up for it. Like a high school activity.
Yet, my biggest commitments are made in my heart. They happened without my consent or conscious thought. They evolved within me. It isn’t always a matter of “I do,” or “I don’t.” They are an evolution of moments.
Those who love me, know I can leap. Make decisions without safety nets and have all the faith in the world, they will turn out manageable. Life happens. But the commitment– like moving in and later having a baby together– seems so short term to me, that I can live with it without worry. I trust myself enough to handle the fallout. Yet, there is a box I am having trouble facing. Of making a decision, of leaping, of deciding purposely that it will be okay. My feet just feel glued to the ground faithless. Small steps and large leaps fill my life… and a box has me thrown. I just want to write Pandora on it. It might make me feel better. My favorite myth, a valued story of faith. I wonder if inside will it gleam small wisps of hope for me? I guess I will have to wait and see.
Parenthood. Friendships. My ever evolving very large family. Which, as an aside, I am still realizing the depths of how truly lucky I am to have them. They are my biggest asset in life. The new moms I forged friendships with life this year. Their families. My friends from childhood. Mt best friends from life Springfield. Work friends that stick around longer than my time at the same company. My two biological kids. Match’s daughter who I love like my own. The fantastic complications that statement can create. Step-parenthood without officially being a step-parent. Match. With his stupid tattoo and dorky flashlight in his pocket. Who you would never know has a fantastic bum hidden in his slightly saggy carpenter jeans and khakis. Match.
Commitment. My marriage that I planned and committed to fell apart in the most spectacular way. Despite my best intentions and my blind faith that it was hard because we had love. The vows I spoke, endeavored upon, and failed to keep. A commitment I stuck around for and waited on and begged to make it work out. It didn’t. I’m so very glad. Sometimes I wish I gave up sooner. Sometimes I know I wouldn’t have unless we had Miss M to point out the futility. I thought she would have been enough for Ex to change… but in the end, it was me who changed. And I have been better for it.
I never naturally felt like a mother. I mean… to me…. the idea that I was in charge of another human life seemed absurd. I was having trouble saving my own life… how could I be expected not to mess this up? Well, the truth is, I do mess it up some days. Hopefully, I will get a chance to do better in a later moment. And five years later, I feel like a mother. It was a sense of being that crept up on me. One day at a time, well, until I just became a mom. Yes, there are still moments when I lock the keys in the car that I wonder about whoever allowed me to be fertile enough to reproduce. But overall, I think I do okay. I’m committed. Without really meaning to. It just happened. Motherhood. It became a part of me when I stopped searching to feel a certain way.
Match. It is not so much that I worry I am un-committed to him. Or that I am fearful that one day he’ll lack commitment to me. Anyone who thought they found someone to grow old with and lost… well, you tend to look out for signs of the end. There are so many ways to love and lose. No one likes to be blindsided or disappointed. I know there is no guarantee of forever. There is nothing you can say would never happen to you, Yet, this guy… this guy is almost more committed than me. He made friends with my dog. My 80 lbs of cur. Snarling, teeth gnashing scary bad ass dog. He, despite not wanting another kid, changed his sensibilities on the subject. He put the dog down when there just wasn’t room for an non-adoptable fear-aggressive twelve year old refugee in a two bedroom apartment with a newborn and two little girls. He let me be angry, sad, and pregnant hormonal about it. He quit smoking. He scratches my back every night on the couch for forever. I mean these are huge acts that have to do with building a life with me.
And they scare the crap out of me some days. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m worth it. I feel the pressure of being worthy of that commitment. Which is my baggage… at least the emotional kind I drag around. It is the type of baggage that is less quantifiable than the baggage of crazy emails, slashed tires, visitation drama and lawyer bills. It lurks beneath my shiny surface and makes an appearance here and there. I love Match. I don’t want him to make a mistake loving me. Right now, in my life, I am leaving more on the table for him to carry. I am between jobs. We are looking for a new home for our family. I am trying to decide what direction to take my life. There is a lot of change and flux.
In the midst of us floating in a pool of possibilities… our honeymoon of being new has passed. We have seen each other exasperated, grumpy, and exhausted. We’ve been hangry. We have seen each other be great parents and have days we aren’t our best. We draw lines. No one has really crossed any. We make love. Less often than that first year. Enough that neither of us is raw with want. We are less well behaved some days, but honestly, those moments are so few and so mild, they are blips on the radar that never check out to be anything worth worry. He loves me. I love him. Each time I doubt it or brace for the worst– I just find solace and reassurance.
Lately, I have been a little prickly and pushy. I know why. Match does too. Its part of my weirdness. Tell me you want more. And, I might test your resolve. Because I have a hard time believing you. That you have thought it through. That you realize a lifetime is a long time filled with ups, downs, sadness, joy, and challenges we can’t prepare for. Are you sure you want me? And, truthfully, I think he does. The whole package. Me and my first born kid included. I am still finding the courage to trust that, but its coming. Day by day, the commitment to have faith in not just him, but “us” will find me. One day, I’ll find feeling like “Match’s insert-a-title-more-serious-than-girlfriend” rather than just “Lori.” It’ll come. And I won’t even see it coming.