After A While
-Veronica A. Shoffstall
After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead with the grace of a woman not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure, you really are strong, you really do have worth.
And you learn,
And you learn,
With every goodbye, you learn.
I killed somebody today. Several somebodies in fact. I’m trying to learn to play videos games with Justin. He likes those shooter games, which really aren’t my thing at all. Video games in general aren’t my thing. But I’m making an effort because it’s something he loves. And he likes when I try to play with him. So I’m learning slowly but surely and today was the first time ever that I killed one of the bad guys.
Relationships are work. I know they say love isn’t supposed to be hard, but boy, it can be challenging at times. This is not … what I thought or hoped it would be. It’s hard to admit that, because I know some would think or say that maybe this relationship wasn’t meant to be. That I should leave and pursue a union that fulfills all that I want out of love and partnership. I’ve thought about it. But … the hard times do not make me love Justin less. I will love that man for eternity. I know because I’ve fallen in love before … and I know it just doesn’t go away.
So four months until our sixth anniversary. Will we be getting married?? I truly have no idea. I’ve told myself once or twice that would be the deadline. If we didn’t tie the knot by then I wasn’t going to worry about it anymore. That I’d somehow get the marriage goal out of my head. Yeah right. My whole mindset about marriage is sooo complicated though. I’m an old-fashioned traditionalist that wants the perfect, loving marriage to build the basis of our family but I live in an alternate reality. I’m not the perfect wife; he isn’t the perfect husband. We have a child out of wedlock who is his and not mine for all intents and purposes. And who will be a decade older than any children we might biologically have together. But who I love and admire and dream for. In fact, I’m pretty much enamored with his whole family. Which makes it hard for me to consider not legally becoming part of the clan. I think his mother noticed a bit of the difficulties I go through with him when they were in town last month staying with us and she said something to me before they left, something along the lines of if things don’t work out with him, don’t forget about them as my family. And I told her I never would.
Family, love, relationships, marriage — they’re not always simple or one-noted. At least in my experience they aren’t. But they’re also everything to me. I think I’ve lost parts of myself in the pursuit to be part of the whole. I’ve also lost part of myself to fear and to the challenge to live up to invisible expectations and to the pressure to be a responsible adult. I’m not exactly sure how to become more of me, but I can feel she’s still in there somewhere and that’s encouraging.
I’m growing, changing, learning. Becoming my own woman. Man, is it some journey.