I Don’t Care For Your Fairytale…

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There was a time in my life, a simpler time, where being someone’s princess was the end all be all. That was my ultimate goal in life.

I was also nine.

Point is, I am not that little, simple girl anymore. Being someone’s princess is not enough. Knowing that another person values me is amazing, and necessary to a healthy relationship but I do need to value myself. It’s more important that I value myself. At a very pure and basic level, I know myself better than any other person will ever know, or could ever know me. I know myself better than I would ever let anyone else know me.

There is still a child inside of me, sitting in front of the television with a plastic crown on in Cinderella pajamas waiting with breathless rapture for the glass slipper to finally find my foot. Because although I am doing my best to be my own best advocate and champion, who doesn’t want to be loved at fairy tale proportions.

And it’s not just women. We all have standards, we all have expectations of what we want in a relationship. Whether it comes from a Disney movie, or the model of our parents as we grew up watching them interact. We know what we expect out of our counterpart, and we are hesitant to settle for anything less.

Are we setting ourselves up to be disappointed, or is it proactive and intelligent to know exactly what is going to make you happy in a long term relationship. In fact, there are certain deal breakers for everyone where they will truthfully NEVER be happy if they don’t have them. So, if we compromise our initial set of non negotiables, if we feel that maybe our standards are a little too high and lofty for a normal mate to reach, we are in fact setting ourselves up for disappointment… and failure.

They call it “settling”. I call it selling yourself short. Compatibility is amazing and sometimes initial, but there is no guarantee that this instant chemical reaction will evolve into the type of bond you want. The type of bond you NEED to find and feel fulfillment in a close relationship with another human being.

So if I want a relationship in which the other person is my best friend, the one I go to when I’m stressed, the one I go to when I am troubled and in turmoil knowing he will calm the hurricane whipping through my brain… am I going to ever be satisfied completely with the “bond” we have if he is not those things to me? Will I even feel that there is a bond?

In no time isolation develops. And it’s not one persons fault over the other. It’s not really anyone’s fault, because even though our initial spark burns brightly still and we still find our way back to each other, we are never the same as we were back then. Before we started disappointing each other, before things were said and done that ensure the slate never gets wiped clean. The spark does not burn bright enough to get through the brick wall that can build between two people over time.

We try to change each other. We vocalize our discontent hoping that the other person will love us enough, will value the relationship enough to adjust themselves to fit it better. But that’s not really fair. Any change this person would make would only be temporary as it goes against their nature to be the way you want them to be instead of the way they’ve been for x amount of years. When they revert back to their natural behavior, it just makes things worse.

So when do you differentiate between a “bond” that needs more work, or a bond that does not exist. Just because two people live together, sleep together and share a life does not mean they share a bond.

I don’t mean to pose these questions as if I have an answer. This is not an advice column or a self help blog. These are the same questions that every single one of us has pondered, and that I am pondering now.

It is not my goal to have a prince take my arm and lead me to his castle where I will forever be his arm candy and waltzing partner. It is my goal to have an open, nurturing, beautiful,. understanding relationship. It is my goal to have a BOND within this relationship which makes it unbreakable, whether it be from inside factors or outside factors I will no longer tell myself that I am idealizing what love is, or that I am expecting too much from my significant other. I will no longer sell myself short, or allow someone who is looking for something from me to sell themselves short.

And someday I will have the answers.

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The Love of My Life

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When I found out I was pregnant, I crossed my fingers and wished for a girl.

I already had a little girl who was bright, sweet, and easy to deal with. It was a fear of the unknown more than anything, most likely, I already knew what it was like to braid hair and purchase anything with a Disney princess or Dora the Explorer on it. I didn’t want to venture into the world of rough and tumble boys who had equipment that I wasn’t familiar with and didn’t know how to use.

But, as we now know, Aidan did turn out to be a little boy. And I couldn’t be more in love with him.

Three years ago today I held him in my arms for the first time. I’d like to say it was love at first sight, and of course I loved him because he was mine and he was beautiful, but to truly LOVE someone you have to know them. Over the next few months we got to know each other very well, spending many sleepless nights together because he was a fussy baby and not easily calmed.

Eventually I learned what made this little human being happy, which was mostly being near me. Through weeks of trait and error, hitting and missing, sling shorting between extreme elation and soul crushing frustration, I learned who he was and how to love him. I found out he really liked his hair played with, he loved to be sung to whether it be Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Adele. His favorite place to sleep was at my side, tucked under my chin, his little chubby hand firmly grasping my shirt as if to say “you aren’t going anywhere”.

At the hospital they said not to fall asleep with the baby in bed, that he could be rolled over on and smothered. I knew without a doubt that I would never crush my son, that his place was supposed to be next to me, him being there made us both the happiest and most comfortable.

So fast forward three years and he’s a little boy now, and we have to teach him to be a little man. How to be brave, how to give love, how to take in the world around him and make sense of it. He calls me his girl, and that is probably more true than anything else. The amount of love he had for me is directly related to the amount of love I have for him. Kids are simple. They don’t love you because they think they should, they don’t love you because they HAVE TO. They love you because you’ve earned it, and I have never felt more entitled to anything else in the world. His love is my reward every day. All the hard work, all the sacrifice, the lack of personal time. It’s all worth it when he puts his arms around me and calls me his girl, when he tells me he loves me, when he says he doesn’t want me to leave.

So I not only want to say Happy Birthday to this child, but I want to say “thank you”. There is no closer, more unique relationship than a mother and her son. Everything is new to the both of us, but no two people know each other more than we do. We learned each other in the very late hours of the night and the very early hours of the morning, we spent days together trying to find our rhythm and our rhyme. Now that we’ve found it, we can never lose it.

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Getting Back To Basics… and liking it

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Life gets crazy. Between work, Aidan’s soccer and swimming classes, Nev’s new business ventures every other week, and all the stuff in between, it is CRAZY. You forget about a time when you weren’t completely connected to the outside world 24/7. You forget about a time when you had to wait until you got home to check your email, or even when there was no email, just a mailbox or an answering machine to check.

It took a little boy and a couple big cows to bring me back to basics. And even if I was only there for a short time, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay.

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After a very busy, stressful day at work I picked up Aidan from his grandmothers and drove home in silence, preoccupied with things I’d encountered during the day, feeling I had come up against roadblocks that I wasn’t going to be able to get past. I was feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, I was feeling defeated. 

Suddenly, in that shrill and high pitched voice kids don’t realize is like kryptonite to anyone over the age of 18, Aidan screams out “COWS!!!!”

Sure enough, because we live in a somewhat rural area and there is a farm next door to our town house complex, there is a field full of cows milling about just steps away from our front door.

Now, keep in mind, I was tired and the perceived weight of the world was on my shoulders. But my little, curly haired son was looking up at me with his eyes literally shining. I thought to myself, “When was the last time I’ve been that excited about anything?” The thought made me sad, but it brought me back to reality. A reality where nothing in the world was more important then keeping that happiness in my child’s eyes. A reality where I knew that the l would do anything to keep at bay for him the grown up feelings I was feeling now.

So I took his hand and I grabbed my camera and we walked over to see the cows. 

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He reached his hand through the gate and two cows came right up to him, as if sensing his innocent interest in them and feeling their own in him. He laughed so hard and so loud I felt my own mouth pull up at the corners, and my heart lifted a little bit, too.

By the time we had been canoodling with those cows for fifteen minutes, the burdens that I’d brought home with me were no longer there. 

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Getting back to basics. It doesn’t mean quitting your job, throwing your cell phone in the toliet, or giving up on indoor plumbing. It means, when you are at work you’re at work, but when you’re at home, the important stuff starts. Spending time to take in the very precious moments you have with your kids, with your spouse. In a couple years my little Aidan’s eyes won’t shine over a couple of cows, something else will make him squeal with joy. And a couple of years after that, he won’t want to take my hand and show me what excites him anymore. 

It blows my mind that 30 minutes sitting on the hard ground, watching this little boy reach his pudgy hand out to these animals and looking back at me as if this was the best day of his life, made it the best day of my life. 

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