Blondie and I were just talking on Sunday about the power in truth and authenticity, and I felt led to share some of my (our) story since March 22, 2018. Even though we don't know how the story ends - and we both say we would never do it again under these circumstances - our hearts met in a way I had always pictured it happening. Organically, and not through some contrived method of newfangled technology. Certainly, there are people wondering and would appreciate a window into this widower's life.
I met Blondie in her somewhat available but less-than-completely available state when picking Gracie up from a play date. I could tell by the look she gave. "Uh oh", I thought. And ... "No way. Bad timing. I'll monitor from a distance, thank you."
After a couple of deferred, "No thank yous" to Blondie's offers to grab a coffee (maybe a tea offer would have done it?), I was being wise by (admittedly, it was only briefly) keeping my distance.
Then Gracie had a sleepover a week later, and we met downtown so I could pick Gracie up after Mr Blue Eyes and I had some man time at breakfast. Blondie had her kids in tow and was on her way to do some work. I asked what she was going to do with the kids while she worked and offered to take them all to the park so she could focus. I meant nothing by it and was just thinking it was a kind thing to do and that it was a way to pay it forward for all the support I've received over the last couple of years.
She came to get the kids after and we talked a little bit. Something happened while we talked on that Saturday, March 31. I call it the "Spark in the Park". That does not just happen for me. I invited them all along for an impromptu fishing excursion, but she had plans.
I still tried to tread lightly and after talking several times and feeling out the things that I knew or thought to be issues, I was met with the right answers. But as I've come to learn and have told Blondie... she has an answer for everything. 😊 Well so do I... So after reflecting any implications, I decided it would be ok to go ahead and go on a date in mid-April.
Blondie. This woman that came out of nowhere. Kind, sweet, humble, funny, self-aware, beautiful soul. I could not help but love this less-than-completely available woman.
Understandably, it has been a roller coaster of drama at times. Self judgment. Judgment of others. Perceived judgment of others (certainly more of a problem than actual judgement). Guilt. Shame. Fear. Confusion. Insecurities. The hearts of those close to us. Balance between self love and sacrificial love. How to navigate all of this in the midst of her fresh grief and my own latent layers of grief that I didn't know existed until now moving forward. There have been several periods of pause in this relationship and attempting to be wise and wait until everything settled to continue. Or not continue. It has certainly been messy. But our hearts. Our unwise hearts? Picking back up again and again and continuing to try to find that right balance for what is best for everyone. We probably haven't found it yet, but we'll keep working toward it.
In fact, isn't that growth? Is it commitment? Are the moments of pause lack of commitment or wisdom? I only hope to find out someday.
And while onlookers and those giving advice have wise thoughts as well, we are the ones in the midst of it and have to make the decisions that seem best for us at any given moment in time.
One outcome of many counseling sessions over the past couple of years has been a clear definition of what I want out of a partner, what I want for my partner, and what I want for a relationship:
- I want a partner to do life with.
- I want my partner to feel loved unconditionally.
- I want a relationship based on growth.
So while we don't know the outcome, all we can continue to do is try to navigate the best we can with a growth mindset and know we are giving it everything we can in exploring a romantic future. And if it doesn't work out, we will know we gave it everything and are mature enough and able to communicate effectively enough to know we can still be friends (after all, we are already have a strong friendship), work through the hurt and pain, and allow each other to go find deserved happiness and companionship.
So many topics to cover that I will hope to return to at some point. Unconditional love. Conscious loving. Things I feel I've applied more than I ever have. Proud of myself for that but equally ashamed feeling like I fell short in my marriage with Caroline. How much Caroline unknowingly taught me and prepared me for this through her own unconditional love. I hope she is proud of me in spite of any mistakes I may have made along the way.