Where we belong

Marriages end. Marriages begin. Love blossoms. Love fades.

“How did we get here from there?” we ask.
Or: “How do we get there from here?”

Some say there is no there. Only here.
Is that true?

Doesn’t every beginning embody its ending?

Don’t love and hate, union and dissolution, copulate?

Maybe our job is not to arrive or transcend but to…
That it is all here.
Beneath us.
Within us.

And to understand that right here is where we decide:

How to coincide.


33 birthdays


This whole marriage & a house was your thing, and now with the kids both gone, I resent you like I resented falling in love so many summers ago.

But just like your first birthday as a father, I feel a tenderness well up in me on this first birthday from the other side.

It’s taken me by surprise, like the way I look at this photo that I zoomed in to take last weekend at the pond while you were deep in conversation with another guy.

Living with 3 guys is a lot of work. I mean it provides huge swaths of independence, and I’ve relied upon that, but it’s also lonely in the realms that women invisibly tend and upon which society depends even while it infinitely dismisses our humanity.

Which is to say, I’m tired. It could be the president. His party. It could be menopause. It could be the caretaking that began when I was a girl like it does for so many born female, especially older sisters. It could be the weight of my mother’s and grandmothers despair, dismissed as an inferiority of gender instead of the societal tragedy it was. it  is.

This untethering from our boys leaves me wanting to lighten more, like a hot air balloon lifting into the sky, while you seem to have the opposite inclination–to dig deeper, to enlarge, to ground.

What will come of us in this next chapter? This new book?

I fell in love with a 20-year-old guy who had an easiness about him; who was kind; who always pitched in; who was comfortable around women; who was capable of celebrating them and sharing the lead; who was gutsy enough to persist in asking his boss out on a date.

What is it that I love about you at 53?

…the way your chest still beckons to my head I suppose. The solace of your arms around me…
I delight in the ways you rediscover yourself… Your sudden capacity for self-care and deepening interest in self-knowing… Your courage to be vulnerable in this regard. Your decision to chaperone a trip to Italy. (Italy!) Your growing certainty of all that you have to offer, just as you are.

For now, I can barely love you because so much bandwidth is taken up by loving and letting go of our boys; but I can sense a seed of return on the horizon, and your steady presence is promising, as is the mutual deepening of our personal paths.

To another shared circle around the sun!

What I wrote to you on your 21st birthday still rings true:

I. am. so. lucky.

Spring Renewal

As the tide of parenting recedes, we turn more and more toward our relationship, not just on the inside, which we always tend, but also to the outside–the outer expression of us–with dates and getaways and new endeavors, and to the physical space we share in our home.

Since we met and married in spring, this time of year presents a ripe invitation for relational awakening. Thus, despite the arrival of fresh snow this early April morning, we take down the red curtains that created the soothing cocoon in autumn and winter and exchange them for soft greens that welcome more of the outside world in.

For years, we lived without curtains. Couldn’t afford them, or couldn’t prioritize the cost and attention when so much else demanded it. The reds were our first indulgence. I found them for $5 each in the clearance section of a home store. They sat unopened for months (or years), until we invested in the hardware to hang them–which included the use of tree branches, stripped of their bark by beavers.

The curtains complimented the comforter that we purchased in a previous year, an anniversary blessing, and a nod to my personal yearning for travel–for the return of faraway colors to my life. The comforter’s deep reds and light greens surprisingly matched a rug which had been the original bedroom kiss from an earlier anniversary.

I found the green curtains on sale last year, while the fluffy spring comforter–white with pale green petals–was a follow up indulgence, which I guilty left in its packaging, just in case, before I surrendered it to the washing machine.

Just this weekend, I found two bulky white laced accent pillows to complete the cloud ensemble.

This morning we’ll vacuum the room from top to bottom; turn the bed east; change over the comforter; add the new pillows; and then no doubt relocate the bureaus and book shelves and yoga props, until we are tense and irritated.

Our softening will come as the space comes together–welcoming the devotion of 30 years of love.

(update: the white of the pillows didn’t match the white of the comforter.)


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