windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (color couple)
Flashback:  Olympic Peninsula

Five years ago, Daniel and I married. Our friends and family had traveled to Orlando and we exchanged vows with a view of Cinderella's Castle right over the officiant's shoulder. It felt like an homage to our own 'happily ever after' aspirations.

We met in the fall of 2002. Daniel was only a few months away from leaving a job he hated in West Palm Beach, FL. I was dating a string of guys who would never be close friends. I answered a personal ad on Yahoo! because it made me laugh and a month or so later met the man in question for a quick drink. That drink led to dinner and hours of conversation. The next morning, he called me and invited me out to the art museum to take in a photography exhibit. He walked out of work early to go. We were dating.

When he told me he had taken a job in Chicago, I cried the whole drive home. I was devastated. My mom encouraged me to attempt a long-distance relationship and we did--neither one of us wanted to date anyone else. I was back in college and spent every spare weekend and break that I could with him in Chicago. When hurricanes were bearing down on us in Florida, he'd fly down to help secure the house and stock up on supplies. He bought all my tickets, otherwise I'd never have been able to afford the travel. We finally, mutually, admitted our love for each other in a dive bar called the Thirsty Brain and celebrated our giddiness at a corner diner over greasy french fries and grilled cheese sandwiches. That December, for my winter break, he took me to Europe and then home to meet his family. By spring break, we were engaged. I finished my degrees and moved to Chicago in time for New Year's Eve of 2005. On March 5th, we married.

Flashback:  Our Wedding Day

Flashback:  Venice

Daniel still makes me laugh. He is my best friend, my staunchest supporter, and my protector. He never fails. He knows my flaws more than any person on earth and yet still has me up on a pedestal, seeing me as something more than I ever give myself credit for. He's dependable, reliable, trustworthy in a way that I've never experienced before. He is the one running below, holding the kite string, keeping me grounded and safe and yet letting me fly. He is everything, the foundation of our family, and most of all, the love, the companion I'm blessed to have in life.

Happy Anniversary, Love. Here's to the hope for many, many, many more years of love and life together.
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (color couple)

Today, my husband is turning thirty-three years old. Next month, we'll have been together for seven of those years. He likes to think that the first time I answered his personal ad on Yahoo! or the time that I finally agreed to meet him for drinks were the smartest decisions I ever made. Time and time and time since, I have made decisions to say "Yes" to him and that string of steps entrusting him with my life, tying our paths closer together has led to the spectacular adventure, the realized dream that it is today.

He's my best friend, my copilot, my lover, the father in this little family we've crafted, the breadwinner, the heavy lifter, the companionable silence at my side. He's good down to the marrow, passionate about justice and equality, fearlessly loving and generous. He's a blaze of talent and vision, a wish-granting genie, a soft place to land, a staunch supporter, the solidest foundation I've ever felt myself to have.

Everyday of his life, I'm honored to be a part of it and insanely humbled to be that person who captured his attention, his love, his steadfast and unturning devotion. I don't know what I ever did to deserve to be so blessed. He's the knight wearing our family colors and he never fails, ever. Heady stuff.

Daniel, you'll probably never read this unless I get creamed by a bus, but know that I love you so much, appreciate you more, and am celebrating the event that was your return to this earth. You are a good man, a golden man, a much beloved man.
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (color couple)
So last night, right after I posted my "Woe is me, my husband is leaving again!" lament, I was helping him get packed up. He had about forty minutes from the time he got home from work until the taxi was scheduled to pick him up for the ride to the airport. "I hate this", I said as my eyes misted up, "we've not gotten to spend any time together lately." Seeing me upset slayed him, even though I was trying to be cool about it and not send him off with tears.

Daniel called his clients, called his office staff, called United, called the cab company and the next thing I knew, he'd shoved his half-packed bags into a corner and said, "I'll leave tomorrow. You've got me until then."

It was glorious.

We took our son to the park and laid down together on the sun-warmed benches, fingers interlaced, as we talked in soft tones and watched Graeme play with gravel and flowers and grass. We had gelato for dinner at our favorite little Italian cafe and then drove around in the car while Graeme napped and NPR entertained us. I ducked into my favorite thrift store to restock my "to be read" book pile. We sat, heads bowed together, reading passages to each other from a few of them while Graeme snored softly in the backseat.

Later in the evening, we curled up together on the couch with fuzzy blankets and watched the last episode of this season's Whale Wars before I ducked off to bed early and he sat up with Graeme.

This morning was happy and companionable as he worked from his home office and then, while Graeme was entertained with Sesame Street, we rolled around in bed, laughing and flirting and having the most lovely time--later sharing a shower, slow-dancing, shampooing each other's hair and graciously sharing the hot water with each other.

It was the most wonderful reprieve--a gift from him and the Universe that left me feeling rested, cherished, beautiful and loved beyond measure.
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (graeme zabian)
I can't say what exactly triggered it, but a few weeks ago I decided to take [ profile] mermaiden and [ profile] willow_cabin up on a long-standing invitation to visit and to go without Graeme. I hadn't spent more than four or five hours apart from my son since before his conception--nearing three years of constant companionship--so when Daniel said he thought I was making a rash decision at odds with all my previous parenting philosophies, he was right. I was tired and cranky and wanting a break, yes, but mainly I had a sense suddenly that it would be okay. Daniel wasn't feeling so sure and as the day of my departure neared, he scrambled to be ready for his big single parenting debut. He arranged to have our regular sitter come each day to spell him, organized lists I'd written of activities and foods Graeme likes, and quizzed me about where in the house I kept all Graeme's toys.

I had a lot of emotions as I left for the airport.

Irritable. (Why doesn't Daniel know these things, too?)

Relieved. (I'll have three nights sleep, alone, and days without anyone demanding anything of me. No little fingers plucking at me, nobody to schedule a day around, nobody to carry.)

Guilty. (I'm a horrible mother to leave a nursing toddler suddenly. He doesn't know I'm leaving and he doesn't know I'll be coming back. I'm a horrible wife to leave Daniel with the baby. He works for a living. I'm a stay-at-home mom and look at this! I'm not staying at home or being a mom!)

Daniel tried his best to reassure me. He was scared shitless.

"We'll be fine. We have to be."

"Go and have the best weekend. You have to enjoy it to make this worth it."


I've been on LiveJournal since [ profile] raynemaiden introduced me to it in 2004. Still, most everyone I've met here knows me as a mom. That's strange to me, since it feels like such a recent change to my life. I'm not a mom, people, I'm just a young witch grown a little older who is making it up as she goes. I don't know anything about kids, I just happen to have one of my own.

I didn't meet Sarah until I was pregnant with Graeme and in our meetings and vacations together since, there has always been Graeme and Daniel to compromise with. It seemed like, more than just about anyone, Sarah and Jenn knew me only as I was juggling all my other roles. I wanted to be able to be me with them, the me that isn't diluted and distracted, and that was only possible if Graeme wasn't underfoot demanding I be Mama all weekend. I guess you can add "selfish" to that list of feelings I was having.

So I left Graeme from Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon. Rather anticlimactically, he dropped right to sleep that first night. Daniel kept me updated with text messages. And so, pretty much immediately, I was able to forget my worries and guilt and enjoy the weekend. My breasts were killing me, but otherwise I had no ill effects from making such a sudden departure.

The boys met me at the airport. I imagined there would be a big, tearful reunion. Graeme would throw himself sobbing at me, cling and hug me and say my name, "Mama", over and over again. Instead, he looked sleepy and disinterested as I walked up. He didn't reach for me, he didn't say anything, and when I kissed his cheek he shyly edged away. The rest of the day, I tried not to feel hurt as he ignored me in favor of his toys, his television shows, and his adventures at the park. It seemed like he was weaned, too, as he showed no interest in nursing. It was good, obviously, because I'd be able to go out of town without him again. He hadn't suffered my absence and my hurt feelings were really nothing compared to that blessing. That night, as I carried him home asleep from the park, I couldn't get over how much he'd grown and changed in those few days. It seemed like our close mama/baby relationship had come to an end. He was so much bigger, too. I'd have to buy him a new pair of shoes.

I carried him up to bed. As I laid him down, he awoke in a sleepy panic, reached his arms up to me, and started to cry. "Mama! Mama! Mama! Na-Na. Na-Na-Na. Na-Na." So I scooped him up and he nursed himself into a heavy-limbed sleep.


As a surprise, and possibly because he's an engineer who can't help himself, Daniel recorded every activity of their days together in a timeline. There was also a load of digital photos he'd taken of Graeme and himself while I was gone, too. The timeline is cute because so much of it is spent in five and ten minute chunks. Graeme wasn't sleeping nearly as long as he usually does, either, and was watching a lot of television. It also seems that the boys were surviving on one noodle dish all weekend. Daniel said living with a toddler, entertaining them moment to moment was interminable exhaustion. Ha!

A few days without Mama. What were they up to? )

The best possible result came out of leaving Daniel and Graeme together for the weekend. I had an awesome time. Graeme did just fine. Daniel discovered that he could be a single parent. And in the end, Daniel said that I could go away again anytime I liked. Best of all, perhaps, he finally understands just how difficult my not-having-a-job can be. In the past he's said things like, "Well, you've got all the time in the world." Now he sees what some of the constrictions can be with a toddler around. Yes, I have time to tippy-tap on the computer here and there, but those are stolen, unpredictable moments. I don't have a job but I have work that is a never ending 24/7 without lunch or potty breaks instead. I finally feel free, appreciated, and understood--a heady combination.



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