Confessions of a Dreamer
I watched a movie the other day called 500 Days of Summer. One of the lines in the film struck a chord. “Love is not real, it is a fantasy.” I completely understood what the character meant when she said that. Half a life time of feeling like an explorer searching for that holy grail and returning with junk instead, I knew exactly what she meant. Almost 9 years ago though, something happened that changed my perspective forever.
Imagine if you will a beautiful hot summer day in Florida on the beach. The sky is crystal clear, the waves are playing a symphony that only Mother Nature herself could have penned. In this pristine location a chance meeting occurred. A guy and girl attending a business conference found each other and realized from the second they met there was an instant and immediate physical and emotional connection. The two days they had together where magical. Electricity could not come close to the sheer energy that they had when together. Sadly, however, the conference ended and it was time to say their goodbyes. He to return to his home in IL, she to go over the bridge and back to her drab and loveless reality.
It could have been and should have been the end of their little tale, a wonderful escape from reality where two people enjoyed themselves then went on to their everyday lives. Call it fate, kismet, karma, whatever, but for some reason the guy felt compelled to e-mail the girl as he waited at the airport. Needless to say she was shocked. She had already returned back to her reality, a life filled with a mentally abusive partner who was the father of her second child and was desperate to forget that small glimpse of perfection that she was determined to keep locked away in her memories.
I am sure if you have not figured it out by now that the “she” is of course “me”. I had lived for almost 6 years with my daughter (who was born when I was just 16) and my son and his dad. While the first year with him was wonderful, soon after my son was born our relationship spiraled down the rabbit hole and quickly became one of “playing house” and “getting by” day to day. I had grown accustomed to being told how stupid, ugly, fat, and worthless I was. Even worse, I had begun to believe it. So when a sexy, intelligent, ambitious man was thrown in my path, I did not hesitate to act. What I had not expected was for him to contact me again.
To make a long story short, that one e-mail became the spark that started a fire of cleansing and creating a new life for myself and my two children. We began talking via e-mail daily and within a week I found the courage that I had not had in over five years of misery, I kicked my son’s father out of the house and decided that come what may I was finally strong enough to venture out into whatever the world had waiting for me.
Before I, or he knew what was happening our e-mails began turning more and more hopeful, wishful, full of promise. By the second time I saw him a month later, I was completely head over heels, by the third time I saw him, I said yes when he proposed to me on the same beach where we had met 3 months before. Two months later I packed all my worldly possessions into two boxes and shipped them to IL. Next I packed myself and two children onto an airplane to start our new life.
About a year after we met, I said ‘I do’ to the man who has now been my husband for the last 7 years. As an added bonus I also became a very proud step-mother to a girl who is two months younger than my daughter (they are now both 17 and getting ready to graduate high school in May) and to a boy who will be 16 in a few short months. When we met our kids were 9, 9, 7 and 3. One of the proudest days of my life was the day we said “I do” in front of family and friends with all four of our children standing by our side.
The past few years have not always been easy, we have both gone through trials in our relationship like any couple. Our transition from puppy love and extreme lust in the beginning turned into a deeper level of friendship and understanding. The challenges of him going from being a dad every other weekend to suddenly raising two kids, not his own, was something that took a lot of work on both our parts. Integrating not one but 4 children, all who had different mom’s / dad’s is a master-class in parenting all on it’s own. Add in my struggle over the last five years of becoming addicted to a prescription drug called Adderal, building and losing a successful graphic design business, and subsequently getting clean and there is hardly a moment of our lives together that could be described as dull.
In the end, however, despite our whirlwind romance and the nay-sayers who told us it could never work, I am proud to say that we have so far been able to prove them wrong. It takes a lot of hard work, communication and effort to keep things fresh and interesting for both of us. I’ve learned over the years to trust not only my heart, but my head as well. To silence that little voice that says I’m not deserving or I’m not worthy. Maybe, just maybe, that is the biggest gift I’ve received from this wild, crazy adventure of ours, the knowledge that not only did I deserve love from someone else, I also deserved to love myself.