Introspective Adventurer

Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

Tag: relationships (page 1 of 7)

Counting up to 60 and what I learned – decade five

Have you ever seen the movie, Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts? While I can’t relate to her running at the altar, I can relate to the fact that she didn’t know who she was and kept modeling her behavior after whichever man she was with at the time.

There is a scene in the movie when her tormenter (the next guy) says she doesn’t even know how she likes her eggs because she just orders whatever her guy orders. I may have known exactly how I liked my eggs, but I didn’t have a clear understanding of who I was or more importantly what I wanted.

At 40, I was divorced and in a relationship with a saddle maker. So of course, I was a saddle maker too. He happened to be half Native American, and I jumped in headlong learning everything I could about my native heritage.

Me as a saddle maker
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Counting up to 60 and what I learned – decade four

I’ve heard it said that a grain of sand can tip the scale, but in my opinion it is the pile of sand before it that rarely gets the attention. By the time I reached 40 I felt like I was in a constant struggle to climb the dune I had created.

Turning 30 was fun and I was sure I had everything figured out, at least on the outside. I was married with two kids and very content with my day-to-day life. Things got even better when we bought a little 20-acre farm on the outskirts of town.

I’ve written many times before that I grew up on a farm, and when my boys were entering grade school I had the strongest desire for them to experience country life. The run-down, cat-infested place we purchased turned out to be the best place to let a couple of boys roam and discover things on their own.

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First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…

The day after our wedding we left our hotel in San Francisco to go explore the city. It was a beautiful spring day, and we were excited to spend the day together as husband and wife.

Our wedding was everything we hoped it to be, and we were still on a love-high we wanted to bask in for as long as possible. 

Our wedding at San Francisco City Hall

My phone rang as we stepped out onto the sidewalk and I answered immediately. My son and daughter-in-law were due to have daughter number two any day, and we were happily assigned to take care of daughter number one while they were at the hospital.

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A promise…

John and I got married on a Monday afternoon at San Francisco City Hall. There was no set-up or tear-down of decorations or chairs. There were no arches adorned with greenery and flowers. We didn’t have a rehearsal dinner because there was nothing to rehearse.

Instead we met John’s family and my best friend and her husband at City Hall at 3:30 in the afternoon on March 13, 2013 and stood before Judge Betty in the magnificent rotunda and both said “I do.”

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The Marrying Kind

When John asked me to marry him, the first word out of my mouth was “No.” The look of surprise on his face made me want to take it back. The poor guy was standing on a big boulder holding my hands and asking me a question he thought he would never ask anyone again.

But I had made a promise to myself that John didn’t know about.

I was just a few months shy of 54, and life had thrown me some curveballs when it came to romance and especially marriage. If you have been reading my blog, you know this was not my first proposal…or even second.

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The Real Trouble with Valentine’s Day

The reason John chose to ask me to marry him on February 13, 2013, was because it was February 13, 2012, when he told me he could never see us getting together. Ever.

Guest post: John P. Gavin – The Real Trouble with Valentine’s Day

(This was the first column in a long time I didn’t send to Loretta to proofread before sending it to my editor, and that felt weird. I didn’t send it because she broke up with me the day before, albeit with good reason.
But I didn’t want to see that yet.
So I was annoyed – and a little shook up – and very cranky.
Let’s see if any of that comes across in the column).

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The Love Bug

The weeks after my accident were, in a strange way, some of the best in my life. I know that sounds odd, but you need to remember my past experiences of being taken care of were not such stellar memories.

I’ve never had anyone dote on me like John did during those weeks of recovery. He wrote down all medications and times I’d taken what and made sure I was taking a probiotic to offset the antibiotic prescribed by my doctor.

He drove me to doctor visits and physical therapy and he even helped me with my hair. I could hardly go to the bathroom without him wanting to assist me. I felt completely spoiled and cared for by the man I loved, and it was the first time in my life I’d experienced that.

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Fixing things

When John and I got the news his sentence would be community service, we were overjoyed. Over the coming months, we worked side by side at the Boys & Girls Club repainting interiors, working with the kids and helping out with special money raising events.

I had been a volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club before, and it was a natural fit to pick that charity to help. John was in his element as a natural Mr. Fix-it and was happy to help out an organization in need.

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In Service

As the autumn breeze cooled the air, my heart filled with warmth when John uttered those three words he had said to me months earlier. Not only had he said, “I love you,” but I also knew he meant it. Perhaps it was the fear of his uncertain future, but in that moment I didn’t care.

A month later we were sitting together on a bench outside Courtroom A waiting for John’s trial to begin, neither of us wanting to show the anxiety we both felt. I could sense John’s fidgeting before he stood up and announced he needed to use the bathroom.

I watched him walk away and noticed his usual swagger was absent. From the moment I met John, he had an air of confidence that I knew didn’t always match what he was feeling inside. That day he couldn’t mask the anxiety he was feeling, and I noticed his shoulders weren’t as square as usual.

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Affairs of the heart

On the drive home from the airport, John was all smiles. He kept glancing over at me and saying how much he’d missed me. He was grinning ear to ear, and it was nice to see him happy.

Once home, I invited him to stay and have dinner so we could catch up. He happily grabbed my suitcase with a bounce in his step and said that he would love to stay.

As with so many other times in the past we sat on my deck and shared food, laughs and the things about ourselves we wanted each other to know.

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I Have Some ‘Splaining to Do – Guest post by John Gavin

“Recognizing the absurdity of his request, he tried to explain. It wasn’t about seeing her so he could win her back but rather about seeing her so he could release the perceived hold she had over him.

I tried very hard to understand…”

Those words were written very recently by Loretta, the woman I love; the only woman I’ve ever loved this way. But I once told Loretta I wanted to borrow her car to go talk to an ex-girlfriend.

What the hell?

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The Elephant in the Room

The summer of 2012 was filled with so many highs and lows I honestly don’t even like recalling it, and the ratio of highs to lows was unbalanced in the wrong direction. John and I not only had to deal with the snail’s pace of the legal system, but also the uncertainty of love.

John had told me he loved me one night back in April, but after the accident failed to remember he’d said it or that he even felt it. He spent the entire summer wondering if he’d let ‘the right one’ get away.

And he didn’t mean me.

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Time to Bail?

I never dreamed I’d need to know anything about how bail works or the process of navigating the legal system to get a loved one out of jail. But as soon as John was taken into custody, I knew I was about to learn. So I stood up on shaky legs and left the courthouse to call the number I’d been handed by the bail bondsman.

The young woman on the phone said she would meet me outside the courthouse and asked if I had my checkbook with me.

Sitting outside in the sunshine at a picnic table, I couldn’t help thinking about the stark difference of that beautiful warm summer day and the cold reality of John behind bars.

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Running with scissors

I remember feeling melancholy while driving home after dropping John off at his apartment. It was the first moment I had alone since bringing him home after the accident.

So much had happened in the prior weeks, and I had no idea where our future would go or if I even wanted one with John.

I knew the man he once was and wondered if that guy would ever come back.

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The semi-superhero

I don’t recall why we made the decision for John to come stay with me after being released from the hospital. But there he was, stitched up swollen lips and broken teeth sitting on my deck drinking coffee from a straw.

He had doctor’s orders not to drive because they were still trying to figure out the extent of his brain injury. So there I was waiting on him and nursing him back to health.

The guy who forgot he’d said, “I love you Loretta” to me the night before the accident.

The one who was facing a felony charge for running from the cops, and the man who now looked more like Sloth from Goonies than Michael Fassbender’s Magneto.

What the hell was I thinking?

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Lost moments, forgotten words

When John was finally coherent enough to communicate, the first question I asked was, “What the hell were you thinking?”

He was brought into the emergency room with nothing but a helmet and his wallet. His motorcycle crash was so severe, his clothes were cut off at the scene in order to save his life.

While his life was spared, his memory was not. He had no recollection of what happened.

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May Day!

Sitting in my car, outside the emergency room, I couldn’t think of what to do next. I’ve always been a person of action. Get the facts, figure out what needs to be done, and do it.

But as I sat there with tears streaming down my face, my brain couldn’t even figure out how to start the car.

The only call to action that came to mind was to phone my best friend.

She listened to me tell her everything and then told me to go home and call John’s brother, he would know what to do.

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When it’s time to cry

As soon as she told me, “Yes, they brought him in, he is in the emergency room” my heart sank. I didn’t cry though. That’s not the time to cry.

Instead, I grabbed a jacket and my keys and raced to my car.

I don’t recall the nine-minute drive to the hospital. But I do remember sitting in a chair in the waiting room for someone to give me information about John.

When I’d arrived and asked the person at the reception desk about him, she got a strange look on her face and told me I’d have to sit down; that someone would be out to talk to me shortly.

I was afraid to ask any questions. If you don’t ask, you can’t get unbearable news.

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April 30, 2012

That morning John said goodbye and headed home to take care of some business. He wanted to make reservations at his favorite place in Pismo Beach for my upcoming birthday, and said he had a few other things to attend to.

We were so happy.

The night before, John told me he loved me just seconds before drifting off to sleep. We didn’t speak of it the next morning, but there was joy surrounding us we could both feel.

And it felt good.

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A gift of the present

It’s Sunday night and I wanted to write a little more of my story, but John just left and I’m feeling lazy.

I was in Oregon last week and got back just in time to see John on Monday night before catching the train back home Tuesday morning.  He worked all week away from home, and got back Thursday night late.

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