Friday, July 23, 2010


I was doing a lot of thinking and reading a lot of my camping trip last week. It was very interesting for me to be so up close and personal with another family I have known and admired for 10-15 years.

I think what happened to me growing up is that when parents divorced when I was young, I was labeled as "sensitive" and my family - especially my dad - did everything possible to avoid hurting my feelings or upsetting me. It has been nearly impossible for me to find someone who treats me like my dad did - and I notice with age that my dad does not even treat his own beloved wife that way.

My family is very quiet and kind on my dads side anyway. We tend to hold things in and let them pass. I think as a result of these things, I don't know how to deal with conflict well or relate to normal family bickering. The slightest thing tends to freak me out - especially after being on the complete opposite side of things with my ex and his family.

I realized on this trip how important it is for my kids to have a good dad. I have been filling in the blanks the best I can but there are some things that can't be substituted. I don't expect that their dad is ever going to be capable of filling that role. He never lived it and wouldn't notice it if he did now. I can not blame him for that. Hopefully between other wonderful families like this one we camped with, my dad, and men at church, they will be OK for the time-being.

I spent Sunday night with my first husband and his family. They had an enormous party and I met many new people. Several of them commented on me doing so much for them and I told them, it goes both ways - it always have. I relayed so many times when he and his wife had been there for me over the years. They are both so special to me. There is nothing neither of them would not do for a friend.

It makes me sad on some level that I did not realize what I had with him way back when. But I do believe everything happens for a reason and I am very grateful to have them both in my life in such a close capacity. His wife is one of my closest and dearest friends. We have shared everything together.

As we were leaving, H kissed my daughter and told her that he was the reason she had her name. I don't think she can comprehend our relationship at 4, but she does know that we were once married and both my kids call him Uncle.

I have spent some time looking back on all my previous relationships recently and have realized that he is the one who has been there for me through thick and thin. He never chastised me. He never put me down or called me names. He never participated in petty gossip. He was there when both my grandparents died. He wept, hard. My grandparents both loved him as their own, even long after our marriage ended. He remained acting as their son, helping them with things with and without their asking for it. He has deeply loved all my family, including my children, as his own. There is something very settling about knowing that either him or his wife would be there in a heartbeat if I were ever in a jam. I never had that with my ex-husband. I only knew drama, heartache and unreliability.

I have learned so much about grace and love through him. It is a relationship that did not remain as we had intended, but it has still been there for both of us all these years, and it will always remain one of my most important relationships.

I think many men that I have been in a relationship with have only seen me as a possession. I was theirs to have and control. When they did not get what they wanted from me, there was always some sort of abuse or mistreatment. I think that is why it has been often easier for me to have lovers than boyfriends. I seem to have more control over my own life that way.

H never used mean or childish means. He always saw me as a person, and wanted the best thing for me, even when it times it was not the best thing for him. And I have done the same for him.

That is love.

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