[extreme mushy alert!]
So, yeah. Yesterday marked three months of Raechelle and me actually officially exclusively dating (although we'd been nurturing something for a month prior to that). And, like her, I feel like it's been years. There's a familiarity there, an inherent trust and comfort I've never had before.
We had a swanky, intimate dinner at Salty's, looking out over Elliott Bay and the Seattle skyline. We had some great laughs and conversations, and she informed me about her mushy post, which I hadn't seen. She spent the night, and I sent her off to work with a latte and croissant (I have a rep to uphold, ya know). TBBE - that's me.
So now I'm sitting at my desk with coffee in hand, having read my girl's blog post and feeling all warm and fuzzy (despite nursing a bunch of strained muscles in my left leg due to an encounter with my suitcase in the dark last night - time for Ibuprofen and an ice pack). I know I said the new blog was not going to be therapy like the old one, but I feel compelled to add my own experience of the relationship.
I love the picture she paints of the kids and me, standing at the end of the path, waiting for her to join us. But that's not entirely the case from my vantage point. The kids are totally there, but I'm not with them.
When Samantha died, I experienced the ultimate betrayal. The loss of my closest confidant and best friend. And while I can see my relationship with Raechelle beginning to take flight on wings of its own, I'm still wary and guarded. She knows this.
I also find myself dealing with trauma long past... again... triggered from having to build a new relationship and new trust from the ground up. We both have baggage, and that's frustrating, but you don't get to 40 and 33 respectively without baggage. It's just a fact of life. We both acknowledge this, and as she says, we're doing a great job getting it all squared away.
It's big, this Relationship thing (notice the capital R). Bigger than either of us individually. I know it's good, and solid, and right. Even so, I'm still poking along my own path, sorting through my own triggers and baggage, looking for the crossroads where she and I can meet, and proceed along a new path together. And where I have admittedly far more long-term relationship experience, I certainly don't feel as though I own the path. This is just as new for me as it is for her. It's a big step to invite a woman into my life, to share my home and my children and my social life, to give up a modicum of the control I maintain as a solo parent. I'm very willing to do it, but it takes time to become comfortable with the notion, even as much as I dislike solo parenting and being without a 24/7 partner. I hate that dichotomy, and tend to beat myself up for dragging my feet. My "gatekeepers" are cheering me on as much as they are cheering Raechelle.
So I think it's accurate to say we're both a bit gun-shy. I'm not tapping my foot or checking the time, and I'm certainly not pressuring Raechelle (or myself) to move any more quickly than is comfortable for either of us. And the less pressure, the faster we end up moving. It's weird, but very cool. It's a strange dynamic that will give us much to laugh about in the coming years.
That said, I too am 100% in love with the girl, and committed to whatever the future holds for us. She did a great job in the "parent pool" and with my gatekeepers, and the kids were really great the whole time - not one major meltdown all week!
I am confident that we have many more anniversaries ahead, and the next few months will speed by before we know it.