Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Making an Investment

I know my kids’ birth certificates are in my house somewhere. At least I hope so. If they are, they’re hiding in a deep abyss. And rather than tear my house apart looking for them, I would rather just order new ones.

I hate that the 4th is the tacit “beginning of the end” of summer. Summer has just started, especially for the students in our area, since school doesn’t get out until the 3rd week of June. Now, does that seem fair? But I know, that if I go to any Target or Wal-Mart, I’ll see back packs and notebooks and school uniforms. That’s the reason I need the birth certificates- for school. My kids start in 7 weeks. SEVEN. WEEKS. That is just depressing. I’m trying not to think about it, otherwise it will go by that much faster. It’s like the little trick I use if I wake up before my alarm goes off. I refuse to look out the windows or at any clock to gauge what time it is. Even if I go in the kitchen for a drink of water, I studiously avoid looking at the microwave or oven clocks. I know if I do, I’ll just spend the last hour or so before my alarm goes off wondering if it’s time for me to get up yet.

So today I drove to Richmond with my dad to get some new birth certificates. Richmond is a little under an hour and a half from where I live. But between traffic and Dad’s and my conflicting GPS’s (cough cough- translation: we got LOST), it took around 2 and a half hours. My dad had to get a copy of his and my mom’s marriage certificate so she could get her Florida driver’s license. I don’t know why they require it, but they do. Dumb. Anyway, they couldn’t find it. The marriage certificate, I mean. They told him it might be on the microfiche. I guess that’s where they store all the old people records. My parents would have been married 33 years this week.

Now. Before I go into this. My parents have been separated for 10 years this winter (it’s so surreal typing that out). They’ve both moved on, they’re cordial to each other. I don’t say this to make anyone feel guilty or point fingers, or assume feelings that aren’t there. I believe they’re both happy. But I watched my dad study that marriage certificate when they finally found it. I watched his eyes scan the names and the date. I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel. 23 years is a huge chunk of life. I said to him, flippantly, in reference to our drive and the wait, “Well, that was virtually painless, wasn’t it?” And he shrugged and kind of half smiled, said, “Yeah.” All while looking at that sheet of paper. I know it wasn’t painless. Like I said, both of my parents have moved on. I’m not trying to imply anything. But I know he felt regret. Over mistakes made, words unsaid. It makes me want to strive harder than ever at my marriage, to always remain open and honest, even if honesty is brutally painful sometimes. To make sure my investment in my marriage is always at the top of my list, so that I don’t wake up one day and realize it’s bankrupt.
I love both of my parents, and I’m proud of them both. I know that the decisions they’ve made haven’t been easy on them, or on our family. We’ve adjusted, and we’ve found a new normal. But I don’t ever want to have to experience that kind of grieving and regret.

With all that said, I’ve made a new resolution today. One that says I’m never going to have to stand there and scan a document that equals regret. Not without knowing that I did everything in my power to breathe life and love into my marriage, to speak up when words need to be spoken, and to keep quiet when they don’t (now THAT will be the hard part). That I invested myself 100%, not holding back, not keeping a little part of me safe, “just in case”. Today I decided there is no “just in case”. I know relationships aren’t black and white- that’s not what I’m saying at all. There’s plenty of gray area to get lost in. I’m just deciding to do everything in my power to not get lost in it, and if I do- to hold my husband’s hand all the way through that fog.

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