July 6, 2021: one bowl

Hello Sweetheart,

I just got back from my bike ride over high drive and back. Hills cars don't even notice are major events for me, and I feel O.K. Last time I did this, this riding in the evening thing, I was laid flat the next day. Flat as a tire. I hope that tomorrow, I'm better, and still able to go. I'll sleep in a little while, then wake up and find out.

Over the weekend, I broke my pattern of getting into the gym each day with the sunrise (more or less). Going back today, I was astounded how much my body slid back. I lost about a third of my ability, just in 3 days of being irregular. Wow. Consistency matters!

It has been difficult parenting alone, as you might relate in many ways, but it is also heavenly to spend so much time present with my middle son. I am not shameful about the way I was in the past; I ignored him, as much as my whole family, and I know it. I know shame won't get me anywhere. It is so wonderful to really be present with my child, if not my children. I choose to enjoy the present moment, and know I am evolving every day until I die. This is my evolution. I will not regret my past, but I will seek to outdo it with a sense of adventure and pride.

I spent this whole afternoon, more or less, writing today's earlier message for you. Why do I spent this much time for you? I've almost deleted it, except for the fact I invested so much. 

It feels lonely to have invested that much time and attention, spent the whole evening (again) writing for you, trying to sort out my thoughts for you, for me and for us; going on for pages. I would love 3 page long messages where I could see you spent that much time on me; I'd love to hear that much of you! But, I wouldn't expect it. Just know that I love you and I would love that big of a window into your inner world. Or, heck, maybe I wouldn't love it at all. Years ago, I think we did that for each other, and I loved it. We wrote on and on. It was one of the most awesome things ever.

I want to share a few main things. First, I'm on board with the idea of supervised visitation. I don't need it, Torben doesn't need it, those are my views, and I stand by my views just like you stand by your own views. If you think you need it, and if by extension you believe Torben needs it, then I am honoring you by honoring that, and I am willing to do what you need, even while I do not need it at all. 

From your messages, I do understand you believe that is an issue of our toddler's safety. You have the right to your opinion, and I am choosing to respect you without needing to agree. If you could return that favor and that same respect to me, even if you don't necessarily agree then I think we will make a lot of progress together. Specifically, I am choosing to ask in return, two things which I believe are an issue of my safety. I am certainly willing to honor your concerns about our toddler's safety if you are willing to honor my concerns about my safety.

First, I wish to communicate with you in an open, un-clandestine way. While there are other alternatives, they do place me in legal jeopardy and I would suppose by now that you know that just as well as I do. It doesn't seem loving to me to keep the order in place for one person's safety while it endangers another person's safety at the same time. Loving us all, it is fair to treat everyone we love in ways that don't endanger anyone, without prejudice and without preference. When we love someone, anyone, then we choose not to endanger them. We can choose to communicate openly; it is one way to show our love. It is one way to show that we consider each other as important as the pyramid you drew suggests and recommends.

If our teenager needs to be left alone, I'm totally willing to do that; it's a relief to us all for now. He should know I love him and will always love him, and that my staying away is not because I have no love; it is out of my love for him that I respect this boundary for us both. In the last message it was written that the old order is now being sustained to protect the child, but the order itself does not mention or have anything to do with the child. It will probably be more useful to drop that order, engage in counseling before that opportunity vanishes, and, if anyone wishes, enter a new order specifically pertaining to the specific person you wish the order to protect.

My second wish is equivalent to the wish for supervised visitation for the toddler; I wish for supervised communication for the adults. This helps ensure that both adults are acting as a team, co-parenting, without me telling you how things have to be and without you telling another how things would be for them either. If we truly do wish to create a future where we are indeed married, then I would like to be active in that marriage and in that sense of a team, where we both play equal roles and respect each others' roles. I want that with you, but not someday later; that good and fair sentiment is either here today, or it is not here. If we are going to be a team, then the only time is now. We did not know very well how to be a team in the past; it's how we got here, to this broken place, in my view. We will need a coach, and we can easily learn how to be a team that thrives, a couple that truly respects one another and communicates safely, in a brand new way. I have faith in that learning, I am open to that learning, and iif I have any partner in life, I will do that learning with them. I will not not learn. If you and I do the learning together, then I bet we'll probably find ourselves saying, 'Dang! Why didn't we just do this before? It's sooo much better!' I mean, do you remember the times we were arguing and you'd just cut through and come up to me and say, "I need a hug"? Imagine that times a thousand. Do you believe it?

Open communication and a guide are especially important when we look at visitation, in times to come. If the order is maintained and our attempts to communicate are against the spirit of its law, then by all means it is legally hazardous to even communicate if the child has some kind of emergency, gets stung by a bee, or falls off a bike and wants a hug from his mama. It only makes sense to be able to text and call, in the best interests of our son. 

So, in a nutshell, I am willing to honor your wishes about supervised visitation, even though I don't agree it's necessary. I'm not seeking to agree with you; I am seeking to honor you, no matter what. 

I hope you can seek the same with me, and honor me even if you do not agree. I wish to communicate directly with you about our son, and I would like to do that communication initially with our counselor, because there is currently no cost.

I'm glad to read the message written that there's no wish to delay counseling, but the calendar says that counseling has gone on since early May and we're now in July. For whatever the reasons may have been or may now currently be, there's been a delay. If counseling ends, then we'll have to go the route of mediation so we can both make sure we are treating each other equally and with equal rights and equal respect and equal say, as counseling would have done if we'd take the opportunity together. 

This way, if even in the sad case of mediation, we both know we have observed and honored the Golden Rule, of treating the other the way we would wish to be treated also. But, of course, getting legal orders to enter mediation is a nasty chore, way less healing than counseling is, and it simply doesn't feel good. This last part is entirely up to you, and the actions you choose or do not choose to take. We either show up or we do not, and it's that simple! In time, the actions are all that's left. Nobody remembers the words, they only knew if you were there or not there.

In my longer message, I copy the response from our counselor; she's willing to help us, as she has been since May.

Okay. Phew. I think I got the hard stuff done. I have been trying all night to find some fun, non-offensive way to talk about these difficult things. I've wished to show you warmth, I want to show you love, and I want above all to show you that I value you over and above the subject matter of the day, which will come and go as things do, and will. 

The uncertainty I feel, my love, is the uncertainty of whether or not you are committed. Either one is committed to a marriage (even while the chips are down and things seem irredeemable), or one is not committed to a marriage. There is no such thing as a half-commitment; half-commitments are worse than no commitment at all. They pretend to be reliable and disguise inherently shaky ground. Commitments create a feeling of intimacy and safety when they are intimate, and safe. 

It seems commitment is defined by how absolute it is. Part of what gives the word special power is, like pregnancy, it either is or it ain't. 

I've supposed you are committed to our marriage, and so I've expected you to take action that shows and demonstrates that commitment. Both you and I have taken great new actions for our children; we've proven we love them enough to take that level of action for them. Now I think it is time for us to show each other whether we love each other that way, too -- or not. In any case, I hope it's not some half-pregnant thing, of saying we're committed but not doing what it takes to be committed. You deserve a husband that is totally, 100% committed to you. I desire a wife who is the same way. I hope you will choose to get whatever protections you feel you need in place for yourself, and not impair your own ability to engage in counseling and prove you are as committed as you say you are. I'm already there. I've been there for months. The door has always been open with me. The rest is up to you. 

I wrote this last night, and am posting it just as I wrote it to this journal. With love ~