Not Quite a Love Letter, but Still Means I Love You

 
(Who couldn’t love a man who lets his son color in his tattoos with markers??)
I write on and on and on about my love affair with my son, Roan.  It is so easy to do, because there’s nothing about my relationship with him that scares me.  Well, except for the fact that some day he may move on and have his own life but he’s already promised that he won’t do that until I die so I guess we’re cool.  I write about Anson sort of in a peripheral way, and often make him the punch line of some of these stories, and that isn’t an untrue reflection of our real life.  Luckily he is quick to laugh, especially at himself so it is generally a pretty harmonious life. 


Recently though, life has gotten a little bit more difficult.  Not just for us, for almost everyone we know.  Jobs are on the line, or have been victims of a firing line, money is tight, friends are moving away and all this anxiety reaches its hands into our relationships.  All this anxiety reaches its hands into my relationship.  Anson and I never have argued about money – we have pretty much the same ideas about what we need and what we want.  So imagine my surprise when our harmonious home has been interrupted by this crap economy.

 

Before I go on, I feel like I need to defend our happiness and say, “Hey even though I’m writing about how things are tough right now, we love each other, world!”  Why is that?  I guess because it scares me to write about a relationship that means everything to me, and to say that I’ve found out that it is vulnerable.  But I also feel like it is disingenuous to ignore it because is the thing that is on my mind the most.  And I wonder: if this is happening to us, is it happening in a lot of other homes?

 

So I guess I’d have to identify what “This” is.  “This” is Anson having trouble sleeping and being pretty grumpy as a result.  “This” is Anson being frustrated with his anxiety and resulting unhappiness. “This” is me being mad at him because he’s not happy.  “This” is Roan anticipating our arguments and trying to head them off at the pass with anything in his arsenal, including using his new catch phrase, “Hey hey hey just slow down a minute”.  “This” is my guilt at seeing Roan recognize that Anson and I aren’t always in step with each other. 

 

I think mostly, “This” is life when it gets hard.  Certainly we’re not alone in it, but it freaks me out.  My experience with my own parent’s divorce has made me look for problems and cracks and fissures when maybe they aren’t even there.  Their divorce (either fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) turned me into a person that needs to be understood and wants to understand everything in the relationship backward, frontward, sideways, diagonal and upside-down.  I’m probably a pretty exhausting person to live with and promise to live with forever.  But Anson promised exactly that and has reminded me recently that regardless of how hard things are, he’s in it. Forever.  (Anyone else hear Prince saying “and that’s a mighty long time….”?)

 

I guess the real thing that “This” ends up being is learning how to stand next to each other when things seem like they’re falling apart all around you.  And then in the future when we’re about to drop dead, looking back and being able to say it wasn’t so bad.  We were happy more often than we were unhappy; we had more good times than bad.  Remembering to hey hey hey slow down a minute and clasp hands and stay in step.  So that’s where I’m coming from today – saying to Anson: though you are a tad bit fussier than normal, I’m in it too, forever. And that’s a mighty long time baby.

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30 responses to “Not Quite a Love Letter, but Still Means I Love You

  1. This post made me cry, quite unexpectedly, but here I sit feeling all raw and choked up. Like you guys, we’re going through “This” as well. Grumpy, negative, things falling down around us, sometimes even panic. Your post has reminded me to be more supportive and reassuring, yes maybe even trusting. Even if shit hits the fan, which it is, and even if it hits close to home, which it is, we still have each other, our health, and our ability to love. So bring it on big, bad world, it will only make us stronger!

  2. Many years ago, probably before you were old enough to have boyfriends, the economy took a turn for the worse. I don’t remember it being as significant as it is now, but there were so many people jobless and loosing money. There was the same sense of panic. My husband and I felt the crunch, and began taking it out on each other. Your post reminds me of the way I felt, how I would be angry at him for things that he was feeling. Looking back, there are things I would do differently. There are things he should have done differently also. We ended up divorcing, and this many years later I still wonder if we gave it enough of a chance. Keep talking to each other. I would say your instict to talk through things will serve you well. I also believe that re-emphasizing your commitment to each other is important. It is easy to be together when life is good. A strong marriage is one that has withstood challenge. God bless you.

  3. so glad to have found your blog. You are great to ‘listen to’.

  4. Yes. Right. Us, too. Everything.Thank you for saying it.

  5. i remember the time Melanie mentions.i also remember it was tough for us, as my dad got laid off in the midst of it. it was a tough year, but we made it. the strength in my parents’ relationship with each other helped them make it.i think anyone can be brave enough to stick it out in times of strife…they just need to put in the extra work to do so. remind each other of the love you share, and do little things at home to give yourselves a breath of fresh air from time to time.even if that means building a fort in the middle of the living room with couch cushions and blankets.

  6. LeLaLu – You have been the strongest and smartest woman I’ve known ever since we were in High School. Is it wrong that it makes me feel good that you have some of the same problems as me? Melanie – I’m really grateful that you will share your story here. Thanks for the advice and the encouragement to keep talking. HA! Poor Anson – that’s all he needs is me yapping more….Amanda – I’m so glad you found me. Thank you.Gillian – Totally off topic, may I just say that this may be my favorite sentence ever written…(from your blog. I love it.)”Why am I not sleepy at night? Never never, unless we’re watching tv in a dark room, an activity I liken to taking an Ambien wrapped up in Vicodin and washed down with Nyquil. With a Benadryl chaser.”falnfenix – have you been looking in my windows? Because the master of the house, aka Roan, has been demanding that we build forts every night – with the cushions and every pillow in the entire house. It is good advice, and it is the cheapest funnest adventure that we know.

  7. How come you sound so wise my little sister?!The one thing I have found that you can count on is change. It will always occur. So what to do about it and how to get through it? Hang on together and don’t be in a bad place the same day Anson is. Take turns!When finances were a disaster, and R was layed off and children were making us crazy my dearly beloved wrote me a little note that I think all can live by:”You cannot let circumstances dictate your happiness.” That being said,,,be happy anyways!Love ya!

  8. Hang in there. We are in “This” as well. My husband has been down, grumpy, sleepless, short, and more. It even got so bad that he didn’t want touched and even considered getting a hotel room for a night just to “get away”. We have talked, and things are good. He knows I am not going anywhere and we reminded each other of our love for one another. It seems to have helped. We look toward the future and not the past. We look to each other for support and a hand. We trust in each other and believe in each other.

  9. Well it must help that so many people care about you? Actually it’s reassuring to the likes of me to know that such a beautiful family like youse guys can scrape the bottom. Makes me not feel so lonely!This isn’t about me though. So this is practice for when things really get bad because they just will sometimes, even worse than this. You’re building up muscle to deal with it I guess. On the brite side? The good and fruity times will be so, so, good in contrast, no? We can’t know it’s good if we haven’t seen bad.BTW, Anson’s hot and there’s always that, right? Grumpy looks pretty good on him.

  10. In answer to your question “How…?” You just do it. Then you go to bed, get up and just do it again. It works.

  11. Yeah, we’re in ‘This’ too and lately have had to do a lot of that hand holding and reminding each other of the promises and holding on tight to….anything really….that we can grasp because this is kind of scary and hard but it’s really nice to know we aren’t the only ones.And that photo?? Pretty hot. Anson looks like Gavin Rossdale sort of….and him, and his adorable Kingston are so darn cute!

  12. Kellene – I like the idea of taking turns. If only I had some sort of self control it would be a good idea…truly, your marriage has been something I’ve tried to emulate. You and yours seem to have it down. Thanks for that.Kristi – sounds like we’re in the same spot. I know it is so hard to not take it personally when our partner is unhappy. I mistake it to mean “unhappy with me” when really it’s just “unhappy and stressed out with life”. I’m glad you guys are working through it.LoLo – thanks for the dinner and talk last night, and your perspective. You know us better than pretty much anyone, so it’s good that you have faith un us. Also your husband is hot. Oh yeh Kellene? Yours is hot too. OK!Ann – as simple as it sounds, I think that’s the right thing. Kate – HA! Anson as Gavin Rossdale is a good fit for me! I do love my boys and think that together they are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Thanks for the reminder. Hope your “This” gets better – I’ve checked out your writing and want to say that if you ever find yourself to be lonely please invite me over. Plz I can haz your cooking?

  13. Thank you for posting this! I started reading your blog a few weeks ago when it was nominated for that award. This post very nearly made me cry. My partner and I just had an argument about almost the exact “this” you write about here. It’s so hard to articulate in a relationship, especially when the money issues can get wrapped up and obscured to the point you don’t even know what you’re anxious about. Thanks for putting it into words.

  14. D – Well it seems we’re not alone! Who knew that so many of us were experiencing so many of the same things? Thanks for coming by –

  15. haha, no, not peeking in…that’s my standard go-to answer when people are trying to avoid money and have no idea what to do. people always seem to turn their noses up at the idea, until they try it.the Boy and i started buying card and board games, and having friends over weekly (when they can do so). it’s cheap for everyone, we all have fun, and there’s no loud noises like you’d find at a bar.since we’re at home, there’s no temptation to spend, either. the most we’ll spend is on pizza, but that’s cheap and everyone pitches in.

  16. Way to go, daughter!

  17. “This” isn’t about the economy. “This” scrapes its fingernails down the chalkboard 2 or 3 times a year at our house.When we’re about to explode, I often remove my wife (almost forcibly) from the house, take her to the beach and we sit there staring straight ahead silently for hours until the wind and the waves have eroded all the anger and frustration away.Then we hold hands, walk back to the car and complain all the way home about who’s going to vacuum the sand out of the carpet.

  18. What helps me is recognizing when me and mine are both in a bad place. When I see the symptoms, I leave the house and find other things to do on my own. I refer to it as “ejecting”. Lucky for me, I love alone time. Nothing every productive happens when both you and your spouse are taking jabs at eachother. I know the feeling.

  19. This is such a timely post for my family. We too have hit a rough road. Our income is now 1/3 of what it was last year and find ourselves angry. Trying to remember, however, not at each other. It has reminded us of what really matters ~ each other. We started with nothing when we got married and we were pretty happy back then. We find ourselves back to the way we used to be – hiking, backpacking, cycling and spending time as a family. Your blog is an escape from the daily bad news about the economy! Keep up the great work.Here’s hoping that everyone has enough food on their table and a roof over their head!

  20. I really liked your comments Jodi, so sweet about Anson. We all go through trials in life, and you will find it will make you stronger. Remember this, a wise person said this, trust “It will all work out!”things are as important as family and you know that..

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