Life Topics

Yesterday Today and Tomorrow

She was very knowledgeable about her business.  Holding the ring, she pointed out the uniqueness of the setting as she rotated it in her fingers.  The stones were exquisite as their brilliance would light up with each motion.  “Can you see how the diamonds are held in this circular setting?” she said.  It was a gold band with three diamonds in a row.  I knew nothing about settings, but she assured me it was both fashionable and stable.  I really liked the ring but did not love the ring.  She continued by saying, “the diamonds are E H quality”, or some such letters that was supposed to impress.  It was lost on me.  He stood next to me leaning over the case, focused on the ring and listening intently.  It was going to be a major purchase if we decided to go with it.

He asked me to wait outside while he had a private conversation with the shopkeeper.  I quietly turned to him and said, “I need to talk to you.”  He insisted I wait outside. I repeated myself again, hoping to curtail their conversation.  I could see he was set to negotiate.  I didn’t want him to work to get the price down on something I wasn’t really sure about.  However, I went outside as he asked and waited until he emerged from the store.  He told me he had talked her down by several hundred dollars.

“Hey, I wanted to let you know that I don’t love the ring” I said.  He was a little bit surprised, as we walked down the street.  I said, “Maybe we can go to Boston to look for the right thing.”  He agreed, although a bit disappointed. Turning toward the beach we walked onto the soft sand and stared out at the harbor in silence.  The beautiful summer day reflected the sun off the water as the boats bobbed on their moorings.  His plan was to propose and present me with a ring that night.  It was our weekend away to celebrate 25 years together and to start a new chapter in our life.

The town had been all but shut down that day while they worked on the repairs.  A sewer breakage had caused all food establishments to close, and half the town was left without plumbing.  We decided to go anyway and try to enjoy ourselves.  The quaint hotel we stayed at had flushing toilets and was in the center of town near beaches and shops. Port-o-Potties lined the main street, and a scattering of people walked around.  Our evening plans were ruined as our favorite restaurant, The Mews, was closed.  That was the memorable location he planned to make it official.

As we walked back toward the main drag, I saw another Jewelry shop.  I said, “Let’s go in here and take a look.”
I had every intention of just looking.  The owner of the shop was animated and friendly.  He didn’t have the smug air of the last shop owner.  We began leaning over the cases to look at his diamond rings.  There were several off the list right away.  He held up “our most popular” rings looking for my interest.  Nah, no interest.  I did find one that was way beyond our means.  I kept going back to it, but eventually snapped out of it.  We were not looking to spend a ton of cash.

My eyes were a bit off focus because my false eyelashes were starting to flap off my eyelid.  I must have looked crazy.  Every so often I’d put my finger on the lashes to secure them on the dry glue without success.   My soon to be fiancé was staring intently at all the sparkly choices, pointing out possibilities.  And then, there it was.  A 3-diamond band that was sweet and simple.  It resembled the ring we saw at the other shop, but was in white gold, which made it pop.  The owner told us that the 3 diamonds represented, “yesterday, today and tomorrow.”  That resonated with us since we have been together for so long.

My boyfriend asked the owner if we could take a walk and talk about it.  “Of course!” he said.  So, we left the store and stood off to the side of the front window.  With tears coming down his face, he quickly said, “I know we’re doing this backwards, we’re about to buy a ring, and I haven’t officially asked you to marry me.  Will you marry me?”  I took his face into my hands, looked directly in his eyes, and slowly said “Yes. Yes, I will marry you” as my tears (and eyelashes) blurred my eyes.  We tightly embraced and started kissing in the middle of a busy sidewalk like we were the only ones in the world.

 

Life Topics

An Unlikely Friendship

 

I could not stomach it any longer.  This marriage was making me physically and mentally sick.  I never knew what I was up against from day to day.  Between the acrid verbal abuse, “why would you wear makeup, you’re so ugly anyway” and finally the threat of physical abuse there was no way to continue.  My life was a roller coaster controlled by his moods and behaviors. No one really knew what I was going through.  Although, I am pretty sure the kids knew.  They always know.  It was like I had a secret to tell, I wanted to blurt it out, but I didn’t have the guts to let on how miserable I was.  Deep down I wanted to appear like we had a happy marriage, just pretend it was OK; until I couldn’t.  The last straw came when he called me a cunt in front of my children.  Through shock, disbelief, embarrassment, and rage, I balled up my right hand, reached back and swung.  I hit him square in the jaw and his 6’ 4” frame dropped to the floor.  I’m not proud of losing control but I was battered and defeated.  I then told the kids to get their jackets on, and “we are out of here.”  So, we left during a February snowstorm and never looked back.  It was the best decision of my life.

I eventually got on my feet after staying with my parents for 6 months.  They were incredibly supportive.  The divorce was a nightmare, of course, but not as bad as the marriage.  Slowly I gained mental strength and self-esteem.  He had me turned so inside out that I it was hard for me to make simple decisions at first and have the necessary confidence I needed to fully heal.  Thankfully that all changed. I took small yet bold steps to regain my life and get to a place of total independence.  I was no longer that woman who put up with his twisted views or gross negativity.  No one would ever step on me again.  No one.

As miracles would have it, he eventually remarried a few years later.  I wondered what kind of woman would fall for him.  And then I remembered how he could transform into a charming predator at will.  I naïvely and regrettably fell for that once.  Maybe she was lured in unknowingly, or maybe she was as unbalanced as he was.  Either way, I was determined not to like her, and I didn’t.  Afterall, any friend of his was an enemy of mine. You are judged by the company you keep they say.  However, my life was in an upturn as I had met and fallen in love with my life partner.  The only thing I worried about was the time and influence she would have on my son.  Her character was a mystery to me, and I had deep concerns.

Eventually they had a child of their own, a baby girl.  I had to pretend that I cared about my son having a new sister so he would feel content and at ease.  He already had to put up with his father’s erratic behavior when he picked him up on weekends, shouting nonsense at me for no reason.  I didn’t want to add to my son’s stress by saying anything negative about his new sister, nor did I want to.  It turned out that he really liked his stepmother, without elaborating on it.  I think he didn’t want me to feel bad.  He also loved having a sister, he was no longer the baby in the family.  I had very little contact with her, except for a few emotionally charged phone conversations.  She accused me of being “selfish” when discussing child support.  This woman was crazy.

Not surprisingly their marriage dissolved a few years later.  I wasn’t broken up about it.  Nobody could live with him.  Only now, not only a family was split up, but my son would also lose a sister that he loved.  Life continued with weekend visits from his father.  I didn’t give his situation a second thought, as it was none of my business.  However, I received a phone call a few years after the split up that changed my life.

His estranged stepmother called me one winter day and asked if she could drop her daughter off to spend time with my son. I believe it was Thanksgiving.   At first, I was taken aback.  Afterall, here was this “crazy” woman asking me to entertain her daughter.  She was not family. What was I supposed to do?  I agreed and talked to my partner.  My partner said, “why do not you ask her to come along and join us too.  It’s such a long drive, why doesn’t she just stay.”  That was out of the question in my mind.  Why would I do that!  But the more I thought about it, I decided that that would be OK.  I would only have to put up with her for an afternoon if it made my son happy.  Not only did it make my son happy, but it was such a simple, yet brave, act of kindness on her part that I could not help but admire.  She decided to stay.

We eventually started seeing each other with and without the kids.  I would tell my friends that I was hanging out with my Ex’s second ex-wife, at first.  Then as time went on, I did not need to describe our situation.  There was no need.  We were becoming good friends on our own.  Her stories were my stories. Her life was my life.  We are kindred souls who have the same war stories, the same dreams and desires.  It was not all about the marriages.  Sure, we kibitzed about being married to him for a while, but then it turned into more; much much more.  If she never met my Ex then we would have never met.  We discovered that we had so much in common and especially, thanks to her, each wanted our children to have a loving and solid relationship, to grow up and grow old together.

I count her as one of my dearest friends.  We know what each other have been through and keenly understand it.  It’s mostly unspoken today.  Besides being a loving, patient, wonderful friend, she is my son’s mother as well.  Not a stepmother, a true and dedicated mother.  If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know if the kids would be in each other’s lives today.  If it wasn’t for her, I would have missed out on a “once in a lifetime” friendship.  I love her and will have her for the rest of my life, until death do us part.

 

Life Topics

Dipstitch Podcast

Hello Dilettante Life followers, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  Time to get back in the saddle soon.  I miss my blog.

However, the reason I’ve been absent for so long is I have found a new passion I wanted to tell you about…

I have a new podcast!  It’s called Dipstitch,  a 15-30 minute episode of “sisterly conversation” brought to you each week.  What is sisterly conversation?  Well, my sister Susan and I talk about food, family, faith, dogs, knitting, jobs, holidays, parenthood and EVERYTHING in between.  I know you might be thinking, “this is a chic podcast” but it’s not. Most topics are very relatable and entertaining.  We have some laughs along the way and even have a guest every so often to join in the fun.

Won’t you have a listen?  Our audience is fantastic and makes the podcast worthwhile.  But, we’re looking to grow our fan base by inviting you to listen.  Dipstitch is available on a number of podcast platforms, but the easiest one to use is podchaser.com.

To become a loyal listener, go to podchaser.com and in the search box type Dipstitch.  Our podcast page will come up and have a green “Follow Podcast” button on the right side of the screen.  Click on it, and you’ll get an email when a new episode is uploaded.  It’s that simple.  And, if you scroll down, you’ll see Recent Episodes with a link next to it, to “View All”.   One stop shopping.

Thank you so much for being a loyal follower of Dilettante Life.  I hope you will enjoy Dipstitch as much, and become a follower there as well.

Warm Regards,

Jo