I have spent the weekend with my boyfriend's family in Syracuse.
I have spent the last several weeks being very nervous.
There have been tears, some clearly misdirected yelling and lots of conversations over these last several weeks.
Jacob had dinner with a rabbi friend of mine recently and came home with an adorable epiphany: this is totally normal.
It was a classic misunderstanding of the sexes. I absolutely knew that this was normal. Of course a 31-year-old Christian divorcee just might worry a little bit that the parents of her 27-year-old beautiful, kind, communicative, successful Jewish boyfriend might doubt her motives. But men don't think like that. He thought I was doubting his family.
So, with that difference resolved, he was able to let me go on being nervous without taking it personally.
And it turns out that my fears were actually totally unfounded.
His family is wonderful. This has been an incredibly restful and fun weekend. His siblings are my kind of sarcastic, his mother is fun, welcoming and a little bit of good crazy. His father is quiet and seems to have gradually warmed to me. His sister has beautiful and well-mannered daughters: two and a half and four and a half years old. I made them presents to buy their love. I figured if the grandkids liked me, his parents would have to like me.
So, I made felt crowns from the Juicy Bits pattern.There is an "E" for Ellie and an "N" for Nina.
I also made lace crowns from a post by Amy Karol with just a little velcro. I have to admit that I made one of these for myself.
Finally, I made matching floral garlands like I used to make at the Renaissance Faire. Since Nina corrected everyone and insisted her name was "Bride" and married her father seven or eight times over the course of the weekend, these seemed particularly well-received. On a side note, when asked what she wanted for breakfast, she responded, "'I want eggs,' said the bride!" Both of them are slightly precocious. Her sister said a little later with a perfectly appropriate transition, "Speaking of the Muppet show, I want to watch the boy one [Paul Simon]!" We got a long very well: the girls and I.
But I have to say that this weekend has reminded me that relationships are hard. I have shifted from being a woman who dates men to a woman who is partnered with a man and the difference is overwhelming sometimes. It is stunningly joyful at other times. But occasionally I am totally overwhelmed that my life is being changed in ways that I would not normally choose in order to be in harmony with Jacob. Sometimes his needs come before mine. Especially when all I want to do is to fall asleep when there are still fears and insecurities (belonging to both of us) that need to be discovered and soothed.
I think I was too young to actually observe this when I was dating Dennis and too raw to really witness it when I dated Jeffrey. It is what I have wanted but the reality of loading the dishwasher someone else's way, eating kosher, changing my morning routine and realizing as I look around at his family that I will create patterns of behavior over time with them, as well - that they might become my family without my ever having chosen them - is slightly daunting.
Do I want my life to change? I've got a good thing going here. Friends who go out to dinner with me, time for crafts, a church that fulfills my spiritual needs and pushes me further along the path. Am I ready for all that to be different? Right now, probably not. My life works for me.
But I'm fairly certain that it isn't sustainable. I will want to be at the next stage at some point here and it would really show hubris to insist that I will not move to that next stage until I'm good and ready. And here now is this man who loves me and makes me laugh and wants the same things that I want out of life. How could I not love him? How could I not make the changes in my life that need to be made in order to live in love with him?
All I can do is give thanks.
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