Monday, September 25, 2006

Instructions . . or rather . . Directions

I went to LA this weekend. I had some business to take care of that I'd been putting off for quite some time. Since my ex-wife left me 2 years ago, I've been desperate for help of some kind. I've had kids for 14 years, but didn't realise how taxing it is to raise them until she was gone and I was all by myself. Its not just the work, which is substantial, but the burden of responsibility.

Saying that though, I did know how hard it was, as I remember being overwhelmed before she left me, but it was easier then to recover from it. Being a single parent makes those moments come more often and the recovery seemingly never begins.

Well, thats one of the reasons why taking little breaks to LA is so beneficial for me and why I always find an excuse to head back home for a day or two every couple months. Thing is, when I get there, I have this huge void or emotional cloud that envelopes me. I feel so alone and useless and quickly that turns into guilt for not being tough enough to deal with the responsibility better and not allow myself to be overwhelmed. I mean, I love my children more than anything, so why can't that satisfaction be enough for me?

After taking care of my business, I was in my mom's house in the living room, just relaxing. She was in the kitchen, as usual, cooking mountains of food for me as if I were a party of 8. Part way through her slicing and dicing she sat next to me and said "I need to tell you something". Shock and horror!!! What was she going to say? I knew in my heart what it was. I'd been denying it for a couple months as my own personal problems kept me from accepting anyone else's reality, but it was time for me to face something else and my mom deserves my attention so I listened as she told me about how Rubin, her boyfriend, had asked her to marry her and he was going to come over to ask me if that was OK.

She was so nervous. I could see it in her eyes as they welled up and nearly overflowed, but didn't tear as if in anticipation of my response. I told her that if he makes her happy then of course it was OK with me.

Rubin and my mom have been dating for about a year. She's known him since she was a child and after my dad died a couple years ago, she started seeing him more due to her new frequent trips to see my ailing grandmother.

Rubin seems like a good man. Nothing like my father in any way. Rubin is quiet and respectful. He blends in to a crowd and doesn't force his persona onto you. He's a hard worker and blue collar. The thing that strikes me most about him though is that his intentions seem so plain. When he is with my mother, she is the only person in the room. He speaks with her, not to her. He listens to her and doesn't just wait for his turn to speak but engages.

On Saturday I was recovering from a very good night out with my friend Bernie and woke up late. Normally, my mom is fluttering about like a bee cleaning or cooking, but I couldn't see her anywhere. I looked outside and saw her working with Rubin. She's putting a new fence in the front of her house made of brick and iron. Quite a big job.

The two of them were finishing off the job as the person she paid to start it wasn't doing a ver good job. So there was my mom and Rubin, making this wall. They weren't saying a word to eachother, but were working as if they'd been building walls forever, placing mortor on top of the brick pillars, spounging the asphalt white caps before placing them on top and smooothing the edges. So simple but so perfect. I was overcome with emotion.

I've been struggling for so long to find what I wanted in life. My identity has been attached to being a father, a provider and a husband for so long, with how well I measured up to others with those titles. When my ex left me, I didn't know who I was anymore or what I wanted, but when I saw my mom there, it was clear as day. I was so happy for her. She is at peace with herself and she spends her time with someone who cares for her and values her.

This is what I want. I've spent so much of my life looking for an event, symbol or marker that would prove that I had "made it" or reached some prescription of happy. Its not a list or milestone. I want happiness, but happiness isn't a place. Its not something that you can say "If I can just do this or have this or attain this, THEN I will be happy" Happiness is found in moments and is a realisation not a destination.

I don't have any instructions, but I hope now I have a direction. I have all the elements around me now for happiness, I just need to open my eyes and feel.

3 Comments:

Blogger Natalie said...

This is really touching Darrin, i'm so glad that you are evaluating what makes you happy and seeing your mum's happiness too. And i'm looking forward to meeting you this weekend!

2:21 PM  
Blogger Jerri said...

This is a wonderful piece, Darrin.

Your ability to see and understand what your man has with this man tells me that you have the same abilities. My wish for you is that you find someone with whom to share them.

Keep writing. Keep the faith.

6:56 PM  
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5:25 AM  

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