Saturday, January 25, 2014

When Letting Go, Create a new Vision

He says to me, "We need to talk tonight. I've been thinking about Jessara."
I'm slow to respond, stunned actually because I realize that he's been giving a lot of thought to something that I wasn't thinking about. Oh boy, I've got to prepare myself; I want to put off what I think is coming and ask if we can talk about it after dinner.


As we clean up the dinner dishes, he brings it up again and I realize that I had completely forgotten about his request to talk - I'd put it out of my mind completely. I'm slightly amused at my brain's protective capacity.

The conversation unfolds.

He's been thinking about all the things we've talked about the last few months (our youngest heading off to college next fall, how we want to restructure our lives, the things we've talked about doing) and Jessara, our boat of eight years, is an 'anchor' around our financial health. Up to this point in our lives, that's been okay. We've had such grand adventures on her as a family that the costs were always worth it. We aren't using her very much anymore and she does what every boat does - she sits in the water and breaks.

He looked up how much it would be to charter a boat - a lot less than it costs to keep one. He continues to give solid, reasonable reasons why it is a good idea for us to sell her now.

As he talks, I feel myself pulling Jessara in closer and closer to my heart.

No! Don't ask me to give her up quite yet. I don't care what I said six months ago about not going to Alaska - don't make this a logical, rational decision! So what if I'm the one who pinned you down to talk about the possibility of selling her next year...

I'm the one that cracked this conversation open in the first place and there I stood, holding on tighter than I ever had. It was like the hug you give someone that you love when you don't know if you'll see them again. It's tight and bittersweet, longer with a reluctant release. But the release has to come. You have to let go. I couldn't disagree with any of his reasons, I understood, and hurt. This man I'm married to then did something quite amazing. With an off hand comment that brought back another conversation that I had forgotten, he says, "I took a look at some of those little teardrop trailers online."

I've been forgetting a lot of things, obviously.

The death hold I had on Jessara eased off a little bit. If I was a dog, my ears would have perked forward. It was a baited hook with a different vision. The beauty of it was that he was letting me know, for the first time, the ways in which he was beginning to envision our empty nest. This wasn't me poking and prodding the poor guy - he was poking me back and pointing out that without a boat, we could pursue new adventures in new ways. He was embracing tangible possibilities - and had been - but on his own time scale. This was news to me because only a few months ago he had told me that he needed the next year to just think about change. All the possibilities that I kept talking about were raising his anxiety. We made a pact to keep everything in the 'contemplation' stage until 2015. Which was why I was surprised by what I was hearing. I was also moved.

I realized that we process life's questions in different ways which includes different time frames. He needed to have the time to think about life in the empty nest from his own perspective which tends to include things like budgets, 401k's, savings and costs. Not just those things, but they show up more in his thinking than mine.  I can't begin to tell him how much I appreciate this in our relationship. He's a programmer - logic is the language he loves. And yet he is married to me, a woman who had to drop Logic as a class because I hated it. Ack - all those rules drove me crazy.
One of the many choices - More about Serro Scotty Trailers
So there we were. Making a major decision to change the way we live by selling our boat.

I cried a few tears of sadness - because letting go needs to honored - and then sat quietly for a long moment before I looked up, a gleam in my eye and asked -

"Do you know how many National Parks there are in this country?"

He just sighed - and smiled.

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