This past Saturday was a beautiful day. After a week of ice storms and damn cold weather, it was nice to see blue skies, sunshine and 70 degrees again. The kids and I cleaned house (yes, I've trained them well) and then decided to go on a "run".
I have to put the term "run" in quotes because Grace tuckers out pretty quickly. Our "run" eventually becomes a "run/walk", then a "walk" and then a "will you carry me?".
We were still running when I saw it:
My first American Robin of 2009.
When I bought my house last March, the robins were out in full force. Spring was in the air and the flowers were blooming. During a discussion with a friend of mine, she reminded me that all birds and animals are symbols:
"ROBIN - teaches us about growth and renewal. Like many birds, robins are good parents, and one aspect of this power animal is the ability to nurture oneself into true adulthood. This concept also relates to Robin's traditional connection to spring. This is the season of renewal, and when we let go of the past (much of which comes from childhood experiences) we are renewed, and free to nurture and serve both ourselves and others."I loved the symbolism at the time because I was buying my first home as a single homeowner and finally filing for divorce.
I saw another robin this morning.
And today, my friends, I finally said "no" to Soldier.
He is almost home from deployment. He is transitioning his duties to his replacements. He is planning out his year back in the good ole U.S. of A.
Part of those "plans" included seeing me during a trip to Chicago in June to visit our high school friend Joe and take me to Wrigley Field to see a Cubs game. (I love old baseball stadiums.)
We originally began planning this trip before his R&R leave. I assumed the trip was off since we were no longer pursuing a relationship. However in the past month or so, he has been persistent about asking me to still make the trip with him.
In our last conversation, he asked that I meet him with no expectations.
I've been sitting with that for a while, hence the funk.
I talked to Joe today and told him about my hesitation. Joe encouraged me with words of wisdom...
"Shit or get off the pot."
Here's the thing:
Soldier told me, back before his deployment, that I probably wouldn't love the man who returns from war. He also said he probably wouldn't want to be around anyone intimately for many months after he returned from war. He has to shut down so tightly, emotionally, because he would otherwise be a very damaged and possibly suicidal man.
I get it. I understand why. I feel much compassion for how he is and how he does not love himself this way. Even during his R&R time with me, he admitted how "pathetic" he was and how he did not like this person that he'd become. My heart breaks for him because we both know that that angry soldier is not who he really is.
I still have to honor myself.
I know me. I am a nurturing, affectionate, loving, intimate, giving person. With friends and even in my "friends with benefits" situations, I am still this way. I am honest. I don't hide who I am. In those relationships, I feel accepted, comfortable and loved. I didn't feel that way with Soldier when he was on leave.
Soldier was just like me when we dated prior to his deployment. I pray that he will be again one day. Will he be that way in June? I am not sure.
I don't think that I can be around him and not honor who I am. I tried to do that when he was on leave and it drained me of life. I can't only be the sexy vixen he expects. I can't bring that and not the rest. I can't be that strong. I can't say that I won't hope for more. I've barely mourned the hope I held all year. Can he handle all of me?
Can I handle all of him?
Its not fair to me nor to him to say that either of us won't have expectations. I can't guarantee that. I also can't guarantee that I will be able to accept who he will be when/if we met in Chicago, whomever shows up claiming to be him.
If he needs an answer now so that he can make another plan for June 2009, then my answer is no.
I've rarely said no to him, only because I've mistakenly seen him as "victim". Go ahead and call it co-dependence - I've enjoyed pleasing him. I wanted to be a source of happiness to him while he was trapped in hell. I chose this; he did not ask for it. I knew what I was getting myself into. I thought he was worth it and I felt much appreciated and loved... until that weekend that he brought hell home with him.
These are truths I've known but not always admitted to myself.
I still think he's worth love, compassion and happiness. But so am I.
So I'm thankful to the robin for reminding me that I can let go of the past and start anew. I am nurturing and serving myself. And most likely, I'm nurturing and serving him too.
American Robin photo came from here.