Sunday, August 28, 2011

OT: What it's like to love a mule

Today should be a joyous day. Four years ago, I met the beloved Tom. Four years is forever! We could have graduated from college, borne five children (theoretically!), and jetted around the world almost 750 times. We could have even had a leap year. Four years!

Tom and I found each other through an online dating site for BBWs. Tom didn't know what a BBW was, but he figured he'd give it a shot. He wrote to 20 women; I was the first one to answer. We talked constantly for five days and finally met. We've been together every day since.

When I asked him why he was into big women, he said, "What do you mean?" I pointed out that he'd found me on a BBW site. He just looked puzzled. "I wondered why that site was called BBW. What does BBW mean?" Big, beautiful women, I explained. He shook his head. "I'm into women but they don't have to be big. They just have to be nice. That's all that matters to me." And he meant it. I had a father who hated my weight  and shamed me constantly to diet. I then had a husband who loved my fatness and begged me to get fatter. I'd never been with a man who was genuinely into ME rather than my weight. I didn't know what to make of this. I still don't, frankly.

It hasn't been a perfect relationship - but what relationship is? Maybe if you hook up two perfect people they'll have a perfect love, but we're both flawed folks who do the best we can. Love at midlife comes with complex baggage: former marriages, teenagers, childlessness, illness, financial crises, lousy childhoods, and the like. We did what we could do: partner up, soldier on, and love each other along the way.

So after four years, it's time to celebrate! I bought food for a feast: my signature crab cakes (I am a Marylander after all), Tom's favorite roasted potatoes, fresh yellow squash, and a homemade blueberry pie. Maybe we'd go to the movies or for a long drive. We'd talk about the past and our future and make some romance, too.

But instead of a romantic weekend, Irene sauntered into town. Irene, that narcissitic drama queen who walks in and instantly commands everyone's attention. Utterly seduced, my two-timing boyfriend followed her home and stayed there. Home for Tom is 100 miles away on a peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay. It's a fine place to live - unless some hussie hurricane hustles by. And last night, one hell of a floozy had her way with Tom.

Everyone knew that Irene would wreak havoc. I begged Tom to spend the weekend here as he always does. But NO. He excitedly dug out his generator, camping stove, and kerosene lantern and hunkered down for the duration. All day long, under a foot of rain and 80 mph winds, he waved goodbye to modern living, first losing land line service, then cable, then the internet, then power, lights, and air conditioning, and finally his only way out. There are only two routes off of his peninsula and both are now blocked by downed trees and powerlines. To make matters worse, the dam down the street, which was built to stop flooding in his county, is overflowing, putting him at greater risk. And the state just announced that Irene also damaged the nuclear power plant near his house. Could this get any worse? Other than him dying in the storm?

Did I tell him this would happen? Did I beg him to stay here last night? Did I know our anniversary weekend would be ruined if he insisted on hunkering down? YESYESYESYESYESYESYES.

Am I really, really, really pissed off? YESYESYESYESYESYESYES.

Is Tom so hardheaded you could use him as a jackhammer? YESYESYESYESYESYESYES.

All I can do now is pray. God, grant me the serenity to accept the stubborn-as-a-mule boyfriend I cannot change. The rest of that familiar prayer continues: the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. I know there's nothing I can do about Tom and his decisions except wait for the roads to clear and the power to come back on and life to go back to normal. In the meantime, I'm going to do all I can do: Freeze the crab meat. Walk the dog. Knit my sweater. Let it go. And be grateful for this man who drives me completely nuts - and loves me better than anyone I've ever known.


  1. That's a beautiful post, full of love. I hope Tom reads it in a day or so, when he's returned from his adventure.
    I hope he is o.k.
    Knit on !

  2. Wait--why did he feel the need to be there? I love that you are trying to accept Tom the way he is, but I just don't understand! Happy Anniversary. Your story gives me hope. :)

  3. I guess it's a 'man thing'. The Big Adventure, like being a kid on a camping trip, right there in the middle of all the action. How exciting, with the wind blowing at a hundred miles an hour, water flying everywhere risking your life, by being a MAN!
    I don't think, we, as women will ever understand it!
    I do hope he has come through it all without too much damage.
    Happy Anniversary in spite of the intrusion of that destructive hussy!
    Darn, I'd rather eat crabcakes!!!

  4. as others have said I hope Tom is alright. I sort of get it, the whole adventure thing. And I hope he had a rollicking great time. I also hope he can understand how rotten it can be, being the waiting one. I love that I've found your blog.

  5. a great post today..thanks...but don't EVEN try to figure them out...