I know it’s part of the secret pact I signed when I made the choice to be a father. It’s one of those “it hurts me more than it hurts you” type of deals.
It’s funny that I write that…my dad used to say that to me before giving me the strap when I was a kid (it was a different time then…I’ve got no ill will or anything). I never really believed him until now, though. It’s a HORRIBLE thing to have to discipline your child. To see the sad face, the tears, the hurt…BAH! It sucks.
So when both The Ex and the Ankle Biter’s babysitter told me this week that he’s been having tantrums lately, I listened with butterflies in my stomach. I mean, I can be strict when I want to be but at the heart of it all I’m just a big softie when it comes to my kids. I give in probably a LOT more than I should.
I got a call from The Ex yesterday asking how Ankle Biter had been doing. And since picking him up after work on Friday, he and I had been having an awesome weekend (as is normally the case). She thought that maybe he had been coming down with a cold or something since he had been cranky much of the week.
I thought back to Monday and Wednesday nights when I had him for supper…and he had been great with me. So I was wondering if maybe I was doing something differently, something better that the others weren’t doing. Were my parenting superskills truly coming into play? Maybe I was really JUST THAT AWESOME!?!?!?!
I got a first-hand taste of “Tantrum City” this morning. And if I can be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure how to deal with it.
The Ex had told me that he had gotten a few “time outs” over the past couple of weeks. What I hadn’t asked, though, was HOW, exactly, he was getting those “time outs”.
So I turned to Twitter (yay social media!) and asked the following:
At 2 1/2 years old, how long should a “time out” be? Five minutes? Ten minutes?
What, exactly, should the “time out” contain? Sitting in the corner? Not going outside? No toys? No TV?
Thankfully, some more knowledgable people responded:
@Momma_Sunshine (swoon) replied first:
Okay…that makes perfect sense, right? Then came in a few more tweets on the subject:
So there you have it. It looks like the “minutes = years” rule is what I should be following.
And that’s exactly what I did. I wasn’t mad…I wasn’t forceful…I even sat close by so he didn’t think I had abandoned him. But for 2.5 minutes, it was quiet.
I hated every second.
We were originally scheduled to go outside when the tantrum took place. After a few more minutes of silence as he watched television, he eventually turned to me and smiled.
I, of course, smiled right back and gave him a big hug. We went outside and I’m pretty sure that NO lesson was learned (lol)…but at least I did what I needed to do as his father.
When we came back in, all had been forgiven. I didn’t have any more tantrums to worry about…he was on his best behavior. In fact, the only thing that I had to concern myself with was his newfound ability to MUG for photographs…just like his old man.
Am I proud of this new accomplishment? Heh…YOU be the judge.
Sunday morning saw us both wake up fairly early. We wanted to hit the road and enjoy as much of the day as we possibly could…no time wasted.
We jumped in the car and hit the highway to Peggy’s Cove. I’d never been there before but had always heard about how beautiful it was. And I gotta be honest…I was as excited about the drive as I was about the destination.
Y’see, when we’re in the car together…life is good. We talk, we sing, we laugh…I can’t think of a better way to get to know someone than that: sitting in a car and driving. You’re either forced to be quiet or forced to talk. Luckily for us, the discussions come pretty easy for us.
We arrived at Peggy’s Cove and I was surprised at just how small and isolated it was. I knew it was a fishing community, but had no idea just how tiny it really was. It’s one of those places that you read about or see on television, but can’t really believe that people would LIVE there. But here they are…a tiny village of no more than (seemingly) 100 people; living off of fishing and tourism. In fact, a tiny fishing boat came into the harbor as we drove in. At first, I thought it was just a prop…it looked too small to be real. But sure enough…this was an actual fishing boat. I give props to anybody who does this for a living. Truly amazing.
We first hit the tourist center, which immediately was a bit odd because it was built on rocks. What’s so odd about that? Well, they built AROUND the rocks…meaning that at multiple locations inside of the center, the rocks actually came through the floor.
No…I don’t quite see how that’s any more beneficial to the ecosystem than just cutting the rocks, but that’s just me.
As I joked with the local girls behind the information kiosk about the inability to fully finance the building enough to prevent rocks from protruding through the floor, one of them made the odd comment: “You should see our restrooms.”
Ummm….really? Okay…if you say so.
Sunshine and I snickered to ourselves as we made a bee-line out of the center and next door to the restroom building. I mean, even if we didn’t have to use the facilities, we absolutely HAD to find out just what in the world the big deal was.
Needless to say, we BOTH ended up taking pictures of the exact same thing:
We laughed and continued on our merry little way…driving up the small-but-steep-and-winding road to where “the rocks” awaited us. I had to stop, though…and quickly take a picture and document the absolute beauty of this small fishing village:
Once on top of the hill, we made our way out onto the rocks and towards the lighthouse. The view of the area, from the rocks to the village to the rest of the terrain…all reminded me of the year I spent in Newfoundland back in 2000. Just a gorgeous view from top to bottom. We began to do what we normally do…take pictures of ourselves. It was at this point that a total stranger walked up to us and offered to take our picture together.
Remember how we’ve discussed our ability to draw others into our happiness? Yeah…he was smiling from ear-to-ear as he saw us beaming. Here is the picture he took:
So after taking some more pictures (you can see all of our pictures from Peggy’s Cove here), we were starting to head back to the car when we were approached by a couple holding a camera. They introduced themselves and asked if they could take pictures of us if we agreed to take pictures of them in return.
We immediately struck up a conversation with Pam and her boyfriend (dang it…can’t remember his name!). They asked us how long we had been together (we conveniently left out our 3 month “hiatus”), asked about our kids, asked about how we met, asked about my blog…
It was during the conversation when Pam said that she ran her own website and blog and was a professional photographer. She wanted to take our pictures and then send them to us when she got home from vacation. How awesome is that??
So Sunshine and I lay on the ground…stared at the camera…kissed each other gently…all while Pam snapped away. Then she became infatuated with Sunshine and asked me to skedaddle. As she was posing and getting her picture taken, I just stood back and literally fell in love with Sunshine all over again.
When Pam said to me, “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”…all I could do was smile and mumble “Yes…yes she is.”
My stomach was getting butterflies. What am I…sixteen??
So I took a few snapshots of the two of them together, she informed me of her website, and then it began to rain as we head back to the car.
Parking lot at Peggy’s Cove? CHECK!!
Once back in Halifax we saw a marquee on the old Oxford Theatre for an afternoon matinee that we simply couldn’t refuse. For a food donation that would go to the local food bank, we could get to enjoy a free viewing of GREASE!! Sunshine isn’t the biggest fans of musicals, but I think she realized just how much fun this could be.
So after a quick pit-stop at her place to pick up some items and grab a quick lunch, we head down to the theatre and hunkered-down for a musical trip down memory lane. I don’t know just how old the Oxford Theatre is, but I remember seeing Star Wars in it when I was a kid…so it’s been around for awhile. We sat in the balcony (!!) with a big bag of popcorn and enjoyed the show.
I can’t lie…I absolutely LOVE this soundtrack. The movie? It’s great and all…but the soundtrack is what gets me going. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Balcony at the Oxford Theatre on a Sunday afternoon? CHECK!!
The rest of the night is pretty much a blur…at least a blur in terms of what I’ll tell YOU fine folk. But let’s just say that we made it a memorable night…
I left the next morning. It wasn’t like other times I had left. This time was different. I wish I could put a finger on it, but I can’t. Suffice to say that we needed this time apart to truly appreciate what it is that we share together. Obviously, there were other issues that we needed to deal with on our own, too…but if we had stayed together, I don’t think that we would be appreciating the love that we have the way we do.
There is much work to do. There is the distance…and that will play a factor going forward. There are our fears…but those will be tackled head-on by each of us. The one thing we both agreed upon was that regardless of how lonely we get or how frustrated we feel about the circumstances we find ourselves in, that NO MATTER WHAT…we never forget what it is that we’re fighting for. We must never, EVER forget this incredible weekend. This weekend was the template for all weekends to come and the reason for us being together in the first place.
So what’s next? Well…we’re going to have another visit next weekend, I think. Not sure if she’s coming here or if I’m going there. Not even sure how long the visit will be. But right now that doesn’t seem to matter as long as we get the chance to spend time together.
And our children are another huge factor going forward. We are both single parents, afterall.
She has met the Ankle Biter on a couple of occasions, but where each meeting was only for a couple of hours and he’s not even three yet…there weren’t any attachments made. On the other hand, I made some pretty strong attachments with Sunshine’s two beautiful daughters (in a relatively short period of time). They were quite hurt to know that I wasn’t going to come visiting anymore. Besides hurting Sunshine again, the LAST thing I want to do is hurt those two girls. I want to get to know them better…I want to feel more comfortable with them…I want to let down my guard and eventually love them as I do my own children.
But until that day comes, we’re just going to take things one day at a time and try not to get the kids too involved yet. We feel like we’re sure and that we’re ready, but we don’t want to hurt the kids again so we’ll play things cautious for now.
We both would like to thank you for all of your support that has taken place during our journey of reconnection over the past week. It really feels great knowing that there are so many people out there rooting for us to succeed and find happiness together.
We’re just hoping that you don’t get too sick of it all. 😛
So as I finally end this four-day odyssey of love, I leave you with the good-bye picture that only Sunshine and I could provide…
As I walked into work yesterday morning, the sun was hitting my face…the wind was blowing through my hair (wait….what?)…and because of the similarities in weather, I immediately day-dreamed of how amazing Saturday was with Sunshine.
Yes, it was already Wednesday and I could still feel Sunshine’s hand in my hand…her gaze in my gaze…her taste on my lips…
Once we left the Halifax Waterfront, we went to the Public Gardens. This is a place I had never been to before and was looking forward to it. I mean, every city seemingly has at least one place where the flora flourishes…whether it’s Central Park in New York City or Forest Park in St. Louis.
Suffice to say, the park didn’t disappoint…
To view all of the pics from the Public Gardens, just go here.
After the Gardens, we decided to go to Point Pleasant Park. It was one of those things…I didn’t care about where we went or how much we walked, I just wanted to spend time with her. I just wanted to talk…to laugh…to share.
At this point in the day, I had already concluded that it had been the BEST DAY EVER. Our joy was infectious…we were actually bouncing off of each other at some points.
The world was at OUR feet on this day.
To see all of the pics from Point Pleasant Park, just go here.
Next up was “the bridge incident”. I’ve already written about this experience, but needless to say that it truly was the symbolic gesture that I wanted it to be. In the days since walking that bridge, I have never felt so free of my fears. Oh, they’re still there. Heck…she feels them, too. But at the end of the day, we’re determined to address the fears as they appear before us and continue to move forward.
As the day came to an end (at least YOUR portion of the day…heh), we decided to go out to dinner at a restaurant. Nothing fancy…just a pizza place we knew we’d both enjoy.
As Sunshine mentioned recently, when we’re “on”…we’re “ON”. We’re giddy like school kids during recess. We’re teenagers again. But for every person who frowns at our giddy happiness, there’s somebody who gets us and just can’t help but let their own guard down and join in on the fun.
Thus was the case with Ian, our waiter. He immediately sensed our giddiness, and when Sunshine suggested that he sit us “far away from the other humans” he didn’t bat an eye before suggesting the private banquet room. Heh. Needless to say, we didn’t get that room and decided to risk eating with everybody else in public..
The thing, though, was that he waited on us differently than his other tables. You could tell that he felt at ease with us…that we weren’t going to judge him for being himself just as he wasn’t going to judge us for acting like two crazy idiots in love.
Well…when he provided us with drinks, he also provided us with kids placemats and crayons. NO…I’M NOT KIDDING. But were we offended by this gesture? Puh-leeze…what do you really think?
And thus the end of our day. The realization that not only did we really love each other more intensely and passionately than either one of us had felt was even possible, but that the months we spent away from each other were actually a good thing for both of us, was not lost on us nor will it be taken for granted. We totally understand where we are, where we were, and where we want to be.
And this was only SATURDAY.
But before I conclude with Sunday’s adventure in tomorrow’s post, I felt it necessary to point out that Ian…our awesome waiter from dinner…agreed to be part of our amazing day: The Best Day Ever.
…because there are a LOT of pictures I want to post and it was really a very full day.
I was up early on Saturday morning. Normally I’m up at around 6am anyway…but this morning was a bit different. I felt wide awake…I felt free…I felt alive.
As she slept, I stood in the doorway and smiled. I was the happiest I had been since…well…since the last time we had been together like this. I couldn’t put a finger on it, but this just seemed right. So I walked to the computer and whipped up a quick post before she woke up.
Once she was up, we got ready and head down to the Halifax Farmer’s Market. We both have been there a few times before together (and it was even the location of our first date) and it’s something that we enjoy doing together. We knew right away where we wanted to go…and that was to get Chinese food for breakfast.
Yes, it’s weird. But it’s something we both love doing together. One of the many, many things. But I digress…
So we were in full-on “we’re in love and it is bliss” mode at this point. There was nothing else in the world that mattered to us…not even in the slightest. The sun was shining, we were holding hands, and we were simply the happiest two people around. Period.
We walked along the waterfront…occassionally stopping in shops to see all the fun touristy stuff. We talked…we laughed…we loved…we stopped to make out.
Yeah…that’s our new thing. We’ll make out somewhere…even briefly…and then mark it on our imaginary chalk board. Example?
“On the passenger ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth? CHECK!”
Sad, we know. But we don’t care. Heh.
We took a gorgeous ferry ride across the Halifax Harbour to Dartmouth. We walked around the local market. We enjoyed the sunshine. We made out.
Dang it…now this blog post is taking an entirely different turn in direction!!
Okay, I suppose I should just let the pictures do the talking:
Sigh…it’s at this point in the post that WordPress has started to act up on me. Seriously, I actually saved my post and it ended up removing eight of the pictures I had uploaded.
Well, you can see the rest of the Halifax Waterfront pictures here.
So it’s now past midnight and our day hasn’t even been HALF discussed yet. Well, guess what? That means the “Best Weekend Ever” post/description is gonna end up being an all-week affair.
But y’know…when I think about it…our story really deserves nothing less than that, anyway. True love deserves all the time in the world.
Well, I arrived in Halifax to see Sunshine (formerly known as K…who I am now just going to refer to as “Sunshine”, since that’s her online handle…not to mention she’s my light in the darkness and all that mushy blah blah blah stuff…) on Friday afternoon. She called me mid-journey on my cell and had been tweeting up a storm announcing my impending arrival.
So just as I was about 10 minutes away, she called my cell again. Instead of “Hello”, I answered in the only way I know how: being a smart-ass: “Why am I not there yet??” I could hear the excitement in her voice. We were literally bouncing off of each other and I wasn’t even there yet. I drove into the parking lot and quickly got out of the car with my suitcase in hand.
Then I saw her.
To say that the chemistry was there from the very beginning would be an understatement. To say that I immediately fell for her all over again would be an understatement. I dropped everything and gave her a hug to end all hugs. This was a hug that, hopefully, would say everything I wanted to say before I actually had the chance to say it.
I was in love all over again.
Mind you, I loved her previously. A LOT. But without diving back into the reasons and excuses, just let it be said that I didn’t need much of a reminder of why I loved her in the first place.
The term “two peas in a pod” doesn’t even adequately describe what we’re like when we’re together. We actually joke around that people will end up hating us because we’re sooooo annoyingly loving and giddy and just plain silly when we’re together. We’re two thirty-somethings who act like teenagers when we’re together. And we’re totally unashamed of that.
Without going into great detail, let me just say that our initial meeting was one of the most incredible experiences I can remember having. The first time seeing her. The hug. The words that we said to each other. I guess I’ll leave it at that…
Of course, she couldn’t resist throwing a bit of a tease on Twitter after T wondered what we were up to.
So after awhile we decided to go out to get some groceries. As we drove around downtown and we smiled…we laughed…we mugged for each other’s camera…we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.
It was how it should be.
After having way too much fun in the grocery store (including having discussions on the incredible existence of these things called fiddleheads), we made our way back to her place for some nachos and a movie.
It’s safe to say that although we had a lot to talk about (and we had done a lot of talking already in the day), it felt like those three months had been erased. We felt like we just stopped seeing eachother last week. It was an unique feeling…this incredible comfort zone that we share.
We decided on watching “Yes Man“…the latest Jim Carrey movie. Sunshine made the nachos and…well…I love cheese as much as the next guy, but WHAT THE HELL?
So that pretty much finished up Friday night. Well…at least it finished up all that you’re gonna hear about. Heh.
I’ve said those words before after spending a weekend here: “Back to reality.”
But the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t get any more REAL than what we shared this weekend. So instead, I’m going to consider this “back to work”.
Why work? For one because it’s never “work” when we’re together. Nothing ever feels as natural and free and comfortable as we do when we’re in the same room. And also because we live 3 hours away from each other. This is the primary obstacle that I have with our relationship. This is the fear that I need to battle and work on the most.
Being away from her.
So I’m not going “back to reality”. This weekend wasn’t a blur. This weekend wasn’t a dream. Any time in the future, if we’re wondering why we’re going through the pain of being alone…if staring at a webcam and just being in physical pain because you want so badly to be with the other person…if I ever get afraid of failing again; all I have to do is remember this weekend.
This is what we’re fighting for…
It’s been an emotionally draining weekend:
Reliving the past in an attempt to ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes again or revert to the same thoughts and fears.
Thinking about the right now and how we truly believe that we’re in a unique position…one that many people never get to fully realize and appreciate and feel.
Thinking about that unknown future…and doing our best to convince ourselves to never forget the reasons why we’re together in the first place.
There are a LOT of pictures that I haven’t had the chance to upload yet (we’ve both been using pictures from her camera). On top of that, we even had a professional photographer ask to take pictures of us yesterday as we visited Peggy’s Cove (she said that she’d email us the photos…I can’t wait).
So the next two days may just end up being a big two-part post on my part. Primarily because I’m a blogger…and I know that very much like me, there are many of you who want to know more details about our weekend together. So just be patient…they will be coming soon.
Yesterday was an absolutely perfect day. And no, I’m not just talking about the weather. From beginning to end…it was absolutely perfect.
One of the big conversation topics K & I have been having has been about my fears. Obviously, the biggest reason I broke things off back in February was because I was scared. I was afraid to put in the effort that is required to make a relationship work because I did that in my marriage and it still failed. I didn’t want that to happen again.
I’ve alreadyexplained how I am now more afraid to NOT have her in my life than I am of failing at the relationship. I think that’s a big self-actualization step…and definitely a huge step forward for us.
I felt, though, that I needed a symbol. Something symbolic that I needed to do that would prove to her just how serious I was about over-coming my fears and being with her…regardless of the outcome. So I asked myself, “Self…what is my biggest fear?”
I can’t even begin to tell you how afraid of heights I am. I shake…I feel faint…I feel frozen. I look up at skyscrapers and feel dizzy and that I want to fall backwards. I have an extremely difficult time climbing my ladder and putting up Christmas lights. Heck…I even have a rough time changing a light bulb.
So there’s this bridge in Halifax…the MacDonald Bridge. I cross it every time I come to visit her. It’s pretty big (at least for the area). One day when driving over it together, I had mentioned that I had no idea that people could actually walk across the bridge and that there was NO way I’d ever do it. She joked that she had crossed a few times, and “the best” was when a bus would drive over it and the entire walk-way would shake.
Yeah…doesn’t that sound fun??
So yesterday, while walking our 10+ miles (which is INSANE for me…lol), I casually mentioned that one day I would walk across that bridge in an effort to prove to her how serious I was about conquering my fears. How serious I was about being with her, regardless of the unknown outcome.
SHE JUMPED AT THE OPPORTUNITY.
I was extremely hesitant. I really didn’t think she’d take me up on the offer. But once she got “the look” in her eyes and smiled…well, I just knew I had to do this.
This was going to be the symbol. This was going to be battling my biggest fear. For her.
We drove around looking for a place to park. I’ll totally admit…I tried to back out numerous times. Even walking down to the bridge, I attempted to turn around and flee. But I couldn’t. I had to show her I wouldn’t do that again…for anything.
Here’s the proof…
Needless to say, I didn’t quite get it half-way before we stopped to take this picture. She looked at me…told me she was proud of me…and then gave me the biggest hug. It was quite the moment. I felt as though I could do anything…
…and then a bus passed right next to us and the entire bridge shook.
“Okay…that’s it…we’re going back NOW!!”
But I did it. I did it for her. I did it for us.
Talking with a very good friend from Texas recently, she helped me realize that I was really going through a massive battle of “head vs. heart”. And she was absolutely right. I’ve always been driven by my head: What’s best for me? How will the future pan out? Will everything be okay? I never really let my heart take over before.
It’s taking over now…and I couldn’t be happier about it.
(A full weekend recap will be up when I get back home sometime on Monday)