Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bringing The Family Along

I just spent an extended weekend with my girlfriend (yes, I’m using the “girlfriend” thing regularly now) at her home down south, sort of a quasi-trial run (trial run 1 of a potential 3) (maybe trial run 1 of a potential 4) (or possibly trial run 1 of a potential 2 … things went very well …) to see how we would actually get along if we were living together. There was never a big doubt that all would be good, but, hey, as we all know, the bouncing ball of widow-dom can go just about anywhere.

So we spent an extended weekend living her life, doing what she would do on any normal Friday-to- Tuesday span. That included visiting her ailing parents a couple of times, going to see the grandkids playing baseball and other organized activities, a fascinating trip to the local food store (something that garnered quite a few chuckles since apparently southerners only refer to them as “grocery” stores and not the Jersey default “food” store), a dinner out at a local, very freshly made, restaurant (really excellent!!), cooking at home several times, going to a party for a work friend, doing laundry … in other words, living her life.


  
                           Jersey - Food?                                      Georgia - Food?

We found out some stuff about each other that we hadn’t known:

  • Finding the clutch release point in 1st gear on her car was a bit of a challenge (I’m fairly sure I’ll be replacing her transmission at some point in the future)
  •  She gets a bit too much joy in listening to my New Jersey variations-on-a-theme, particularly as it pertains to pronunciation (although even down south the sign says “Publix – Food – Pharmacy”, not “Publix – Groceries – Pharmacy”). I, on the other hand, was a perfect gentleman with her combined So Cal/Georgia utterances – but she’s really attractive and even though I’m from Jersey I’m not “stoopid” (note the Jersey-ized twist?) enough to blow that opportunity for the sake of pronunciation
  • We have far more in common than we had ever thought, including a passing interest in quantum physics and other sort-of odd categories (repairing old clocks, getting up while it’s still quite dark outside, eclectic home d├ęcor and much more) that don’t randomly crop up until you spend some concentrated time together
  • We’re both pretty deliberate with larger financial expenditures, really weighing pros/cons
  • We both laugh, a lot, over things others likely wouldn’t find amusing. We also both laugh, a lot, at our own shortcomings
And we also have no intention of leaving our lost spouses behind as this new relationship solidifies. Both of us had relationships that we cherished, and I’ve written in the past how both of us had similar experiences along the way to becoming widowed. We had previously discussed, many times, how we intended to “bring” our departed spouses to this new coupling and over these past several days of “Getting to Know All About You” (borrowing a phrase from Julie Andrews in The King & I) we spent some time discussing that integration.

For us, as newly widowed people, moving into a new relationship is entering unchartered territory. So we’re being careful to let each other know what is important and what is not (“food store” vs “grocery store” is NOT important!), and being sure that our deceased partners stay with us is way up high on both of our lists. We also both carry the horrible stigma of having lost a son before they were 30, and our boys are also coming with us as we kick-start our new life together.

So, yup, we’re bringing the family along with us. We’ve set some boundaries that we both easily agreed upon, and we’re letting some stuff go and keeping some other stuff. Luckily, neither of us is the jealous type, so having a picture as a constant reminder is not oppressive for either of us and routine re-telling of memories (both great and sometimes not-so-great) can be shared without a problem. We’ve decided that there are some areas where it will just be us and not the rest of the family and we both know that might take some adjustment but we’re vowing to work it out.

We can’t take relationships like we had and just cast them aside, but we also can’t let them hold us back from pushing on with a new and lovely life together. We realize we’re blessed to have found each other and that we are so compatible in all of these ways.

And, really, doesn’t “food store” make so much more sense?? Or is that just my Jersey leaking out again?

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