Wednesday, March 01, 2006

[Don't] Look At Us

Over the past few years I've spoken more than once about my marriage. I know I've created the impression that it's been pretty bad. In all honesty, I have to admit that's pretty close to the truth. But, as with all truths there is more than one side to the story. It hasn't been all bad.
While visiting [Cowboy] Joe's blog today I heard the song that's playing (Look At Us). It brought back a rush of memories. The last time I heard that song was on my 25th wedding anniversary. For some reason my husband requested the band play it for us. I'm not really sure why. Our song has always been Unchained Melody. I couldn't fathom why he chose that song. I still don't know why. I certainly hope that we're not his idea of true love.
From the beginning our relationship has been tumultuous, at best. We started out on the wrong foot and it only got more complicated as the years went by. I never felt like he was really committed, or that he was really in love with me. In all fairness, I can't say I was ever really in love with him. I loved him, and I know in his own way he loved me. The best he knew how.
I know he tried. I know he did. I think he just got tired of trying. I know I did. There's been a lot of pain and not all of it mine. I know more than once I must have hurt him. Especially over the past few years. I guess I just got so hard that I stopped caring. Living with me can't have been easy. At some point I think we both realized, it just shouldn't be this hard.
When we were living in Germany, he came down on orders to go to Iraq (this was during the first Gulf War). While he was gone, I got very involved in community work. I worked closely with his old Commander. He was a wonderful man. We became close friends. Of course as in all close communities there were those who gossiped. There were 'rumors' that we were more than friends. We weren't. Robert never believed that. He couldn't believe a man could be just friends with me. What he didn't understand, in fact never understood, was that while the man may have wanted more, and maybe even I did too. Maybe a little. Still that was a line I couldn't cross. Especially not with him off fighting in a war. That wasn't me. It hurt me that he didn't 'get that'.
As stormy as our marriage has been, it hasn't all been bad. There were good times. Like the trip we made across country when our two boys were just toddlers. On a Greyhound bus no less. Oh what a trip that was. Then there was the trip we made from Georgia to Washington state on AmTrak. Again, oh what a trip. It was so fancy. I loved dining in the lavish dinning car. And the views were phenominal. We had so much fun. The boys were well behaved and we got lots of compliments on how sweet and good they were.
When he returned from Iraq, we took a trip to Berchtesgaden. Again on a bus. A very elaborate tour bus. This time with all four kids. It was amazing. We staying in the beautiful hotel. In a suite that overlooked the mountains. We visited the salt mines and even The Eagles Nest (which was Hitler's favorite hideout durning his reign of terror). I still take those pictures out and look at them sometimes. We had such a wonderful time. In fact that may well have been the best time we ever had. As a couple and as a family. It's a sweet, cherished memory.
Yes, we've had some good times. Best of all we've had four beautiful wonderful children. While I may not always be happy with the way they choose to live their lives, I love them all and am proud of them. Most of the time. They are my/our greatest accomplishment. Nothing I ever do will compare with the joy and satisfaction I have had just being their Mother.
Robert was a good father. He worked hard, rarely missing a day of work. He always did his best to support us. After a few rough years in the beginning, we rarely wanted for anything of importance. We've always had decent homes and nice cars. He was always around to take the boys to practice for whatever sport they were involved in. He was crazy about Kasey. She was always Daddy's little girl. I could count on one hand the number of times he ever had to 'spank' one of them. They always knew just how far to push their Daddy. He may not have been the greatest husband but he was a good father.
Most important, is knowing he tried. We both did. Now that our children are grown I think deep down we both know we want more. I just don't think we're going to find it with each other. I suspect he knows that as well. There's been too much pain and disappointment. As much as you might want, you can't unburn your bridges.
Still there are those sweet memories. Maybe it wasn't true love, but there was love. And in a way, there always will be.

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