I have a crush.
My husband called me out and I, quickly defended, I do not. But, as in all things, my mate happens to also be the one who knows me most and I had to take some time to deliberate his preposterous idea. To which I came to the guilty conclusion that he was right.
I am happily married to my husband, the one I’ve known since age eighteen. We are approaching twenty years of marriage. We have lived apart, during his flight training years and my graduate school studies; as well as the sixteen years he served on active military duty. For the past seven years we have finally settled in our “forever home,” where we work, side-by-side, in the family business we assumed from his parents. He no longer deploys, by choice, to watch our three sons grow after missing ten years of our eldest’s life. We are together 24/7.
The hubs merrily dubs him as “my boyfriend.”
I thought this crush was temporary, a distraction from my normal daily grind. The crush recipient happens to be one that I admire, older, and A LOT like my husband regarding his personal and political views. He is happily married and is unaware of my silly infatuation.
My girlfriends knew I had a crush on the former NBC news anchor, Brian Williams, and this continues to be a source of amusement. When fires destroyed our neighborhood and we had evacuated, I had been tempted to return to our local supermarket where this TV anchor reported from. Upon his departure from NBC for his misleading reporting, I received many condolences and smirks.
After a year and a half, I had thought this crush had gone away but found myself, once again, tongue-tied while at a recent event. For those who know me, this is rare indeed. I can usually talk to inanimate objects and hold trivial, as well as deep, conversations. As an adult, I have become an extrovert. But I find myself becoming the person I was in high school, shy and introverted; upon being in the presence of my crush.
I shared this with my book club girlfriends to which one replied, “this is where affairs begin.” Is this true? I frantically searched the internet for resources as to why people have crushes. Is this my midlife crisis? Am I on the path to adultery?
Thankfully, my girlfriend heard me over brunch and laughed. She reiterated the answers I had hoped to hear. Crushes are natural and are ways we distract ourselves. Many of the things that irk her about her own husband, are ones that I share. Does he have to snore so loud? Wake up! Why does he have to be messy? Can’t you pick up after yourself? Small things in the longer, wider picture. Her husband’s words, upon her lament of all things trivial, sat between us in the crowded restaurant. The material, trivial details that we mull and obsesses over, all even out in the end.
“The negative space between people was just as important as the positive space we occupy.” ~ Alyson Richman, The Lost Wife.
We can both look past our husbands’ flaws to remind ourselves why we are still married to them. It is for the heart within; the steadfast beat that puts up with my daily in and out. The one who hears my laments and doesn’t fight to make me hear his. I am the yin to his yang.
The crush is a mental separation; to give me space to ponder other things.
Life is not a bed of roses. We have transitioned into small business in an economic recession. Finances, never an issue before, lie in foreboding. We have three sons to feed, clothe and house and future educations to fund. We have old drainage pipes and vehicles, cracked tile, leaky roofs and a plethora of other problems associated with home ownership. We are sandwiched between aging parents and raising tweens/teens and are confronted with our changing body images and new health issues. Wrinkles, gray hairs, unwanted belly fat, and inner cellular changes came at a time when the stressors of life run high.
Gone are the years where we are trying to climb ladders, at this point we are holding on in hopes to maintain; to not drop the ladder or fall off. Aging has a way of slowing our metabolism and diluting hopes and dreams. We’ve buried parents and friends, marriages disipitate and friends and/or their kids, fall dependent on drugs and alcohol. Faith in our nation, our future, in religion are at an all time low. It’s easy to take hold of our own destinies; to forge new paths than to work through deep seated wounds and issues. It’s much harder to work things through.
“… I believe the measure of a vow does not lie in saying it, or in upholding it when things are easy. The power of a promise is proven in times of difficulty, when keeping that pledge is hard.” ~ Stephen P. Kiernan, The Hummingbird: A Novel.
Is this what I’ve lived life for? Where is the promised ease of reaching our pinnacles; our hopes and dreams?
And so I delve into the real reasons for a crush. Dissatisfaction of where one is in life. In a mate. In a career. All of the above. Do I really see myself pursuing a senseless crush?
Thankfully, these have all been musings in my mind for the past year and a half. I can communicate these questions, sometimes uneasily and heatedly, with the hubs. It has helped me appreciate our relationship as it has matured through the years. Even though our experiences have changed us, essentially he and I are the same two kids who met in a calculus class lamenting derivatives and integrals.
At the happiest place on Earth, amidst my angst of being late in traffic to my cousin’s wedding, our son grabbed my camera to snap the shot of his arguing parents. One of our very first “dates” had been at this same place and the picture of us, in a roller coaster car on Splash Mountain with a white corsage on my arm, had been the beginning of our relationship over two decades before.
After grinning for our shot the trivial traffic worries disappeared; the love from the newly weds shared among the guests invited to celebrate with them.
My husband looks past the stretch marks and wrinkles and I do the same. But my crush puts things in perspective. He embodies a few of the things my husband does not have; the things I desire that are unfulfilled.
In comprehending these things I can communicate this to my spouse; as he reciprocates with me.
It is fun to project my ideals on someone else and to entertain my mind. But the history, love and understanding; the acceptance of one another’s flaws and fears are what binds the hubs and I. It is in our transparency with one another that makes our ties stronger.
The hubs endures this song as I play it on repeat as I process and blog my thoughts. He is my bestie and a keeper.