G & I met in August of 2001. At a beach party I went to with a guy friend, back when hanging out all day, eating, and drinking in a bikini seemed lack a typical Saturday activity. It was a veritable Cinderella story, in that I lost one of my flip-flops in the dark and left without, and G drove around slowly with the headlights on until he found it, and then called me up and asked me out under the ruse of returning my $5 Target footwear. I wouldn't call it love at first sight...he wasn't exactly my type...a bit on the nerdy side, and some of his jokes & one-liners literally made me cringe...but they also made me laugh, and slowly but surely his big heart, admirable loyalty, and our ability to talk for hours about everything and nothing won me over.
I know this is a typical pattern of relationships growing and changing with the demands of kids, jobs, and life...but as I've mentioned before, we don't find much time to talk---really TALK---to each other anymore. From the few times I've brought it up, I've gotten the impression that this was only a problem for me...that G was perfectly happy with our status quo.
And then I was blindsided by an impromptu conversation standing in the kitchen last night. As always, I asked G what he wanted to do this evening (though it was close to 9PM by the time we got the kids to bed and cleaned up the kitchen). As always, he said he was going to "try to work" since he hadn't gotten much done this week with his days divided by contractor meetings, vet appointments, pediatrician appointments. Then he sighed, and admitted that he thought something was wrong with him, impeding his ability to concentrate at work. He thinks he may be depressed---he didn't come out and say those words, but in his typical vague & geeky manner mentioned needing more seratonin or dopamine . In my astonishment at this revelation, I went into doctor/fixer mode...urging him to make an appointment with our primary provider right away to see if he needed treatment. He said he wasn't sure medication was necessary or would be helpful, so I then urged him to see a therapist, someone to talk to. Then he said "I'd like to talk to you, but you're just not around".
Hurt & defensive, I jumped into examples of the times I was around (like, always!) and he was busy. And he countered that yes, I was physically around, but I was tired, or just on my way to bed (this is true, I've been exhausted lately & do go to bed early in general) and didn't seem open to talking. I had no arguments left because he's right. I want to be there for G...but I have precious little physical or emotional energy left for dealing with what I'm now realizing are pretty serious issues. Just knowing that he is suffering right now has me anxious, upset, and flustered...and reaching for my typical coping skills of ignore, evade, and deny.
He went into a little bit of what's on his mind...he is bored & unmotivated at work, isolated, lonely and has no friends to talk to about this, he is worried about the future (jobs & living situation), worried and stressed about the house issues (roof leaking, etc...) that have been plaguing us since we moved in, and doesn't have time to pursue the hobbies/interests that could keep him sane. All the predictable stressors that seem manageable on their own, but can pile up and weather down even the strongest rock. And he is a rock. He's my rock. And I am realizing, maybe too late, that I also need to be his.
Eight years ago this week, we went on a trip to NYC. On the last day of the trip, literally hours before we had to catch the shuttle to the airport, G insisted we go back to Central Park because he "loved it so much and wanted to see it one more time". Once there, he spends an inordinate amount of time hunting for the "perfect spot" to hang out in. Finally we find it, no one around, and grassy with flat rocks we sit down on. And he proposed.
We've gone back to NYC multiple times since then and tried to return to that spot. We just can't seem to locate it. I think we've gotten a bit lost...hoping we can find our way back.