Monday, December 14, 2009

Trapped in a Jail of Love

64f7.jpg people in a boat image by nascarfanatic2488

My 12-year-old daughter and her friend are in the back seat talking about their futures.  About husbands.       

The rush-hour traffic is fierce, but I’m straining to hear.      

The friend says, “I’m going to be a scientist.  I’m going to have a  big house and one horse and one kid.”

My daughter says, “Nice.  I’m going to be a photographer.  But what about a husband?”

The friend (whose parents’ marital situation is stranger than fiction) says, “No husband.  I’m going to adopt.  Who needs a husband around the house?  Seems like it would just be easier.” 

I’ve been thinking about this all weekend. 

I have a husband, but he’s not around the house.  Once upon a time he worked at home, and boy, was he ever around the house.  And then he moved away because it was the only way to support his family.  That’s the kind of husband he is.  

Today I notice things he’s not here to do.  Sidewalk shoveling.  Decoration-box hauling.  Furniture moving.  Christmas tree putting up.  Car gas tank filling, running-toilet-fixing, doggie-poo scooping.  Being the heavy with an almost-teenager.     

Since he’s been gone, I’ve missed him and not missed him.  I wake up with an emptiness inside that’s tied to his silent office downstairs.  I feel sad, remember that this was the best choice for our family, then get up and feel grateful for the freedoms this change has brought to me—freedoms I could not exercise with another adult working in the house.      

One day when SeeSpotRun was four, I captured her on the couch and wrapped her in a bear hug.  I held her close to me until she yelped “Help!  Help!  I’m trapped in a jail of love!” 

Girls, if I told you something true, would you listen?  The you who wants to be free and the you who wants to be joined are going to lock horns forever.   

Marriage?  Husband?  Children?  They’re traps…in a jail of love.badwater



SSR and Sallymandy in Death Valley National Park, November 2009.


Protege said...

Ah, this brought tears to my eyes due to many reasons. Although your situations is so very different than mine, I am at all times in a jail of love (LOVE the expression, your daughter is a poet). Around the holidays it is the worst. Even though I too enjoy me freedom, every time I hurt myself doing something a man should be helping me with, I break down crying wondering why is he so far away...
You always write so eloquently, but this post touched me deeply.

The Writing Instinct said...

This is a beautiful post. I love the phrase 'Traps in a jail of love': once you are in there is no way out...and you don't want to get out either, but the odd day of solitary confinement works wonders.

I hope your hubby comes home soon, to sweep the side-walk, etc.

Veronica Wald said...

This is the best blog post I've read in quite a while. You sure got the lifelong locked horns of freedom/independence and the jail of love perfectly right. Well said!

lakeviewer said...

Very true. A Profound Paradox.

see you there! said...

What wise words from your daughter. Love is indeed a jail but it all goes right the prisoner is content.


Cheryl said...

I jail of Love! Exactly where I want to be...

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

What profound words from a little girl!! It is a continual fact we have to reconcile - our desire for freedom and our need for love - they do kind of operate in counter position to each other.

Interesting thoughts SallyMandy!!

Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury said...

In the early days of our marriage, my husband took a job that kept him away for weeks at a time and we both hated it. Just over a year of that nonsense was enough to keep us on track financially and he found more conventional work close to home. Fast forward fifteen years and we've both worked from home for about half that time (me the entire time, him about half to be more precise) There are certainly days when one or the other or both of us feel "trapped" and wish we could run away (alone) or that the other would take an extended trip (alone), but in the end we're both just grateful that we get along as well as we do. We are, however, equally grateful that we each understand the other's eagerness to take advantage of alone time when the opportunity presents. So yes, I suppose we too are "trapped in a jail of love", but as jails go, it's not so bad.

Lori ann said...

What a brilliant post Sallymandy and i love the photo! glad you got to see Death Valley.

I remember when i met my husband he said something like "you've ruined me for life". after he explained himself, i thought it was sweet, but still... heehee. It is true, once you fall in love, either with a child or man/woman, you are never the same. What a blessing.

sallymandy said...

Thank you for your comments, everyone. You're right, jails go, it's not so bad at all.

Doreen said...

wonderful post Sallymandy. love the phrase you have coined, trapped in a jail of love. this really made me start thinking. what ever your situation, there are many types of jails of love.

have a great week!!

Deborah said...

Because of my particular circumstances, living with my sweetheart on one side of the ocean, with my children on the other, I spend a fair amount of time away from both sides.

The hardest part is to be away from my kids although once I've been gone for three or four days I start enjoying the calm that comes from not knowing exactly what they're up to.

When I'm away from my sweetheart, I love being single - for a while. I'm in my own space, my familiar community, and I can do whatever I want at whatever time I choose. Don't have to consult anyone. Eat lunch at 5. Read in the bath 'til the water gets cold. Write in my bathrobe until noon.

Our separateness does make the togetherness better, but there's a little part of me that feels guilty because I enjoy my autonomy so much.

Like everyone else, I love your daughter's expression. Not only are you in jail, but somebody threw away the key.

Poetikat said...

I have a truly happy marriage. My husband is a wonderful, caring man - my best friend and companion in every way, but every so often I think about what my life might have been like on my own. I honestly believe I'd cope. I'm quite an introvert and being alone would be manageable. (Don't get me wrong; I'm not wishing for this), but I just have a feeling I could (and one day may have to) cope.
You are very perceptive Sallymandy. Very perceptive.

I must stress that Kev and I are really "two peas in a pod" and, as his mother once (rather snidely) stated: "almost joined at the hip".

Maybe that's why I have these thoughts, eh?

Cynthia L. H. said...

Beautiful post. Beautiful photos.
I've always fought being "jailed" in any form. Too much of a free spirit, I s'pose. When I was "joined at the hip" it certainly was not "joined at the heart..." and so, for me, single is better. Yes, there are definitely trade-offs...early on in my newly divorced-hood, I would talk to myself, saying things like, "It's ok, you can DO're not wimpy, you're CAN do this...etc..." (When referring to chores such as hauling in wood for the wood stove, cleaning out ashes from the wood stove, cleaning up gigantic plumbing messes, painting the outside of the house on a 16-foot ladder by myself...etc..etc..etc.. You know how it is...and it's ok. For me. I prayed for peace for years. Now I have so many quiet moments, sometimes I have to pinch myself!

Caroline said...

What an amazing post! I am new to your blog...can't wait to read more.

I agree about the husband thing...I like when my husband travels for work...I have "my time" and I can eat breakfast for dinner. But I miss him too...either way is perfect!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

this resonated deeply....thanks for this....thought provoking!

Between you, me and the Fencepost said...

'Jail of Love'. What a wonderful post! Can't wait to qoute you . . .