A Manifestation of Love

During the day I get sweeping, gushing feelings of exhaustion, which essentially force me into the bed for a rest. But while I rest, I also think. And it’s quite nice to do.

This past holiday season – between Christmas and New Years, I did something very important: I re-watched for the umpteenth time Pride and Prejudice with my mother. The BBC version. The best of versions. She and I have watched it so many times. Countless times. There’s no one else I’d rather watch it with, and frankly it’s not half as good if I watch it without her.

So, we make our cups of tea and sometimes there’s a small plate of cookies. Then, we climb onto what is the most enormous bed ever, being a king-sized bed, with a gorgeously thick duvet cover, and settle in for a little bit of viewing. It’s not all watched at once, because it is quite long, so when we embark on watching Pride and Prejudice, I have  the additional please of knowing that there will be several sessions of tea, cookies, bed and viewings.

She may have her knitting, and I may have my phone. But mostly I think we have each other and the company of the Bennet Family. Because inevitably as we watching the show, we will end up holding hands and laughing at whatever witty thing just happened on the screen.

I love Pride and Prejudice, but even more I love holding hands with my mom. I love that space and time of being together. This is probably literally the first time I’ve mentioned the  action ‘aloud’ but there you have  it. It’s unspoken, and feels perfectly natural. It didn’t always happen, since growing up I wasn’t so into ‘touching other people’ – but living in a different country for a while from one’s family can make one more sentimental….and it carries on from there.

Anyhow, I really value my relationship with my mother. And I value those little moments. And I value that we get each other in a way that never needs exploration.

So I’m lying in bed ‘napping’ but really thinking about all of this, which makes me think a little further. My mom and I are close, in an unspoken way. It’s very hard to describe beyond Mom and Daughter – close friendship doesn’t capture it enough. But I think that scene in the bed does. So what about my other extremely important relationships? How are they best captured?

Well Zsolt and I… I mean… it’s captured every day in every moment. He is my husband, I am his wife, and we are for one other. So I’ll just leave it there because I think that is saying enough and frankly it’s all too big to hold in words on this blog. It’s like the intangible relationship with my mom, but so unique to itself.

My Dad and I – that is such an easy one. Our moment, I feel comes in two ways. One is simply the way we exchange. I’ve blogged about this before. The ‘he gets me every time’ and the ‘I get him right back with a zing’. I’m not sure he loves this arrangement, but it’s a dynamic that is more about love and habit than it is about anything else. And then the other way, the smaller moment of a hug or a smile. This is new for me because, like I mentioned, I don’t much love being touched. But in some moments, some important moments, a hug is okay.

And then that unique relationship with my brothers. It’s so different than my parents  or husband or best of friends. It’s not so sentimental, but … but maybe it is?

Big brother little sister – What moment or gesture marks its meaning? I think, of late, it has been his kindness and support. He loves to push – all his life he has pushed, and in his adulthood he’s harnessed that into the power of pushing people to live well. I, however, don’t love to be pushed. Ha! Not at all. So we find our medium ground. But more than that – beyond how he makes me juice and reminds me I should exercise… the real bottom line is we’ve learned how to support one another. Supporter and supported in turn, as needed, in different ways that life poses challenges.

At least, I think so. It’s kind of a new one for me to consider.

And then big sister little brother. I really am not sure the marker for love here – except that I care for  that guy like crazy. Like nutso.  Like bonkers. Growing up he was literally at times my closest friend, but probably too young to understand that, I think. In adulthood we have our own lives, but still these occasional wonderful moments. The other day he surprised me as he and his girlfriend took me out to see The Gift of Lights here in Ottawa. It’s a camp ground that was covered in Christmas light displays, and you drive through slowly and it’s quite surreal. Well we put on Pink Floyd and it was fantastic. How can you not love an evening like that? We even hit up my parents’ hot tub in Kanata afterwards. It felt like being a teenager again.

And then there are my closest friends. What moments make those relationships? The conversations, I think, more than the individual actions. The chance to exchange on ideas that are either about life, or culture, or just picking things to pieces and better understanding the world. God I love doing that over a cup off tea. Maybe they can best be represented by cups of tea 🙂

Anyhow, when I stop and think about it, there are so many kinds of very important relationships in my life. It’s quite fascinating how they are all so different in function and form, but bottom line all so very much filled with love.

Next, I hope to watch Anne of Green Gables with my mother. It’s a much longer series, produced by TVO (I think?) and a great classic. I have not watched it 1000 times before, but maybe 500 times. So, this is something to look forward to once again. And those cookies. Geez, my parents make amazing  cookies.

Another kind of healing

The sun is setting and there’s a three hour train ride to Pecs, Zsolt’s home town, on the horizon. But a sunset train ride is certainly the way to go, if you’ve got to go anywhere, and I’ve got that last burst of dusk to enjoy before twilight settles (and the vampires come out . . . we are close to Transylvania after all, and Bela Lugosi was the vampire of vampires, and a Hungarian to boot.)

Today Zsolt and I were alone – just the two of us. That hasn’t happened in a long, long time. I love (LOVE) the company of friends and family, but this morning Zsolt suggested we stay in bed and just hang out, something that hasn’t been done in months, and without any obligations to meet or people to host, it sounded like a fine idea to me.

For some reason (menopause, worries, allergies, etc) my ‘nerves’ have been on edge lately. Any little thing is enough to get me cranky, and poor Zsolt is the receiver of my outbursts. Just yesterday I kicked up a fuss (i.e. got angry) because Zsolt thought it was a stupid idea to raise my bike seat . . . okay, the seat is already very high, I guess that’s reasonable, but I simply didn’t like my idea being rejected so outright, particularly since it’s my seat. Anyhow – cue my hissy fit, followed by day-long discomfort between the two of us. All over a stupid bike seat.

Never – ever, ever, ever – would I get so bent out of shape with friends, or co-workers, or even (probably) family over a bike seat . . . but Zsolt is my Zsolt, meaning for better and worse, we get the honest raw truth of one another.  

There are some things I don’t often talk about in my blog, for instance: sex, grudges, and arguments. Doesn’t mean they aren’t vitally important, doesn’t mean they don’t play key roles in my life, doesn’t mean I’m disinterested in the subjects – actually, I’m  a fan of chatting about one’s sex life with the right group of friends, but my grandmother reads this blog, so this has got to be the wrong arena for a frank conversation about s-e-x).

But occasionally, I do allude to the tension. For all the amazing things Zsolt and I have become with each challenge, each move, each triumph and each hurdle,  I’d be a blatant liar to pretend that the past year hasn’t caused a strain in our relationship. Don’t get me wrong – I in no way doubt my love for Zsolt, nor his love for me, and I in no way doubt that he’s my moon and stars and turquoise Mediterranean sea (or my wide, blue Balaton with the grass beaches and twenty year old bicycles, or my Canadian maple under which I read ) – he’s all those things and more. But it’s just damn hard to go through a year of cancer battling and not have things change, not have that tension.

I think we need to heal in a way that doesn’t get mentioned in the online forums or how-to cancer booklets. And this morning was an excellent step toward recovery. We were alone. We were together. We talked about our feelings. It was restorative, and ought to be done more often.

So today has been lovely. Today I’ve tried to worry less and relax more. 

And tomorrow is Zsolt’s birthday. He’s turning 30. Thirty years, and going strong – that’s my man. I love him to bits – bits and pieces and scoops and dollops. Meeting him was the best thing I’ve ever done. Marrying him was the best decision I’ve ever made. Being with him is the best medicine I could ever take. And all the while, he’s just trucking along – being Zsolt. Turning thirty isn’t a bad thing, not in the least. It’s a gift of time, and hopefully, hopefully hopefully hopefully, we’ve got plenty of time ahead. Plenty of time, and a few good slices of birthday cake too.