Brett leaves in 6 days, so we've been trying to savor our "healthy" California time as much as possible. By "healthy" California time I mean time spent together where I am not slightly intoxicated with his cousins while doing the worm at 2am in a beach house while Brett sleeps peacefully upstairs.
Maybe I should explain.
We went away this past weekend for a peaceful family reunion on the shore. Seafood, cold white wine, warm family conversations by the fire...it was great. But not conducive to important-husband-wife bonding. Especially because (it has been said,) Brett is a pretty low key, quiet, normal individual and I am...not. I get a little rowdy. I sneak a beer up my coat sleeve during a family hike (which actually makes me pretty popular with the above 21 set, just saying,) I challenge cousins to scrabble tournaments, dance offs, sing offs, catwalk offs...I sort of become a little obnoxious and go to bed hours after Brett succumbs to healthy sleep at 9pm. We always end up having a good time, but not together. When you are in a house with 15 other people and there is an endless supply of wine and things covered in chocolate it is easy to not connect with your partner and actually not even see them for the duration of your stay. He took bike rides along the coast, I took walks with 6 dogs to the local dog-friendly distillery that also happened to be haunted. You make choices.
But my incredible execution of the worm is not a choice. It's a gift really. A gift that simply needs to be shared.
So, this morning as I was drinking coffee in bed and Brett was working (I swear I am not a lazy human being. I am on vacation, and I take that very seriously,) Brett asked me if I'd like to go to the city for the day. When we were dating, San Francisco was our playground. We went there for mini dates and vacations all of the time. Even though it was only 30 minutes away it felt like a place where we could be together that was separate from the world. I readily agreed. I felt like we needed something and this was it.
And then he laid a bomb on me.
"I thought we could finally shop for a suit for you...for interviews. The interviews you need to start applying to get."
Suddenly real life was in my face. And somehow turning in to bile in the back of my throat. And weirdly coiling up in a hot little ball in the pit of my stomach. I looked over at him and tried not to show any emotion. "Do I have to try them on? Or, touch them?"
He looked baffled. "I'm asking you to go shopping with me in the city to buy expensive things. And you don't want to go? Are you sick?"
One hour later found me in Nordstrom's in what I kept calling the "Adult Woman Department." Brett was noticeably exasperated. He finally marched up to a saleswoman and asked her to help us find a suit.
"My wife is soon going to be doing rounds of interviews and needs a few suits. Can you point us in the right direction?"
"Maybe we'll just look for ourselves!" I blurted out, sweating and nauseous and leaning against a very expensively-clad mannequin.
They both looked over at me in barely concealed concern before the sweet saleswoman pointed out a few suits to Brett while I nervously played with a blouse 7 feet away. "Your wife would look great in this cut," she cooed before turning to me. "Would you like to try it on?"
"Oh, no thanks." I tried to reply breezily, but still probably looking like I had mad cow disease. "Maybe next time." Thankfully Brett seemed to pick up on the fact that I was positively dying and politely excused us from formal wear. As he thanked the woman and steered me toward the escalator he nonchalantly asked if I was ready to look at shoes.
"WHY ARE YOU PRESSURING ME SO MUCH?!" I actually yelled.
He was obviously taken aback, but he kept his calm and let me wander around a book store until I had found a normal breathing pattern again. And then we sat down and I tried using my big girl words to match the big girl outfit I would soon own.
I told him it was a lot to take in and a lot of change looming on my horizon that I was not sure I was ready for. "I don't feel ready for that suit. I feel like it's taunting me in a way- reminding me of all of the things I'm not good at- all of the things I am failing in. I don't know how I am going to fill it."
He reminded me that these things come up in our life whether we are ready or not, and we just have to rise and meet them. And seeing him be so honest and patient with me made the real problem come out. "You wanted me to pick out a shoe." I practically cried. "A sensible heel." Maybe he didn't understand, but to me that was essentially a death sentence. 4 days ago I was showing Brett's 65 year old Aunt my Beyonce dance moves at 2am. A sensible heel was not on my mind. Or my radar.
But maybe it needs to be.
Then Brett did an amazing and lovely thing. He escorted me out of the mall. We stopped at the deli and bought wine. And then we came home, ate curry and drank wine, and worked on my resume. It was the exact marriage of spicy and smart. Adult and worm-dancing-girl, a realization that maybe...just maybe I could be it all.
Sure, he didn't let me put things on my resume that I really wanted. (Like, "invented facebook," and "best friends with those guys from google,") but he reminded me of the facts and let me put my own flair on them.
It was like the sensible heel...but in red.
Too often in life I feel like I need to commit to the one side of myself that I am comfortable with without letting the other sides out to breathe. Yes, I am the girl that is totally obnoxious and thinks she is the life of the party...but I can also slip on those red sensible heels and have one hell of a career. I think it's time to stop sweating the changes in life that are going to come whether I'm staring them down in Nordstrom's or not. No matter what happens I will grow, I will move forward, I will change and probably drive a Volvo and have 2.5 kids and be in the P.T.A and get upset with my neighbors for not mowing their lawn.
And I'll still do the worm at 2am...just not on a school night. And not in that expensive suit.