Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"That Girl"

No, I'm not talking about Marlo Thomas.  (Boy did I just date myself...)
I had the TV on over the weekend, and caught part of a program where a guy and a girl were having a conversation about their relationship.  The guy was telling her how the relationship has made him “that guy”…a fun-to-be-with-happy-go-lucky person, where before he thought he was a little dull.  He kept saying, “I love being that guy.  I love that guy.  I would never have become that guy without you in my life.”

I know what he means, because I used to be that girl.  I was different when Bobby was alive.  I was happier, less intense, and a lot less jaded.  I cared about what I wore and making myself look nice.  I did not get angry as easily as I do now.  I never had to worry about things like car inspection, generators and leaky pipes - I was a girly girl and enjoyed being one. 
However, since his death I have become cynical and sarcastic.  I rarely worry about my hair, clothes or makeup, because I feel like there is no longer any need.  I have trouble trusting people.  I always think the workmen I've hired to do this or that around the house is "out to get that widow".  I wonder sometimes why my friends are still my friends!  I’m no longer fun.  Frankly, I wouldn’t even want to be friends with me now.  It’s even affecting my kids.  On the rare occasion when I smile, they will say, “Look!  Mom’s happy!” – like it’s a holiday or something.  I've been told that no matter what I'm doing or saying, my eyes are always sad.

I miss the person I was before Bobby got sick and died.  I want her to come back so badly, but through everything I’ve experienced, and everything I’ve read about losing a spouse, it’s not possible.  It’s sad, because it is sort of like she died when he died, and this new person was born.  I’ve heard I’m supposed to embrace this new person I’ve become, but how can I embrace her when I don’t even particularly like her?
So I set about to find out what is worth embracing about "the new girl".  I guess I should like the fact that she knows how to care for a sick husband while working full-time, raising two boys and surviving on little or no sleep.  She is continuing to raise those boys who are now teenagers, and who are doing quite well.  I guess I should like that she can take her car for inspection by herself; put together a brand new generator and run it properly; and stop leaky pipes temporarily while waiting for the plumber to show up.  She taught her 17-year-old how to drive.  She stopped worrying about the "small stuff" that used to bother her, especially at work, and saves her energy for the "big stuff" that needs her attention.  (She still confuses wrenches with pliers and nuts with bolts, and has no idea how to run the lawnmower or snowblower, but isn't that was 17-year-old sons are for?)
So I guess there is some good in this new girl.  I just wish I liked her as much as I liked the other girl, (who, ironically, did not realize how cool she was until she was gone).  I guess I just have to get used to this new girl, but I'll always miss that other girl, too.

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