Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hold onto your hats....

"I don't want to get married again. At least not until I forget what this time was like."

"I understand," I said. "Like I told you, I promised my kids long ago that I wouldn't marry until they were grown. So, I'm not in a hurry for anything."

Ranger and I were having another serious conversation. We often talk of how we've broadsided each other with this relationship. But in his frame of reference, marriage is a place where he's devalued, unappreciated, and belittled. In my frame of reference, I hope for the lovely relationship, leading ultimately to marriage. BUT not for another five years, when my promise is fulfilled.

We traded emails this morning. Lovely, gushy emails. His email to me sets my heart fluttering. A sample: "I am grabbing onto you with both hands, and hanging on tight. You are simply so perfect for me. I want to FILL your life with love... to show you that there can be a shared relationship without lies, games, or bull. Where you would be a partner and an equal. Where you would be respected and loved without prejudice. Where you would not be judged, nor insulted."

He reads mine to him as I'm on the phone with him. The emotion in his voice is palpable. "No one has ever loved me like this," he said. "Wow. I have to take a moment before reading that again. You've really touched me."

The kids and I planned a day trip to "his" park. I want to see what Ranger does and where he does it. I wanted the kids to meet him. And I wanted us all to have a great time, and get away from it all for a day.

Ranger was nervous. First, he was honored that I was letting him into my world. Then, he wanted to be sure to make a better impression on them than my ex's second wife had. And he understood their experiences with stepparents who tried to dominate them and didn't value them. He wanted to be very different. "They have a father," he said. "I don't want to replace him, but I want to be the best friend they'll ever have, someone they can lean on when they need to."

He asked me about insights into them. Their likes, dislikes, viewpoint, personalities. He decided to make lunch for us, and asked about their preferences. He couldn't wait for us to be there, and wanted to make it the best day possible for us. He'd be working, but he'd take extra time at lunch to spend with us. He planned on keeping the displays of affection to a minimum, although he knows my daughter is also measuring how much he appears to "like" me.

I read one more email from him before getting on the road to the park. "Where were you," he said, "when I WANTED to get married? Instead of now, when I THINK I don't?" He thinks he doesn't? That's a change. A few days ago, he said he definitely did not want to again...or at least any time soon.

We made the two-hour drive this morning. As we approached the Visitor's Center, I spotted him smiling at me from the window. We walked in and were greeted with a big grin and friendly handshakes for the kids. He gave us the "10-cent tour" of the center, explained the lay of the land, and turned us loose. We played in the museum and went out to the observation deck for a preview of what we'd see, then we headed around the nature trail.

At this point, you gotta understand that my son is afraid of heights. This nature trail skirts the top edge of 1500-foot canyon walls, with a short wall letting you know you're close enough. He's even nervous when other people get close! He surprised me, though, by getting fairly close and venturing a peek down. The views were nothing short of spectacular. My kids and I laughed through the whole trail. Several times I heard, "This is so cool!"

Just what I'd wished for this day! We're having family-time, enjoying this together. Gradually, Ranger will become more a part of our day.

I looked back up the trail, and Ranger was on his way up. He was smiling, watching me and my children laughing in the wind there. "How do you like my backyard?" he called to us. The kids responded with resounding "It's huge!" and "It's so cool!" He walked to us, but didn't slow his pace. He jumped up on the short wall, and scared the devil out of me! My son just said, "Oh, no way!"

He hopped down and exchanged banter with the kids. He stepped over to me and said, "I'm headed to the entrance station. I'll meet you up the hill in 30 minutes. I want to get pictures of you up there!"

And he was off, down trail again. We continued our little trek, and my phone goes off. A text. "You look soooo fantastic today," he says. Oh, so sweet. That would be the first of four times he'd tell me that during this day.

We met up the hill. He took wonderful pictures of me and my kids. He walked hand-in-hand with me. Then, we went to his apartment for lunch. He made a wonderful chicken salad for us, which even my picky-eater daughter loved. He showed his wonderful super-computer gadgets to the kids, and they all played as we ate. When it was time for him to return to work, he told us we were welcome to stay there and watch movies. He'd be off of work in a short while, and we could explore a little.

So, that's what we did. We hung out. I cleaned up the little mess we made in the kitchen. Periodically, the door would open and Ranger would be back. Once, he gestured for me to come out. I did, and met one of his bosses. As Ranger got back in his truck, he said to me, "Thank you so much for coming up here. I know it's a long drive. But I can't tell you how much it means to me that you're here."

We talked more about this later, and he actually started to cry. When he was married and waiting for his wife to join him, as they'd planned, he couldn't get her to come visit. She had no interest in his "world." She came to visit a couple of times, "kicking and screaming" (as he put it). Yet, there I was, actually wanting to be there and wanting to know more. And showing it to my children, too. Plus, we're loving it! This is what he's dreamed of, and thought would never happen.

After his workday was over, we headed out to a little remote place. We had a short hike up to a cliff face, in a natural amphitheater where ancient Native Americans once lived. Ranger leads the way, I let the kids go ahead of me, and I settle into the caboose position. Ranger stops and lets the kids pass, pointing out the path. "I need to stick with the person with the trick knee," he says. "Besides, it's a good excuse to hold her hand."

He led us up the trail to a spectacular pictograph. He explained the history of it and the history of the wide cave where we were standing. He showed my kids the little traces of evidence of the ancient people here, and their lives. They listened, learned, responded. His enthusiasm sparked their interest and they asked for more. I took pictures of them all together, interacting. I'd never seen them like this with anyone. So...natural.

Later, Ranger told me he saw me taking those pictures and it made him smile. He felt what I was seeing -- my children relaxed and enjoying all of us being together. And he felt the same with them.

We headed back down the trail to the cars. He held my hand and slowed down, letting the kids get out of earshot. "I've figured out a solution to our dilemma," he said. Dilemma? I thought. I remembered the email I read before leaving home.

"Really?" I said. "What solution is that?"

He stopped and turned to face me. He brought me close and looked straight into my eyes. "When the time is right," he said, "I'm going to ask your children to release you from your promise."

My breath left me.

My "promise" would be the one I made to them, that I would not marry again until they were grown.

Ranger wants to marry me.

I started breathing again. "Really?" I said quietly.

He nodded. "Oh yes," he said. The look in his eyes was dead serious. No uncertainty. He kissed me, quickly. The kids were waiting. It was dinner time.

We'd follow him into town, to a place he knew well. "Hey, can Son ride with me?" he asked. Son wanted to, so we hopped in the cars and headed down the dusty road.

"Mom!" my daughter said, as soon as the door closed. "I saw you kiss him! That means he's your boyfriend now!"

"What do you think of that?" I asked.

"That's fine," she said. "He's cool!"

Ranger and Son had a wonderful time. Ranger was still playing ancient-civilization guide, pulling over to point out other pictographs and their meanings.

Dinner was spectacular. Good home-cooking type of food. But the best part was when I looked around the table at the content and happy faces that surrounded me and realized....we were enjoying a "family" dinner. Banter flew around the table. Everyone laughing and kidding each other. Telling stories. Asking questions and talking about the answers. Ranger lightly holding my hand.

I looked up to see Ranger watching me. A grin spread across his face, and he winked. He felt it, too. Neither of us had enjoyed such a sweet time, in much too long.

We started to say goodbye at the car. "Wait," he said. "We have one more stop to make, you and I."

He kissed me briefly. From the passenger-side door, we heard Son's voice. "Keep it G-rated back there!" Yeah, he liked this guy, too.

It was dark. I followed Ranger a short distance up a side road. He pulled over in a turnout in the road. I left the car and followed him, telling the kids I'd be right back. I could hear water splashing nearby. A waterfall? At the end of the turnout, we took a step down. The ground was wet and a small spigot protruded from the rock, pouring cold mountain water.

"The locals often get drinking water here," he said. "This spring has been here since to beginning of time. From its source, it takes six years for the water to come through the rock and come out here."

He paused. "This is a spiritual place, though. The Native Americans have always believed that a couple who drinks together from this spring, will be together forever."

"This is my promise to you, my commitment," he said. "I am yours and yours alone."

"I promise, too," I said.

He cupped his hands and filled them full of spring water. He took a long drink, then offered his hands to me.

The water tasted oh so sweet.

Ranger wrapped his arms around me, holding me tight for a moment. "We are joined in spirit now," he said. "I love you, Blogget."

We walked back to the car, and said goodbye. He asked if I had enough gas for the journey, if I knew the way, and if I'd call when I got home, so he knew we were safe.

The kids fell asleep quickly. My mind buzzed with the events of the day. The sudden left turns my life takes, and where they've wound me up. In the midst of another letdown, a gust of wind came and lifted me up, into the arms of a man unlike any other I've known. He fills my heart and only wants to give more, as he's continually amazed that I, Blogget Jones, have chosen him.

Dear diary, Blogget has a boyfriend. And he's one hell of a man.

7 comments:

Driving With the Brakes On said...

Wow! I have to say, of all of the men in your life, I took an instant liking to Ranger . . . they all look good on paper, but there is something about him and the way that you talk about him. Can't wait to see where this leads you!

(Where is Greg as of late? And have you heard from Fella at all lately? Karl? I need an update on everyone!)

Blogget Jones said...

Hey Driving! I'm bowled over by Ranger. This might be IT, Driving....really!

I talked to Greg on Friday, and he's still struggling. He was anxious to talk to me. He thought my silence meant I was mad at him, and he was upset about that. I told him I'm not mad, and I'm still hear for him with the weirdness in his life.

Fella has been silent for about six weeks now. What a turd. He's just waaaay self-absorbed.

Karl has been silent for a week now. Promised to call or text. He didn't. He's in a stressful time at work, and that apparently makes him not communicate. There's a red flag....

Thanks!!
BJ

Ima Wurdibitsch said...

Wow.

Pitter-patter heart and everything. He sounds awesome and you are a GREAT mom.

Mike said...

That was SO sweet I think I threw up in my mouth a little! :P

Sassy Mama Bear said...

He sounds like the cream at the top, and worth holding onto.
I hope that he is the "one" and you will find a life of happiness together.

Gingers Mom said...

Wow. It has been a long time since I have visited and looks like I missed a hell of a time! What an amazing sounding man!!!! How long have you known each other?

I am really happy for you. :)

Blogget Jones said...

ima: thank you :o) He is rather awesome! It's all a little unbelievable....my head is still spinning!

mike: i thought all of this might do that to you! ;o)

mama bear: as you know, there's others I've felt good about....but this feels different. Good, but...better. Not sure how to describe it, but you probably know what I mean! And thank you....I think he's something special.

gingers mom: HEY! Welcome back! Yeah, it's been a regular rollercoaster around here. It feels and sounds like I've known Ranger for a long, long time.....but it's been nearly three weeks in reality....yikes, eh?