I have a difficult time making promises unless I am certain I will keep them. And because I seldom know what the future holds, those promises are few and far between. My better half thinks that I suffer from commitment anxiety and says he is amazed that I even said “yes” to him all those years ago.
From the moment she uttered her first word, our eldest daughter asked for a dog. It seemed remote enough so we promised to give her one when she turned five. But that was before there was a new baby on the horizon. And when her fifth birthday arrived, her audacious little sister was crawling around our three-story townhouse without a care in the world, her brother teasing and mom panting not far behind. It was clear that a new pup was no longer an option, hence six became the new five. But by then the thought of a dog racing past three kids in the stairwells stirred up so much angst in me, that I froze when asked again about a pet, only to follow up with a feeble someday, afraid that I might again falter on a future promise.
Then he stepped in. My logical, charming husband, the one who time and time again led his team to victory, the one who always knows how to inspire. He hinted that someday with no end in sight was like me trying to chase the Energizer Bunny. It's in our nature to covet a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. Our daughter needed to know when: a month, three months, a year. It didn’t matter, but a concrete date was in order. A million obstacles came to mind. So what did I do? What any commitment phobe would do, of course: I got her a puppy...
The very next day.
Yes. The idea of committing to an impending date was so daunting, that surprising her right then and there became more palatable. Was it stressful? Yes. Did I have to chase three kids and a dog all over kingdom come to avert disaster? Yes. Would I have had it any other way? No.
Cut to a few years later...
Our favorite Swedes, Roberto and Ebba announced, much to our dismay, that they would be moving to North Carolina. When Ebba asked when we might come visit, that familiar feeling rendered me silent. My heart was missing them already but my head was a spinning calendar full of dates, flights, obligations and destinations. Of course I wanted to see them, but the thought of committing to a far flung date made me feel as though I had entered a no fly zone. Ebba took notice and announced, somewhat in jest at their farewell party a few weeks later, that she hoped for everyone to visit except, wink-wink, me. I thought: Why couldn't I just say “sure, anytime” like everyone else does? Because I am not everyone else and that's okay too.
So, dearest Ebba and Roberto, our family bids yours farewell and wishes you lycka till, but not before letting you know that Bernardo and I have tickets to visit before Halloween rolls around. Are you ready?!!!
Yes, age has a way of seeing us through life with a calmer slant, each decade allowing us to just "be" without having to explain or quantify. Embrace your quirks and choices, but most of all embrace those you hold dear.
Puss Puss beautiful family, see you soon!