Almost 2 weeks ago, and two months after our wedding, the Husband moved from Rochester, NY to live with me until death us do part. He’s an amazing and boundlessly goodhearted man, infinitely patient with my many foibles and brave enough to leave behind his own familiar haunts to blend his life and family with mine. I’m indescribably lucky to have such a mate, especially considering the fact that I’m not only introverted to a fault but historically over-fond of having my own way.
It’s been quite an adjustment so far. He brought 2 dogs and 4 cats with him, which brings us to a current total of 3 dogs and 5 cats–although to be fair, one cat has opted for the outlaw life and taken up residence under the house where she apparently intends to stay. This proved even more taxing to my nerves than I had anticipated. Who knew the pets of a sociable person could make so much noise! Yet we persevere, and the initial compromises seem to be working: cats outside at night, dogs ditto when they’re feeling rambunctious, strenuously discouraged from barking at passing pedestrians (and squirrels and blowing leaves and neighbors) . They’re actually rather adorable when they’re not actively fraying my patience, and I’m beginning to see why the Husband enjoys their company so much. Perhaps in a couple of decades I will fully share his enthusiasm.
Blending two full households’ worth of possessions is proving to be a mind-stretcher as well. Despite vigorous attempts to pare back our belongings ahead of the move, we find my tiny house literally swamped with stuff. Two middle-aged foodies get quite accustomed to their own cooking tools, it seems! So two full knife blocks repose on the countertop, two sets of pots jostle for position on the rack, the already-excessive stacks of baking dishes and casseroles have become precariously teetering mountains and the crock of utensils next to the stove has spawned an equally overstuffed canning jar of wooden spoons, whisks and the like. The upside? In order to preserve the few unused millimeters of counterspace for actual cooking, even the resident teenagers are willing to pitch in on dishes! With four skilled hands in the kitchen, we are turning out delicious food too, with what feels like a minimum of effort.
Before the Husband’s arrival, I had worried myself sick about whether I could handle sharing my space with another adult. Having adjusted very happily to single life, it was surprisingly hard to think about giving up my comfortable solitude even for the innumerable joys of being with someone who exceeds all my hopes of what partnership and love could be. Our long-distance courtship punctuated by intense long-weekend visits was wonderful; it gave me the room I needed to decide I was ready to share my life with someone again. It did not, however, prevent a certain amount of panic in the face of the actual event.
Two weeks in, though, I think it’s going to be okay. More than okay, actually. Although I typically find the presence of people other than my mother, siblings and children at least moderately annoying, the Husband does not trigger my hackles to rise. He has a near-uncanny ability to tell—often better than I–when I would rather be left alone. And he intuitively grasps that I very much enjoy being near him without interacting. So we take turns—we talk and laugh for a while, then he checks out the Interweb or watches TV while I curl up beside him with my knitting and we just bask in being in the same place at the same time.
The Husband is way better than I am at picking up emotional cues and figuring out what they mean. He’s self-aware and insightful enough to tell me directly how he’s feeling instead of leaving me to guess, which prevents a myriad of misunderstanding that could arise from my cluelessness about such things. He instinctively looks at people and situations in terms of the feelings involved, while I look at them as objectively as possible. As a joke once, we agreed that he ought to be in charge of all marital decisions depending on feelings while I should take the reins on decisions of practicality. It’s turned out to be truer in reality than we anticipated!
I hadn’t planned to be a 45 year-old newlywed, or to be embarking upon the journey of building a life with someone when half my life is already over, but it is turning out to be exactly the right thing to do. I’ve learned to be comfortable with who I am, good and bad. Now it’s time to take it to the next level, walking hand in hand with the Husband along the path to the next adventure.
©Mary Braden 2013