Great Love

In my life, I have been blessed with great love. My first romance was with a boy who worked as a lifeguard at our local community pool. He was older, an amazing swimmer, lanky and strong. I was on the swim team, one of the standouts. I had a huge crush, hoping our friendship would blossom into more. It did! He was my first. That summer was filled with evenings gazing up at the stars so majestically scattered across the sky, discussing our philosophies on life. We used to lie to my parents and say we were off to see a movie, followed by heading straight to the high school football field with a blanket. We would lie in each other’s arms, exploring one another ever so gently. I remember returning home and making up the story line of the supposed movie we just saw. I wonder if my parents ever suspected anything or if they ever noticed my hair was disheveled. We weren’t out of control, we just wanted to be with each other all the time. At the end of that summer, he went off to college and we wrote long love letters to each other every single day, sometimes ten plus pages declaring our love on each, sometimes just sharing our day. We were deeply devoted to one another. I remember our phone conversations lasting for hours, deep into the wee hours of the morning, and my parents’ fury when the phone bill totaled $500 one month. That was long before the days of cell phones. I had to pay every penny of that largest phone bill, which of course was right. We subsequently learned to call each other and let the phone ring just one time, which meant “I LOVE YOU!” Ours was a sweet and enduring love that lasted three years, through a move across the country (my family), through me heading off to college halfway across the country in the other direction, through my dad getting sick. Marty was a gem, and a great beginning to my decades of allegiance to this thing called love. Marty and I shared a deeply loving, caring, healthy tenderness. In our innocence, we agreed on names we would give the kids we planned to have someday. We truly thought we would end up married. Alas, life brought big changes, and it was time to move on.

My next love happened when I moved to Mexico City at the age of 20, almost 21. My family had vacationed in Acapulco for Christmas the year prior. Our time in Acapulco was a family reunion including my maternal grandmother after grandpa had died. We kids were spread out throughout the globe, one brother living in England and me in college at the U of MA. I still feel so much appreciation to my oldest brother for bringing us together to share a treasured destination spot he had frequented. I met Paco at a time when I was struggling to find myself. I wanted to immerse myself in a foreign country and experience all the lessons and growth that living in another culture teaches. Paco was a poor Native Mexican from a family of ten, all living in a small home. He worked for the family business, locksmithing. There was something about his innocence, his kindness, and the entertainment of his genuine and focused intention to be with a blonde American girl, that tickled me. Although I had registered and was about to attend the University of Mexico City to polish off my Spanish speaking skills, Paco’s lack of command of the English language and his clear and well enunciated Spanish was a much easier and more enjoyable way for me to learn the language. I withdrew after a few weeks of sitting in a classroom and moving forward slowly with the intricacies of the idiom and became fluent quickly through the conversations in which we partook, dictionary in hand. Paco was steady and reliable, and he drove a large station wagon which came in very handy with all the help I required. He knew the city well having lived there his entire life. His noble efforts to be at my side as my right hand man endeared him to me. He helped me with phone conversations, finding a place to live, navigating my way through the city to take care of my needs. What captured my heart was the way he stole our first kiss. He really did steal it! I was on the phone attempting to understand the person on the other end, and he literally took the phone away and laid a kiss on me that I have not forgotten to this day. His kiss was one of those long, passionate, sensuous, inquiring, exploring kisses that made me tingle from head to toe, every cell on fire. I was swept away right then and there. Paco and I had an extremely passionate affair and he asked me to marry him. We might have, at least my heart and mind thought so, until his long-time girlfriend let their history become known. One day I received a letter addressed directly to me, detailing how she knew all about me, how Paco had lead a double life (I still can’t figure out how he divided his time between us, living at my place half the time). She suggested I go back to my home country and leave Paco alone. I did go back home, but I missed him desperately. I found myself with him again even after all that had transpired. He denied any desire to be with her, telling me I was his great love. False. Eventually I did pick myself up and return permanently to my own country, where I ultimately landed in California and started over.

My first husband and I met during a statewide fruit fly invasion, an emergency situation where 1000 California Conservation Corps Members (we had each just joined the CCC) were all herded into one huge fairground building in Santa Clara to go walking door to door. We had to pick all sorts of beautiful fruit from the trees that lived at the homes throughout the area, bag it up, and assist in having it hauled away to be destroyed. We were together for a couple of years in the CCC, then moved up to Monterey Bay Area where we settled into our first home. Eventually we married and started a family with our two wonderful boys. In time, I embarked on a career in the restaurant industry and he chose to start a landscape business. We learned a great deal and shared a lot of love over twenty years together. In many aspects we grew up together, and today enjoy each other’s company along with delighting in our 7 year old beloved grandson.

My second husband and I met while I was newly single, just nine months separated from my first husband. This next marriage included the blending of our two families along with all the challenges that come with that scenario. I feel sadness as I look back on how I handled things at the time, so quickly leaping into a new relationship when what I really needed was to learn to be with myself. I loved this man, I respected and appreciated him. Our sons were very close in age, his son just 9 months older than my youngest. He was thrilled to give his son the experience of siblings, although that was a mighty rocky road for quite a time. We made a happy life together inclusive of the many challenges that come with the intertwining of different parenting styles. We maneuvered carefully and cautiously ingesting the personalities of three very different boys. We delighted in the many romantic nights when we found ourselves relaxing from our long weeks of work, lighting candles and dancing, drinking great wine, and enjoying friends gatherings when the boys were all at their other parent’s homes. Ultimately we separated but remain close and care deeply for one another.

Finally, I experienced a true and lasting love connection after my second divorce, with a man I met through online dating. We each were freshly divorced with wounds which cried out for healing. We helped each other heal in many different ways, shared our veracious passion for food and wine, and opened our hearts and minds to each other. We were kindred spirits filled with dreams and aspirations. We enjoyed a full summer of play, romance, ease, and star-gazing. We frequently watched shooting stars dive across the night sky while soaking in our hot tub prior to falling asleep together in the bed we set up outside. We lived together and enjoyed many beautiful meals (he cooked more than I), brainstormed ideas, encouraged and supported one another. Mornings found us sitting on the front porch watching passersby as we drank espressos. We had in-depth conversations about many facets of life sitting outside on the beautiful summer nights. We celebrated our joy with many fabulous date nights at restaurants throughout the area. Our heart connection was deep and real, and continues to this day.

The greatest love of all is the one I found through decades of being on a spiritual quest, ultimately landing in the relationship I have with myself. It took me a whole lot of years, many heartbreaks, a series of growing and learning from hurts and pain, and an endless questioning of how to grow into the happiness I so deeply desired. Slowly but surely, I learned to love all of myself. I can now say I know how to be fully content living alone, that I am truly happy. I do not need a man in my life in order to feel complete. I desire a relationship because I have much to offer and I believe growth is most accentuated and experienced through the bond created in intimate exchange with another human. I look forward to engaging in my next relationship, which I believe with all my heart will be ultimately satisfying, wherever it takes me. I have slayed the booze bitch and no longer run from my emotions, no longer feel the need to separate from any discomfort I feel. I have no desire or need to blame another for any of my actions. I have no doubt I will bring all of my best self to the next man in my life. What a lucky guy.

Published by Judes

After working decades in Hospitality and businesses related to drinking, I am making the choice to become sober. Here are my musings on the adventure. Thank you for being here with me!

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