We sit outside, under the glow of a heat lamp, a bottle of Prosecco and an heirloom tomato salad between us. I'm struggling to look up. Unexpected tears are building in my eyes and I don't want him to see. We're talking about marriage casually, and feelings I didn't know I still held on to are coming to the surface.
I try to explain without completely losing my composure that yes, even after walking away from one, marriage is important to me. I believe in celebrating finding someone you want to spend your life with.
Because of my past I also have to explain the tears that come with the topic. What was supposed to be a celebration of love in my last relationship was a drawn out painful experience with several blows to my heart.
On the bright side the experience did show me the kind of love I'm capable and how much I want a future with another person (for much of my life I have been content with the idea of being a lone wanderer.)
After I choke out the words he holds my hands, calms me down, and I'm reminded of exactly why I love him.
I am finding more lightness these days, more tenderness. I had my dad staying with me over the past few weeks, and we spent nights sitting outside laughing and eating dinner. This weekend in California was spent with my beau and a bunch of his family. We cooked, went to the beach, played and had fun. I felt lucky.
I came home just in time to wish my dad a safe trip home to France and sneak in some time with my brother and little nephew.
I'm enjoying these tender moments, and I'm enjoying becoming more tender. I am allowing myself to be, to enjoy, to be happy. I know that when it's called for I will toughen up, but for right now I want to keep trying a little tenderness.