And it was probably the best thing that could have ever happened.
But first let me talk about a NSV that happened Saturday. In my last blog, I talked about my struggle to stay motivated and how disappointed I was that I had not made much progress since the year I had started this journey. I have kept moving forward on faith, knowing what I'm doing has to be making a difference even if I couldn't quite pinpoint, see or feel the difference.
Ironically, Saturday was the one-year anniversary since I started this journey. June 8, 2012 was the day I left through my front door on a walk and never looked back. It was like I was literally walking away from my old life. I still remember how hard that first walk was and that I had to stop so many times to even make it up the hill by my house. Now I don't have to stop and I can walk a lot further than I did that first day.
But, that victory came a long time ago.
Satruday was the annual Mudd Volleyball tournament. I've played every year for about the past six years. It's basically five games in a mud pit. It starts at 8 a.m. and goes well into the afternoon. I remember the year before last, I was so tired by about the third game. Walking around the huge property (more than 100 courts) left me exhausted. By the afternoon games, I barely had energy to move for the ball because the mud sucks you and it takes energy to navigate around the court.
This year, we made it to the playoffsI Not only was I not physically tired, I actually rocked it on the court. I wasn't the star player but I felt so light on my feet. Later that night, I also realized that I didn't feel tired at all when we were walking around the property. It felt great to go from about 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and not feel my back, feet and knees hurting.
Also, when I saw the photos two years ago, I was mortified and disgusted. This year, I couldn't believe it was me. I mean, I don't look skinny or anything but I look smaller than I have in a really long time. I was so happy. Finally, I could feel and see the progress. It was awesome.
So on to the visit from the brother. I was making our team volleyball shirts Tuesday evening when my sister-in-law says: "Hey. You are getting a phone call. It's from Paul."
I say: "What? Are you serious?"
I answer. He's very clearly upset and almost in tears. He asks for a "huge favor." He needs a ride home. He and his GF were "partying" with some friends at the complex across from where I live and she was arrested for larceny, child abuse and interference. He can't find his glasses and he's too drunk to drive home. He tells me he's already walking to my place. I say: "Sure. Come over." He's pretty much already there.
I had a house full of people. My son, his GF, my SIL, my niece and another kid. He walks in and my first reaction is just to give him a great, big hug. I haven't seen anyone in my ex's family since we broke up more than a year ago. I was just so happy to see him, and that surprised me. I thought I would be so busy thinking about my ex that it would just hurt me. But I wasn't.
He came in and said he wanted to talk for a while. We hung-out for an hour and caught up. It wasn't forced at all. We had a lot to say. I drove him home and kept the conversation away from the topic of my ex because honestly, I wasn't interested. All my questions have been answered and doubts and anger laid to rest.
But the brother does bring it up. He tells me he doesn't go over to his mom's house very much because they don't like the new girlfriend. The word he used to describe her was "dork." He proceeds to tell me how much of a "dork" his brother is and how weird they are together.
I laughed and said: "Yes. I know. I know her."
And I really surprised myself by not having any alternative motive in saying that than just stating a fact. I smiled at him, basically a "I'm done talking about this." He sort of stumbled with his words and said: "Maybe I should not be talking to you about this. It's sad. Let's change the subject."
I smiled again and said: "That's a really good idea."
It was a great moment and I felt set the tone for any future interaction. They don't have to feel sorry for me. They don't have to feel awkward and neither do I. We addressed the elephant in the room and immediately realized it was not really that important to either one of us. I felt his comment was a roundabout apology from his family on the way I was treated. I was grateful for it but the best part is I didn't need it. I have mostly made peace with it all.
When I dropped him off, he hugged me, said they wanted to see me soon and thanked me for being there for him. (I guess my ex and their mother were not answering the phone). All in all, it was a very positive, uplifting moment for me.
I realized, I had done the right thing by myself and my ex. I did my best with him. I really tried to help him and make both our lives better. He wasn't interested in that and that's why it didn't work. It wasn't my fault. Finally I forgave myself completely and that was harder than forgiving him.
The Mudd Crackers!
Me with my pal. All dirty now. I may have accidentally thrown him in the mud.