After three months of talking, writing, and dreaming about it, we are finally in London. After nine months of dating, with never more than three consecutive nights together, the Englishman and I will be spending the next two weeks together. After almost seventeen years of my son and I being a party of two, we are joining a large family. After 46 years of searching for something, I finally realize nothing is missing and I can stop looking.
I have led a difficult but blessed life. From the time I was little I was looking for something. I never knew what it was exactly, but I was looking. When I knew what I was looking for, I would not give up until I found it, then change what I was looking or so I could keep searching. Whether it was love, faith, or a car key, I look until I find it, then look for something else. It is a good way to live, but in the end also exhausting.
I came to London looking, and as we landed my son held my hand and told me it was the best day of his whole life. I looked at my Englishman and was filled with joy. I like feeling calm and sadly it is elusive, but at that moment I was calm. As we walked through the airport, I held hands with this wonderful man, we watched the kids smiling and laughing, and I cried because I truly felt like I could relax and stop looking.
We were greeted at the airport by the Englishman’s youngest brother, his wife, and their three kids. While the three young boys were thrilled to see their uncle and cousins, they were wary of my son and me. It took about 15 minutes to get them to warm up and now it is love. We went to see my Englishman’s parents and seeing their faces as they saw their son was really special. They love him, you can see it, and it is heartbreaking but lovely.
I am the only one of the kids in my family to move to another country and after twenty years in America, my mother is still waiting for me to move home to Canada. They miss him as my parents miss me and I felt for them. As my son prepares to go off to college I will miss him in the same way. It changes how you parent your own kids when you can see your parents as a parent yourself. The love does not change. Ever.
I was nervous to meet his family, which was not surprising I suppose, but I am surprised by how much I love these people. Families are hard. There is history within a family and to come in as an outsider can be stressful and intimidating. At our age the Englishman and I have lived several lives and comparisons are going to be made by our families of the people we choose to bring into our lives. That is just human nature.
When you meet the family of a person that you love, there are insecurities that automatically come into play. Will they like me? Will they think I’m pretty? Will they think I’m good enough? Fun enough? Smart enough? Will they think back to an old love and believe she was a better match for the person they love? It plays with your heart, makes one sensitive, and can drive you a bit batty. I had all those feelings coming to England.
As I sat this afternoon in the home of the Englishman’s mother, I had clarity. We were on her couch, looking through albums of family pictures, and she was playing with my hair as I looked through photos. I looked around the room and felt like I had found something I didn’t even know I was looking for. I’m not sure if I was feeling luck, or love, but whatever it was, it made me close my eyes, breathe in deeply, and thank God.
I love this man and I love his family. I love them in a way that makes me know it is right, not question whether it is. I love them in a way that makes me feel safe, not insecure, happy not worried, peaceful not stressed. In loving this man I have found a family I love too. In watching this man and his family with my son, I see my remarkable son has also found something he was looking for. I see who I am in a different light than before.
I have always felt that any man who was with me was lucky. I am funny, smart, pretty, caring, kind, and generous. I have been hurt by love in the past and so I tend to leave my relationships before I am hurt. In my short time here I have come to understand that I am the lucky one. My Englishman is a wonderful human being and seeing him with his family, makes me thankful he is my family. We are lucky to be with each other.
I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know what love is, and this is it. I know I have been looking and that I will work hard to keep what I have found because it is too good to allow my fear, insecurities and history guide me away from it. I still think he is lucky, but London has shown me that so am I. I will blog tomorrow to share my adventures and introduce you to the characters in this family. Until then, keep the faith.
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