Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘relationship

Different Sense

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I suppose this is related to the concept of “opposites attracting,” but living with someone who perceives the world differently from you has a way of complicating otherwise straightforward coexistence. Several times in the last week, Cyndie’s and my dramatically different abilities to sense smells has been made vividly obvious.

She brought a horse blanket into the house to be mended the other day. When I stepped inside after a day of work, I immediately commented, “It smells like a barn in here!”

She didn’t notice it.

Friday night, she put a pork roast in the slow cooker before going to bed, to let it simmer while we slept. The longer it cooked, the more intense was the appetite-triggering aroma that filled our home. When my slumber was interrupted by a full bladder in the wee hours of the morning, getting back to sleep amid that incredible smell, was like trying to go to sleep while someone continuously knocks on your door.

I couldn’t do it. Cyndie barely sensed the aroma.

There are other differences –or opposites– that tend to have greater significance. The way we process grief, and the intensity with which we experience it, is a particularly hefty one of late. The horses aren’t even gone yet, but the mental anguish over rehoming them started way back when the idea of doing so was first brought up.

The torment over their departure is deeper than just coming to grips with them no longer being here, it delves into the original vision that brought us to this land in the first place.

The difference in the way Cyndie and I perceive this whole development, and the varying degrees of processing our personal grief over it, can make for a difficult… life together.

It would be great for me if I could just deal with all of this my way, but then I would miss out on life lessons that are the gift of living in relationship with another person.

Cyndie and I got to where we are today, together. We intend to get to where we are going next, the very same way.

We’ll discover it together, even though she doesn’t smell half the things I do.

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Another Anniversary

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It’s our thirty-seventh this year. I’ve been writing and posting daily on this blog for over nine years, and every time September 19 comes along, the topic of the day has acknowledged Cyndie’s and my wedding anniversary, and Julian’s birthday.

I have an annual habit on September 18th of navigating the “Previous Somethings” drop down feature in the right margin to pick the month of September, and then clicking on the day “19” to read each of my prior interpretations of the occasion. It’s a little repetitive, but at least the number of years changes in each post.

I’m not sure what the primary focus of a wedding anniversary is supposed to be. One obvious choice is the ceremony and all that was related to the events of the day.

Another logical area for consideration is the milestone of years. 2018 marks the accomplishment of our 37th year. Is the anniversary a time to review all that our relationship has enjoyed or endured over that period of time?

On that note, which gets more attention? The best of times or the obstacles hurdled?

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How about examining ways the relationship has changed over the span of time? I’m pretty sure we know each other better now than we did in the early years. Although, we continue to surprise each other and discover new insights as a function of the changes continually occurring in ourselves year after year.

I suppose the most popular detail deserving attention is a revisiting and rekindling of the romance that drew us together in the first place. I fear there may be a few laws of physics that tend to overrule best intentions in that realm.

As noted, Cyndie and I have an additional blessing to enhance our celebration of September 19th. This year it involves one of those round numbers that garners extra significance because it ends in zero.

Happy 30th Birthday, Julian!!

At this point in the father-son relationship, I’m thoroughly enjoying how much more like a brother you seem to me. I never imagined I would enjoy my children as adults as much as I do.

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Counting our many blessings today!

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Written by johnwhays

September 19, 2018 at 6:00 am

The Note

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In the fall of 1974, a group formed to attend an October session of Bill Gothard’s Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar at the Civic Center in downtown St. Paul. Cyndie was not only in the group, she offered to drive. It would be my second opportunity to spend time in her proximity and she was a powerful blip on my radar.

On the second to last night, after we pulled out of the parking ramp, a 3-ring binder that someone left on the roof of the car slid off, hit the road and burst into a cloud of pages. What a disaster.

Without wasting a second, Cyndie choreographed a controlled response where we pulled over safely, everyone jumped out (probably dangerously) and chased down pages. Shrieking and laughing, we saved every last page and made it back into the car without further incident.

We drove on as if nothing had happened.

It was such a combination of out-of-control chaos, yet at the same time, calm, controlled recovery, that I struggled to comprehend what I had just experienced. Cyndie didn’t show any sign of stress over the situation. I was captivated by the mastery of her response to the calamity.

I ended up in the passenger seat directly behind the driver in a station wagon packed with bodies. Suddenly, Cyndie’s arm swung around and the huge parcel she carried as a purse landed in my lap.

“Hold this while I drive.” I was instructed.

I’m not sure how I managed it in that car full of rowdy teenagers, but with little light and less space, I decided to write her a note to express how taken I was by her impressive handling of the event and the screaming car-full of panicked kids.

It was a little scrap of paper that I slid into that huge bag, wondering if it would ever be found.

Wanting to convey that I was falling madly in love with her, but not knowing her well enough to justify it, I remember ending it with the precautionary qualification.

“Too mushy?”

The following day, the last one of the seminar, I learned Cyndie did indeed find the note. She handed me an envelope filled with multiple handwritten pages in response.

We were sensing a similar vibe.

Sometime after that, we went on our first date. My mom dropped me off at Cyndie’s house and Cyndie drove us to the Southdale shopping mall. I was fifteen years old, she was sixteen.

Cyndie saved that note I slipped into her purse. Last time she pulled it out again to show me, I had a hard time reading it. I don’t know exactly what that was about. I’m probably just too old now to deal with the fifteen-year-old version of myself.

I’m so grateful that she was able to accurately interpret what I was trying to say that crazy night in the seat behind her in the car.

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Written by johnwhays

December 22, 2017 at 7:00 am

Simmering Plan

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We’ve got a trip coming up. This Christmas, Cyndie and I, along with our kids, will be joining all of Cyndie’s family for a week of vacation together in the Dominican Republic. It will be a number of firsts for me, most notably, being somewhere tropical for the winter-est of holidays.

It’s been mind-boggling contemplating the possibility. I expect it will be more so actually living it.

Similar to most of my travels over the last decade, I am inclined to take the week off from tending to RelativeSomething.com on a daily basis. Of course, that doesn’t mean I plan to let the site go dormant for a week. Oh, no.

I have an idea to fill the days with stories written in advance and scheduled to post automatically while I am away. All I have to do is write them.

Like, when is that going to happen?

I need to pack! I need to make lists. Find summer clothes. Start gathering necessary things. Where is my passport?

What procrastinator doesn’t know how to get things done at the last-minute? I’ll write the first few and then end up finishing on the plane, if it’s anything like the last time I tried having a week’s worth of posts ready in advance.

The other day I started a possible outline to help facilitate my plan. I’m now thinking that sharing that outline with you all might provide helpful pressure on me to then actually follow through with the idea.

Why are we traveling with Cyndie’s family over Christmas? I will work my way toward answering that question by starting back at the earliest days of our relationship.

1. Our initial connection

  • discover shared experience chatting on beach
  • attended Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar

2. Asking her parents permission to marry

  • after 6 years off and on dating
  • she traveled and went to several schools
  • I stayed home and went to tech school

3. Friswold Family events at Wildwood through the years

4. Friswold Family trip to ’94 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway

5. Family trips with Friswolds to Mexico and Disney

6. Friswold Family trip to Hilton Head in celebration of Fred & Marie’s 50th Anniversary

7. What about the Hays family?

8. Friswold Family trip to Dominican Republic over Christmas, 2017

With some help, research has already been undertaken to procure some supporting photos. Worst case, I just post the pictures with a few captions and let your imagination fill in the rest of the details.

That’s the way our brains work, anyway. Listen to people talk. Very often, sentences hang, unfinished, but the listeners get the gist of the message, filling in the blank space with a sufficient perception in place of absent words.

I was listening to a snippet from the second side of the Beatles’ Abbey Road on my commute to work yesterday and noticed where my brain filled in an extra note of choral “aaaaahs” beyond what was actually recorded. They lead you to that conclusion, but don’t need to sing the added note. It is implied.

Our mind completes the progression unconsciously.

I will try to complete as much of my planned storyline as possible, but it will not happen unconsciously. Most likely, it will require a fair amount of sacrificed sleep.

If I’m not entirely thorough in my detail, it will become your opportunity to imagine what fills the gaps my tales imply.

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Written by johnwhays

December 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

Just Reward

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I don’t know how many times I have good-naturedly poked fun at Cyndie when her glasses somehow make their way to the floor beneath the bedside table in the dark of night.

Since she can’t see anything without her glasses, she asks me for help.

I just can’t restrain myself. I always end up asking why she puts her glasses down there in the first place. If she can’t see them and she can’t reach them, that seems like a really illogical place for her to put her critical specs.

Cyndie never thinks that’s as funny as I do.

Well, until last night.

While she has had glasses for most of her life, I breezed along for almost fifty years before finally joining the club. I’m still struggling with the routine of keeping track of my growing variety of readers. 

As I stood up from the bed and turned to set my glasses on the bedside table, they slid. My cat-like reaction triggered the reach reflex, but I missed. Instead, I succeeded in pushing them further off the surface, where they were able to tumble down to a spot on the floor that requires an extra joint between the wrist and elbow to reach.

Cyndie was way too mature to ask me why I put them down there in the first place.

Unfortunately, something tells me this serving of humble pie won’t successfully dissuade me from blurting out the same dang question to my love, next time she needs me to rescue her glasses again.

I may be getting older, but it doesn’t guarantee I’m maturing.

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Written by johnwhays

December 13, 2017 at 7:00 am

Anniversary Thirty-Five

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Happy Anniversary today, Cyndie. Thirty-five years in a blink. How’d that happen?

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At the same time, today is also Julian’s birthday. Thanks for sharing this day with us, my other jwh, and making it even more special than it already was!

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Written by johnwhays

September 19, 2016 at 6:00 am

New Adventure

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I was at a wedding yesterday. The weather provided a nice September backdrop for an outdoor wedding. Everything was beautiful. If you can imagine this, Cyndie made the wedding cake. I have already written a story about her first experience as wedding cake provider. I didn’t think she would ever try again. But that is just like Cyndie, to dive right back in again.

Her style is so different from mine that I tend to get out of the way and let her do her magic. I just can’t help, because I end up getting in her way and cramp her style. The result is the exact opposite of what I mean to offer. So I back off. It feels kind of dysfunctional, but I think it is part of our codependency. It becomes a dash of her mania and my depression, and they clash. A wonderful opportunity to discover a solution to a next level of learning about ourselves as a result of having a relationship.

I don’t know how soon that lesson will be revealed, because there is a very great probability that Cyndie will be moving to Boston for a while. She is mulling a job offer that just appeared, unexpected. At first, this may seem contradictory to our plan to move to a horse farm. Maybe, maybe not. Cyndie is thinking that this might be an opportunity to save up some extra money toward financing our jump to the paradise we are dreaming of. It might add a year or two to the process, but she negotiated the time off to continue the horse training that she already has scheduled.

Her move to another city will be a different test for our relationship. I enjoy my time alone when she is traveling, but this takes it to another level. However, we are both feeling that now is a very good time for us to give this a try.

We are on the verge of another new adventure. It’s not one I expected, but that’s part of what makes it an adventure. Maybe it’ll be as easy as baking a cake.

Written by johnwhays

September 4, 2011 at 10:24 am

Posted in Chronicle

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