Tony burst into the cozy soft glowing living room of our sweet little cottage rental exclaiming "It's official! I'm going to Law school this fall!" I was about to swallow my warm tea in my pink chair while reading my new book and everything moved in slow motion as I choked and nodded back at him with supportive smile froze in place as my mind raced on in fear and in doubt....as always with a trauma or drama about to unfold everything moves in slow motion for me as my heart beats and my mind says "Don't panic, choose your words carefully."
I cheered for him by setting my book down and calming the dogs back into my lap for they had jerked awake by his sudden burst of energy from his office room.
"Well, Good for you! You should be very proud! To reach a life long dream like this!" I said just as the voice in my head said "And now it begins....for better or worse, we've been better and it could get much much worse..."
He snorted back as he came to sit across from me "Life long dream? No, I just want to be my own boss in the end...and really there's no way to climb the latter at work unless I go to law school." I chuckled to myself that I had tried to romanticize it all in my head as my knee jerk reaction. I do this kind of thinking as a survival cooping tool....romanticizing everything is my way of dealing.
I looked around for a moment as my mind focused in on some important questions to ask like "You will start this fall? and for the next 3 years I will work and you can stay home with the dogs? I don't want to ever fail them so we need to figure out how they can have the best life in this huge change and shift in our lives."
Tony laughed and shook his head "When I am a lawyer I will buy them the whole pet food store!" I rolled my eyes and said "All they want is someone to be home with them as much as possible, for I made them a promise to be the best person I can be for them." He looked at me suddenly with a knowing smile "Here we go again, YOU hate change. You will fight it every time! Even though the future could send you down a whole new pathway and a whole new life ahead from where we are right now. You are all about keeping your word and following through on your promises, the dogs don't know or understand and they don't care if you can't keep them." I felt my chin line tighten and my eyes narrow in on my husband "I CARE, I have to live with myself in the end so I am not going back on my word to give them a good home life. No matter the future, No matter what....I will be there for them."
He nodded back at me like "I know, I know, "
Then he sighed saying "Don't be scared of change, don't be all guarded or worried over this new adventure in our lives, we talked about this already I am not happy remember? Law school is going to change all of that!"
I chuckled at the reminder of our long conversation about happiness, and I had told my best friend Benny about all of it too. Tony saying he was only 22% happy sent us into tears of long heavy laughter because we both knew him so well, I gasped at her explaining in between my laughter "You know he came up with that number very very carefully, if he said 25% that's a fourth of the way to his idea of true happiness which is huge! Right? YET if he said that he is 10% happy we would all think he's not grateful enough for the little things like a doughnut with his coffee! THAT 22% is a very accurate and important number of his exact happiness right now...Hahahahahaha Oooooh lordy!" Benny asked "What did you say back to him?" I smiled proudly explaining on "I said if he is only 22% happy right now then I must be at 122% happy because I have never ever calculated up my percentage of happiness before? Like who does that???" We burst out laughing and half hugging each other all over again. This was a classic running joke between us from then on out if we ever needed another good laugh and reminder how happiness can come in a percentage.
I flashback with a giggle at my husband before who had just reminded me law school will up his happiness calculations. I could see he looked so pleased to be accepted and starting up in the soon to arrive fall season so I served him some tea as I listened on and then I reminded him "Just so that we are clear, you are going to Law school for your own life's goal/dream/journey because in the end it will be only up to you to finish and see it all the way through if you say it's for your job or your parents or even for me then after 3 years you will blame and resent all of those reasons, but if you take ownership of this for yourself then you will be very proud of pushing yourself to the finish line without risking those relationships, without hating those reasons in the end."
He looked at me cautiously "Are you saying our marriage won't survive this?" I looked around at the perfect little home I had made wondering how do I say it clearer? I paused to look right at him in his full attention and sighed back my reply "I am saying in a year from now when you are not sleeping, when you are obsessed with every grade and every test, then you need to know whose to blame for our upside down lives, AND when you get mad at me or when you feel overwhelmed, thinking to yourself it's everyone else's fault so you should just give up....Then whatever spark and whatever your reasons on why you are doing this is very very important. Because it can help give you a better focus during those hard times ahead. You need to have all that in order ahead of time, you can't say it's for anyone else then yourself if you are going to make it."
Tony smiled asking "Soooo we are good? This is something you support and will stick with me on?" I nodded and waited wondering if I should share of what all is going through my head or if that's just my caution and fear talking? again saying
He jumped up to go back to his desk "I can't wait to tell everyone, I am going to be a lawyer!" I laughed adding "Here's to bringing up your happiness and shooting for 85%...at least!" His eyes grew wide and he thoughtfully shared "There's a lot of things that would have to line up for that to ever happen!" I nodded on with true understanding and a few giggles again.
Tony's law school mentor shook my hand with such surprise during our very first encountered in the late summer of 2012, He said over my shoulder to Tony "If you are happily married, then maybe this isn't the right career move for you." I burst out laughing and waving them on as I took my cup of coffee out with me in my usual downtown walk about, only to feel that same ol' fear try to bug me once again.......
Just as I had asked Tony to take ownership of his career move, I had to realize how I needed to take ownership of my own worries, my own fears.
The morning air was crisp, the sky was clear and the sunlight burst out through the sidewalk line of trees and buildings, people in cars, people on bikes and people standing in line at coffee shops while everything was waking up I walked on, I took a sip of my black smoky coffee and looked up as I do a thousand times a day in a deep breath I said to the wide open sky above me "So it begins! and THIS is going to be a hell of ride! I better hold on tight!...god, I hate change! I really do. Guess that's how one learns what bravery is, in the end we find ourselves at the beginning of a new story."