Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Post-Mortem

The holidays are over.. thank goodness!!

I’m truly not a Scrooge. I love all the excitement and good feelings that go with the holidays.. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. All filled with plenty of food, family, laughter and celebration. Oh yes, throw in alcohol as well… we do find that a big part of celebrating even though after my token 2 drinks..this party animal is ready for a nap.

So, the holidays began and I had that sense of dread as I imagined Mark enjoying these times without me, and I without him. We are going to break down the holidays from our different perspectives. Of course, things are never as we imagine them to be, so.. my conceptions of his holidays compared to the reality .. well, you will see.

(Jen)Thanksgiving wasn’t so bad, it is only one day and we eat lots of turkey (which makes us very sleepy) and I spent it with my folks and kids. OK.. check that one off.. not so bad.

(Mark) Yes, Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. We had a lot of time together at Jen’s house leading up to the holiday -- which helped of course -- and the day … the weekend … came and went without event. Another thing that helped immensely was I told the family I was working the Friday morning after Thanksgiving .. which I did .. but only for a couple of hours. A detour on the way home found me at Jen’s house once again. This served to breakup the long weekend considerably, and gave us a chance to recap our holiday together. Not to mention the opportunity for some good makeout time. I do want to emphasize that most of our time together is spent out of the bedroom and fully clothed. Many hours are wiled away laying on the couch together chatting, laughing and yes .. making out. While our sex life is well documented, it’s these moments I cherish the most – moments that as we grow old together, we’ll reflect on whimsically.

(Jen)Christmas was a little tougher.. although we had our 2 day rendezvous just prior, all the parties and gatherings that we would be at without each other seemed to be a reminder of what our hearts truly wanted this holiday. I asked him to stop telling me of all his plans with “the Wilsons” or “the Malones” as the ‘friend’ parties were hardest for me to bear. That was a reminder of HIS life for me. I was just his “dirty little secret” that no one knew existed in his world. It’s much different in my world, he’s been to my house, met my kids and some of my friends, been to where I work and met some co-workers. I, am but a figment in his life. But, I still had my 3 kids all together for the first time in a year, and that was very comforting. Christmas done… check.. 2 down, 1 to go.

(Mark) Yes, it’s a little tough walking the tightrope that is my position in this relationship. While my immediate reaction at all times is to keep Jen “in the loop” as to my day-to-day activities, sometimes I need to take a step back and consider her feelings – her reaction – before I send off that text telling her we were invited to dinner at the Wilsons – or whatever. Since we met back in July, we are in almost constant contact – be it email, IM, phone or texting. And it would just feel strange NOT telling her where I was, or worse yet, lying to her about what I’m doing. Heck, I do enough lying to my family and coworkers – it’s hard to keep ‘em all straight all the time – let alone start lying to Jen. So I opt for the truth with her .. and sometimes when I least expect it, the truth hurts. I need to pay more attention to that.

(Jen)Then came New Years. I knew this was going to be tough. Kids all gone. The house was quiet… Mark was “partying” with the wife and kids at another “friends” home. Compound that with a bit of bad news I had gotten earlier in the day and by 7pm I was pouring my first glass of wine.. 7:04 my second… trying to dull the ache of the empty new year. The images don’t stop… Mark laughing and having a good time with the wife and friends. The New Years kiss at the stroke of midnight. The laughter and smiles as they wish each other Happy NEW Year. I tried to get lost in the Twilight Zone marathon (for who doesn’t just love those episodes) but, couldn’t keep the other thoughts from crossing over. After being sad for what felt like an eternity.. I decided to sleep would be the best escape.. so shortly after 8:30 I took my sleep aid. Mark texted me a few times during the night but, instead of making me feel better, they just frustrated me. I finally told him I was off to bed at 9. That was all I remember as I awoke to a New Year and a bunch of texts and missed calls on my cell.

(Mark) Yes, New Years was indeed a miserable time .. for both of us. This was totally unexpected for me, as I was so focused on us getting through Christmas that I didn’t see that Jan 1 brick wall staring us in the face. You see, New Years has never been an eventful holiday for me nor my family, and I just tend to brush it off as just another day. Yes, we do a New Years Eve party with many of the families at my kids school, but it really is focused on the kids. Since my kids are still young, they get a big kick out of staying up late at night together, doing the countdown, and ringing in the New Year. I spend a lot of time looking at my watch, and wishing I was in bed.

But new relationships bring new emotions and little did I realize how big a holiday New Years had been in her past. And I started to become aware of this in the days leading up to Jan 1. It was a slow week at work, so once again we were able to manage plenty of time together early in the week (see Coitus Interruptus), and it was during this time together that I began to realize that Thursday and Friday weren’t going to come and go easily. I really began to worry about Jen and how she was going to handle all this … alone. And as much as I worried about it and as much preparation as we did for it – it turned out much worse than I ever anticipated.

As New Years Eve day wore on, I would check to see if Jen was online on IM .. and nothing. Very unusual. I texted her a couple times in the morning and early afternoon, and she was responsive, but it’s a bit difficult trying to determine someone’s emotional state in a 160 character text message. I then had the opportunity to call her once in the afternoon, and she did sound in good spirits. But as the sun started to set in the early evening, I just got a sense things weren’t right. My family and I were getting ready to head over to a neighbor’s house for dinner around 6pm, but I intentionally procrastinated so they would leave without me, so I could shower and give Jen one last call before I walked over to join them. And again .. the phone call went without incident. We talked, we laughed, wished each other Happy New Year, and I hung up feeling that perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad.

But that couldn't have been further from the truth. And that story is worthy of a standalone post ... Coming soon


  1. jen, i really feel for you. i have told many friends and my mother about daniel. i'm a very open person and unfortunately he just doesn't have anyone to 'share' me with. It makes things really hard. He also has a daughter, so I often imagine him and the Mrs. playing 'happy family' and it was especially tough on New Year's. Who knew? Crazy. I'm so sorry, but I totally sympathize...

  2. frances: it is hard to keep those images from creeping in,isn't it? While we understand their dilemma in having to keep us from their world.. it is hard being that shadow. We must keep the faith that someday when all is resolved, we will be grateful for having endured these hard times to spend the rest of our lives with the person that holds the key to our hearts. Nice having you by my side, I feel stronger just having the chance to share this with you. ~Jen


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