Really, what were they thinking?

I have been doing allot of thinking about my life.  Different episodes growing up, decisions I made, etc.  I am not going to journal about all of them, at least not now.  I am going to talk about a couple that I feel had a significant impact on how I evolved as a man.  These all stem around a specific girl, woman.  It started when I was she threaded through my life until I was 22 or so.

Even though I was an adult at the end, I do lay this solely at the feet of my parents.  I believe that it is the parents responsibly to teach their children how to interact with those of the opposite sex.  I never got that memo.  As a matter of fact I can remember a couple of times my dad actually avoiding questions, simple questions about should I call a girl, what should I say, etc.  I truly felt alone on that island.  Then they were puzzled when my first marriage fell apart, and second (well they were glad at that, she was just plain nuts, bat crap crazy, you get the idea).

So the story starts when I was about eight or nine years old.  Every easter we would travel down to my aunt and uncles home, which was about 100 miles away.  This was my dad’s brother and his wife.  It seemed like forever to get there.  We would pack up the car, my grandpa and grandma would come.  My grandpa on that side was nice, grandma was a really a witch, she was always teasing me especially about girls, made me feel very uncomfortable.  Anyway, the year when I was about 8 or 9 there was another family at my uncle’s for Easter.  They had a daughter, she was my age, her name was Crystal.  We hit it off, we played downstairs in my uncles semi-finished basement.  My cousin who was 4 o 5 years older than me would play for a little bit but then went upstairs.  My sister who was 4 years younger hung with us.  Then Crystal and I took my uncles dog for a walk around the block, by ourselves.  I still remember that walk.  I remember how the sun looked on the snow, how since it was just starting to get warm you could start smelling things again after winter.

One the ride home I couldn’t stop thinking about her, even though we were only 8 years old I felt something, not sexual, just this feeling.  Then it started.  My grandma started teasing about me having a girlfriend.  My mom and dad started a littlebit, then my sister did.  I felt so embarrassed.  My folks didn’t do a think to stop it!

Fast forward about 4 years, my cousin was getting married.  She asked me to be a groomsman for the wedding.  I wasn’t sure.  Then I found out that Crystal would be my bridesmaid.  I beamed inside, but didn’t want that to show lest I get the teasing again.  I hemmed and hawed about it.  My folks started to second guess it and said no, they were afraid that after the wedding the wedding party would stop at some bars and it would not be good for me.  I was crushed.  My cousin did ask me to be an usher at the wedding.

When I was ushering at the wedding, I ushered Crystal’s parents to their place in the church.  Her mom whispered to me that Crystal was really disappointed that I wasn’t going to be a Groomsman since she would have been my bridesmaid.  That was the first time I really felt remorse over a decision and wished I would have stood up to my parents.  I have always trusted my parents that they knew what they were doing.

As the wedding proceeded I remember sitting in the church with my parents, I was looking a Crystal, thinking how pretty she looked.  Then she looked at me, my eyes met with her’s.  I got all warm inside.  I felt like the temperature in the room shot up ten degrees. I still remember how she looked up on the alter, I was thinking about what her mom had said.  I was really confused about this whole situation.

At the reception I quickly found Crystal and we started to talk.  We danced and hung out the whole night.  It was so much fun.  She asked me why I didn’t want to be a Groomsman, I told her what my parents said about the bars.

The next day there was a get-together at my uncle’s house.  I remember sitting in an arm chair.  She came and sat on the floor by the chair.  I remember I was paralyzed by shyness.  She tried to get me to talk, but my grandma, my cousin and aunt and uncle all who where part of the “he has a girlfriend” mafia were looking at me and snickering.  I knew if I said anything I would be teased all the way home.  I remember my folks there, I really wish my dad and or mom would have intervened and suggested I go outside with Crystal or something.  I felt like such a fool.  I felt bad for her, I am sure that she thought I did not like her or something.  I remember feeling like I was two people, one who was screaming on the inside, ‘TALK TO HER’ on the outside I was frozen in fear.

Now fast forward five years.  I was in the Navy.  I get a letter from her.  She asked me if I remembered her.  It was like that Tim McGraw song, “Something Like That”  I never forgot her, we started to write and call each other.  I came home on leave, I went to visit her.  I stayed at her house, slept in a spare bed room of course.  Her mom said she made me a special meal of lasagna.  We went out that Saturday night.  She had a boyfriend so I didn’t think we were anything but friends.  She was in college and I was just in the Navy.  I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself.  When I left the first time I was getting in my car, she stopped me and said, “don’t I get a hug and a kiss?”  Now I was really confused, the night before we went out dancing and I met her boyfriend.  Now she wants a hug and a kiss?  My very immature mind was twisted in knots.  Nobody told me about this stuff!

I was transferred up to a training base about 3 hours from her house for a couple of months.  I took the bus to visit a couple of times.  One time after I got back to my barracks I called my dad and talked.  He asked what I thought of her, I said I liked her, but he didn’t probe any further.  I really wished that he would have had a more probing conversation regarding her, and how I felt.  I would have told him.  I was so out of my league on this, I did not know how to have a relationship with a woman.  I knew how to pick a woman up for a one-night stand, but that was easy, all it took was some alcohol for courage, animal attraction.  The relationship is what I was craving and I had no training on this topic.  It was like I was being dropped into a combat zone, with no combat training.  I didn’t even have the tools, only the raw material to build the tools.  It really sucked to be me then, I just didn’t know it yet!

We kept on writing and calling when I was transferred to my ship.  I kept writing to her when I was overseas.  Then in July 1987 I met my first wife and after six weeks I asked her to marry me.  I remember that I called her to tell.  Her words said she was happy, but I member to this day the tone.  I don’t know what I had with that girl.  She was a good woman.  I remember that phone call.  I remember feeling like I was making a big mistake.  Which I was, not that my first wife was a bad woman, we were just not right for each other.  I had the intuition but didn’t have the experience or training to understand I should listen to the gut feeling.

But I was not a mature young man.  I look back and I really wish my folks had taught me how to interact with girls at a young age.  I always felt awkward, which is normal.  But I always had to feel my own way.  I didn’t know what I had, the sad part is when they saw what I had for so many years they did nothing.

The more I peal this onion back, the more I see and can say; What the heck where they thinking.

Periodically I will try to look her up, find some small piece of information about her.  I think I find something.  But then I am afraid if I look too deep she will see that I am looking.  I guess somethings are best left buried.

I have told some of this to people close to me and they excuse it with if they don’t know what to do they cannot help you, or they don’t know what they don’t know.  Both of them are true. But it was their job to teach me, if they didn’t know something they should have sought information.  What I feel I got was, we don’t know so we are going to ignore the topic and hope you figure it out on your own.

My life has turned out OK, but I really would have missed allot of bad crap if they would have taken the time to learn.  But then when you look at it from God’s perspective, nothing is wasted.  He has a plan for all this crap.  I just cannot wait to see how he is going to turn it into gold for His glory!


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