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Counting Down the Days

Ben and I filed our I-130 petition with the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) back in late May, 2012.  The average waiting time on an approval allowing us to move forward to the next step is 5 months.  We’re looking at somewhere around the end of October.

The time has both flown by, yet also dragged on sooo slow!  If patience is a virtue, then I am VERY virtuous!  We’ve been at this waiting game for almost 3 years.  Our anniversay is October 1st. There are days I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years and others when I can’t remember what it was like before we came into each other’s lives.

We are in the process of planning another trip for me to go see him next month.  I’m saving every penny possible so that I can buy my ticket by the end of this month.  There are moments when it’s a choice between Starbucks and a week with my husband.  Will one cup of coffee make a difference?  Not one, but one every day will!

I can hardly think about anything besides buying my ticket and having a set date to look forward to.  KNOWING that I can hold my husband again soon.  A week or two isn’t long, but it’s enough to tide us over until his interview to come live Stateside.  God willing that will go smoothly and quickly once we get that approval in October!  No more hold ups, I say! 

How does one live in today when what they hold dearest is in the future?  We have a great relationship full of love, tenderness, laughter, companionship…. with 10,000 miles and the Atlantic ocean between us.  The future of being physically together brings all of our hopes for children, a home, daily laughter, bickering, making love, paying bills, starting a business together to a reality.  They cannot happen with us on different continents.

We both spend a lot of time talking and planning our life together.  It’s hard to stay in today and what makes this very moment wonderful when there is so much tied up in tomorrow.  I enjoy each and every moment we spend together… whether it’s online, on the phone, or face-to-face.  Despite enjoying every moment in any form, I still find myself constantly missing him and dreaming of the future when this distance has been obliterated. 

I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I tell him “I miss you”.  I do miss him, but I tell him even when we are spending time together.  How do I get into the moment and be happy with here and now when what I long for is in the future?  This feels like such a connundrum!  I’m sure it’s actually quite simple, yet it feels extremely difficult!

We spent an hour or so chatting when I got home from work this morning.  I told him I could sleep well this morning now that I’ve seen his face, heard his voice, and spent some time laughing and playing with him.  Enjoy the simplest of moments until we can be together in the future without longing for that future.  This is the key.

I will leave you with a quote I love which I saw many years ago.  I don’t recall who said these words, perhaps they were anonymous?  I don’t intend to plagiarize.

“He who forever seeks a brighter future and doesn’t live for today has missed the meaning of life somewhere along the way.”

True words to live by.  Good night.

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Counting Down the Days

Ben and I filed our I-130 petition with the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) back in late May, 2012.  The average waiting time on an approval allowing us to move forward to the next step is 5 months.  We’re looking at somewhere around the end of October.

The time has both flown by, yet also dragged on sooo slow!  If patience is a virtue, then I am VERY virtuous!  We’ve been at this waiting game for almost 3 years.  Our anniversay is October 1st. There are days I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years and others when I can’t remember what it was like before we came into each other’s lives.

We are in the process of planning another trip for me to go see him next month.  I’m saving every penny possible so that I can buy my ticket by the end of this month.  There are moments when it’s a choice between Starbucks and a week with my husband.  Will one cup of coffee make a difference?  Not one, but one every day will!

I can hardly think about anything besides buying my ticket and having a set date to look forward to.  KNOWING that I can hold my husband again soon.  A week or two isn’t long, but it’s enough to tide us over until his interview to come live Stateside.  God willing that will go smoothly and quickly once we get that approval in October!  No more hold ups, I say! 

How does one live in today when what they hold dearest is in the future?  We have a great relationship full of love, tenderness, laughter, companionship…. with 10,000 miles and the Atlantic ocean between us.  The future of being physically together brings all of our hopes for children, a home, daily laughter, bickering, making love, paying bills, starting a business together to a reality.  They cannot happen with us on different continents.

We both spend a lot of time talking and planning our life together.  It’s hard to stay in today and what makes this very moment wonderful when there is so much tied up in tomorrow.  I enjoy each and every moment we spend together… whether it’s online, on the phone, or face-to-face.  Despite enjoying every moment in any form, I still find myself constantly missing him and dreaming of the future when this distance has been obliterated. 

I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I tell him “I miss you”.  I do miss him, but I tell him even when we are spending time together.  How do I get into the moment and be happy with here and now when what I long for is in the future?  This feels like such a connundrum!  I’m sure it’s actually quite simple, yet it feels extremely difficult!

We spent an hour or so chatting when I got home from work this morning.  I told him I could sleep well this morning now that I’ve seen his face, heard his voice, and spent some time laughing and playing with him.  Enjoy the simplest of moments until we can be together in the future without longing for that future.  This is the key.

I will leave you with a quote I love which I saw many years ago.  I don’t recall who said these words, perhaps they were anonymous?  I don’t intend to plagiarize.

“He who forever seeks a brighter future and doesn’t live for today has missed the meaning of life somewhere along the way.”

True words to live by.  Good night.

Gratitude and Relationships

It’s Wednesday night, December 28h.  It’s been a long week, or so.  Was feeling pretty sorry for myself on Christmas.  I’m done with that!  I had the rest of the family come over just as I was finishing up my last blog post.  There were gifts and merriment.  I spent the rest of the day with friends from a support group I belong to.  What a wonderful experience that was!

Do you know how nice it is to go be with people who CHOOSE to be with you on Christmas?  Where there is no sense of obligation or any long time history of an unhealthy dynamic?  It’s fabulous!  I recommend it to everyone!  We don’t get to choose our bio-families…. but we can choose our supportive family.  Thank God for small miracles!

I went to an AA meeting later Christmas night.  There was a woman sharing who was clean and sober off alcohol and meth for only 30 days.  She was divorcing a man who abuses her.  Two of her three sons are in prison… one with a life sentence, no possibility of parole.  There was a fellow who staggered in straight up drunk.  Yes, falling down, “I love you,man” drunk.  I was filled with such a sense of gratitude.  Drinking has not ever been my main issue.  It is just the program I went to which got me into the one I need to be in.  Much easier to accept an alcohol problem than an eating problem.  I shared in that meeting that I’ve been sober for just under 8 years now.  The problems I have now are truly “luxury problems”.

What is a luxury problem?  I asked that question for a long time when I was first getting my life straightened back out after a major manic episode which left me driving drunk on the wrong way of freeway on ramp, in a psych hospital for danger to myself, and out of a job and back on disability.  I was looking at the world around me asking what in the hell a “luxury” problem was!  I just totally couldn’t relate.  Today I do.  I have a job. I have a home to live in.  A warm bed to sleep in.  A man I love.  A relationship I cherish.  Friends who love me like family.  A strong support system when things are hard.  Money in the bank… even if it is just a little!  The list goes on!  Not living exactly where I want to and having my own car are really pretty small compared to the problems other have.  I have come to believe that GRATITUDE is the key to a happy exhistence.

Right this moment, I am feeling afraid.  Mildly,but afraid.  I have started to set boundaries and ask for what I want and need in my relationships.  Both close to me and those at more distance.  I sent Benneth an email talking about my desire for each of us to work on jealousy issues.  As indivuals and as a couple.  How do we overcome this difficult issue.  Is there willingness for each of us to look at our core beliefs about ourselves and our relationship.  I don’t doubt the stability of our relationship one bit.  I believe strongly that this is something we can accomplish.  I know I have the ego strength to pick up and deal with this issue by the horns.  My fear is that it will bring up more discomfort between us.  Looking at the hard parts in a relationship is just that…HARD! 

Being married and making a relationship work is more than just paying the bills, cleaning house, making love, and the day-to-day mundane things.  There is so much more to it if it is to be truly strong and healthy.  This is something I’ve never had.  I’ve had relationships in the past which left soo much lacking!  I want to have a marriage with Benneth where we do the work and have a marriage and love others look at and envy.  “How do they do it?”  That is the question I want everyone to ask.  With all the obstacles we must overcome to have a marriage at all… I want it to be so solid that not even the most destructive disaster…or God himself…  can break it apart!  Working on the issues which make things more difficult in the long run upfront make things so much easier.  This is a lesson I wish to learn from other’s experience.

I  know this is going all over the place tonight.  There is just so much on my mind and in my heart tonight. 

For my Benneth…  I love you deeply and forever.  My wish is for you to never doubt my love or commitment to you.  And for me to never worry I am not enough to keep you.  We have a love so deep and so pure that I have no doubt this wish can come true.  Afuru ngi naya, Obi m!

Is it a Blue Christmas or a Pity Party?

Here it is Christmas again…. 2011.  The year is almost at it’s close.  I can’t wait!  There has been so much stress and strife this year I simply cannot wait for new and better things to arise in 2012.

I ask myself today if this truly is a Blue Christmas for me… or if I’m feeling sorry for myself for a number of reasons.  The first and foremost…. Benneth is not here!  He was supposed to be here back in late June and we were supposed to get married in July.  This was supposed to be our first married Christmas.  Have a tree trimming party… buy each other sweet little gifts on the tight budget of the typical newly wed couple… lay in bed late Christmas morning making love… you know, all the things newly wed couples do their first year married.  But alas… he is not here!  Nor am I there!  I’m lonely today.  My heart aches for him this day more than just about any other so far.

Add to that the fact that I had to move home with my mom a couple of weeks ago to start saving money to get us married.  And that my eating disorder has been so bad I had to be rushed to the ER from work on Thursday due to such severe dehydrad ation and low blood sugar that I was unable to treat it effectively at work.  Then on the way home that night my car completely died and I don’t have the means to replace it right now…plus it being Christmas weekend and not many options of buying a car anyhow.  Then you add on the fact that it’s Christmas day and not one gift has been exchanged today.  I got a few small gifts yesterday,which I liked a lot, but still… it’s Christmas and still not one single gift.  Not even a card.

I’m depressed.  Plain and simple.  I’m depressed!  Feeling sorry for myself won’t make things any better.  I know this for fact.  Feeling sorry for myself won’t get me another car.. or even a way to get myself to work tomorrow.  It won’t get me a card or a gift.  It won’t get my Benneth here.  It won’t get me to him.  And it certainly won’t fix my eating disorder or my fears around what I’m doing to my body.  All of this I know.  Yet, I can’t seem to let it all go and just enjoy the day I have here with my family and soon going to some friends.  I have invitations to spend the day with several different people.  It’s just not what I want!  Perhaps nothing would be good enough today?!  I don’t know.  I just know I’m terribly unhappy.

What’s that old saying?  “When things get tough,the tough get going.”  I have one thing to say about this.  FUCK THIS SAYING!  I’m tired of plugging along and trying to always make the best of things.  I’m ready for something to be easy for awhile.  I actually don’t just want this at this point… it has become a need.

So I guess in way, I have answered my own question as to whether it’s truly a Blue Christmas or a Pity Party.  I believe right this moment it’s both.  The next wave of family just showed up.  Time to put my game face back on and make merry…. despite not feeling Christmas-y at all.

Blessing and be well until the New Year comes and we can ALL start anew.

Oli

I know I’ve mentioned Oli before kind of in passing.  I’m feeling particularly loving towards my little furry housemate this morning.  I took her in about a year ago now.  I thought she was just a stray born in the complex that had never been a pet.  She came to my door and would stand up on her hind legs to look in at me and see what I was doing and “talk” to me.  I have this large rhododendron planter outside my door which I found her curled up in sleeping on more than a few occasions.  She was adopting me.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to take her in.  Such a big responsibility.  Am I really home enough to have a cat?  She was sooo cute though!  One day I decided to open the door and offer to let her come inside.  She was all about that!  Wandered around, sniffed everything, and finally settled down on the sofa cushion next to me.  That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

I work odd hours due to the type of job I have.  They are consistent from week to week for six months at a time.  She ended up spending quite a bit of time alone. At first her reaction to me being gone was to come talk and talk and talk and demand that I just pet  her non-stop for a good 20 minutes.  After a few months of that she decided it wasn’t good enough.  She would greet me at the door by “yelling” at me for a good 10 minutes while I tried to coax her over to me so I could give her some good mama-kitty time.  Eventually she would come over and make me scratch her and give her lots of time and affection.  The day came that when she felt angry with me for leaving her, she peed on my leather sofa.   This pattern lasted for a while.  I was angry at her for nearly destroying my leather sofa and she was angry with me for not spending enough time with her.  She went outside and stayed there for about 4 weeks.  Oh, she’d come look in the door and talk to me, walk to my car with me every morning, and follow me to the mailbox each day…she just refused to come in the house.

With a little prodding and coaxing she started coming back in slowly.  A few minutes at a time and leaving quickly.  She was exerting her control.  After a week went by and she learned she could come and go as she wished, she chose to stay.  Now she is back to being my little love staying mostly in the house with me again.  She’s even begun to sleep with me again.

My neighbor, Brad, and I were sitting on our separate patios one morning chatting.  He told me the story of Oli.  Apparently the man who lived in the apartment on the other side of me had two little cats, Oli and her brother.  When he moved out of the complex he just left them.  My poor little kitty had been abandoned.  Then I understood why she would be upset with me for leaving her for long periods of time.    She was afraid I wasn’t coming back… and needed lots of reassurance when I got back that I love her and won’t desert her.  Hmmm… interesting that my cat and I have the same issues!  lol

Did I tell you how I came up with the name Oli?  Benneth is from the Igbo tribe and over the past 2 years I’ve been learning a little Igbo as I go.  I picked up a pocket dictionary on Amazon.com last year before I went to Nigeria.  Has been a fun little book to own.  🙂  Well, I wanted to give her an Igbo name with a meaning I liked.  My first choice was Obi, which means heart.  When I told Ben, he said we can’t have a cat named Obi.  His brother’s middle name is Obinna and the family calls him Obi for short.  Plus, he calls me Obiuto which means sweetheart.  Just won’t do for him.  We tried on different names and ideas.  I wanted to stay with a name sounding close enough to Obi that it wouldn’t confuse her.  Oli is was.  Oli means hope.  Seems an appropriate name for her.  I affectionately call her Olinaya.  Naya means love… so she’s hope + love.  Sweet.  At least I think so.

We have spent a quiet day around the house today… just kind of lounging and being together.  She did her early morning demands for food, scratches, and in/out.  After about an hour we both settled into a comfortable state of just being here.  She’s been snoozing on the sofa and I’ve been curled up in my favorite chair  under a blanket with a book.  What a nice day it’s been.  Rather than looking at today as yet another boring Sunday with nothing to do and no one to talk to, I put a positive reframe on it and am seeing it as quality mama-kitty time.  🙂

In Nigeria cats are seen as handmaiden’s of the devil.  An interesting perspective, I think.  How anyone can see a sweet and loving little cat as having anything to do with the devil’s work, I’ll never understand.  So when I told Ben I’d adopted the cat he wasn’t thrilled about her living in the house with me in the first place.  Then that she had his brother’s name was even more not OK.  Over the months, as I told him stories about her and talked about her all the time (as most proud mama’s do), he started asking me about her.  Then one day he pronounced his love for this little cat.  She knows when I am talking to him on the phone.  Since I first brought her into the house I would tell her I was talking to “Daddy”.  She meows and usually demands my attention, like any small child does, when I am involved in a conversation which doesn’t include her and seems to make me happy.  The three of us have fallen into somewhat of a routine.  Ben and I talk about Oli as if she is our child we are raising and training well.  She is a demanding child who wants attention while we are having our adult time.  And all three of us love one another.  Oli has not met Benneth, but she has certainly seen his face enough times that she will recognize him when he moves in with us.  The amazing world of cyberspace and video-voice chats brings families closer.  lol

Speaking of my Oli, I should get back to her.  She doesn’t like it when I’m in on the computer too long.