Hope is a beautiful thing. But it needs to be nurtured and backed up with devotion, commitment and a heck of a lot of grit and determination. I am very happy to say that, every one of those elements are in place right now. I think my husband had his Come to Jesus moment as one blogger calls it. Perhaps that was his rock bottom. I’ll never know because I am not in his head. But he’s been seeing his therapist weekly now. And wow, what a difference that has made.
For starters, I’m no longer viewed as the bad guy for wanting him to step up, act responsibly and with foresight to ultimately lead our family. He now gets that message from his therapist! She’s making him accountable each and every week, with things he knows he should “do” but always found excuses not to.
Our normal routine is that he will brain dump after every session. I did have some concerns that she was focused on creating new habits rather than digging into the core reasons behind his shitty behaviors. I’ve been married to him for nearly 2 decades, so I can say with certainty that I know the man. Trust me, he is a people pleaser at his core. And it stems from being adopted and not wanting to be abandoned by anyone (since essentially, that is how he views what happened to him).
I brought up my concerns and he thought it would be a good idea if I met her. So I did that a few weeks ago. I gave her the cliff note version of his affair, mine with CEO and how things recently came to a head and I thought our marriage was 100% over. I gave credit, where credit was due – explaining all the positive changes I have seen in him since starting therapy. But also mentioned, “I love this new attentive husband of mine. Trust me, he is great at kicking into high gear after one of our marriage talks. The issue has always been that it’s short-lived and fizzles out. I don’t want to lose this new dynamic and I am afraid of that.”
But I’m not sitting here dwelling on that to happen. I do believe that he is transforming. We both are. Together. In the right direction.
That’s when she asked, “So how was your birthday?”
“Oh my gosh. I was so blown away. You don’t understand. He never does stuff like that. It literally made me cry. I was THAT shocked. Seeing everyone there, friends from near and far….it just, well- it meant the world to know that he even tried.”
As I paused I noticed the therapist breaking into an enormous smile. I couldn’t help but think – she’s been behind this all along.
Friends, I celebrated another year getting younger. Yep- I’m stuck at 21. I don’t make a fuss over my birthday and to be honest, CEO blew mine off. He did of course, congratulate me on turning another year younger (when we were in the midst of having our affair). Big woop. My husband on the other hand, pulled off a major surprise.
We had gone out for a birthday dinner (just the two of us) but stopped off for a glass of wine at a trendy Italian restaurant with a fantastic bar. As our reservation time got closer, I started to get antsy. I wanted to know where we were going, which was part of the surprise. I finagled three guesses out of my husband, as we sat there finishing our drinks.
Is it in X city? (Yes)
Have we been there before? (Yes)
Hmmmmmm I thought. Ok so it can’t be Blah restaurant. And it can’t be Blah Blah either. We’ve never been to those yet. So I am guessing it’s XX restaurant. Am I right? Huh, huh?
He just grinned and said, “I have a feeling you are going to enjoy tonight” as he took another sip of his Allagash.
A few minutes later, it was finally time to leave. As we drove along the corridor, I stared out the window looking at the beautiful board and batten homes. Each one, lovely in their own right. That’s when he pulled up to park, at the rear of a boutique hotel. There’s restaurants adjacent to the hotel, so I didn’t think much of it. I started throwing out more guesses then.
Are we going to ABC Restaurant or XX Bistro? But he wouldn’t say a word.
We walked towards the restaurants, hand in hand, when he suddenly pulled mine sharply to the left, so that I faced the hotel entrance.
That’s when my eye caught a table of 14 women, all standing up–saying, “Surprise!”
I literally walked up the stairs and my dearest mommie friends, from near and far were all there. I stood there speechless. Literally. Speechless. Then the tears started, which I brushed away quickly. Laura (from my story–the one who gave advice to me when I thought I had feelings for Billy–aka reunion boy) was there. My guy best friends wife (who is like family) was there. My newest neighbor, who just had a baby and whose husband was out of town for a month (all very valid reasons as to why you couldn’t make such a event) was there too. And then I had my posse of moms that I see every week– the friends that make me laugh till I cry. The ones who I can communicate with solely by funny GIFS and memes, bitching about life, marriage and if it’s appropriate to drink wine at noon. Alone.
I had friends that had driven hours to get there. And friends who live just a few streets away. All my favorite women were sitting at one table. And it was beautiful. So, so beautiful.
Once the tears of shock wore off, my brain was trying to decipher everybody I saw. As I looked around the table, I realized there were no husbands at all. Thats strange–where are all the men? That’s when one of my dearest friends said, “Kate–your husband has been planning this for weeks. I even asked him why? My husband would NEVER do this.”
Stunned I said, “Really? Weeks?”
“Yeah. He told me he noticed you always light up whenever you talk about hanging out with your girls friends. So he planned a Girls Night Out, as he wanted you to shine on your birthday. He wanted that as his gift to you.”
Well, that just started the tears all over again. I leaned over whispering into my husband ear, “Thank you” as he said, “I gotta go now. Have fun with your ladies. I’ll pick up the kids. Just make sure Kate gets home safely ok ladies?”
The whole table erupted into a giant, “Yes” as the wine continued to pour and laughter ensued.
It was a beautiful night. Spent with beautiful friends. And it made me realize, just how much my husband truly gets me. And that he does notice who I still am, under this cloak of motherhood and responsibility I proudly wear.
When dinner was over, we headed to a nearby bar. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean and they have a DJ spinning on the weekends. One of my girlfriends explained, “Your husband arranged this next.” I stood there- blown away while she gave the doorman some name and viola, we were all taken inside. I couldn’t help but smile (and send my husband a text to say thank you, yet again!). He wasn’t there, yet I felt very taken care of. I felt special and loved and adored. Everything any woman would desire to feel.
It was a beautiful evening friends.
Walking down the stairs, to the thumping house music, my only concern was whether or not my 5″ heels could handle being danced in all night. That and keeping my alcohol consumption in check.
The shoes held up fine. I wish I could say the same for myself. But that’s what Sundays are for right?