How do you walk up and say "Hi" to someone you haven't seen in months, love more than your body can stand and have missed so immensely your heart almost tore in two from the ache? You don't. I didn't. My plane came in and I could not handle waiting another 12 hours to see him. I was in the same time zone, the same zip code and all it would take would be a short 13 minute drive from my mom's house to the rink where he was playing hockey. It had been months since I heard his laugh in person, and I needed to see him. I could barely breath. I stood there behind him, not able to move. Our good friend saw me and his face, his smile and his greeting told Bruce that someone was behind him. He turned, our eyes met and the endless embrace began.
When I returned from California, I was different. I have written about it before, but California changed me as a person. The best way to describe it is that I was in my early 20's, no one knew me, no one knew my past or my life and I could be the TRUE Kelsey that I wanted to be. I spent a LOT of time with me there, just being. I walked for an hour or so every day into the mountains listening to my favorite bands on my Walkman. Yeah ... I said Walkman. Hey! It was cool back then. In those walks, with the amazing beauty of the landscape and my head filled with so many possibilities I just found some peace among the foothills. I found that I was less stressed, less concerned for others thoughts or beliefs (pertaining to me). I had to live in California, that I knew.
Bruce was excelling in his welding career, and I had found a niche in the music retail industry while still waiting tables. I took a part time job at Christmas time that turned into a fast moving managing career over the next couple of years. And in all of our success, I have to admit that there was a period of about a year that we really struggled, or I should say I really struggled and Bruce was going crazy because he could not help me. We did not talk often about the adoption, I think he was afraid to bring the subject up with me to truthful. He knew the hurt from my Bella, and he was not focusing on helping me forget but rather focusing on helping me be Kelsey again. He wanted the old me back, and I felt that she was gone, non existent to her former self. I was torn within that I had endured that pain not once, but twice. And this time in the aftermath of it all, I was still in a relationship with the father. He was still there. Still loving me. Still laughing with me. Still holding me when I was crying, and telling me over and over that I was loved. I was strong. I was going to make it through with him at my side. This, I was not used to at all.
But, that was the best part of the rebuilding, and by that I mean of the relationship. You do not have children, place them for adoption and then return to the normal relationship that you had prior to that life altering decision. You will find no book out there to walk you through it, nor should there be. This is something that has to be lived, learned and powered through by those involved and them only. Just as there are different stories in adoption, there are different relationships and no two are the same. So that book, it would be useless. Why? There are things and moments that happen that you could never prepare for. Our relationship was moving, evolving and at the same time we were going through that awkward getting to know you stage that we did not have at the beginning of our romance. Remember I talked about that? How we already knew each other? Well, we still knew each other but we had to adjust to this new aspect of the union. We were parents. It felt like another realm when we talked about it. We mainly discussed if I was feeling alright, or if there were any updates as to how they were doing.
I felt as if we needed to really consider making a change. Really make a go of being our own couple, in other words making a new life for ourselves somewhere not in St. Louis. Don't get me wrong, I love my Lou! Amazing architecture, beautiful city and surrounding suburbs, GREAT BASEBALL TEAM!, and the most wonderful people and friends anyone could ask for. I am grateful that I have a Midwestern background because we are folk known to be hard working, honest and loyal. But I needed to go. There were just too many memories right there in front of me that I needed to cut loose, to let myself free of the things I saw everyday. I told Bruce that I wanted to move to Cali, that I would wait for him if that is what he wanted or if he wanted to stay, that I would understand as well. I explained that if he wanted that old Kelsey back then he would have to trust me once again and take the leap with me to start a new life, make roots of our own. He thought about it, considered the options and where he was in his life personally and came to the conclusion that he liked the idea of moving out, and in a sense growing up.
God love him for that, he is such a good man. Once I put in for the transfer we knew that any day there would be a call and I could be working in Cali within two weeks. We took a vacation there and stayed with my cousins. Ironically enough, the first night we stayed with family that lived in the town that we NOW call home. We did not remember it much then, it all seems a blur when you go on vacation anyway. He loved California, he knew that he could life there if he had to ... if it meant being with me then he would move. That was his thinking. But I could tell he was warming up to the idea. After that trip, anytime he spoke of the pending transfer to the Golden State there was a little twinkle in his eye. He grew to let his daydreams take him away, to really see the possibilities that lie ahead for a young couple starting a new life.
This new found anticipation helped us open up and speak freely about how we were doing with the adoption. We were getting pictures and letters so those were always good conversation starters. We would talk about the family resemblances, the facial expressions, the activities that each enjoyed individually and how they pertained to our personalities. We listened to each other, talked of how we would handle meeting them in the future, how we would feel about having children of our own. Amazing conversations that would not come up in the normal relationship, the one without adoption. This bond that we had was starting to give us strength. We were realizing, through the years and the wait for the move, that we were better off in our relationship if we talked about it from time to time. I think in the beginning, right after the twins were born, that we were forcing ourselves to talk about it and that wasn't good at all. Not to mention it was all so fresh and new, those kinds of life altering events need time to sink in, time to be thought about, and time to be ingested.
I think I was trying to push him to talk, and he was trying to show me that sometimes you just need to think for a while and not talk. Sounds so manly, doesn't it? Ah .. who needs talking? Just think about it and don't tell me! But he was right, I was trying too hard to be the relationship therapist. He opened up, he began to speak honestly about his true feelings but only after he had the time to really take it all in. One is loud, one is quiet and often the quiet one is right.
I am loud. I love to talk. Isn't that obvious here? But this kind, patient, wise man who was younger than I was showing me that life needs to be lived, it needs to be loved and it needs to go at it's own pace to teach the lessons that need to be learned.
Whew, next time we move cross country to the Pacific complete with the transition from couple to husband and wife.