Dream and “more” – connection or coincidence?

It’s been 26 months since he died, and until last night, I hadn’t had a dream about Mike or even one in which he appeared.

In last night’s dream, Mike and I were dating, I think. At least, we didn’t seem to know each other super well. We definitely weren’t married in this dream. He was my “plus one” to a fundraiser (dinner and silent auction) at some fancy-pants hotel. He was kind of being a jerk – quiet/not talkative, not responsive to stories or jokes or questions, basically ignoring me. At one point (when he excused himself to the men’s room), I hid in another room, contemplating leaving the fundraiser alone. Ultimately, I decided to allow myself to be “found” and give him another chance to salvage the date.

Then I woke up.

I’m not a huge believer in dream analysis, but this dream comes as B and I have talked about “more” in our relationship (“more” of each other, “more” than just weekends, “more” of pretty much everything having to do with one another).

SIDE NOTE: Adult relationships are complicated – kids, jobs, responsibilities. I didn’t have these considerations last time I dated, almost 20 years ago. (Twenty years ago, it was: want to spend more time together? Move in with one another! Life was so much less complex…)

Not sure how or if the dream is connected to what’s happening with B, but I’ve been distracted all day…

Two-for-one: Dishes make me cry and In-laws still suck

Two unrelated stories today:


It’s been a heck of a week. I’m on spring break, which has an entirely different meaning as a professor than it did when I was a college student. I’ve spent the week grading, drinking large amounts of caffeine, and cleaning my closet. And when faced with no real schedule but still stuff to accomplish, I procrastinate by going shopping. (This has NOT helped the closet-cleaning situation since I’m filling it back up as quickly as I’m eliminating the junk.)

Yesterday I went to campus for a few hours. Afterward I took the long way home. I saw a housewares store that I hadn’t been in for a long time, and I jumped across three lanes to pull into the lot. (I’m a sucker for off-the-wall kitchen gadgets, so I love this particular store.)

I walked through the aisles, just browsing. Killing time. No real purpose.

I came to an end cap near the dishes and stopped.

I stood there, staring at the display, for five minutes. Not moving. Barely breathing. Eyes starting to water. Forcing people to find a way around me because I couldn’t move.

I walked closer to the display, touching the dishes.

When the first tear fell, I knew I needed to walk away. But I kept looking back.

The dishes were the same as the ones Mike and I registered for when we got married. We used those dishes for 10 years. I sold them in a yard sale last spring.

Selling them didn’t phase me but for some reason, seeing the same pattern, the same brand, (even though the colors are different now), took me back to a happier time. And the pit in my stomach grew as my eyes continued to water.

I loved those dishes. I fought to have those dishes as our “everyday” pattern. So many meals served. So many family celebrations. So many happy times (and some sad ones).

I left the store, without buying anything, and finished the drive home. I just can’t stop thinking about those dishes. Funny what brings you back, and how emotions can be tied to almost anything.


My ex-sister-in-law (T) messaged me this week with a story.

T divorced Mike’s brother about four years ago. She’s now happily married, and she and her husband own a well-known bar in Mike’s hometown.

So, T and her husband were walking hand-in-hand through the parking lot of a local “taste of” festival. Their bar was one of the participants, and they were going to make sure things were going well.

It was in the parking lot where she was confronted by a crazy woman, who appeared out of nowhere.

She started wagging her finger in T’s face. “I hope you’re happy! You girls ruined my life!”

T wished the woman well, and kept walking. Her husband was confused (and probably a little scared) by this crazy person confronting his wife.

The crazy woman? Mike’s mom.

Thinking about that confrontation – and T’s perfectly calm reaction (I probably wouldn’t have been so nice) – has made me smile all week.

Still blaming T and I for ruining her life. Yep, it’s our faults that your sons turned out like they did. And, just like always, it’s about her. I REALLY don’t miss the in-laws…

Ex date

I was robbed of having an ex-husband. I never had a chance to figure out how to co-parent or balance an ex with a new relationship. Some friends have remarked that I’m lucky in that way. Ha!

I really felt, when Mike and I separated, that we’d eventually fall into a rhythm, a separate-lives-but-always-intertwined sort of understanding. I honestly thought we’d maintain a friendship revolving around the kids. We were together for almost 20 years. We knew each other in a way no one else could ever imagine – we matured from college to grad school to life to parenthood. It was a bond no one else could ever be part of. Even if we wouldn’t be together, we’d remain attached.

Perhaps it’s because of this mindset that I “get” B’s relationship with his ex-wife. I’ve met her on a couple of occasions, usually in passing as they’d exchange the kids with one another.

Of course, B told stories about her. And, of course, I’d done my own research. Based on her Pinterest boards and some stuff she’d posted publicly on FB, I thought we could be friends (if things were different).

That’s why when B proposed going to the circus with all four kids – and his ex-wife – I was totally game.

B was nervous to ask if I’d be okay with the ex coming along. She wanted to be there when her girls experienced their first circus. She and B make an effort to do things together with their kids every month or so. And she’s their mom – she SHOULD be part of these things. I was totally cool with it.

I was only concerned that Ethan would ask wildly inappropriate questions of her. B laughed at this thought and said he should totally mess with her. (I disagreed and bribed E with Pokemon cards if he was on his best behavior.)

So we all went to the circus. Me and Ethan and Lauren. B and his ex and their two girls.

The ex greeted me with a HUGE hug, complimented my hair, and acted like we’d known each other for years. She shook E’s hand and told Lauren she liked her dress. And we were off.

We arrived just as the circus was starting. Good timing, considering three of the four kids are UNDER the age of four (meaning no one has any patience to wait). Lauren and B’s daughter (who’s the same age as L) both sat on my lap. The baby sat on the ex’s lap with Ethan sitting at her side. (E adores the baby, and the baby LOVES E, so they wanted to sit close.) B sat next to me and the girls.

We watched. We laughed. We ooh’d and ahh’d. B and I held hands and made our own commentary about the ridiculous acts – like SkyMan, a completely generic superhero whose act was basically one bungee cord trick after another.

After two hours, the circus went into intermission and all three little girls broke down. So we left before someone was shot out of the cannon (bummer).

It was really a fun morning with B and his girls…and the ex. The ex and I parted ways with another big hug and a few laughs in the parking garage elevator. Later, the ex told B that it was obvious why he liked me, saying that we share the same sense of silly, nerdy humor. She also said E and L were awesome, and she liked spending time with us.

The ex is always going to be part of B’s life, and as we approach the one-year mark of our relationship, I hope to be part of B’s life for a long time, too. I think there’ll be more outings, just the seven of us…