There are several moments in a relationship where things take a big leap forward…That first decision to become a couple, meeting the parents, celebrating the holidays together, moving in, eventually a ring, some wedding bells and maybe a baby or pet…Is it weird that I lumped those two together? Babies and pets? Meh. I’m good with it.
Pretty soon after the anniversary of our first year together, Josh began staying over at my house more and more often. I was getting used to having him take up the whole couch and my little house felt too quiet and empty on the nights he didn’t stay. We began to throw around the idea of moving in together, but didn’t really get specific about a date. I was ready for it…it made sense to me for a couple of reasons. 1. I loved Josh and wanted him around. I wanted to come home to him. To cook dinner together. To fall asleep in a bed crowded with his big self, two snuggly dogs and a cat who only faked his indifference to us lowly humans. These reasons appealed to my sentimental side. My practical side told me this would be a smart financial move. Having two incomes meant we both could save some money and finances (for once in my life) wouldn’t be such a strain. I would love to go from being a renter to a home owner and a huge part of me feels like I won’t be able to see myself as a real grown-up until that actually happens. Another part of me thinks I will never feel like a “real grow-up.” Peanut butter and jelly and goldfish is still my go-to lunch. Add in a fruit roll up and I’m in heaven…but seriously…fruit roll ups are the shit. Don’t even get me started on Gushers and Fruit-By-The-Foot.
And so, we talked about it….and talked about it…and still nothing changed. I started to feel a little sad…like Josh was dragging his feet for some reason. I knew that was a big step for him. He had never lived with a girlfriend before and as a pretty independent guy, I think he was nervous he wouldn’t have enough alone time. These were reasonable fears, but I’ve never been a clingy girlfriend. I don’t need to be with my person ever second of the day…and in fact, that would drive me completely bonkers.
I stopped asking him about it. Just let it go. Took the pressure off…and a few months later, when Josh’s lease ran out, he moved in to my tiny little house on Hanover Ave. 🙂
We soon decided that we needed more space…the two of us, the two dogs and a kitten were all feeling the squeeze and though he never said it, I could tell Josh was anxious to have his own space. I also felt a strong need to have a place that was ours…not mine…especially since my awful ex had lived in that house with me. It had a lot of history and though a lot of those memories were good (mostly AFTER he moved out) I still felt the need for a fresh start. After a LOT of looking, we finally found a larger house to rent and moved in at the end of this summer. Moving can teach you a LOT about a person. It was stressful and hot and miserable work and yet he never lost his patience or sweetness. He even let me drive the moving truck! And I tell you what…watching an attractive man use his muscles for a few hours is not a terrible way to spend a Saturday.
So we made the big move, and got to work settling into the new house. While unpacking, I found some pictures of Bennett and I from our cruise to Mexico. I know it might be weird to keep a picture of an ex after starting a new relationship, but I am a very sentimental person. I keep everything. I get this from my mother who has kept every goofy elementary school drawing I ever made. Most of them involving horses that looked like dogs..I really wanted a pony..still do. I knew I should get rid of the picture and certainly didn’t have any romantic feelings left over for Bennett, but couldn’t bring myself to throw it in the trash. It was a fun trip! I had never done something like that before and the picture was a reminder of that. I then thought about how I would feel if found pictures Josh kept of his exes. Yeah, that wouldn’t feel great. In fact, I might be pretty upset about it. Torn about what to do, I buried the picture at the bottom of my antique wardrobe that sat in our office.
Now, Bill Belichick the cat made the move with minimal fuss. Even though I have never had a cat before, I have heard about how temperamental they are and how sensitive they are to change. I tell you what, Bill is a pretty easy-going fellow. When Josh came home from the store one night and got a different brand of kitty litter (“babe…this stuff is organic…and it smells so good!”) I figured Bill wouldn’t be bothered by it.
So Bill turned up his dainty little kitten nose at the all natural, organic, super expensive litter and refused to go to the bathroom in the litter box. And then the mystery began…..if Bill the Cat wasn’t going to the bathroom in his litter box….where WAS he going to the bathroom?? We searched the house high and low for three days…..THREE DAYS we looked….and nothing..It was a mystery.
Was this cat magically holding it for all this time? Impossible.
And then…one night…it was a bit chilly and I went to grab an extra blanket out of the wardrobe, when I noticed that the door was slightly opened. I opened it further to grab the blanket and I realized I had discovered the secret location Bill had chosen to use as his new litter box. The bottom of my wardrobe, right on top of the pictures of Bennett and I. Well….that’s gross.
I have learned, especially in the last few years, to pay attention to signs…to things that the universe has to tell me. This sign came in the form of a cat pee soaked picture. It was time to let it go…and pick up some cleaning supplies at the grocery store. Maybe some bleach. Thanks Bill.
The new house has been great. Josh has his own man cave and I have a pretty little sun room to hang out in. The rent makes me cringe and we don’t have a fenced in backyard, which is causing some stress, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. And the best part? I get to go to sleep every night next to the guy I love, sure he and Lily snore like freight trains and hog the covers…but he’s always there. And he’s there again when I wake up in the morning. It’s pretty magical. I’m sure we are going to have some arguments…mostly about how I leave clean laundry folded in piles all around the house like the girl from Signs. Just sub tank tops for water glasses. But that’s ok..this is a big step, there will be bumps in the road, but it’s all leading to something really great. Sometimes in order to take these big steps forward we have to let go of things from the past that are holding us back. We might not even be aware of it. It can be something as simple as a picture, or a piece of jewelry, but these things are tethers to that person who is no longer a part of your life. And Elsa said it best. Let it go girl…let it go.