Bob’s daughter is having a baby girl in October. Not only will she probably be a Libra, she’ll be born in the year of the Dragon. That mixes two horoscopic signs, Greek and Chinese, if you are a follower of such things. Since I’m a Dragon Libra, I hope one of us is an anomoly. This Dragon Libra has spent her life learning things the hard way. (Note to self: Some things cannot be put off indefinitely. Dithering is not an action.)
Several of us are getting together to have a baby shower and Bob’s house is the chosen site. Bob’s repainting his beat up dining room set and I’m making new cushions for the wood benches. Homer and Halo, the two adolescent dogs in residence, teethed on the old cushions. The couch that Bob rescued from the curb is going to Goodwill. We’ve prepped the the file cabinet end tables. We can paint them this weekend and move them to the office to serve as twin sides to a laminate slab. That will make a great plan desk for me.
I’ve worried about how Bob’s house will look. It is, more or less, a cross between a bachelor pad and a fraternity house owing to his three 24 to 28-year-old room-mates. My critical eyes wince at the muddy work boots in the entry hall and fishing poles leaned against the fireplace. (“Oh, Margaret!” Bob says with a laugh. “Most people figured I’d be homeless and on the streets by now. I would be, too, if I were still drinking and drugging! This house is just fine.”)
I enjoy all aspects of planning the party, but I especially like putting together the favors and decorations. I found a baby sock rose bouquet on Pinterest which is perfect as a table decoration. If you Google baby sock roses or baby sock bouquet, you will get pages of links and great directions. I bought supplies and fumbled around with the socks while we watched TV in the bedroom. Translating the directions in my left-handed way didn’t produce results that were remotely like the picture. As I struggled with the florist tape, I caught Bob looking at my efforts. (What? What??!) (Want some help?) (No! Uh. Yes.)
I demonstrated the technique and shoved the pile of baby socks, floral wire, wire stems, and florist tape over to Bob’s side of the bed. (Looks easy enough.) (You do it, then. I’m taking a shower.) When I came back into the room, I saw Bob studiously turning out roses. Baby sock roses. Perfect baby sock roses.
He revised the process and eliminated the floral wire, wrapped the wire stem around the sock. It was so much easier that my klutzy self could do it. We had our dozen little sock roses in short work. I accused Bob of helping his mom arrange flowers for church women’s luncheons when he was a kid, but he denied previous floral experience. (I wouldn’t be doing it now if it weren’t for you. This is a first for me.)
A first. We’ve both had plenty of firsts in our lives. Most of them were with other people. I celebrate the new experiences I have with Bob because it’s easy for me to see a limit to them. I went fishing for the first time with Bob, watched deer feeding while we sat in a deer blind. I got to see Bob’s reaction to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the first play he’d ever seen, and made baby sock roses with him.
We’re changing people. I’m not the guy I was yesterday; I’m the guy I was yesterday plus yesterday’s experience and its lesson. So we’re always new, and that woman you’re married to is always new. [p65] The words are always new. Every time I read them, every time I talk about them, they’re new. The words remain the same, we don’t. It depends entirely where we are what they mean. We’ll be walking up this ladder forever. [p95] A happy sobriety will turn into a drunk unless we develop. We’ve got to keep going.
Can I lift the limits on what is new, what is a first? Expand the definitions? It’s worth a shot if I want to keep things alive in this friendship. Easy enough to get bored and then blame the other person. I have plenty of experience doing that. To roll with the changes, keep growing and going as a sober woman? That’s a first I want to share with Bob.