A Three-legged Race

When I was 5 years-old my parents flew me to Texas to hang with my sister and Aunt and Uncle.  We were there for three weeks and after that visit they decided once and for all not to have children.  I’m not sure I’m to blame for that decision, but it is true.  It was a great trip that I remember very well.  Maybe because it was so different from anything I had experienced up to that date.  My uncle ordered black olive pizzas that we stared at instead of ate.  I took a baby oil bath for the first time.  We had a gigantic room where we moved all the furniture around in each week we were there and danced to Elton John and Olivia Newton-John.  We ate Kentucky Fried Chicken all the time.  And we went to a down home country fair.  My uncle desperately wanted us to have fun.  But we were shy.  He was disappointed.  I played a couple of booth games and won my little sister a kitty pillow that she used until her teen years to help her sleep.  And we agreed to participate in the three-legged race.

That is not an easy race.  You have to be in sync.  If you falter, you both go down and then have to figure out how to get up together so you can keep moving forward.  It takes grace, and stamina, and determination, and focus.  For some reason tonight I was thinking about a relationship being like a three-legged race.

You have to pick the right person.  They need to be a good fit.  They need to be able to communicate with you verbally and physically.  They need to NOT be quitters.  No matter how bad you wanted to win, you couldn’t if you were dragging the corpse of the person tethered to your leg behind you.  If they quit, you’re out.  Period.  A relationship takes cooperation.

Sometimes half way through the race of life a partner tries to change the rules.  I said I would do this, but I’m not feeling it anymore, so you either have to get used to it or…

Harry and I sat at a table on Saturday with a USC game in the background and I listened to him explain how his previous relationships failed.  He went into great detail and admitted that he hesitated doing that before because he was afraid I would run.  At first you say all the reasons why “they” were wrong.  But this time he gave a very balanced look.  He said, “If I let you think I got married with out anything substantive there to guide my decision why would you consider marrying me?  You would think my love is cheap.”

So he told me enough to give me a very rich and deep picture.  I listened.  He talked, I talked  We both shared.  And when he kissed me goodnight that afternoon we both had this sense of calm about “us”.  It just helped.  A lot.

The goal is that this is the last and final frontier for both of us.  The last first kiss.  And hopefully the most healthy and loving relationship either of us have ever been close to grasping.

Honestly, I think we are well on our way.  We are sizing each other up deciding to tie our legs together for the duration; the rest of our lives.  We both want to be sure.  The communication helps.  Immensely.

Cause if you don’t pick the right partner at the beginning, both he and I have learned that there can be great conflict, strife, and struggle.  Neither one of us want that again.  We want to gel.  We want to fit together.

So we are practicing for this race before we sign up.  How fast should we walk?  What if we fall, what should we do then?  What if one of us gets hurts and struggles for a while?  Will you give up?  Will you be a cheerleader?

I for one want to win.  I so want to win.  I want to run and laugh and get tired and sweaty knowing we are working hard, TOGETHER.  I pray for it.  I dream about it.  I long for it.  I want it.  If we can do that, it won’t matter if we fall along the way a time or two.  It will be worth it.

This girl is doing one thing.  She is not looking back to past hurts and pain.  She is looking at the prize of what she has always wanted forever.  She’s lining up her team, playing smart and she is playing to win the blue ribbon.

In Texas, the three-legged race was a complete failure and flop.  I faintly remember the gun going off and my sister and I deciding to opt out altogether.  My uncle was so mad at us for not trying we had to pile in the car right then and go home.  We were too afraid to have fun.  And it was a shame.  He couldn’t figure out in the short time we were with him to motivate our 5 and 7 year-old brains to live  life despite fear.  It was worth the pain, sweat, and tears.  We were too young.  But I’m almost 43.  I get it now.  Thankfully.

The risks are worth it even when you tumble and get scabs on your knees and watch everyone else around you race ahead while you try to stand up.  It’s worth it.  Cause if you keep going no matter if you are first or last…it WILL be worth it in the end.  No matter if you are on your first, or third marriage.  At least you didn’t opt out, give up and take yourself out of the race altogether.

Play fair, play smart, and play to win people.  That is exactly what I intend to do.


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