Wednesday, March 2, 2011

letter one

Okay, here it goes...I have a secret. It shall not be a secret for much longer though. Right now. This very moment. The secret is broken.

I have been writing letters to The Bartender since before the bar was purchased. I never told him. I wrote them as e-mails and sent them to myself immediately after signing my name. I didn't want to edit them. Typos, fragments, capitalization --- none of it mattered. The point of these letters was to capture the moment. Freeze in time the emotions I was feeling while embarking on this crazy process. My hopes, fears, excitement --- all of it. I knew that when the stress subsided (still not sure when that will be!) we would not reflect upon these times with the same edge of emotion. We would have survived those moments and because of that satisfaction, we'd grow from the knowledge as well as cast away the residual worry and woes. That's the wonderful side-effect of time, no?

I've thought about when I should break these words free from their Gmail folder. When would be the opportune time to share with you as well as The Bartender all that's been in mind since last April. Yes, last April. I can't believe it has been that long.

Today, I decided it was the time to begin sharing. The Bartender has worked himself to the bone and now he's bedridden with a sour back and hip. His body is rejecting the pace of his schedule and he's been forced into a comfy hiatus.

Also, to be blunt, there's too much going, and the only time I may write anything is in these letters. Yes, I'm still keeping them. Wrote one just today, in fact. So, for those of you who have asked me when I'm posting next, and others who have said that you enjoy reading this site more than my food/wine site these days, here you go.

And, Bartender, if you're reading, this one's for you.

Letter One: 4.1.10

Dear Bartender,

I'm writing to you, not knowing when or if I'll even share this letter. I suppose, since I'm sitting down to type to you, on this Friday night instead of watching television, reading, blogging or knitting, well, I suppose I hope to show this letter to you someday. When, I know not. I have decided, however, to type to you instead of handwrite this note in a journal. My writing gets illegible the more thought and feeling and rush I put into it. What a shame it'd be for you not to understand words meant for you because of a light stroke heavy with too much feeling. Now, on to the reason for this impulsive note...

There's been a shift of late. I know many factors and their occurring simultaneously are causing this shift. It will not be ignored. We are amid our annual sobriety month --- two weeks in to be exact. We have three weeks remaining, since you vowed to not take on the drink again until Vintage (our boat) is in the water on May 8.

During this time, I've allowed myself to slow down. Yoga clears my mind and body. And, I'm noticing that my practice is aiding in this stillness. I feel at a crossroads of sorts. Whether it’s because of age or general feeling of midway existence, I've felt so rushed these last two years to accomplish, accomplish, decide. I witness others gain so quickly what I aspire to, and the more success I witness, the more let down I feel. I've been so down on me. There's much I want and often I literally am turning round and round in different directions between projects of interest. I've been spiraling.

In two short weeks, I've stopped this self doubt. I've realized that we can't force our dreams upon ourselves. And, I'm feeling much better for it. I'm scared that I won't be what I hope to. As a woman. A mother. A daughter. A partner. A friend. A writer. I'm tired of trying to discover with keen awareness each and every one of these paths at once. Since, I've been able to enjoy reading a chapter from any book I choose, right before bed. I lay on your side to keep an eye on the door and keep the spot heated for you. I practice yoga to tone from the innermost everything of me outward. Hope that you'll begin to notice the changes. Try to have a smile for you when I arrive home from work so our small time together may reflect that you've been on my mind despite a shitty day at work. Call friends and family more. Send trinkets of appreciation their way.

And, simply listen. Listen to myself. Listen to the changes in it all.

I think there may be big changes coming for us. Maybe a bar?

The idea of you owning your own bar, finally, both ignites my happiness for you while also terrifying me. I know you're thinking: Yeah, I knoooow all about that. As every day brings us closer to what may be, and we strategize reeling in our spending, writing the business plan, inventorying the existing business, readying the boat for another summer, wondering where we may live, who will rent our current home and where we'll store all of this STUFF, the shift clicks one more notch in a new direction.

I feel older. I acknowledge today that we've been living responsibly yet easily carelessly. Traveling. Spending. Enjoying.

I also feel so young. Do you even realize what you've achieved at our age? I mean, really, stop and please notice that. Just that. And, now we're hoping to take on another mountain. Hoping that on the other side is the grown-up life we are drafting.

Tonight, I realized that I want to write to you during these times. I don't want to forget all of these fluttering emotions and passing moments. I remember when my parents were our age. They seemed so adult. And, they were also building a difficult path toward a more comfortable future. I remember ascending the stairs of our second home in Mass to let my dad know that dinner was ready. He was huddled on his bed, behind a closed door, making cold calls for potential clients. I'd knock, crack open the door until we caught eyes then sign that dinner was ready by pointing my index finger toward my open mouth. I remember eating lots of dinners where white rice was the filler. I remember the sheet that shielded our stairway to keep the warm air upstairs. I remember lots of visits to the park to feed geese and fly kites. All was simple. And, I’m fond of those times.

Slowing down. Speeding up. This is quite a ride so far. I know we have struggles ahead. I don't have any answers. I am scared. I am curious. I am excited. All feels more meaningful.

I do know how to soothe your mind. I do know how to help you write the business plan. I do know when to press kisses into the frown wrinkling your forehead. I do know that we are in this side-by-side. I hope that this newfound peace inside will guide me toward being your strength. I want so much for us, the kids who grew up too early.

I want those days of waves and sunshine for you --- gardening, cooking, and writing for me. I suppose we have to earn it.

All. In. Time.


  1. Jen,
    This is absolutely beautiful. I can't wait for letter 2!
    Maybe someday soon they will make a movie out of these letters and Reese Witherspoon can play you.

  2. Jen, I LOVED reading's so perfect and sweet and how great that you starting writing notes through this whole process. You will cherish them forever and to agree with Bri, Reese would be perfect for you! :) Thanks for sharing this and I look forward to the next one!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this little glimpse into your relationship!

  4. You all are so funny! Reese would have to get some waves going in her hair, hehe.

    Thanks for your very kind and encouraging sentiments. As you can see, it's taken me a year to muster the courage to share these insights.

    I thank you for reading. Cheers.

  5. Lovely writing. These are the memories you will cherish always.