For whatever reason, it seems that it has taken being in a healthy, functional relationship for the first time in my life to really realize how profoundly messed up all the others were. Sure, they were varying degrees of messed up (with my actual marriage being the most messed up by a landslide), but none of them have been what you'd call "functional" or even "stable" until now. So yes, this blog is going to consist of me getting a little more mushy than usual on the subject of the Old Curmudgeon, as he is known in the blogosphere. Deal with it.
As you may or may not have gathered, the Old Curmudgeon and I were friends in elementary school. I would go so far as to say he was my best friend, though I'm not sure that was mutual at the time. I'll forgive him for that. I think this is actually a key factor in our functionality. Not only are we friends now, but we were friends when we were 10. And 9. And 8. We have history. History going back to September of 1990. And I think we work now in part because we worked then. Also in part because neither of us has changed all that much since July of 1993, which was the last time we saw each other prior to June of 2012. We still both giggle at fart jokes and explosions. We both would still rather watch a show with some educational content in it as opposed to, say, Jersey Shore. We're still both nerdier than standard on the subject of geography. And yes, we have our differences. Some of them are pretty major. Yet, from what I've seen so far, our differences seem to balance each other out for the most part. We are able to use our different strengths and work together for a common goal, be it something relatively minor like cleaning the house from top to bottom in under two hours (which we did Sunday) or something bigger like planning and executing a three day trip to attend someone's wedding (which we did in August when we were still fairly new at this).
I think another very good thing in our relationship is mutual respect. I read his resume not long after we started hanging out again because he asked me to edit it for him. I was totally blown away by what he had accomplished in the 19 or so years since I last saw him. To me, his competence is not in question, which I guess is kind of a big deal because I question everyone's competence. My resume doesn't look as good as his (not even close, really), but it seems he can respect my accomplishments in other areas besides work. So on those occasions when we do not agree (and believe me, it happens), thus far we have been able to discuss logically, and so far these discussions have ended with one person or the other conceding that the other is correct. Yes, we can both admit when we've been wrong. And we both have been wrong on occasion.
Another cool thing (and maybe the best thing) is that I feel supported by a partner for the first time in ever. I don't have to do absolutely everything anymore. If I get off work late for reasons beyond my control, the Old Curmudgeon is totally okay with taking the Chamaco to karate class. Sometimes dinner is already cooking when I get home from work. Sometimes we do stuff together, all three of us, and it feels like a family. That may actually be the coolest thing... Some guys I've dated in the last decade have not wanted anything to do with the Chamaco. Needless to say, those dates were isolated one-time occurrences. The Old Curmudgeon, however, has bravely stepped into a parenting role that nothing in his experience prepared him for. He has no children of his own and didn't have what you'd call a fantastic relationship with his own father, but he's giving it a go anyway. And sometimes I think he stresses way more about parenting than I do, but he's new... he'll relax into it. I just appreciate that he's willing to do it. Without me even asking. That's a real man right there... I once read a quote to the effect of, "Any idiot male can make a baby, but it takes a MAN to be a father." Yeah, that's it.
The bottom line, really, is this: at this time last year I didn't know if he was even still alive or remembered me at all. Now I can't imagine a day without him.