Monday, June 2, 2008

on adjusting my step to fit

The other day I walked to the corner store with a few co-workers. Walking beside a man-friend I found myself striding very fast - uncomfortably so, but this seemed to be his pace. It was him, finally, who said, "let's slow down!"

I have spent my life adjusting my step to fit someone else's pace. It started of course with my dad ... who, when I got to walk with him, did not adjust his pace, so I bustled along (probably talking a blue streak) just to be beside him.

Then it was my husband's dad - a sergeant in the military during WWII and a marcher. He liked me. He wondered how his son got so lucky as to win my heart (smile - it did me good that he thought that.) He would invite me to walk with him and we marched. He would ask if he was going too fast for me and I would say "no!" because I didn't want him to think I couldn't keep up with him. I loved those walks, er, marches, while he talked philosophy and big ideas with me. He made me feel like he picked me 'specially and I didn't feel all that special to anyone else in that season of my life.

My husband has a pace of life that has often been too fast for me. (Notice a thread here?) I have learned, over the years, to love the song he is singing and fit the length of his stride. But not entirely without tears. Keeping up has sometimes been hard. I have had to grow up.

This summer I am taking my 10 year old granddaughter for a 'Mimi trip.' We will travel anonymously - a middle aged woman and a young girl - invisible demographics. And again I will adjust my step to fit someone else, this time making it smaller and slower. Seems right for my season of life.

You might rebel against this way of living and say "Be true to yourself!" or "Don't let anyone determine your stride" ... a kind of beat your own drum thing. But my life is this, in a way: making some concessions to fit beside someone I love or want to love. It's what I do. (And honestly, I think my people have had plenty of adjusting to do to walk beside me.)

Because I adjust my step, often faster and sometimes smaller, I have a life that is full of nutty conversation, gusts of laughter, priceless spontaneous lines, sweet wonderful hugs, a great lump of a man to spend my best hours with and a hoard of people I love more than my own self. Seems worth it to me.


rachel said...

i think every real person who is involved in any valuable, real relationship adjusts their step a little...hopefully both people adjust some!

i have adjusted for your "P" (smile!), for the girls, for curtis, for mark, for v, my list goes on and on. i don't think it means we don't march to our own drummer - i think it means sometimes our drummer takes a water break. :)

Mrs Moose said...

"(And honestly, I think my people have had plenty of adjusting to do to walk beside me.)"

Ya think? HA!

i liked your bloggery today ... getting over the demand to be our own drummer, and finding the fruit of those other choices. i like it.

mrs moose

JohnDeere said...

AMMA MAMA, I've got news for you. You were CLEARLY setting the wicked pace the other day on the way to the corner market. I was definitely having a difficult time keeping up-- hence my request to slow the pace a bit. ;-)

Your Man-Friend.

Marilyn said...

Man friend! that is the point! Sometimes I am seriously foolish and don't just do the reasonable thing because I am fitting in - but most of the time I get it right. By the way, I like you... in a non sexual, non judgemental of the hair kind of way.