Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rediscovering Love

I tagged along with my husband during a trip to Puerto Rico. The trip consisted of quite a bit of down time, along with a perfect array of tours to see historical sites and different ecological variations that this tropical island holds. I had never been anywhere south of Florida before this trip, and never been to any Spanish speaking nation before (the west side of St. Paul doesn't count).

So I am a 37 year old mostly stay-at-home mom. I work out by walking the kids and the dogs, not at a gym. I have housed two huge babies, birthing them through two crazy c-sections so my body is battle-scarred. I also come from a mixture of northern European nationalities, all of which consist of peoples who thrive in the cold weather (and who apparently are covered with what I would consider less-than-feminine body hair). So, though I do believe that I am beautiful, I am far from any magazine cover.

My man and I have been together for the last fifteen years. I was never committed to any man before I met him, and I have never faltered in my commitment to him since we met. He is my best friend and all that mushy stuff. He loves me in such a crazy way that I never doubt it will last a lifetime.

All that said, I do enjoy witnessing the beauty of other men. Being raised on a steady diet of Benny Hill, Monty Python, Vicar of Dibley and such fine British comedy, my rather lewd sense of humor takes over and I fall into imagining people nude while I wait for life to get more interesting. No one would ever know, especially since I've realized that I have, for the most part, become indistinguishable from the crowd of other SAH moms that drive generic minivans filled with the required 2 or more young children to the routine destinations of the grocery store, preschool, church and playgroups. If anyone would ever care to extinguish their own feeling of sex appeal, live my life for a month. I've been living it for the last five and a half years. There are many days where I am amazed that my husband can see anything sexy in anything I do or wear. But my dirty-little-secret acts like a buoy of hope in my sea of a-sexuality. And then, I arrive on a six day trip, sans kiddos, to a beautiful tropical destination with my amazing husband...

The island has a definite rhythm to it, maybe being so close to the Bermuda Triangle has something to do with it, but it's there. Along with being free of my obligations to my life back home, I was immediately swept up by the pulse of the island life. And so many of the men there are beautiful! Having lived my whole life in Minnesota, the land of the pale and the blonde, walking around in a sea of dark, handsome men was a little more than I could handle. I spent the first few days just enjoying all there was to see and do beside my husband. We had a blast together, like we usually do. But while he was being "Band Director Guy" with his students, I had time to sit back and enjoy the view. And my "dirty-little-secret" just made me blush. Seriously. I've really gotta break that habit someday.

As my "soft" little self walked around, I had no intention of attracting any attention. I haven't done so back home for ages, so it never crossed my mind. But then, Puerto Rican women are known to be blessed with "junk in the trunk" and apparently curves are much beloved by the men there. Whoo Hoo! I suddenly felt so sexy that I was giddy. The husband loved it (to his defense he gives me compliments all the time, which I usually brush off) and I noticed that my walk changed, along with my attitude about myself.

The day before we flew home, we were sent out on a catamaran tour around the smaller islands that surround Puerto Rico. I wore my new one-piece suit that takes 10 minutes to put on because it does so much work for you. I was nipped and tucked and ready for some sunshine! I took two motion-sickness pills too, just in case, because there would be no turning back for my sake with two boats full of high school students and the adults in charge of them.

We met our Captain, Arturo, and his First Mate, Willard. Arturo was cute in a Campbell's soup kid sort of way, and Willard looked like he just stepped off the stage of either a Latin music tour or the set of a sailing calendar photo shoot. I know, the things I put up with for my marriage!

Two minutes into the trip, I started feeling sick. I had Willard filling cups of ice for me while I sat back and tried thinking settled thoughts. Nothing seemed to work very well, and I resorted to sitting on the deck of the front of the boat. (I've never been on a sailing vessel so I have no idea if it's the Poopdeck or what.) The 360* view and the fresh air helped tons and I started having a great time just sitting. We anchored in a bay so those who wanted could go snorkeling along a coral reef. I took great shots of my man in the water, swimming happily close to eels and all sorts of fish.

We pulled anchor and everyone on the boat moved all around. I had company for a bit from my husband and the other adults aboard, but I had a good time being calm by myself. Then Willard came and sat right next to me. At first I thought I was in his way, and he was being polite before asking me to haul my butt somewhere else. But then, he started chatting me up. Like I said before, I've been with my husband for 15 years. I hadn't had that much experience before him, so I am not any smooth sort of flirt. I tried to nudge my connection to my husband into our conversation as much as I could, but it seemed Willard either didn't care or didn't understand. I had the most exhilarating 5-10 minutes of conversation, knowing full well that I was more-than-happily married and knowing that this gorgeous man was flirting with me. His sailing duties called him away and my husband came up to sit next to me again. But that 5-10 minutes with Will (doesn't that sound better?) will be a moment I think back to for ages to come.

Now that I've been back home for a bit, and have had some time to get past the initial exhilaration and move into a mild giddiness, I know that this trip did more than give me a change in scenery. This trip gave me a chance to renew my love of myself: body and all. I had lost that during these years of marriage and children. It had been so lost that I never even thought about it as a loss, but now, I've rediscovered my mojo and damn it, I've got my Groove Back!

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