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You’re Extraordinary.

I had been trying to think about how to write today’s story. Luckily it came to me in the nick of time.

After Cassidy and I had been split up for two years, he called me out of the blue on my birthday. I was long and happily ensconced in the arms of another man.. (ensconced is a word I have never used and probably never will again) and people gave me some pretty funny and interesting advice. It’s only funny now because I’m not sure I listened to what anyone said. Don’t give me advice..

I’ll only do the opposite thing and blog about it six years later.

The advice was that I shouldn’t choose him only to glorify a life with him I had never had. Since we had never had a chance to have a real relationship previously, at 3,000 miles from each other and both severely confused, I shouldn’t have chosen him with the idea that life would be like a fantasy. A Disney unreality. We had never done “normal” and if we tried, I may have found out that just like any other man, Cassidy will fart in his sleep and forget to take out the trash. (not my words) And for the record, he does neither.

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I felt the need to mention that. He is a man, but not a man who farts in his sleep and forgets to take out the trash.

I’d be more guilty of that. The second one!

I didn’t follow the advice because I didn’t find that it could possibly be true. I couldn’t rest until I had that chance with him, ordinary or extraordinary. Farting in sleep and rainy day movies, or what we had had previously – whale watch symphonies, side-of-the-road moose, sexy hotels and pure radio magic. It wasn’t just the epic summer we had when we met. It was that love isn’t ordinary.

To find someone to love in this crazy world, and they love you back? That is pure extraordinary.

And so you know the rest of the story so far – west coast cross country move, wedding, east coast cross country move, Scarlet, Des, yada yada. And if you want to read the juicy beginning and middle of the story, I highly recommend it. Especially if you’re a Hollywood screenwriter or producer. Links to all parts on my About Me page.

And I did, I do, want something more than sleep-farting and chores-bickering. I do want the fantasy, or something close to it.

I want dreams and moose and northern lights. Birth stories and Alice in Wonderland birthday parties. Time machine sheds and visions.

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This is what we do. And this is what we want. Sure, we have a heck of a long way to go still. We probably always will. It’s that higher I love to talk about, but ordinary? Never. Not when you find someone to love. Not when you build dreams and visions into tangible realities. Not when you do so on somewhat limited resources – whether physically or emotionally or all of the above.

Love is extraordinary.

And that’s what I should have said when told I may be building up a fantasy about one of two men I was unfortunate enough to be in love with at the same time. I should have said, “Isn’t it all a fantasy? Isn’t it all extraordinary? Won’t they both fart in their sleep? Shouldn’t I choose with my heart wide open.” It’s like diving into a murky abyss, but oh, how there are patches of beautiful clarity.

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When we talk of dreams, going to Tanglewood in Lenox, MA was always a small but sturdy dream of mine. Ever since I had heard of it, long before I had a clue about western Mass., I dreamed. Classical music in the middle of forests and mountains and small towns and farms and great ice cream? Count me IN. We first got tickets two years ago for the last Sunday symphony of the summer, but Hurricane Irene canceled our plans. Then last year we finally went, and it was as glorious as I always pictured. Actually, it was better:

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This year we chose to see Stravinsky and Dvořák with Yo-Yo Ma, for those who play along at home. The weather? Perfect.

Except for the ten minutes of rain that the crowd was astonishingly prepared for:

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Then the sun came back out. Tanglewood is funny. It’s a long day. It’s an experience. We showed up early so that we could grab patches of shade to spread our picnic blankets under. We packed delicious foods like grapes and fancy cheese and fancy bread and fancy pickles. The music started hours later. The show was long, and I could listen intently or do various other things to or with the music. The sun shifted, and so did we. From place to place, chasing fading shade as the sun moved across the sky. I would go from hungry to full to hungry again. There was ice cream. I dozed. I read or checked my phone but with bad reception, I went back to dozing. The kids? Always happy and well cared for. They would disappear into naps and adventures.

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The music was extraordinary. Music is one of those life gifts we get, like love and sex and cute babies and good coffee, and the fact that we like to eat food. Oh, and movies and books.

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Peacefulness.

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Wakefulness.

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Transitions.

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On the way home, we hit a strange storm under sunshine. We looked for a rainbow and found a double the second we turned onto our street.

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We followed it into an orchard, and then it followed us home.

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It was simply extraordinary.

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89 Comments

  1. Tamara, I love how you brought this full circle and it got you home to perfection with that rainbow, too. Seriously, sounds like you made the right choice and then some. Isn't it funny how life turns out sometimes and brings us to exactly the place we just want and need to be?? Wonderful post and seriously you had me from the first line!! 🙂

  2. Having a rainbow follow you home is a perfect ending to the day. Tanglewood sounds amazing – extraordinary, in fact. Life really is grand, with all its gifts and big and little moments, isn't it?

  3. Oh, man! Love this post! The pictures just look magical. Tanglewood looks like something out of a movie set! Even the people in the background just look lovely. I can feel the enchantment rolling out of my computer! Wonderful!! –Lisa

  4. I feel so much I don't know what to say. Your pictures were fabulous. They always are, but this time they are even more. Scarlet is ever so beautiful and Des really makes my arms ache. We have a place nearby like Tanglewood. We've seen all sorts of things on that slope of grass – from Orchestra to The Beach Boys.

  5. Loved reading a little bit about your extraordinary love story. Just beautiful. And we should all reach for the extraordinary, in love and life.And the pictures are just beautiful. Love the shot with the blanket over Scarlet.

    1. Thank you! What I'm learning is that all love stories are extraordinary, but of course I had to go and have these ridiculously painful and cinematic one. At least we got these cute kids out of the deal.

  6. Oh if everyone could know, for sure, that extraordinary love exists and not settle for anything other than it! Given my life experience thus far of only finding that kind of love second time around, I desperately want my kids to know they need to hold out for that magic. There ARE rainbows and butterflies and beautiful children snuggling with their parents. You can find it – it's never easy, but it is there for you to grab.

  7. I love this and how honest and profound it is. Extraordinary love – we all deserve it and we all should try for it….If I had listened to what others told me before, I wouldn't be where I am so, yeah, don't give me advice either. I rarely ever listen!

  8. I love love…finding someone to love unconditionally is a beautiful thing! As always, the pictures of Scarlet and Des are just tooo cute! I also love the fact you guys were able to find that DOUBLE rainbow on camera! It's so pretty!

  9. I'm so glad you went for it and was able to build a life together. It's hard to tune out family and friends (all though, I've perfected it :))! They only truly want what's best for you and it turned out to be a blessing! You all are an adorably loving & beautiful family!

  10. Normal is way underrated. And this: "Music is one of those life gifts we get, like love and sex and cute babies and good coffee, and the fact that we like to eat food. Oh, and movies and books." Amen, sister. Speaking of life's gifts and extraordinary, I may have to run up to Western MA every few months to get my Des fix. I can't think of many things more delightful than holding him on Tuesday.

  11. I just love your love story! Usually people's love stories are filled with lillies and roses, which is GREAT but sometimes, things aren't that easy. I appreciate that about this post. A lot. I just Love Des' smile! So jelly of all this HOLDING Ilene did! One day!

    1. Nellie, I just know our paths will cross and you can hold Des all that you want! As long as I can take some pics of you and your cuties.I just realized that does this mean we'd have to bring them all to a conference? That might be lame!

  12. I'm tearing up over here … because I'm in such a mental state right now and it seems like everyone's posts lately have such a meaning. Deciphering that of course is up to me but it still hurts like hell.This was beautiful and I love how much you love your life.¤´¨) ¸.•*´ (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxoRaising-Reagan.com

  13. I LOVE this post!! You're such an amazing story teller and what a beautiful rainbow to end your day. Love the photos of Des and Scarlet and that rainbow once again. I haven't seen one in like forever. Hope you're having a beautiful day today my friend.

  14. The rainbow followed you home – what a perfect end to the day. Love is extraordinary, and it is also extraordinary how your posts make me want to immediately get up and hug the closest family member. Your words and your photos just do that to me, Tamara.

  15. Isn't it all fantasy indeed. Love is extraordinary and so are you and your ability to tell this amazing story. I love this. Your photos are beyond breathtaking. I feel a little bit happy-teary right now and am not even quite sure why. You're just that awesome.My husband does actually fart in his sleep. He's still extraordinary.

  16. Such a beautiful story. I discovered your blog when you commented on guest post at another Jennifer's blog! Love your writing and your images.

  17. I love visiting here! I just smile at your photos. First, I'm glad you went with your heart. Looks like it chose correctly. Second, I am always AMAZED at how you can take even the most average moment and make the photo extraordinary! How do you get these photos to pop like they do? I wish I had pics of my children's faces that are like these. So beautiful!

    1. Oh thank you so much! It's hard to pinpoint what parts of my photos speak to you. It's definitely shooting in manual with proper exposure and this was a new lens that has a very creamy, dreamy, fantasy quality to the bokeh. And then it's just being sneaky and seizing upon great opportunities.

    1. Oh, preparation is an art form with these people! They're regulars, I presume. Promise me if you ever go you'll let me know! Tanglewood is actually two streets from my house practically. They're two VERY long streets…but if you keep taking them, that's where we wind up!

  18. You brought me out of my world and into yours in this post. Love your writing, I've missed having the time to read it lately. So beautiful.

  19. To find someone to love and have them love you back. Extraordinary. That is my favorite line. I think about that all the time. About how I really lucked out that Leo and I found each other. You have a beautiful family and a wonderful outlook. I am so happy our paths have crossed and are now shared. 🙂

  20. You are truly amazing, Tamara. You say some of the things that I want to say but I can't. I'm factual. State it and move on. You build a story and capture everything so intently. Always go with your heart in matters of love and family. Reasoning and fact checking is for choosing colleges and jobs.

  21. I'm so glad that you followed your heart!! I hope that you are always able to follow it!!Your day at Tanglewood sounds perfect!And those pictures of the double rainbow are phenomenal!!!

  22. First, can we say 78 comments?!? Well deserved because these pictures and posts are beautiful!!! Among this flicks are some of my favorites including the one from Scarlet's birthday party. I was so impressed with the party decor that I showed my husband. He too was impressed. I have to say that I love to see the love a father has for his child. Those pictures are so touching. And we have something in common! My husband also came back into my life using my birthday as an excuse to call me…lol. Nice post!

    1. Oh, interesting! I'd love to hear more about that phone call! I kept my husband's voicemail for years. I think I finally lost it when I switched to iPhone, which is heartbreaking. Luckily I remember it in my heart.78 comments – no idea how that happened?!

  23. Oh I am so happy you followed your heart! You are an exceptional writer Tamara! I love reading your stories. MA sounds like a pretty place. Your story makes me want to visit it.

  24. Oh Tamara, I have told you before and I will tell you again. I could read everything you have ever written. In your heart you knew didn't you? It was meant to be.

  25. My parents used to take me to Tanglewood when I was little. I believe I saw Barry Manilow there when I was 3! Such a magical place. And I love your love story. Some things are just meant to be. My 13th wedding anniversary was yesterday. And we have a few moose stories too. 🙂

  26. I’ve heard of Tanglewood and I can’t remember why! Looks like a wonderful experience and amazing photos – I love the rainbow!!

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