"Mom, did you ever love anyone before Dad?"
"Yeah, I did. A couple of times actually. And Dad loved others before me, too."
(Oh man, I had opened the flood gate of questions...)
"Well how did you know he was the one? What was different about him; like how could you tell the difference if you loved other people before? You two did everything backward and unconventional, but you are still together when all my friends parents did everything right and they're not. So what is it that makes him different? How have y'all managed to stay married and be happy?"
I thought about it for a second and gave him the short answer:
"We just knew and we just do."
Short answers are a mothers go-to (because I said so). Our hearts & minds are so full of unspoken thoughts/answers/words - things we know our children can't possibly fathom. You see, the long answer to his question would take almost 18 years to explain.
But I do want to explain. So I'm going to try...
Here's the romantical part:
I hear parts of our story - your father and me- in every love song. And I do mean every love song. The sad ones, the happy ones, the angry ones, the mushy ones, the lustful ones, the ridiculous ones, the perfect ones. Same with movies, plays, books, operas... any story really. I'm reminded of us every time, because we've been through it all.
Sure, there were other people before we met... but when it came down to it, none of them were worth enough in our hearts to make it work. Whether we were the dumpers or dumpees, at some point we decided they weren't worth investing in any longer.
For him, however, I'd happily trudge through the pits of Hell, and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that he'd do the same for me. I know because we've been there and back several times, and each time in the fire has only served to forge a deeper bond. He knows the deepest, darkest parts of me, the secrets I'll never say aloud. And I know well those parts of him too. He also knows the softest, most affectionate parts of me, and I him. There is no corner of our souls that's undiscovered for the other, and yet, every day, we manage to find additional reasons to love and appreciate one another.
He's my very best friend, you know... The person I confide in, laugh with, discuss things with, plan with, and dream with. And all those intense teenage in-love feelings you get, I still get them for your dad. I get all starry-eyed and giddy when I think of him.
In fact, he's the very first person I think of when I think of anything at all.
And here's the practical part:
When it comes down to it, marriage is a choice. It takes two people with the same morals and values working toward the same end: A happy, love-filled, satisfying life lived together. Not part of a life. Not life until shit gets too hard. Not life until a midlife crisis, or until your spouse gets old, or sick, or boring, or until you find someone better, or until you feel you have a different calling in life, or your spouse makes a huge mistake, or you fuck-up too badly, or blah blah blah, or whatever.
You know that I don't believe in "the one" but here's the caveat, he is "the one." Don't misunderstand me. It's not because I believe that fate whisked us together and that he's the only person in the universe that I could possibly be happily married to. He's "the one" because I chose him to be the day we made our vows. I continue to choose him to be "the one" Every. Single. Day. And he does the same.
"We just knew and we just do" because we made that choice together, which was something we weren't willing to make with the others for a myriad of reasons: personalities, values, morals, life direction, etc. Most people don't make that choice these days, so yeah, I can see how we seem like an anomaly. I assure you we aren't that special. We're just two people who made a vow and decided to stick to it come hell or high water, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Period. I know that doesn't seem like a very romantic notion, but I promise you, it can be so intensely romantic that sometimes your heart will burst with it. So there you go.
I hope that one day you too will be lucky enough to find someone to love and experience life with.
I hope we've given our children deep roots...
Pic by: Me