31 Days:: Falling In Love Bit by Bit
Day 27: Falling In Love Bit by Bit
a letter to my husband
Although I have fallen in love with you bit by bit over the many years we’ve been together, I can remember a few during our early days together that especially stick out in my mind.
One is on our first official date when you and I drove out to Santa Cruz in your beat up teal Nissan Sentra for the evening. We had dinner at Gilda’s Restaurant on the pier and then walked up and down the beach, talking about life and getting to know each other more. You put up with all my questions about your relationships with your various family members and your dating history. You let me ask you ridiculously personal questions about your sexual history and, although a little taken aback by my brutal honesty and forthright line of questioning, you didn’t seem afraid of any of it or like you were trying to hide anything. Thank you for that.
But the moment that night that made me really wonder if you might be the perfect fit for me— someone worth spending a lifetime getting to know— was when you told me, detail by detail, scene by scene, all the drama and humor wrapped up in your most embarrassing moment. The way you could tell a story, with all the build up, pausing at all the right moments, putting your heart into words for another’s ears was just… delightful. Pitiful, due to the nature of the story you told me, but hilarious and so much fun to listen to. I’m a lover of Story, always have been, so to hear you relate yours to me in such a candid, heartfelt, and well-executed way was simply enchanting. It was in that moment that I wondered… “Is this tugging of my heart towards his something important I should pay attention to?”
Another time I recall feeling especially drawn to you during those early days was a few weeks prior to that “official first date.” We were once again in your Sentra, dirty as always, heading west on Stevenson Boulevard, at the corner of Stevenson and Paseo, and I had been telling you about some interpersonal relationship I was wrestling through at the time. And I recall staring at you, dumbfounded, as you empathized with me, recalling an earlier conversation you and I had about my dreams and goals in life. You quoted me verbatim something I had said in passing a week or so prior— and in that moment I remember feeling flabbergasted that you had cared enough about my heart to remembered something I had said. I felt so special. So important and worthwhile as a human.
And I can remember even a month or so before that, when you and I talked on the phone that first time. I had called your house to talk to your sister but ended up shooting the breeze with you for over an hour. In that conversation, I confessed to you that I secretly hoped to be a writer someday. I had words wrapped up in my soul that I felt sure were meant to help and bless others— and I longed to figure out a way to make that happen someday… but I doubted myself and doubted my skill and doubted whether or not that dream was from God. And you told me you believed in me. You told me that you didn’t think God would have put that dream in me for no reason. I don’t remember the exact words you used, but I got the gist: you had full confidence that God would sharpen me and teach me and help me see that dream come true when the time was right. You encouraged me to keep dreaming, to keep on trusting God, to keep on tuning into the ways He nudged me. You told me about the Delirious? song that said “Looking into yesterday and all the dreams / That heaven sent / Maybe love will come our way / And when I stand upon the land / I threw the dreams into the sea / Maybe they will rise again” You made me feel valuable in that moment, honey. You made me feel like God saw me and cared about me and would most definitely be by my side and help me see those dreams to fruition.
So I suppose my love started for you way back then. A tiny seed was planted in your affirmation of my dreams that chilly day over the phone in March 2001. And it was watered a bit more when you referenced one of our seemingly insignificant prior conversations in the car on Stevenson Boulevard a few weeks later. And then it started sprouting just a teeny bit when you dared to courageously share your most embarrassing moment with me as we were parked above the Pacific Ocean at the lighthouse there in Santa Cruz.
And so many many more moments along the way. Like when you organized a surprise birthday party for me when I turned 33. Like the various times when you have rubbed my back even though I’m so tired you know it’s not going to lead to anything else. Like when you had fear in your eyes when I thought I might die during my scary-fast labor with Ellie. Like when you hug me and tell me I am beautiful— and I can tell you really mean it— whenever I get home all dirty and stinky from a long, sweaty hike in the hills. Like when you texted me just yesterday telling me that you couldn’t do this life without me. Like when you cried with me and for me when we lost our unborn baby six years ago. Like when you used to draw caricatures of the kids doing something “so them”— like the one of Abby eating all those blueberries and the one of Ellie waking up before sunrise with an energetic smile on her face. Like when you comforted me and tried to figure out how to help me when I was as sick as I remember ever being earlier this year— I felt so sick I thought I was losing my mind!… yet you stood by me and believed in me and affirmed me even in my messy, unreasonable, grumpy state.
You have been a gift worth bragging about, honey. Although we both know this road of life has been challenging as hell some days— even stretching out into years at a time sometimes— I still choose you and I still wouldn’t want to fight this fight with anyone except you.
Thank you for being such a man of courage and kindness. Thank you for speaking my love language of Words of Affirmation so frequently and fluently. Thank you for believing in me since the beginning and for being patient and gracious with me all these years as we’ve tried to figure out how you, me, and our different personalities and dreams all work together.
I love you, honey.
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What about you?
Do you remember any of the moments that led to you eventually falling in love? How can you thank the people in your life who have blessed and believed in you in important ways?
Please feel free to share your journey in the comment section below.