I’ve been seeing this Valentine’s Day challenge all over Facebook this week. Everyone keeps telling us the “details” of their relationship- how they met, where they first kissed, who said I love you first. You know, all the important memories.
It’s fun to go down memory lane like that.
Husband and I met at the Olive Garden. The Fucking Olive Garden. We both worked there…it’s not like he fucking picked me up over some all you can eat pasta fagioli and salad or anything. I was fresh out of a really yucky relationship that ended two years too late, and he was absolutely not interested in dating whatsoever.
But “I” was irresistible, OBVIOUSLY, and he showed up one night when I was working late and he was off with a case of beer and an invitation to go to a party. The party consisted of a bunch of the guys who worked in the kitchen and a whole lot of pot and some of the funnest times I have ever had.
Our relationship was instantaneous, but oddly evolved slowly at the same time. We were the best of friends, reluctant to say boyfriend, but eager to say I love you. It was easy and we were opposite in every single fucking way but somehow always ended up in exactly the same place.
I remember our first kiss on the doorstep of my parent’s house, and our first apartment, his marriage proposal after me explaining that it was time to get married, and all of the important milestones that couples everywhere document in their stack of photos and memories.
Perhaps more importantly though, I remember being this crazy girl that refused to be controlled and how he never ever tried to control me. He let me pound bottles of gin and dance on tables and slam on the brakes in the middle of the highway to look at a bird or get out and pat some horses in a field.
He always picked me up and fed me bites of his dinner across the table and made me laugh and walked right into my house without ever knocking.
And along the way we had our troubles. We both struggled with mental health and career changes and heavy, repetitive loss. We fought. We cried. We yelled. We swore we were not meant to be.
We had our babies and things got harder. We were tired. We neglected each other in order to survive individually. We almost gave up so many times.
But we didn’t.
A true love story isn’t about who is stubborn or drives better or falls asleep first and hogs the covers. It includes all of those things, but our story is about the things that brought us together and almost tore us apart,and the life that we have built.
In my forties, I realize that true love is not about butterflies and first kisses. It is about patience, commitment, tolerance and gratitude. It is about sacrifice and compromise. It is about acceptance and loving all of the parts of someone even when you don’t like them.
It’s about taking turns lending strength and letting shit go. Love means taking good enough care of yourself so that you can give the best of you to your partner.
And so we’ll carry on. I’m sure that I’ll be an absolute ridiculous bitch about something and he’ll tell me to go fuck myself and we will not speak for an hour sometime again in the really near future. Because we’re human. And it’s really, really ok.
We’ll still be in love after.
That is what a love story is.
Still being in love after…..