Today is our wedding anniversary. My husband, Sam, and I are celebrating thirty- three years of marriage. Of love and joy. Struggle and strife. As I sat down to write this week’s post, what I thought would be easy and breezy proved to be a difficult task. I wondered how I could encapsulate and define our uncommon love. While pondering my surprising dilemma I realized several truths. Love is endless and can’t be bound between a comma and a period. Nor, as I discovered, can it be defined by a paragraph or sentence. There are ample beautiful sonnets and poems that make our hearts swoon. Quotes and stories that speak to our particular love story. Still, none of them rocked my world like that husband of mine.
How then can love be accurately described?
Love is portrayed by uncountable moments in our lives. Untold sensory moments composed of varying notes. All sandwiched amongst a myriad of beginnings and endings.
Love is a feeling. A place in time. Love is a fluid touch of the hand as it flows over you like silk. That special look. A love song. It’s called forth by the smell of her hair or the taste of his lips.
Love is a memory keeper’s secret.
So accordingly, I will share our moments in time that best illustrate our uncommon fairy tale.
Once upon a time, in a rural town in Maryland, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was born and raised in this small town. The girl, born in Ohio, lived in many different places and thrived on diversity. Upon moving to the small town in sixth grade, she wasn’t sure if she was a fit in the quaint little town.
From the beginning of their story they had uncommon ties. They shared the same birth ranking. Each, one of four children, all three years apart. The boy’s older sister and the girl’s older brother dated for several years. And both of their younger sisters were good friends, as well.
The boy and the girl quickly became friends. Theirs was an easy and relaxed friendship, that of a brother and sister. Throughout their school years the friendship grew.
The boy went off to college in Virginia and the girl attended a business school in Maryland. Time passed and they lost touch for a bit. In the days before Facebook and cell phones and texting and such – they hadn’t seen or heard from each other in over a year.
It was winter break and the girl’s family prepared to throw a party. The boy arrived early with an extra crockpot in hand to help his friend out. The girl opened the door expecting to see her (brother) friend and he, his (sister) friend. She was surprised by the young man who now stood before her. He had grown an inch or so and his curly brown locks captured her heart. He looked uncommonly different to the young woman’s eyes. The boy was now a man.
They danced awkwardly around each other all evening, as if their limbs didn’t work and their mouths not capable of uttering an intelligent word. One not knowing what the other felt.
The man called the next day to ask the young woman out. She agreed, not sure that it would work. Would he feel like her brother or would they have an uncommon bond? Each smiled secret smiles as he drove her home at the evenings end.
The man walked the woman to the door. Snowflakes fell from the December sky as he kissed her goodnight. Ever so gently, just once on her lips. The woman’s knees went weak and the man’s world shifted a little that night. They both knew in that moment it was an uncommon kiss. He wanted so badly to kiss her again. Though he wanted even more to leave her with one kiss. The boy had grown into a clever young man.
They married after college amongst much ado. Some not believing their love was true. Others knowing what was obvious in the young couple’s eyes. After three years of marriage they welcomed their first child.
Their son, born with serious health problems, quickly gave them a lesson in growing up fast. The couple was told that their baby would soon die. So they prepared for a sad, very uncommon act. They readied the nursery to bring their baby boy home to die. But time waits for no one. Some plans, not even the worst of them, reminded the couple they weren’t in control. They rushed to the hospital to usher their son into heaven. Through tear soaked kisses and one last smell, they tried hard to capture his short life.
Once in awhile dreams do come true. They were granted a miracle – their baby boy lived. They were reminded again that they weren’t in control. Hence, they began their next journey into an uncommon new world. A strange and wonderful land full of many special needs.
The young man worked hard to keep his family afloat through health crises and surgeries, one after another. The young woman dug her heels into educating herself through research and advocacy and Special Education and inclusion law. Together, they fought for their son’s rights time and again.
Four years later they welcomed their second child, a daughter, into the world. They fell in love the moment their hearts met. The next morning the mom waited anxiously for her new little girl to be brought to her. When the doctor saw the worry forming in the young mom’s eyes he decreed, “Please don’t worry about her. All you have to do with this baby is feed her and bathe her. You already love her. Just enjoy your new gift. That’s all there is to do,” he tenderly instructed. And so, with a deep breath and smiles all around, they brought their baby girl home with glee.
But the young couple wasn’t used to such a simple routine. There were no endless doctors and hospital runs. Only nursery rhymes and sweet lullabies. So they cuddled and kissed her. They bathed her and fed her. While they dreamt spontaneous dreams as they rocked her to sleep.
They balanced their worlds as all parents do. But fitting two extremes into a ready made world, was an uncommon task they weren’t sure they could do. There were lacrosse games and special education meetings, proms and respite care schedules and slumber parties after unplanned surgeries.
The couple worked hard to help the two worlds to blend, one complementing the other like the sun and the moon.
They were a happy family. With two wonderful kids and a houseful of love and laughter. They’d managed their world as best as they could. Until one day, the world as they knew it ceased to exist. Without warning – their son passed away.
The couple fell apart as grief stricken parents do. The husband opened his arms to receive his wife’ s pain. And she held out her hand to soak in his grief. Together, they learned how to grieve and heal each other’s fragile hearts. Once again, history had repeated itself, and they learned how to live in a new uncommon way.
Every love story is uncommon, known exclusively to those within the parameters of its truth. Love isn’t found in living blissfully without any trouble. It is found in weighing the good and bad of everyday life. In standing together as one, through times that are meant to tear us apart.
The truest love lies in the messy parts. Coerced and configured by life’s demands.
Love can best be felt when it’s given away. It can be found in meeting each other’s needs, not all at once or equally. But rather in a cadence according to the other. Then back again to you…eventually. Love doesn’t wait for reciprocity or equality. It just does. And continues on.
I Love You My Dear!
Always and forever, through the simple and profound, the good and the bad. My love for you is limitless, it cannot be captured or defined succinctly. You are my world, the stars and the heavens above. The air that I breathe. My solid ground. Buoyancy. All that is yet to be explored. ❤
p.s. They lived happily ever after…
“There is no remedy for love, but to love more.” Thoreau