My husband and my love story is like any other love story: two people met and fell in love. But it’s not like any other love story because it can only be like ours.
A boy and a girl met on a dating application meant for hookups. Neither were looking for a hook up. Neither really knew what they were looking for. Both were lost in their own worlds of school, and working, and drinking with friends, and heartbreaks, and Facebook likes, and just stuff. They met at a predetermined restaurant, him in a plaid shirt and jeans, and she in ripped jeans and an oversized sweater, an outfit painstakingly picked out and approved by her best friend/gay fashionable roommate. She had told no one about the date, save for fashionable roommate. Interestingly enough, he had also told no one, save for his gay roommate who made him sign up for the hook up dating app.
They met for drinks and shared a bottle of wine that she would later find out he didn’t really care for much, as he preferred the classier side of life through a Miller Lite bottle. The date was like any other first date except it wasn’t because something felt different for both of them. It also ended when the boy abruptly informed the girl that he had to pee, and that this somehow indicated the end of a date.
They would go on many more dates after that, and a month into their relationship, while he was out of town visiting family, she would get wine drunk with her roommates and declare that someday she wanted to have his babies (yeah, I see you, Irony).
She waited about six months to inform her now official boyfriend about her incurable wanderlust. He’d never left the country, unless you counted a cruise with his fraternity brothers, of which he remembered very little from all the blacking out due to alcohol consumption. She did not count this. He was content to stay in his ever growing southern town. She felt suffocated by it. He thought her desire to travel would pass. She started actively applying for jobs abroad.
In most scenarios, the story probably would have ended here. The differences are too big. The wants, too extreme. One desires a picket fence, the other hates them. One craves stability, the other finds it boring. Yet they persisted. He watched her pursue trying to live abroad and each heartbreak when the job was given to someone else.
Until one almost summer day when a school in Belgium emailed on a weekend to tell her they wanted her to move there and be the new learning support teacher. She read the email (which she’d figured was a rejection email at first because who emails to tell a candidate they’re being offered a job to live in a new country?) and texted her friend to meet her in the park because how was she going to tell her boy even though he had been on this interviewing ride for almost a year now? She told him as he played video games. They decided soon after to accept.
He quit his job. He sold all their belongings and his car. He packed up a house, said goodbye to friends he’d had for 10+ years. He married the girl. Got on a plane to move permanently to a country, on a continent, he’d never been to, or cared to go to. He couldn’t find work, so he started learning a new language. He traveled to countries he didn’t think he’d ever see (or sometimes, want to).
They didn’t have much money. They still don’t. He doesn’t have a job and checks their bank account on the reg. They sometimes live paycheck to paycheck. The girl struggles with infertility and guilt and sadness over her still empty womb. Their first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Sometimes life feels like it’s shitting all over them and it’s easy to get caught up in the angry and bad parts.
All of this is what makes up love. Sometimes it’s really, really hard. There are really bad parts. Those parts are sometimes easy to remember or allow to dominate the daily rhetoric. What can be harder to remember? The really, really good parts. The driving down some of the most beautiful coastal roads you’ve ever seen in one of the most beautiful countries you think might have ever existed, even if the car had just been towed and it had cost an arm and a leg that you don’t have to spare to get it out just 24 hours earlier. It’s staring at a sunset in a kayak you share in the middle of a sea and wondering how all this is here in this world and goodness you two are so lucky to be witnessing it. It’s back rubs as you walk along the road, expressing how much you miss a baby that you don’t have yet, a conversation you’ve had a million times in three weeks but that he listens to you have yet again. It’s head rubs that he gives you ‘on the house’ because you’re a sensory seeker and love to rub his fuzzy head. It’s all the hard and all the good and everything in between all wrapped into one that you get to share together.
Love stories aren’t really unique to anyone but ourselves. But it’s nice to remember them, and how you got to here, where you are today, whether in the midst of heartbreak, or the throws of joy, or the mundane of the everyday. In between every little bit of sad, is something to be grateful for. In between every joy, is something to be grateful for.
I read this fantastic quote today on a fantastic blog that I’ve been reading by a fantastic writer who is helping me to put life in perspective (although she doesn’t seem to like The Big Bang Theory which I think is insane).
“…when a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born-and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that is can be born as perfectly as possible.”
This was a wonderful thing for this girl to read in this moment. No, things don’t always go according to the plans we set for ourselves. Look at that love story. If you’d told that boy that he would be married to a wanderlust, living in another country, and unemployed, he would have either laughed in your face or run away from you to the nearest white-picketed fenced house he could have found, with a minivan tossed in for good measure, and bought it right then and there. Likewise, if you told the girl that in a few years she’d be living in another country, but that she still wouldn’t have children and that ‘I don’t want to be a first time mom at 35 years old’ deadline was now a foregone conclusion, she probably wouldn’t have thought it possible, or made some arbitrary comment about how people are having babies later and later these days, things she despises hearing now.
That isn’t how it worked out. It doesn’t always make sense. How wonderful that our love story didn’t make sense. How lucky that two people who, on paper, make no sense, are living a life that sometimes makes no sense, but living it together? For now, there are sunsets to look at, and love to be had, and memories to be made–the good kind and the bad because all of it shapes everything, and at the end of the day, you can choose to have made more good memories than bad or you can choose not to. We’ve had a lot of distractions thrown at us lately. Here’s to the big and lovely.