I wasn’t even fully available. I was slowly pulling myself out of a unhealthy relationship, though my heart and mind had already abandoned ship. I wasn’t ready, wasn’t looking.
The gym was crowded and loud with the families of middle school students as I found a metal folding chair near a friend whose son was in band with my son. A friend of hers, a woman I’d met when attending community suppers, sat in our row as well, along with my friend’s husband, her twin daughters, the woman’s two kids, and a guy with a beard.
The row of us sat (mostly) patiently through chorus and band performances of varying ability, and were relieved when the final applause had faded. As we stood around waiting for our kids, the rest of the group chatted and joked. I lingered awkwardly, feeling like an outsider. My friend, perhaps noticing my discomfort, brought me into the conversation, and introduced me to the guy with the beard, pointing to his two kids for reference.
I took note of a particularly witty zinger he lobbed at my friend (which was rewarded with a solid punch on his arm), and the insightful way he spoke about his son, and thought he was a nice guy, but I wasn’t looking, so that was that. Or so I thought.
Later that night, I got a message on Facebook–the guy with the beard, hoping he was not being too forward and wondering if I might like to grab a cup of coffee. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I said yes.
I had no idea. I had no idea how I would yank myself out of the remnants of my failed relationship and open myself up to someone new. I had no idea how much I would laugh, or how soon I’d let myself be held while I cried. I had no idea the delicious food that would be cooked for me. I had no idea how quickly I’d fall in love with this stranger, or the ways in which my family would suddenly grow.
I had no idea, but a year ago, I said yes.
Here’s to many more years of unexpected joy and shared adventures with my partner in love and life. I love you, Dude.