Hidden treasures

I have been feeling sentimental tonight.  Probably all the sappy music I’ve been listening to, but so many different songs bring different memories of the experiences in my past.  So many sweet memories.  Even in relationships that did not last, there were some beautiful moments within them that I will always treasure.  I am not one to see things as black and white- each relationship I have been in brought me to where I am today- a journey that I am proud of and has been both beautiful and tough.  I wonder- will I end up like my father and lose these memories?  Will I die and my children wonder what romantic escapades I had before I me their father?  I have been blessed to have so many chances to love and be in relationships with some incredible people.

December 5th, 2001 was a night I will always remember. I had never had a boyfriend, and was only just starting to think about dating. Somehow, two people I cared about decided it was the night to declare their interest.  I have never been so torn to decide.

For many reasons, I decided to date the boy who I had known for a short time, but who I wanted to get to know better.  He was sweet- a pastor’s son.  I met his family and quickly fell in love with him and them.  He was my first love- I thought it would be forever.  I remember having braces and brushing thoroughly every night just in case it would be the night of the first kiss.  It eventually came and went without too much fuss, and the chemistry stopped there- for me anyway.  Looking back I think he may have been interested in more, and I was oblivious.  I would have given him the world had he asked. He had me hook, line and sinker.  He gave me the most romantic valentine’s day I have ever had.  Card, chocolate, roses, and a picnic underneath the stars at Camp Weed, a place that was sentimental to him.  He made me a CD with music that I still love.  One song in particular, I have not been able to find again, and the CD barely plays it now days.  Just like our relationship, it faded away.  It took me years to get over the 5  month relationship I had with him.  I never knew love like that, and I never will again.  It was sweet and innocent. I still remember so many things- visiting his family and feeling like I was home. Watching TV so many nights together. Sitting under the stars and eating olive garden. Him bringing me a BK milkshake when I was struggling with my school work. He was thoughtful and sweet. He was gentle and kind.  He was a strong Christian, he was dark haired and a teddy bear- my type at the time.  He was everything I wanted, and I let him slip away from me without a fight- something I regretted for so many years.  While the memories are becoming more and more vague, they formed the foundation of what I knew of love.

Then comes December 2002.  I was curious about what I had missed out in December 2001.  What if’s haunted me, and I was looking for someone to fill the void that my first love left behind. I had not lost contact with my other guy friend in all this time, and he was still at the front of my mind.  He was always persistent.  Always eager to try to prove himself to me.  I figured there was no better time to give him a try.  It was instant chemistry.  But I had known him for so long, throughout high school, and now as a sophomore in college, I still couldn’t wrap my head around being with someone like him.  While he was tall and cute, he wasn’t intellectually interesting, he wasn’t strong in his faith, and I never could understand his family or connect with the foundation of who he was.   We many romantic encounters, however.  He was always passionate- he was the first guy to make me think about sex.  We fooled around, but never went all the way, which I have been grateful for so many times.  He was an amazing friend, but not someone I could ever see settling down with and having a family.  He was military- I didn’t want to be without my significant other.  He showered me with gifts and affection.  Diamond encrusted jewelry.  Necklaces, bracelets, a watch, flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals, romantic dinners out.  It was everything a girl could want.  We danced under the stars on the battleship we had volunteered to help restore.   We had many passionate sessions- it was overwhelming.  But I still remembered my first love and couldn’t get him out of my mind. I still yearned for him- for what I couldn’t have.  And I kept feeling there was something I was missing.  On paper, the relationship was perfect, but there was something deep that was missing. I had high expectations to be challenged intellectually and spiritually, and in that respect, there was absolutely nothing there.   After breaking up, he walked several miles in the pouring rain with a bouquet of flowers to ask me to reconsider.  He couldn’t let me go.  Years later he told me he couldn’t go to my wedding (about 5 years after we broke up) because it was too upsetting.  It broke my heart to see what I did to him, but I couldn’t bring myself to be with someone I couldn’t love with every part of me.  I still had expectations of perfection, and he wasn’t it for me.  I felt I had wronged him greatly, and regretted putting him through that- but I didn’t know how else to handle it.

Somehow in all of that break-up, I decided I needed to not date for a year.  I don’t know why I chose a year, or a time-but I felt I needed to make a promise to God and be held accountable by my church group.  I felt I had gotten into so much mess with my previous relationship that I couldn’t be trusted to date again until I had time to get my head on straight (which I guess I felt a year was enough?). How naive of me to make such a declaration.  Instead of helping, it brought me feel secure that no boys would approach me or put me in a situation where I would need to decide on a relationship.  Then enters my now ex-husband and his roommate at the time.  Roommate and I get along phenomenally.  He’s smart, cute, nerdy, and has a sexy accent.  He’s also respectful and kind- enough to understand not to put any pressure on me to be in a relationship.  Little did I know he was even interested until my roommates tell me in some child-like middle school type conversation, i.e., oooo he has a crush on you!!.  Roommate never does tell me how he feels.  An in the meantime, I’m talking up a storm to now ex-husband. He’s intellectually amazing and we have great conversations.  He’s funny, and obviously, I feel he knows I am off limits and would respect that.  He’s not even my type, I tell myself as we flirted.  I had an ideal man in my head, and he wasn’t it.  I had nothing to think about I told myself.  We went out and hung out regularly, with roommate and ex, and my roommates as well.  It was a big crazy summer.  I was being social, something my roommates had to encourage me to do.  I thought this was how it worked.  Somehow, come fall, I moved out of that apartment where the social scene was.  And ex followed, as well as roommate.   I can’t tell you what happened.  When I decided to give up my year long promise.  When I decided I was interested in ex- the broken boy who just needed love.

I remember watching anime in bed and eating ice cream.  I remember the first time- december 5th, 2003. I remember the first night we slept together- actually staying up so late talking we fell asleep sitting up.  I remember the whole church being in an uproar for dating him.  Leaving the church, my friends, everyone over such a “scandall”.  I remember so many people telling me he was untrustworthy.  And the more I heard, the more I wanted him.  He made me feel something- what I couldn’t tell you.  In the mean time, roommate is crushed.  But I will never forget visiting him in his dorm.  He insisted on carrying my heavy nursing books. I remember getting them off the top bunk and him putting his arms around me as standing behind me to get the books first- made my heart speed up really fast.  Made me think about him for a while.  But he was uncomfortably nerdy- beyond what was cute.  And I remember ex telling me that roommate had told him he thought I was “the one”.  Looking back, I wonder how ex could have in good consciousness pursued me. But that’s how he was, selfish and narcissistic.  I will always remember those strong arms around me, and wishing there was more.  Wishing for a split moment things were different- that I didn’t have to go back home and be with ex.  Wishing I could give him a chance.  But I never did.  Ex and I had a toxic relationship I could never seem to break free from.  It was like I was drugged.  I couldn’t seem to breathe without him, but being with him was killing me slowly. I experienced such depression and anxiety in ways I had never known.  In our time together we did things that should have been romantic- from the proposal in NYC, to trip to Italy, Spain, Germany, Paris— but it was never romantic.  It was frantic, frustrating, and exhausting.  I completed many bucket list items- but they were all heartless and empty.  There were good times of trying beer in the beer gartens, having cappuccinos and gelato in Italy.  But underneath it was always stressful.  I don’t remember any hot and steamy moments.  Even when dating. Everything felt forced- like there was no other option, no other ways to be happy outside of him.  It was him or nothing.  And so we married and had a child- because it was what was right.  It wasn’t always bad- but was status quo.  My ideals of what a man should be fell apart, and I found reality. I was intent on helping someone who was always in love with someone else.  I don’t know if he ever really loved me.

In the middle of dating, before marrying, I tried to break it off.  He had been in love with someone else the whole time, and I knew it.  It was his opportunity to close that door, and be with her.  It was my opportunity to get fresh air and try to escape from the hold he had on me.  In the mean time, my good friend from high school had an accident and ended up paralyzed and in the hospital for months.  I was there by his side immediately.  He was an amazing boy.  I had visited before his accident and felt chemistry, another time where I had wished I wasn’t with ex- that things could be different.  I knew he was interested in me- he had said so many times “if there was a version of you here in …., this would be perfect”.  He wanted me to move back home, something I could never imagine myself doing.  He was sweet- a boy who loved his family, loved the lord, had a similar foundation as I did.  We understood each other- he understood me and my love for music in a way no one else in this life ever has.  He was in band with me, he understood so much of what was important to me.  As soon as he was injured, there was no other place I wanted to be but by his side.  Through the chaos, I found he was even more amazing.  He was strong.  Never angry, always trusting God with his future.  Always calm.  There were so so so many times I wanted to kiss him.  So many times I wanted to be with him, but he never made any moves.  I didn’t know if he felt the same way as I did.  I had put him to the side for so long, I think he gave up on me.  I remember the last time I visited him in the hospital.  July 4th.  I remember sitting beside him looking out the window as the sun was going down.  Trying to get the courage to kiss him and tell him how I felt. But I never could.  I remember driving away as the fireworks were going off. It was a final farewell to that opportunity in my life.  I was returning back to my home, back to where ex was.  And ex persistently visited me even when I asked him to leave me alone.  He didn’t listen.  He harassed me until I gave in and returned to the previous sick relationship I had been brainwashed to follow.

Not long after I resigned myself to marrying ex.  Soon after I was pregnant.  A year later we divorced when I found he was dating someone else.  I moved out of the state.  I knew if I was going to escape the relationship I had to go far.  I knew he would hunt me down again and plead for me back if I were near.  I knew I couldn’t do it again.  I didn’t want to be in that place ever again.  I don’t know if I could have lived much longer like that.  I have never considered running away or killing myself as many times as I did when in that relationship.  It was toxic and I didn’t even see it fully at the time.

I moved close to my family.  On a dare I signed up for eharmony, and met the man of my dreams.  All of those expectations and wishes for the “perfect man” were somehow fulfilled.  After 2 dates I knew he was someone I was interested in, by the end of the week, I knew he was someone I wanted to be with forever.  I remember him in his tan knit sweater sitting on the couch and asking if I would be ok with putting our eharmony accounts on hold.  I nearly laughed because I had done that after date 2. I remember our first kiss by the front door- he was so shy- I was wondering if I would have to go first. I remember late nights sitting on the bed in my duplex listening to music, talking about any and everything.  I remember cuddling on the couch watching scrubs and better off ted. I remember BK breakfasts in the early hours.  I remember sneaking out so the kids wouldn’t know.  I remember meeting my future son at church for the first time.  I remember stealing kisses so the kids wouldn’t see.  I remember steamy kisses in the barn, being covered in spider webs and not caring.  I remember sitting at the corner of the property, staring into the distance with the strong breeze blowing and realizing he was my future.  I remember lazy Sunday afternoons lying in bed at his apartment watching the pine trees sway.  I remember feeling home at last.  After all my journies, my hopes and failed dreams- I had finally found my prince. There was chemistry, he loved God, he showed me love in sacrificing his time and energy for me.  He understood my odd quirks.  He never made fun of me, never belittled me.  He built me up, made me feel whole again, after being broken for so long.  He brought me back to life.  He still does.  He is my joy and my life.  He is my reason for being in many ways.  He is my strength and my rock.  I have never been able to be completely open, broken, and vulnerable with anyone like I have with him.  I remember experiencing deep postpartum depression and feeling trapped.  I couldn’t talk about it- I was raised to not discuss such things.  But he figured it out without me saying a word.  I remember crying in bed, and him pulling me into his arms.  Not judging me, but being there with me in my moment of weakness.   Like in what dreams may come- he would go to hell to be with me in my misery.  He offered me help, gave me the support in every way he could.  He pulled me through that.  He believes in me when I have given up on myself.  He is incredibly handsome and strong and shows me love that reflects the love of God.  He has been my knight and shining armor.  Not just in the honeymoon phase, but as a constant steady love that never fails and never ends.  I have been so incredibly blessed.  I adore him, and his family.  He was home I didn’t know I was missing and didn’t know existed until I found him.  We have been through hell and back, and there is no one else on earth I would rather do it with.  I would do it all over again to be with him.

 

So much brought me to today.  Many different opportunities.  Different treasured memories that I hope I can hold close until I die.  I look back on these memories, the good, and the bad and am so greatful for them all.

I realize this is basically a summary of the years of enteries I have had before, but wanted to get it put down tonight in this fasion.  I hope my children will find the love as I have.  I hope they will never give up on love, never give up on the perfect person for them.  I hope one day they will find it.