This is a very, very personal post. One my husband might or might not want to read. I mean, I'd like for him to stick with it for the eventual outcome, but the beginning might be difficult. In any case, here goes...
I was in love with a boy once about 8 years ago. No, 9...I can't remember exactly. It was long enough ago that sometimes things that happened pre-him seem closer in my memory. Anyway, we'll call him Michael because today's The Office desk calendar quote comes from another Michael. Michael lived six hours away, and I met him through one of my very best friends, who is still a good friend. They went to high school together and kept in touch, and one night I was hanging at her place and she happened to be on the phone with him. She had to pee, put me on the phone with him, and the next 11 months were history.
Our relationship was normally intense for people in their early 20's. I would go visit, we would play house, and everything just felt symbiotically right. We enjoyed each other's company. We read literature and the newspaper on the porch in the morning and went out to drink beer and play pool at night. The weekend would end, I would come home, I would miss him, I would always wonder whether he missed me as much. This went on for about 9 months, during which time I gradually began to feel like maybe he wasn't as emotionally invested as I was. Michael was a very outgoing yet private person. Everything needed to be face-value with him...there were no hidden agendas, there was no secret meaning to his words. Although my husband cringes when I say this, he was probably one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. In retrospect, I felt very threatened by that and probably never really let myself be myself with Michael. I always wanted to impress him, and that's not necessarily what he wanted.
Looking back, I was probably just smart enough for Michael. He didn't mind laughing with me if I made a dumb statement, as long as I was willing to laugh at myself. That's part of what I have with my husband that some of my previous relationships were missing: that feeling that no matter what I do in front of him, I can laugh it off or cry on his shoulder. That's the experience that a 30-something has that 20-somethings are often missing. No more embarrassment when I forget how to convert cups to ounces or can't remember if Ed McMahon is dead or not. But ten years ago, that side of me was missing. If I made a mistake, one of two things happened: I got embarrassed, sensitive, and withdrawn, or I got haughty and defensive. (OK, honesty check: I still sometimes do those things, but not nearly as often and I'd like to think I get over them more quickly.)
Rgeardless, as much as I desperately wanted the relationship to work out, I guess God had other plans. I was second in Michael's life to one thing, and that was his career. He was very, very proud of where he had gotten, and made it very clear that while he cared for me, I was not his priority. Looking back with the perspective of an older woman, I realize that that's OK. He was 24. What 24 year old is thinking about his long-distance girlfriend more than his perfect-fit, lucrative job? But as a 22 year old in near-idolitrous love, it hurt to know that I would never be more than second in this man's life. So when Michael moved to California for work and did not entertain the idea of me moving with him (because believe me, I did entertain it whether I was honest about that or not), I stayed home. I stayed home and cried every night to my best friend and his roommate, searching for an outlet for that pain and hurt.
And in the end, it all turned out just as it should have. Because that roommate that was there every night I visited my friend to talk/drown/cry away my pain? That is the man that became my husband. The father of my wonderful, beautiful, intelligent child. My partner in life, my lawn boy, my other half. Equally intelligent as I am in the most complimentary ways and able to make me laugh more than anyone I've ever known.
So thank you Michael, for not asking me to move in with you. For not putting me first. For breaking my heart. For making me recognize the parts of myself that needed a different kind of fulfillment than you could ever provide. That's exactly what you were supposed to do all along.
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