full heart/full circle

When my husband and I began to date,
we shared an instant connection.
It was different,
it was special,
it was every cliche in the book
and more.
3 weeks after our first date,
after a fun night out with his friends,
we walked down the street,
the Art Museum to our right,
holding hands
and talking about,
I wish I could remember exactly how the conversation went,
but I think it was something like this:
“So, I really like you.”
“I really like you too.”
“I feel like you’re my boyfriend.”
“I feel like you’re my girlfriend.”
“So are we?”
“We are.”
And so
we were.
The next morning, when I awoke,
my very first thought was
“I love him.”
It slammed into me like a train.
I did not, however, profess my love for him right then.
I did, however, bite my tongue, nearly every time I saw him after that, in order to avoid spilling a bit, fat “I love you” all over him,
a) I was ready and b) he said it to me first.
Yes, a week later I squeezed his hand three times,
willing him to read my mind and the signal I was sending to him.
He squeezed my hand back four times,
But, it was only a coincidence.
A month later, I traced the words on his back.
I drew hearts.
I wrote
over and over
sprawling like graffiti
but he just smiled,
rolled towards me
and kissed my forehead.
A gesture of love,
but, I needed to hear the words.
I expected him to tell me he loved me when I came to his front door, toting homemade brownies and the King Kong DVD.
I did not hear it that night.
I expected him to tell me he loved me over extra large Margaritas, as we sat on his back porch that Cinco de Mayo, reminiscing about high school with all of his best friends, who had known me way back when.
I did not hear it that night.
I expected him to tell me on our weekend in the Poconos, when we hid under the covers and whispered our deepest secrets to one another, as the lake sang to us from outside the bedroom window.
I did not hear it that night,
nor any other time that special weekend.
I did not, in fact,
expect to hear it when I heard it.
It was during our first fight.
We had a horrible, gut-wrenching blow-out of a fight that June,
about 10 weeks into our relationship,
which, looking back on it, was really about nothing.
Nothing worth mentioning.
Nothing but my own childish insecurities,
and fear.
I loved him and I was scared.
And it was during that argument,
as I sat on the floor of his bedroom sobbing,
wondering how and why these tears could be coming out of the best thing that had ever happened to me,
when he screamed,
“But I’m in love with you.”
And then,
everything changed.
That was the night that our relationship detoured,
and became much more
than it had been before.
He had seen me at my worst,
and therefore,
deserved me at my best.
On that June night, I did not know that this man,
this man whom I loved so much that it hurt,
would be proposing to me just six months later.
I did not know that we would face many more tear-filled fights together,
and many more nights whispering under the covers,
and many more days of laughter and pain and hope and despair and joy.
But, I did know that hearing that he loved me as much as I loved him
was all that I needed to know.
The very next day,
being young
and being in love,
we decided that we would use the opportunity to profess our adoration for one another in the most spectacular way possible, by celebrating Valentine’s Day.
In June.
What can I say?
We’ve always been a bit out of the box.
And so, we spent the next evening eating chocolates,
drinking champagne,
reading cards
and exchanging gifts.
I got him a wallet.
It was a grown up gift.
It was a grown up relationship.
I was growing up.
He got me a beautiful scarf,
so special and unique and thoughtful and perfect and me.
It looks a little like this.

Beautiful, right?
And I wore it almost every day that summer–in my hair, around my wrist, around my neck–and it was my constant reminder that, even through the tough stuff,
we were anchored together,
even by a small piece of Pucci.
So, with Valentines Day around the corner, I can’t help but to think of the first day-o’-love we spent together,
back in June,
back when we were babies,
back when love was so new that it felt effervescent on my tongue.
I loved him.
I still do.
That Valentine’s day,
many years ago,
I didn’t know that he would be the man I would marry.
I didn’t know that we would grow the most magical, amazing, beautiful, precious baby together.
I didn’t know that on Superbowl Sunday, I would dress the baby in a pair of too-big tie-dye skinny jeans,
and use my special Valentine’s Day scarf as a belt for her,
as it fit perfectly around her tiny little waist.
But, I do know that he loves me as much as I love him,
and that is
all that I need
to know.


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