Six years ago I'd had enough curve balls. I was grieving the loss of a child for nearly 2 years. I was in the middle of a contentious divorce. I was desperately trying to be a single mother who did right by her boys who were also working through their second crisis in as many years with me. I was trying to figure out how to juggle single parenting and getting back into the work force after 8 years as a SAHM. The LAST thing I wanted or needed was a man in my life. I made that abundantly clear. I got a kitten, instead.
Except life threw him in my path a few months earlier and it was so painfully clear we were meant to be together I was befuddled. I was in no frame of mind to date, let alone consider a serious relationship. I did not want it. I couldn't figure out where I would find the time. Who would want a grieving divorcee with two young boys anyway? I had some serious baggage! Damn Universe...
Six years ago this very night, I was on a first date. I didn't realize it was a real date at first. We had spent a few months emailing and became fast friends. He had a girlfriend he had broken up with literally 3 days earlier. He had interest in another, much younger, woman with none of the crazy baggage I had and she had an interest in him. Besides, it had been made abundantly clear to me he never wanted to marry or have children so why he was even interested was a subject of much discussion among those who knew him. We had gotten together a few times previously to talk, at first in a group, then twice just us. It was clear there was a connection but it was not the time or place to act on it. I honestly had planned to tell him we should probably stop seeing each other for these non-date dates that night.
Then, that third non-date, date, became a real date. Right before my disbelieving eyes! We had dinner at Chili's. We talked, mostly about that other woman he was interested in. I advised him to date her. We came back to my house. We talked for a long time. The energetic connection was palpable. We really needed no words when it came to our relationship with each other. Our hands did this 'thing' where we just wove our fingers around each other's. It conveyed more than words could say. Eventually we looked into each other's eyes. We kissed. Game. Over.
Fast forward to two years of serious work on our 'baggage' later, I introduced the boys to him. Yep. Two years. You just need to be sure about certain things. If he was going to seriously date me, he needed to be able to be present in the lives of my boys and they needed to approve of him and like him, without being prompted to do so. They loved him. He learned a lot about kids. :-) He proposed a year later.
I married him in September of this year. He has a wife AND kids now! I have my second husband and my true soul mate. He's a great step-dad and an amazing husband. I am blessed. Neither of our heads have exploded and the world has not ended! Go figure!
It's been a 6 year journey. One of both of us learning and growing in ways necessary for our relationship to work. It wasn't easy. We both had demons to dance with and conquer before we could move forward. There were many opportunities to walk away and avoid the work. It was tempting. For both of us. We stuck it out instead. Because somewhere, deep in both of us, was a knowing that we needed to. We really were meant to walk together. We both recognized we were far better together than we ever would be apart. It gets us over the bumps.
Despite the fact we both once said 'never', we were able to let go of our preconceived notions, learn from the mistakes of our past and move forward. It was hard work. It was laughter and tears. It still is! It's a journey, we're still on it and we know the work is not done. It will never be done. We accepted the challenge and now learn and grow together.
It was because we got out of our heads and listened and felt with our hearts. We felt the energy between us, the recognition of something that was familiar and begged to be followed. We accepted ourselves and each other for who we are. We recognize we are human. We make mistakes. We are not perfect. We love. Completely. Wholly. Unconditionally.
Some say anniversaries are 'Hallmark' events. A way to mark important events in your life. Dating anniversaries get a lot of flack as lesser anniversaries. For me, it's more than just a dating anniversary. It's a life-changing anniversary. It's the day I first listened to my heart over what my head was saying. It helped me to look at my life through new eyes and gave me a different perspective.
So yeah, on one hand, it was a first date at Chili's with this guy who thought I was hot, but had no intention of seriously dating me, nor I him. On the other hand, it was a huge turning point in both of our lives on many levels.
Maybe we should pay more attention to the significant days in our lives. The lesson is not in the story of dating games. It's in going with the flow. Listening to your heart, your intuition. It's about feeling, really feeling. It's about being in the present moment, learning from and letting go of the past and pre-conceived notions. It's about not having expectations. It's about trust. It's about being non-judgmental. Being willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Being yourself. Being real. Baring your soul and open your eyes, your mind and your heart.
It's all about love. Hmmm. Seems to be a theme of mine, doesn't it? ;-) I wish it for everyone.
Happy Dating Anniversary, Joe! The past six years have been quite the ride. I look forward to many, many more sets of six with you!