When I was young, I thought I wanted someone to sweep me off my feet. I wanted someone who, on a whim would knock my door, and said “hey, let’s hit the road and go to Chicago.”
I thought I wanted someone who then would proceed to drive the five hours throughout the plain field of Illinois, while putting on Ella Fitzgerald and Lisa Ekdahl. We would sing along and hold hands, I would whimsically look out of the window into the darkness of the cool Midwestern summer night, and we would grin ear to ear as the skyline of Chitown comes creeping up.
I would then proclaim with all the enthusiasm I can muster, “We’re here!”
I thought I wanted someone who would take me by the hands and stroll leisurely through Millenium Park. I thought I wanted someone who would want to take a picture with me with a Navy Pier sunset on the background.
When I was young, I thought I wanted someone with a face that is so beautiful that everything else pales in comparison. I thought I wanted someone who always plays hard to get, someone who thinks I’m physically attractive.
When I was young, I thought I wanted someone to dance the night away with to the tunes of Kanye, or Jay Z, or Beyonce. I wanted someone to carry me on his back after one too many cocktails.
When I was young, I thought I wanted someone to sit beside me on my thoughtful nights in my patio, listening to all my nonsense, agreeing with me that the world is crazy and things just don’t make sense.
When I was young I wanted adrenaline. I wanted excitement.
When I was young, I wanted a little bit of danger.
But you are truly one of a kind.
When I disappointed you, you sat calmly on your recliner. You inhaled your cigarette, sighing deeply. You explained things to me, one by one. You presented solution.
When I felt like my world was crumbling, when depression gripped me tightly, you stayed there.
When I was very, very hard to love you managed to still do.
When the baby wouldn’t latch on to my breasts on his first night alive, and out of hormonal imbalance and frustration I nearly lost my shit, you remained calm, humming softly to his ears, and said, “It’s okay, we have to teach you and Mommy how to do this thing. It’s okay, baby.”
When we were first home from the hospital, and the baby wouldn’t stop screaming, you took him softly from his bassinet, took off your shirt, and laid him down on your bare chest. “They like to listen to your heartbeat,” you said.
And he stopped crying.
At eight days old, you came home from night school, put the baby on his belly, and told him , “alright, show me what you can do.”
That is my favorite story of you from the baby’s early days. I always smile when I remember that day.
When my grandmother was sick, you told me to take the kid and fly home. “You don’t want to regret anything,” you said. I said, ”it is very expensive to fly home, do you understand that? My home country is thousands of miles away.”
You stood by your belief. “She is very important to you. Everything else can wait.”
Five months after I left the Motherland, my grandmother passed away. Before she died, she told her trusted housekeeper, “It’s okay if my granddaughter can’t make it to my funeral. I’ve seen her again. I’ve seen my great-grandson.”
You always knew these things. Somehow you always knew.
At the brink of my reoccurring depression, when I would wake up and ask my purpose in life, you told me to pick a 5 kilometers race to run, and that we would do it.
It’s hard to imagine not having running in my life now.
When I would fall off my living healthy bandwagon, you would remind me. Not always in the way I like it, but you always do. “We will get healthy together,” you said. “So we can live longer?” I asked.
“So we can live longer.”
Somehow, you are not my idea of what I wanted all those years ago. You are safe, you are secure, you are the farthest thing from reckless, you are a planner, you thrive on predictability.
You are a rock and my strength. You are what I never knew I wanted. You are just what I want and what I need. Loving you isn’t an easy task, but I took it in hands. I never gave up on it, though oftentimes I am tempted.
You are the person with whom I was meant to share my lifetime.
And boy, oh boy, am I glad that you are.