Monday, February 14, 2011

The Never-Ending (We Hope) Story

So, in honor of Valentine's Day I thought I would share the story of Sean and I. For those of you who only read to hear about Aiden you may want to check back tomorrow because this story has little to do with him. Well, sometimes it has everything to do with him. It suppose it depends...

Anyway, here is a photo of Sean and I at age 18. We actually met at 17 but I don't have those pictures on the computer. (And we still look exactly the same).

We were both taking a psychology class. I had researched it thoroughly and decided it sounded like a perfect introduction to my future college major. He just had time to kill.

Fate would have it that the seating was alphabetical in this class, placing Sean directly behind me (a big thank you to our ancestors for carrying the family names to America and allowing for our serendipitous meeting). At first I ignored him because he talked NONSTOP. To anyone. To everyone. Sometimes he would poke me in the back and try to talk to me. I'd lend him a pen. He'd share his notes with me. Very romantic stuff.

Soon we were assigned a group project together. We started to talk and I discovered that beyond the sophomoric sense of humor and jock attitude and constant chatter he was...nice. Like really, really nice. Oh, and smart. Very very smart. And also? Everyone loved him.

I had grown up two blocks away from him, going to the same elementary, middle and high schools and often having the same friends and I had never met him! But everyone else had. He was friends with all of the guys on the sports teams. He was friends with all of the nerdy kids. Teachers would stop him in the halls just to make conversation about skiing or tennis or concerts. He scared off bullies who picked on smaller kids. Unfortunately he also thought I was 14 and a freshman. I finally set him straight on that point and he asked me out.

Then came Prom-gate. He went on and on about how since he was a senior he wouldn't be going to Prom (we only had a junior prom). So I asked him to go with me (I was so brave, right?). He got very shifty and uncomfortable and laughed it off, telling me to ask him again in a month or so. To my seventeen year old heart that was a definite NO THANK YOU CRAZY GIRL. To him, he actually meant for me to ask him again in case we had broken up or someone in my own grade needed a date or whatever. A month, and then two, went by and I'd rustled up a different date and someone else in my grade asked him anyway, AND HE SAID YES. This should have been grounds for immediate dismissal as a boyfriend/friend and yet? We kind of just went with it. Well, we still argue to this day about whether I should have asked him again or whether he should've just said yes in the first place. But it's all good natured. Mostly.

We started dating pretty casually. He was a senior, I was a junior, he was leaving for college eventually and we figured things would run their course and we'd probably break up before the fall. However, things started to get complicated because the more I got to know him the more I kept thinking about what a fantastic husband he'd make. Like, I could spend my WHOLE LIFE with this guy because he was perfect. Normally it would be wonderful to know you'd met such an amazing person, however, I was 17 and that kind of thought was downright scary. You see, I had a pretty tight ten year plan and meeting my future husband at 17 was definitely not on it. I would meet my future husband in grad school maybe. Or at the law firm or private practice I'd be working at in my late 20's. So naturally, I couldn't let myself fall head over heels for Sean.

So we broke up. And then we got back together. And then we broke up. And then got back together. Each time initiated by me regrettably. But there were my plans! And...and...people don't marry their high school sweethearts except in country songs and romance novels. Right?

Sean was entirely baffled. I didn't want to let on, but so was I. I really really loved him and I couldn't imagine dating him and falling that hard only to break up eventually. Because I was certain that would happen. Again, people don't marry their high school sweethearts. That's just not something that level headed people with lots of plans do. So, in a move that makes no sense whatever, I'd break up with him to spare myself future heartbreak. Except that I'd be really heartbroken and so would he and it would rain all the time and the flowers would all droop and all the colors in the world would turn gray. Okay, so I exaggerate, but you get the idea.

So there were three or so years of mostly blissful dating with this occasional on again off again and back on again nonsense... and enter scene: Aiden! And let me tell you, Aiden was NOT in the plan. This was obviously a point where we had to stop and really look at ourselves and what on earth we were going to do about the future. Each stepping stone towards my goals that I thought would be neatly laid out one in front of the other were suddenly all rearranged. Everything was up in the air but we took a leap of faith and headed forward. Initially I resisted the whole getting married thing. We needed to simply see how we handled having a baby before marriage would come into play.

Both Sean and I know what it's like to have divorced parents and we knew that was not something we wanted our own child to deal with. We both realized that what was waiting for us on the other side of pregnancy would stretch us to the limit. Trying to figure out marriage wasn't something I could do just then simply because we took marriage very seriously. Ours would not be some shotgun event we plunged into for appearances. Ours would be something we discussed and considered and stepped into when we were fully ready to take it on. Having one major, life altering event unfolding before us was enough. So we waited. And honestly, I'm glad.

The intensity of dealing with a newborn, school and work was mind blowing. Everyday was like running a marathon. There were days were I felt like I couldn't do it. It was too much. That was when Sean would step in and take over. Like a life ring in the middle of raging ocean tide, the love he had for Aiden and for me was the most achingly beautiful thing I'd ever witnessed. It became very clear to me that we'd be together forever. Someone who would stick by me everyday through late night exhaustion and hormonal outbursts and empty bank accounts was all I could ever ask for. There was this greater love and commitment there that I hadn't been able to see before but was abundantly clear to me now. Suddenly it didn't matter about how old we were or what huge obstacles we were hurdling or even what was in the stupid plan. This was happening now. He was here right now. He could have been anywhere else and yet he was changing diapers and coaching me through my computer class and gladly eating my overcooked chicken dinners.

Still, we waited until he had graduated before having a wedding. In the meantime we moved to NYC and shared a crushingly expensive apartment in a trendy part of town where we knew no one. I set the very sensitive smoke alarm off every few days with my sauteing on the stove. We watched Seinfeld reruns at night and listened to the nonstop sirens. We explored the park and met lots of children and their nannies and learned to love food out of a truck on the street. We learned more about each other and what it takes to get along together, alone.

And then in December 2009 we finally said our vows in front of our parents and friends. Embarrassingly, I sobbed through mine and worried about my nose running when we finally got to kiss. I didn't worry about whether or not this was the right thing to be doing. We'd had a trial by fire. The 'worse' of 'for better or for worse' had come already. I have faith that when we face trying times again we'll remember how much stronger we are when we lean on each other.

And now? We're busy living the rest of our lives together.

So lesson one: when you find a good guy, just be happy and hang on to him. Lesson two: "Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans". The story of my life.

Still, we think it's gonna be a happily ever after. We're obviously made for each other.


LauraES said...

I know it's Valentines Day and this is the story of you and Sean, but I feel like you're severely overlooking the crucial role I played.

Demosthenes said...

And me! Oh, wait...

But seriously - totally cute and awesome.

Tierney said...

I feel like I came in as one of the people you were friends with that knew Sean when you didn't, otherwise, I'm a completely non-crucial role too.

Oh well, you too are adorable! :-)

Vicki said...

I cried after I read it.

Rob V. said...

That was wonderful! I stumbled onto your blog Googling "snuggle bunny" sitting here, bored at work thinking about my ex (of 10 years) and how I told her the other day that that is all I want from her, well and to enjoy her cooking again, too. You see, by necessity ($$) we are being thrust together again, and I'd like to think I've learned some things over the years. Your story is truly inspirational.
Please don't misunderstand me, this isn't about sex, it is about having a partner in life, and keeping each other warm is a grand part of it.
We all seem to have invisible forces guiding us.