In the past 5 years, I’ve fallen in love and not just once, honestly over and over again, but with the same man. The same man who spent a year asking me if I wanted to meet up with him and his dog to go for a walk, the same man who kissed me before the movie even started on our first date, and the truth is, I think the fact that we fall in love all over again from time to time is the thing that keeps our relationship so strong. In honor of Valentine’s Day and appreciating the one you love, I thought I’d give you a few recent examples of moments that I had the biggest crush on the guy that’s been mine for nearly half a decade. I wrote these moments as they came, so hopefully they read like little vignettes, without feeling too disjointed!
There’s something about Christmas that makes me feel more lovey and it’s not just the mulled wine, cookies, and twinkle lights; I think maybe it has to do with the fact that the first time I ever realized my feelings for Darren was on Christmas Eve, we both closed at the job we shared, and as were about to leave he wished me a Merry Christmas and gave me the biggest hug; he hugged me so hard he lifted me off the ground, I had never felt warmer, or safer, after that, I couldn’t get him out of my head, or heart, despite the fact that we didn’t actually start dating until 6 months later, I still think of that as a moment we both probably realized what was going to happen. Darren always makes fun of me because as Christmas approaches I spend entirely too long walking down aisles of wrapping paper at Target, thoughtfully choosing each roll, as I compare it to gift bags and bows, I hold them up, picture the perfect gift all wrapped up and contemplate my “theme.” Darren generally goes for a big bag, sometimes with no tissue paper – sinful, I know, but he’s learning, you’ll see.
So, this year, as I stood in Target talking about how I wanted a very red, green, kitschy Christmas theme, he said, “What should my theme be?” I giggled, thinking he was making fun of me. I turned around and there he stood, contemplating wrapping paper. I felt like I was looking at him for the first time all over again. He held a gold and silver paper. The days leading up to Christmas, he sent me pictures of my ever-growing gift pile and kept asking how his theme looked. I can’t explain why this made me feel so in love, but honestly, to see him put so much consideration into something that likely is only important to me, was just so sweet.
I thought Darren would be absolutely horrified to learn I had found a grey hair; I felt terribly self-conscious in telling him and intently looked at his face waiting to read it, but instead he looked at me tenderly, smiling and said, “Is it from me?” Butterflies. The man of my dreams didn’t run away at the fact that I’m aging, no he made a joke about it instead. I don’t know why it surprised me, or made me feel so adored, after all I find all six of his grey hairs to be just about the most endearing thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, but swoon. He loves me, even if I’m grey, or blue, or whatever, he just does.
The other day, I showed up at Darren’s, only for him to say “I got something for you.” He looked boyish and charming as he pulled out a little bag. Darren, as of late, has been picking up little things that make him think of me, it started with some bottle brush trees he spotted at Target that he thought looked like me, and then a bracelet. I opened the bag, and a little medallion on a leather strap with the word “STRENGTH” sat in my hand. I felt mushy. I looked at him, “Are you trying to give me more strength?” I asked. “No,” he said. “I wanted to remind you that you are strong.” I had tears in my eyes. For those who don’t know me, my biggest fear is that I’m not strong enough, not strong enough to handle my life in its current state and the person I love reminding me that I am was exactly what I needed.
When I told Darren all I wanted for my birthday was to go see The Color Factory in NYC, he looked at me and said, “Can we get drinks before we go?” The last museum we went to was the least fun thing to ever happen, so I agreed. Ironically, it was everything I expected and more and we had an absolute blast, but oddly, something romantic happened somewhere between the rainbow room and the giant ball pit. Darren and I were forced to split up, “Each person go through a separate door,” they told us. When we found each other again we were sat across from each other with headphones on listening to a voice tell us our instructions with paper and pencils in front of us. First, we were told to pick colors to represent the person across from us, their eyes, their skin, their lips, their hair, and then we picked colors for what they were wearing, and last we picked what we thought was their favorite color, a color for their mood, and what we thought was the color of their favorite food. There was something oddly romantic about not just noticing that Darren has blue eyes, which I know and love, but picking exactly which of the five blues most represented his blue. At the very end we were told to pick a compliment card to hold up to the glass wall that separated us, Darren looked carefully and weighed two cards in his hands before choosing, “I would climb Mount Everest for you.” I felt so adored. I have the card in my wallet now, just in case I need a reminder that I happen to love a man who would do just about anything for me.