Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Best Version of Love

Valentine's Day has me thinking...I remember what "grade school love" was like... do you? Your first crush? When you'd see that kid in your class who made you blush a little, and you'd get all tongue tied and self conscious? And then you'd see that person do something unappealing (like eating pencil erasers) and the butterflies would float right out the window. Um, next!

Or high school love, where if you had a boyfriend or girlfriend, the relationship became part of your identity. Though if you secretly "liked" someone and word got out, it could be humiliating. (Why did we subject ourselves to it, anyway?)

I remember liking a boy in marching band and my good friend, Kecia, volunteering to "talk to him" for me, because they were on friendly terms and she thought it would help my cause if he knew I was interested.

Kecia came back to tell me that he said that he planned to ask out the majorette, but that if she said no, he'd consider asking me out.

While I'm still no Champion of Self Esteem, it was in that moment that a small bloom began to form on that thorny tree that I now call a personality... I asked Kecia to tell the guy to forget it.

When Steinvic and I met, the timing may not have been ideal...or maybe it was perfect. We were both walking (rapidly) away from faulty relationships. Mine was horrifying and his...well, I won't speak for him. But I think it was hard to have his life (and his son's life) change pretty dramatically and quickly. So, we were both in strange places. We found each other and hung on, mostly laughing, enjoying our new friendship and feeling fortunate, sometimes crying while sorting through it (okay, okay...I'm the crier, not Steinvic!), but knowing all the while that we had something solid and good and most importantly, honest.

Living in different cities isn't always easy - there are little things I miss, like the occasional informal get together with friends or family during the work week. And big things, like curling up next to him before I drift off to sleep. But living apart has allowed us to get to know each other gradually and become best friends. And to really appreciate each other. In retrospect, that was probably best, considering everything.

So now, love seems to be a combination of the varieties of love I remember from long ago, and more. I still get a grade school, fluttery stomach when I see Steinvic walking toward me. Different, though, because now, if I learned that he eats pencil erasers, I'd probably think, "Ugh!" but then go look up the best pencil eraser recipes I could find. Because, you know...that is what you do when you love someone.

And it's kind of like high school love, too, because having Steinvic in my life is definitely part of my identity. But different than high school love, because it's deep and I'm proud - everyone in a 50 mile radius knows how I feel about Steinvic.

But the biggest difference between this love and those past versions of love is that this love is wise. I recognize the amazing good in Steinvic as a person, appreciate his patience, cherish the fact that our relationship is in no way boring but also isn't full of drama and angst. We have fun , plenty in common, and enjoy future planning and sharing, all with no fear that either of us going to eventually be hurt. If we argue - surprise - we're still there for each other the next day and we just move on. He puts up with my quirks, which probably makes him eligible for sainthood. We support each other and rush to each other with good news and confide in each other over bad news, and we both listen intently...such a treasure! (Did I mention that he is absolutely gorgeous?!)

Here is to Valentine's Day, and really any day, when we can take some time to think about where we've been, what we have, and all the things we can look forward to...

No comments: