As soon as I heard my first love story, I started looking for you.

A few months ago, I had a dream that I married my ex-boyfriend.

We had two girls, and I was teaching school. He worked at an engineering job and we lived just outside of our hometown. In my dream, I went and picked the girls up from school and then they sat at the kitchen table and we listened to music while they did their homework and I got dinner started. Then he came home and we ate dinner, and then all four of us romped around the house for an hour.

Then he helped me with bath time and we each had our own bedtime ritual for each of the girls. And then we went to our own room, fell into each others arms, and fell asleep. Our home was beautiful. Our life was very efficient, very manageable. There were flowers on my table, for God’s sake.

As soon as my eyes closed in my dream, they slammed open in real life. I was totally panicking.

I turned over on my huge, pregnant belly, clawing through the covers to make sure– make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN– that I had married the right man– that my manageable, perfect, happy little dream was just a nightmare.

Phew.

Typically this is where I would say something really touching and mushy about the nature of love. One of my friends gave me the best compliments of my entire life last year when he asked me to officiate at his wedding because he wanted someone who knew a lot about love and had thought about it a lot.

Thought about it a lot, I have. Know a lot about it, not so much.

Everyday I learn more about what being in love really means, and what being loved back really means. I used to say all the time that love is not a choice, and that might be true when it comes to falling in love… but staying in love? That’s a choice. That’s an active, conscious choice that we make every day.

Some days are easier than others. Like the day that Mitch did all the laundry and folded it all and then started dinner for me before I got home. So, super easy to love him then. But then there was the time that I came home and he had been watching reruns of Hulu ALL DAY when I had asked him to please put a load of dress clothes in for me because I had some big fancy thing that we both had to be at in an hour and he wasn’t even showered or shaved, and had no idea where his clothes were, let alone MY clothes…. those days are harder. And there are harder days than that. And harder days than that.

I used to treat the good days like they were monkey-bars. Like I was just swinging from one good day to the next, grasping for a firm grip on the next one, keeping the next one after that in mind while my body dangled precariously over the chaos of the bad days. I don’t do that anymore, and not because there were just so many good days that I didn’t need to do it anymore. Now, instead of holding on to the good days, I just hold on to my husband. The good and the bad. For better or for worse.

I’m pretty big into fate. I’m a pretty big proponent of the belief that there is a Master Plan and that the Master Engineer holds the blueprints. Sometimes, I think, God lets us have a little glimpse of that plan, in those moments when we are most happy and things just seem to make the most sense.

I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. But what I know about my life is that the morning after our wedding, when I woke up I was filled with this feeling of….. “Oooooooooooooooooooh! So THAT’S what THAT was all about!”

You know. Like that crappy country song. God bless the broken road……

Rascall Flatts is SO crappy. If you’re going to learn lessons from country music, learn them from Johnny Cash. Save my love for loneliness, save my love for sorrows. I’ve given you my only-ness, give me your tomorrows.

I’m not much of a poet. Way to Scandinavian for that much emotional display. Especially before I’ve had anything to drink.

But the light in Mitch’s eyes means so much more to me than any tragedy, any mistake, any awful circumstance I went through while I was waiting to meet him. And when something tragic happens to me now, and he says, “It’s okay. We’ll get through it together.” I believe him. And that’s worth my only-ness…. and my tomorrows.

And the light in MAREN’S eyes? Don’t even get me started on that.
Happy Birthday, Bunny. And many, many more.

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