I’ve started planning my boyfriend’s birthday this coming November. It’s a big one for him—he’s turning 40.
I, on the other hand, am on my 54th year around the sun.
We’ve been together a little over a year. We met. We became friends. His marriage ended. He asked me out on a date. I said, no. He asked again. I said, okay. We fell in love. We moved in together last month.
We both have boys. Mine is 31. His are ages two and four. Mine lives one state away. His live with us 50 percent of the time.
When my 20-year marriage ended five years ago, I was a wreck for quite some time. And then I wasn’t. The two years leading up to meeting my boyfriend were carefree and happy. I had my own little space and my own little life. I was learning to be alone after a long time, and I was enjoying myself with a wonderful circle of friends.
And then this guy happened. This guy who was his own sort of mess with a marriage falling apart, the loss of a home and trying to balance work and caring for two toddlers.
All of that made me pause. I had to think about where this path would take me, but it wasn’t a red flag. It wasn’t a struggle to decide. There was not going to be a boat to miss.
And now I’m folding laundry daily and cleaning dried yogurt off the dining room chairs. I’m cleaning fingerprints off every surface of the house and smelling little boy farts. I’m buying milk by the gallon and planning my life around the schedule of two adorable tow-headed boys who I’ve fallen in love with, who think the world revolves around them. And it does. And it should.
Why does this work for me?
It works because you can’t write your own story. Your story unfolds in ways that you would never expect. I knew in my gut that I would find love again. Could I have predicted it would have been this guy?
Not in a million years.
So, what do you do? You go with it. You step right into it. You close your eyes and jump.
You trust your heart without knowing what is forever because you are not going to miss any of this at the risk of it not working.
It’s worth the risk. You can’t live life to the fullest by always playing it safe.
I think of what I would be missing if I’d listened to my head too much, or to others who might object because of the age difference, or because it’s too soon for him to be in a relationship, or whatever.
What would I be missing?
I’d miss our late night talks. I’d miss laughing to tears. I’d miss hearing him read bedtime stories to his boys in different voices every night. I’d miss little boy kisses goodnight. I’d miss handwritten cards for no occasions. I’d miss his huevos rancheros. I’d miss toddler dance parties. I’d miss the best foot rubs since my dad’s. I’d miss him crying on my shoulder one night and then throwing me over his the next. I’d miss his touch, his affection, his love.
Don’t miss the boat.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Holly Horne/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo Credit: Bridget Piazza