Sometimes I stare at him when he doesn’t even notice. I examine every detail of his rugged face. A face that speaks a thousand words. Or maybe a million. A face that shows a life well lived. And so much of life yet to live.
Sometimes, he is so handsome and sexy that I just want to ravenously love him all up. I wonder how I could be so lucky.
And then there are the days that are more ordinary. More real. The days when he looks too serious. When he looks tired. Days when I wonder what he is thinking. Some of those days, I already know. It could be that one of his business opportunities fell through. He might be disappointed about the loss of a potential profit. Or maybe he had one of those stressful conversations that we sometimes have with our exes about kids. Because, let’s face it. Being a parent is not always wonderful. Co-parenting can make it even worse.
From the kitchen table where I am studying or writing, I often watch him in the kitchen. He cooks dinner more than I do. He does it because he enjoys cooking more than I do. He also does it because he loves me. He knows when I am too busy to do it, so he just does it. I see him grooving with the music. Or sometimes he sings along with the music playing on the Alexa device that hangs on the wall. I adore that more than he knows. I watch him cutting the vegetables. I peek over my laptop to look at how messy he can be at the stove. His messiness in the kitchen has oddly become endearing. I smile.
I wonder sometimes, how I got so lucky. That he came into my life at exactly the right time.
While I am at the sink doing dishes, I secretly watch as he plays with our cat. His eyes twinkle when he smiles at her. He runs around dangling her toys in front of her and drags them across the floor to chase. Then he picks her up to give her that affectionate squeeze that makes her squeak in irritation. Just thinking about this makes me giggle.
Before we got the cat, he helped me take care of my sweet old dog. I had to put her down earlier this year. And he was right there next to me. She was almost thirteen and had been sick for a while. He supported me through one of the hardest things that has to be done in life sometimes. He held me when I cried. As much as I needed to.
When you find a love like this, you hold on tight. You try harder. To be a better partner. To not carelessly let go. To be less selfish. To be true to yourself. The best version of yourself. You realize that you are so lucky.
He was patient while I grieved my loss. Loss of half of my life spent going the wrong direction. He helped me heal my lifelong wounds into scars. And find the me who had been hiding behind the shadows of everyone else.
Not everyone gets a chance to start over. Not with love. Or a career. Or even a chance at rediscovering themselves. But I got all three. And I wonder sometimes, how I got so lucky.
Maybe it is because we all truly deserve happiness. But we don’t all know what happiness is. Because happiness can be disguised sometimes. Painful. Brutal. Intangible. Blinding. Messy.
But when we figure it out, sometimes there isn’t as much time left as we once had. We certainly aren’t old. But we won’t ever have 50 years like our parents have had. Still, we are older. Wiser. And so we know. A love like this doesn’t come around often. And we hold on tight. And try harder.
We wonder about the future. We wonder how much time we will have together. To make up for those years lost. Lost going the wrong direction. And we realize that time is fleeting. That we don’t really know what’s next. We don’t know how much time that we have.
And we might worry. Think about the what ifs and what nots. Because we don’t know when our time will expire. We don’t know if we have done all the things we are supposed to do. Or if we will even get to do them.
It’s like in the lyrics of one of my favorite songs, “Awake,” by Josh Groban. He sings, “give me more time, to feel this way.” I think about all the things I didn’t feel before. I think of all the things I feel so much now. It’s scary to be vulnerable sometimes.
So for now, see what is in front of you. Realize that you can’t control everything. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is forever. Something life changing can happen in an instant. Control what you can. And be the best you that you can. Always.
Life after divorce has taught me much. If I can learn, so can you. If I can start over, so can you. If my kids can grow from this, so can yours. If I could open my eyes to rewrite my chapter, so can you.