November 16, 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the day I met my husband. It was a chance meeting. Neither of us was planning to be at the place we met on that particular day. I was standing in line to use the washroom. He was chatting on a payphone (remember those days?). It sounds ridiculous, but our eyes met. And just like that, my life was forever changed.
When we met, I was already mama to a beautiful boy. He and I opened our circle to include one more in our tiny family. Then one wedding and a few years later, we added a daughter into the lovely mix and a year after that, another one. Bliss. This was everything I had ever wanted.
Twenty years later, I’m still very grateful for that random meeting because the result has become the the epicentre of every single thing I value and love. But like anything worth cherishing for a lifetime, it’s complex and exquisite with parts that are breathtaking, parts that are bruised and parts that are yet to be discovered.
This love of ours has been an adventure from the very beginning and it’s certainly never been boring. We’ve made our way along epic pathways, overcoming obstacles, slaying the occasional dragon and high-five-ing when we’ve arrived at success points. All relationships are multifaceted, no matter how they happen to begin. Ours is woven through with golden moments, complex threads from the lives that came before our meeting and also many everyday ‘what is your problem?’ irritations that do their best to chip away at what’s good. There has been much joy and there has been darkness, loss and debilitating stress. There have been huge wins and also heartbreaking wakeup calls urging us both to do things differently as partners, as parents and as people.
In a weird way, I’m as grateful for the challenges as I am for the gold. They’ve led to many defining moments in my life with my husband. Like Joseph Campbell said, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.” For whatever reasons, the two of us don’t live life skimming the surface, which is too bad, because it looks so peaceful. Nope, we ‘go there’ to the deep, messy, raw and precarious experiences of life that most rational people neatly avoid. Each of us did this before we met and we continue to do it as partners in life, as parents and in our professional and personal endeavours. It’s exhausting and exhilarating but out of it comes the truest sense of trust, tenderness, connection and certainty in who I’ve chosen to love for my lifetime.
‘Love at first sight’ is such a trite phrase, I know. But once in a while, it is just the truth. I’m not sure why, but the guy I met while standing in line for the bathroom in a place I didn’t even intend on being while he chatted on a payphone in the very same place in just as unlikely a scenario … this man was meant to be my partner. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been right.
Happy 20 years to him. Here’s to many more decades ahead.