A new memory of us

I recently posted in a mom Facebook group I’m a part of asking for help. I asked for date ideas. See, I lack the ability to plan time with my lover, not that I’m using this as an excuse not to. I have recognized that it’s a cycle. I start feeling disconnected from my better half, I panic and begin attempting to plan dates with him, but feel overwhelmed by the vague connection between us and this ends up killing my creativity in date planning.

I got about 16 comments in response to my request for advice on the Facebook group. There were comments with suggestions, advice, support and solidarity. It was calming to read that I wasn’t alone, and to see such an extensive list of affordable date ideas.

Within 24 hours of having posted my request to the mom group, as if our energies were aligning, my lover came home from work mentioning he wanted to play a song for me, a song that made him think of me. The Nuggets were put to bed, my lover and I sat on the couch, and he played the song. The song was “Love” by Kendrick Lamar. It was the first time I had heard it.

I sat listening to the song. My lover ended up laying on my lap. We didn’t say anything. We seemed to be in distant worlds absorbing the lyrics, the rhythm of the song, but at the same time, so close that our hearts felt the warmth I remember from before we became parents. At least, that’s what I felt and am confident that he did too because as he lifted his head from my lap, he was wiping tears from his cheeks.

This song has now become the trigger of a new memory that my heart and our relationship needed. This song has simplified my ideas of what our dates should be — time together to indulge in the love we have for each other. However, this time still needs to be outside of our living space and away from our children.

Now, when I hear this song on the radio, my stomach is invaded by what feels like 1000 butterflies. I get giddy and I feel a warmth that leads me wanting to be wrapped in my lover’s arms.

I’ve said this before, but there’s no harm in saying it again. I need to work harder at tending to the fire and passion that made me a mother. I want my husband to love his wife before loving the mother of his children. Does that make sense?

Through the help with this post, I transmit that I need to focus more energy on balancing my role as a wife, mother, and individual. However, I know it’s easier said than done.

Over twelve years ago.

My lover

Today is a special day. Today marks 29 years since my love came to physically exist on this earth. For those of you who don’t know Josh, let me tell you a little bit about him.

Josh is one of the most passionate people I know. He loves and cares with all of his heart. His ability to persevere through times of difficulty is incredible. He is a hobbyist, a DIY’er, and full of great ideas. He’s always willing to extend a hand and is a faithful friend. These are only some of his great qualities.

I could go on with why Josh is a great human being, but I actually wanted to use my love’s birthday to document a truncated version of the beginning of our story. I know I’ve already shared it with many, but I don’t have it documented anywhere other than my heart. (Quick disclaimer: I am a sappy person.) There is something about reading a love story; it transports you to another realm. No, I’m not saying that ours will do that for you, but it’s still our story. As I listen to John Legend’s 2004 “Get Lifted” album, I transport myself to the time when my love and I met.

The year is 2004. Josh and I were teenagers actively involved in our church’s youth ministry programs. We were chosen by our churches to attend the Christian Leadership Institute (CLI), a week-long leadership retreat held at St. Mary’s Seminary in Santa Barbara. We were there with at least 98 other teenagers, so Josh and I didn’t make communications right away. It wasn’t until day three of the retreat that we made meaningful contact.

It was lunchtime at the retreat center. Josh and I were sitting at different tables and lunch was just about over. People were getting up, cleaning and leaving, but I wasn’t done eating. Everyone at my table had left—including a so-called “friend”—leaving me feeling like I wore a giant “L” on my forehead. (Being popular was one of the most important things at that age. Being a loner wasn’t.) As I tried working through the humiliation—I see it differently now—Josh came over and sat with me until I finished. If I was writing a fiction based on our story, I would’ve described him as a knight in shining armor.

Fast-forwarding, we officially became boyfriend and girlfriend—that sounds so cute!—almost two months after meeting. It would’ve been sooner, but I’m happy Josh asked me when we saw each other in person. See, he was from and lived in Orange County, and I was from and lived in Los Angeles County. We didn’t have cell phones, kept in contact through email, and were regulars on AOL Instant Messenger (aka AIM). (Yes, I totally had the alarms on for Josh.)

The only times we would really get to see each other was at Disneyland; he lived about fifteen minutes from it and I could use going to Disneyland as an excuse to see him. (You didn’t have to pay a limb to get in back then.) The distance between us and our parentals’ strictness wasn’t ideal for our dating situation. We dated for about eight months before I allowed the distance to get to me, which led to our break up. I had broken up with Josh, but had failed to move on.

Fast forward a year. I never got “over him”(…obviously). I began stalking him on Myspace until I got back in communication with him. There was a lot of emotion that resurfaced during this time, not many rainbows and butterflies since there was healing to be done from our previous relationship. Plus, we were at very different points in our lives. We were no longer teenagers who were youth leaders at church. We were young adults trying to find ourselves. I was living in Santa Barbara for college—I still find it beautiful that I ended up living close to where we met—and he was in Long Beach.

With the help of my tenacity, I was able to convince Josh that a second time at a relationship with me would be a good idea. ::insert winking emoji:: On New Years of 2007, we consciously decided to befriend the distance between us and become a couple once again. We visited each other traveling the Amtrak and Metro lines to and from Santa Barbara and Long Beach. Sometimes we were lucky enough to get a direct ride from friends.

This time around, we made it work.

Our road to now has not been easy. We’ve been through a lot together, makes sense considering we’ve been together almost a decade. Josh has been through my depression, a horrible car accident, family drama, a mini-stroke, dropping out of college, career changes, and so much more with me. He has stood firmly by my side and has never thought twice about holding my hand through it all.

As I bring our story to a close (for now), “So High” is playing. John Legend sings sweetly in my ears. I feel indescribably grateful for the man God connected me with in this lifetime. I’m confident that we will continue finding each other in other lifetimes.

“Let’s go to the moon baby.” Happy birthday my love!

– Big Nugget

Day 4 – Some of my favorite things about Josh (in no particular order): He’s a foodie, he can beatbox, he’s a lover of animals and plants, and he can build bicycles.

Theory of love

Remember when I “came back” after mailing my childbirth exam? I hadn’t had time to post on my blog for a couple of weeks because I was studying, but I had not stopped writing, so I have a backlog of posts. You’ll notice that some of the upcoming posts are a bit “outdated” such as this one that mentions me watching a Christmas movie…in mid-January? Nope, I’m just playing catch up.

Zion and I were home alone. Josh and Little Nugget were off on a little adventure to Grandma’s house. It was an unintentional girls-night-in and boys-night-out. Our first one, and the first of many.

With Zion asleep on the couch next to me curled up in her blanket, I watched a Netflix original called “A Very Murray Christmas” with Bill Murray as the main character. I won’t go into detail about the plot of the movie as that is not my intention for this post. My intention is to document something that Bill Murray said in the movie that I wanted to remember, and I found it was something positive to share. I think that it is something that could help us all when we find ourselves angry, frustrated, or confused with our partners. Our partners, the ones we are to love through thick and thin.

The following dialogue was taken from the movie. The scene had a group of people who found themselves snowed in a hotel. The group of people included a young couple who was supposed to be getting married that night, but things didn’t work out and they found themselves angry at each other. Bill Murray offered some advice to the couple –

Young bride: Okay, now tell me your theory of love.
Bill Murray: Well, it’s really more of a philosophy.
Young bride: Whatever.
Bill Murray: Try to remember the specific moment…the exact second when you knew that you were really in love. Not a time or a date or a trip. But the instant that you knew for sure you were in love.
Young groom: And then what?
Bill Murray: And then sing about it.
Young bride: To you?
Bill Murray: To each other. 

I love singing, but I’m pretty sure Josh doesn’t want to hear my off-tune singing, especially when we’re frustrated at each other. Of course, Murray’s advice can be interpreted differently, but what I got from it is that difficult times will always arise in any relationship. What we should always try to remember and keep fresh in our mind is why we love that person, why we are with them, how they make our life better. Keeping these reasons at the forefront of the relationship will bring comfort to a person questioning their love for their partner.

How do you interpret Murray’s advice?

Cheers to finding positive messages in today’s media!