Ups and Downs and Birthdays and Love

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*Picture courtesy of my super fabulous friend Kirsten who met us for dinner while I was in NY (check her site out here and be prepared, her travels will make you crazy excited while simultaneously tempt you to kick a rock because you’re stuck at a desk job).

This morning I sat at my table, drinking coffee, watching GMA, and texting with Fayez about the impending snow storm.  Just last week  I traveled to NY to spend his birthday with him. It was wonderful. Really, really wonderful.

I’ve thought long and hard about the words I could use to adequately describe this man. Loyal. Strong. Determined. Charming. Mature. Loving. While I’ve been open about our having a relationship, I’ve also been a little bit closed off when it comes to all the details of our lives and relationship. It’s just very, very important to me. And when you’ve been on the public stage of judgement (with some very inflated, false and just-shy-of-slander statements) in a relationship, or a divorce, it just makes you very protective.

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I met him at one of the lowest points of my life. I’d just left my marriage. We met accidentally, in a gigantic city where the odds were stacked against us. I don’t believe it was an accident. At first the two of us seemed to be fulfilling stereotypes.  Woman-in-distress/white-knight stuff. Long distance romance. These are hurdles not easily overcome.

But, here we are, trucking along, however lonely it may be at times. And while I will never be able to thank him enough for his white-knight role in the beginning, because he was really and truly a strong tower that I leaned heavily on, we’ve evolved into something much better. Partners. Friends. In a word, love. I respect him and appreciate him, immensely. I’ve come to learn that love can be sweet, and kind, and not self-serving. I now believe that two people can be great friends, and partners, who build each other up and face life as a team. I’m 34 years old, almost 35, and experiencing this for the first time.

Not long ago someone said, “I’m so happy you’re getting your happy ending.”

I cringed when she said it. She meant well, and while I am happy, this is certainly not an end. There are a lot of years stretching ahead of me, God willing. And no one skips off into the sunset with pink cotton candy clouds over their heads. There are no fairy tale endings in life.

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This past September I met most of Fayez’s family at a wedding. One of them was an amazing woman who informed me I could call her Grandma (and I did happily). She talked to me a lot. She told me about leaving her country, with her children, to start a new life in a new country, with the only possession from her previous life in her purse; a spoon. She told me about her faith. She told me about fighting cancer.

She said, “Life is like this.” She took her hand and rolled it up and down like a roller coaster and said, “There are times you are up high and happy, and there are times you are down low and sad.”

At this point I began to cry, publicly (we were sitting in a salon). And when I cry it isn’t pretty, it’s Kim Kardashian level ugly crying. But she didn’t seem to mind. She dug in her purse and gave me a Kleenex, and kept talking.

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She said, “But the good thing is, when you are down at the low part, you will always come back up. You don’t live down there forever. God is at the bottom, and God is at the top. You keep praying, and you come back up. Always.”

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And that, my friends, is the happiest ending there is. There are beautiful sunny peaks, and there are some very low, crushingly dark valleys. But you never stay at the bottom. You come back up. And God meets you in both places.

So happy birthday month, Fayez. Thank you for being my friend. I’m thankful you were born, and that I get to love you back. I’m thankful you were by my side as I came back up out of a valley, and into the sunshine.

Always.

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12 Comments

  1. kirstenalana says:

    I am sooo glad you like the photo I took 🙂 And I am even more glad that you have a man in your life who treats you, and Jane, as you should be treated. Respectfully, and with true love.

    Like

  2. The first guy I dated seriously after I got divorced lived several hundred miles away…and honestly, it was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to me. We were forced to talk–a lot–to get to know each other and were forced to take some of the normal relationship things at a slower pace because of the distance. And it was so nice to feel like I was in a relationship but could also breathe and heal at the same time, but with this awesome guy to lean on a bit (or a lot).

    So glad you are happy, my dear.

    Like

  3. Jeanie says:

    That is a great picture. It really shows your happiness. I’m so glad you’re in a good relationship. Grandma sounds like a lovely person who knows what she’s talking about.

    Like

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