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June 17, 2021

I made a lot of mistakes in loving you but loving you was not a mistake

I do not believe it was by accident that I stumbled across your Facebook profile at the exact moment I did in and in the circumstances of life that we both found ourselves. It is hard to imagine that the brief interaction we had in school would have left such an impression on me that I wasn’t able to shake after all those years. Perhaps it was the memory of your embrace and how easily I could melt into your arms or that fact that the sweet kisses planted on my 14-yr old head that made my heart smile in a way my brain could not quite understand.

It would take me 15 years to realize what that feeling was but the moment I reconnected with you the realization was immediate. I could not imagine how my 14-year old self could have been in love and not know it but at 29 I was able to recognize that innocent love we had shared before. You were the first boy that showed me that level of respect and appreciate me for more than my looks and body. You took the time to ask questions and discover things others have never bothered to know. You didn’t rush to bed me but instead encouraged me to pray and fasting and to make a real effort to save my marriage. I was happy to return the favor.

That night you arrived home to an empty house and the letter must have broken my heart as much as it did yours. I saw first-hand the efforts that you made toward saving your marriage, the care, the consideration and how hard you fought to maintain a friendship. This contrasted significantly to what I was dealing with in my own divorce and I remember looking on in awe at the person I saw before me. I felt every bit of that pain with you and would have done anything to make it go away. I fell in love with you long before you sat in front of me at Holiday Inn but from that moment you kissed me in the elevator I knew that I would never be able to find my heart again. The connection was undeniable and felt like home to me. I knew exactly what staying out with you that night meant but I couldn’t and wouldn’t leave you dejected and broken. Outside…our world was on fire…but in that moment…lying in your arms…the sound and image of the world crashing around us stood still and new hope of a life beyond the chaos seemed possible.

The years following were not always kind to us as the challenges mounted and the odds moved further and further away from being in our favor. We both had so much to deal with in our own worlds and the distance was not always our friend. Insecurities from our past relationships affected how we interacted with each other and the question of how and when we could bring our worlds together hung like a cloud over our heads.  Yet, we found a way to beat all odds and create a space where you and I existed in pure defiance of any logic or reasoning. Our commitment to keeping the relationship going was remarkable even in the midst of all the challenges we had and I know that you loved me with a fierce love. The moments we spent together, though far and few in-between, brought me immense joy. I invested my emotions, my thoughts, and my time in you and you in I and I can only hope that when you look back at us, that you smile and are grateful for those shared moments of pure joy. Thank you for the time we had together. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have memories that I can look back on and smile about. Our relationship isn’t something I regret, in fact, it taught me a lot about myself. The days we spent together were some of the happiest and best days of my life. I hope you know that.

Thank you for not complaining when I was being a pain in the ass and for letting me realize it on my own and then laugh it off. Thank you for not abandoning me on the many nights I cursed you out after drinking myself into oblivion and for making sure I got home safely.  Thank you for being the safety net through my transition and for having my back when my future seemed uncertain and scary. Thank you for taking care of me when I didn’t take care of myself. For constantly thinking of ways to make my life livable during those days of darkness. You were the only person who really knew what I went through at that time and I will never forget how you made yourself available without fail to be on the phone when I drove up to the house because I was so scared to go alone. I looked forward to sharing in our Devotions each night and I love how you didn’t hesitate to direct me to do my 20’s whenever you felt like I was spiraling. I’m proud to say that this skill has been my fall back to this day and this has played a huge role in me becoming the person I am now.

Thank you for the unforgettable experience of being held in your arms. I have never met someone who could get me to be so comfortable so quickly and have never slept better than with your warm breath at the back of my neck. Thank you for popping pimples and rubbing my feet. Thank you for sharing with me your many stories of 14-showers and for creating a space comfortable enough for us to be able to do so. Thank you for allowing me into your world and allowing me to share with you the many adventures we embarked upon. Thank you for being a good sport and trying oysters even though it made you sick. For taking risks on hotel balconies and parked cars. For buying me weed even though you hated the idea. For informing me of your fear of heights only after we climbed to the highest point of the Grand Canyon and completed the Sky walk. Thank you for Friday nights with dinner and movies and for trusting my cooking instructions from thousands of miles away. Thank you for letting me take care of you.

Thank you for taking lead in the preparation for Renee and for making sure I had things I didn’t even know I needed. Thank you for taking care of me when I had her and for not making me feel like a troll when I felt at my worst. Thank you for supporting me in Breastfeeding her even though everyone else was against it. Thanks for constantly reminding me how much I cried when she didn’t latch. For bottle feeding so I could sleep and for making sure I had food when I woke up. Thank you for loving her and choosing to be her Dad. Thank you for being a safe place for her to complain about me, for trapping games and for being a constant in her life. Thank you for believing in me and continually praising my efforts at mothering especially on the days I felt like I was failing and had no idea what I was doing.

I know that this process of becoming me cost you a lot but please know that you were not collateral damage – you were the catalyst of change! We both invested heavily into our relationship…as you said…at different times. Looking back, I have nothing but love and gratitude for you. I do not hate you or wish you the worst. I am very proud of you for realizing that you needed to do what was best for you. I am sorry that I couldn’t do more for you, for the hurt I caused you and for the irreparable damage that was done.

I wish you nothing but the best. I wish you years of happiness and laughter. And I wish that you accomplish all of the dreams you set for yourself. I hope you miss what we had just as much as I do; because for the first time in a very long time it was the only real thing I had to hold on to. You gave me more than you’ll ever realize and for that I am forever grateful. I made a lot of mistakes in loving you but loving you was not a mistake.

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