Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Learning How to Bend.

I've been dating RP for 21 months now.

Have you ever noticed how mothers of toddlers will say things like "She's 13 months", or "She'll be 23 months on the 4th"? I don't get it, at all. Wouldn't "She's one", or "He's almost two" be sufficient? I'm sure there are developmental milestones and such that might make such numbers significant, but to the woman in the grocery store asking how old your kid is, that's probably not relevant, agreed?

I should shut up now, and bet myself a hundred dollars that when I have kids, I too will tell people they are eighteen weeks, then thirty-six months old. Hell, I'm already doing it with my relationship!

I digress.

In those twenty-one wonderful, challenging, sometimes difficult, sometimes euphoric, always beautiful months, my Love has been teaching me. Not intentionally, except in the case of how to use his fancy remote and various other electronics, but teaching me just the same. He's the only man in my (romantic) life who has recognized the greatness in me, and loved me accordingly. But the way he loves me isn't the stuff of fairy tales. It's better. It incorporates all that he is--the good, the bad, the struggles, the successess, into loving the same that exists in me. It's not perfect, but it's real. And that's so much better than perfect, really.

You see, I used to think that loving someone meant just pouring out your love and affection. Being around that person all the time, anticipating and meeting their every need, solving their problems, being their hero. I'm learning, through trial and a fair amount of error, that it's more (and less) than that. To love someone, love them well, is to recognize that the way you WANT to love them isn't always the way they NEED to be loved. That person will need their space to learn and grow. They will have needs that you can neither anticipate nor meet. In the same way, you need YOUR space to learn and grow. There will be needs that you have that your partner cannot anticipate or meet for you.

And that's okay. In fact, it's more than okay. It makes you two people who are stronger together because they can become strong apart, as individuals.

Before him, every relationship I muddled my way through broke. Things became difficult, and at the first hint of mere DISCOMFORT, the whole thing just snapped, like a dry twig. He's teaching me that the greatest way to love someone is to learn to bend. When things don't go your way, when things aren't easy, you each give a little. You bend. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But when the storm passes, and you're upright again, you're still whole, still growing.

I try really hard not to gush on this blog, or anywhere about him. Because that's annoying. But it's more than worth mentioning. He believes in me, in us. He has never seen the challenges of being the one that loves me insurmountable or too much. It makes being the one that loves him easy.

And I am so, so grateful.

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