Often times, we find ourselves imagining the perfect kiss, the perfect date or the perfect relationship. We make all the plans in our minds, prep ourselves to receive them, but often these dream scenarios never come to life and we are left feeling disappointed and wondering what went wrong.
Why? Because romance, by nature, is uncontrollable and works without rhyme or reason. How do I know this? First-hand experience, of course! Here is my story of unlikely, but endearing romance.
Of Love and Ice Water
Before I met my husband, I worked during the summers at a local amusement park taking surveys of guest reactions and other odd tasks. I’d make my rounds as usual and if I had idle time I would bring water around to the food cart stations for thirsty co-workers. I did this almost every day, just a regular habit, but something that made me feel good because I knew that these stations often went without breaks. You wouldn’t think that this little act of bringing ice water to a co-worker would have anything to do with romance, but without it, I would never have met my husband.
One of the days I went out to take water to a couple of booths, his just happened to be one of them. It was that small action that caught his interest and inspired our friendship. Each day, he would track me down, hoping to get a few minutes of my attention and a laugh or two from his cute and corny jokes. His eyes sparkled with excitement whenever we were together and of course, I wanted to spend more time getting to know him. Our friendship grew and in a very short time, we already knew that we were meant to be together.
Read more: How We Met
Subway Sand Trap
Fast forward a few months…we are officially an item. He had planned a romantic outing and asked me to close my eyes and wait to be surprised as we approach our destination. It was difficult, but I managed…lol.
Suddenly, I heard a whirl of tires and his voice cracked. He begged me not to open my eyes, but I did it anyway. His face was filled with disappointment as he looked over at me and said, “I’m so sorry! We’re stuck.” WHAT??? That caught me by surprise.
When I got out to inspect the situation, I found his little 2-wheel drive Cavalier axel-deep in sand. He had taken a construction road on his way to the beach and kept pushing through until finally, there was no means of escaping. I’m still amazed at how far he got down that road! We spent that Sunday afternoon eating Subway sandwiches on the hood of the car and laughing, despite having to pay two tow trucks to pull us out of the mess.
Through this seemingly botched date, we were able to realize just how much we cared for each other and discover that romance could thrive in unlikely situations. I wouldn’t trade that sunset dinner for anything, because it opened my eyes to the possibilities of love.
Related: How We Got Engaged
Two years later, we’re busy with the business of getting married…knee-deep in wedding plans. I asked my honey to pick up a pizza for dinner. “No problem,” he says proudly, but when he finally arrives with the pizza I can see that something is wrong. “Ummm…I had an accident,” he tells me. I immediately panic. I’m worried, thinking he’s hurt when he carries the pizza box over to the table and points to it as if there’s something dangerous inside.
I open the box cautiously and find a tangled mess of crust, toppings, and cheese. “Is that it?” I asked him, still wondering if he was ok. “Yeah, I’m so sorry. I fell on a patch of ice on the way in.” I could tell he was disappointed.
We sat there looking at the pizza in silence for a few moments, wondering what to do. “I’m pretty sure it taste’s the same,” I said suddenly.
He was so surprised and relieved that he cracked up laughing!
We sat down to watch our movie and devoured the pizza ball and smashed toppings…lol. I realized that sometimes you have to look beyond the toppings in order to appreciate the pizza. Not unlike love, which comes when we choose to embrace the “imperfections.”
Beauty or Beast?
Let’s go forward another two years. I’ve just had our daughter and I’m about to be released from the hospital. I wake up suddenly in the night with this terrible heaviness on my face. Looking in the mirror, I can see that half of my face is completely non-reactive. My heart was racing, ‘What’s happening? Am I having a stroke?’
I had no idea what Bell’s Palsy was at the time and I was so afraid until the next morning when the doctor was finally available to offer an explanation. After we returned home with our daughter, I could only think that my disfigurement would be permanent and I wondered if my husband would eventually admit how frightening I now looked.
To my surprise, the experience deepened our appreciation for each other. Even with my appearance, which drew public stares, he still looked at me with that same amazing glint in his eyes. He had so much love and compassion for me that I had never realized I’d deserved. I get choked up thinking about how supportive he was during those months. My heart overflows because he has been there through it all, and found so much beauty in me when I thought that no one could.
Looking back, I realize that love comes when you least expect it. It doesn’t come in a ‘perfect’ package or aligned with our schedule or plans. I can see now how we’re given these strange and unexpected circumstances to help us to realize a fuller, truer love. Love is something often discovered through adversity.
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This post was originally published on Feb 14, 2011.