I remember the first time I fell in love.
She was everything I never wanted but turned out to be everything I ever needed. Très cliché but true. We had our ups and downs, went back and forth on respect and boundaries. Boundaries was mostly me, I often didn’t know where to cross the line because I thought telling people you were in a relationship would prevent them from having ulterior motives and she struggled with communication, she bottled things up and as chance would have it, when we exploded, it was always together and that would make the problems worse.
She was my one in a million; love at first sight, perfect first kiss and she brought religion to the table. We could never agree on religion but we agreed God had to be a part of our everything.
When you are with someone long enough, you eventually rub off on one another and in the end, I was the one with bottled up words and she forgot there had to be boundaries. After saying the things I had held in, we went our separate ways.
Between then and now I tried my hand at dating, relationships and being single. Within months I knew I wasn’t built for being single but getting back into the dating game was more complicated then I anticipated. Some said “I love you” too early and others wanted to be loved according to an instruction manual I never got a copy of. I tried living up to the new rules but the more I was “boyfriending” right, the less in love I felt, so finally I accepted that falling in love was a lot harder than I thought it was.
Just as I was about to find solace in the thought of being in a relationship and not the actual joy of being in one, I found another one in a million, not a love at first sight but someone who knew the right things to say, someone who wished to understand more than she wished to be understood and even though she didn’t bring religion, we knew this had to be God’s plan for us. She had been hurt, so she didn’t rush to say words she wasn’t sure of and for me that showed character but I wasn’t in love.
I was hers and she was mine but my heart wasn’t something we shared. I waited till she was in love before I could follow suite. Due to my failed relationships I became a man afraid to love and so I needed the other to say or do something before I could believe this could work. It could have been anything, something as simple as saying they are tired of leaving with tears in her eyes when time would come for us to return to our relative houses or staying up helping me study, it could be anything as long as it convinced my heart it was safe to open up.
It then dawned on me that I wasn’t taught to love, so love was and still is something that scares me. I was raised to work hard and provide, I was raised to marry and make a family but never taught how to be a family man. Never taught how to treat my wife or engage with my children, my parents never sat me down and told me the mistakes they made, it seems like they were hoping for the one in a million chance that I would get it right on my own by imitating what they had. In a world where nothing is perfect, is that a reasonable expectation?
In thinking of my future, I realized a lot of it depends on how the flow of the life will go. I don’t know what to do if my kids do not get along, I don’t know what to do when life gets tough because the adults handled it but I don’t know what they did. I just know after a few tears, weeks after phone calls and angry stares at the dinner table, “everything is going to be okay” came to pass.
I’m glad that they did it together and so I learnt that my partner and I should do it together but I still don’t know how, would it kill them to tell me how? Would it kill them to prepare me for the future with more words than “God is in control”?