Kids, I hope you get to read this one day. I want you to know that your Mom knew your Dad was the one back in March 2021, a full year after the pandemic ended, and even back in 2016, when she left high school for college.
She didn’t wait around for him when graduation day came in May of 2016. They had already discussed the possibility of him following her, but neither of them could live with that choice. She remembers him telling her that he applied to Monterey Bay, but didn’t get in. Instead, he’d be going to San Diego State University.
Sure it hurt like hell to say goodbye that August morning in 2016, and you must know they held each other in the early hours, crying softly, not daring to speak a word, because they knew that words would only break them.
No. Even the pain she felt didn’t stop her from going after her dream, college soccer. Your mom had been playing soccer since she was 5, and to be honest, she was really, really good. She never knew how good she was, until it was too late. Monterey Bay didn’t work out the way she had imagined, and that promise of a brighter future was met with the cold foggy front only Monterey can bring.
Her year there was tough. She got great grades, and if it weren’t for school to focus on, she might have lost her mind. Oh, and there’s Katrina of course. But that’s a story for another time.
In the spring of 2017, she returned to sunny san diego, as did her spirits. She missed her family, her dog, and yes, her true love.
Things were great the summer of 2017, perfect, even. They went to her beloved family’s cabin in Pinecrest, and he met all of her Aunt’s and Uncle’s. She was enrolled at her local community college, and for the first time in a long time, all was well.
In August of 2017, things began to fall apart slowly, and it started on move-in day at San Diego State. She wanted to help him unpack, and found something that scared her. It was a moment that could not be undone, could not be unseen, as it was something that festered in her deepest fears. That was the beginning of the end.
It wasn't long after that when they separated. The official end was after a home football game, in her car. She sat there, dumbfounded in the dark, and wondered what would come next. Would she ever see him again? It’s funny the things you remember after all of these years. She remembers losing her black hair clip at the train station before the start of the game.
She met another boy later that year and he played soccer like her. He made her feel a little bit better, but she still missed your Dad.
They didn’t speak for 4 months.
Then, for reasons unknown, he decided to text her on New Years Day. Maybe it was in the spirit of new beginnings, but I think he just missed her. She definitely missed him.
They picked up right where they left off and fell in love all over again. They were different people now with different friends, and there was so much to learn.
And, she had gotten into San Diego State University, the school where she belonged. Now, they could have lunch together by the koi pond if they wanted to, or study together in the library. They could go to soccer parties, or wander aimlessly around campus in the dead of night. 2018 and 2019 were the best and brightest years.
Then 2020 came. It was the year she was up for graduation. Big changes were on the horizon. Thoughts of her career, traveling, and marriage began to creep to the forefront of her mind, and in just a few short months, the small snow globe of a life she had created would shatter. What would happen, when they became adults?
But her worries were quickly smothered, as something awful happened, something far bigger than both of them could ever imagine. In March of 2020, a pandemic swept the nation, and one the world had not seen since the 1918 Spanish Flu. Face masks became the norm, physical touch went extinct, and her graduation from college was canceled. All of those adult dreams would just have to wait.
And that year was rough for more than one reason. The greatest election of their modern life was occurring, and it seemed like the fight for good over evil hung in the balance. There was so much pain, so much hatred. She had studied politics in college, but her history textbooks did not prepare her for that year. The social, economical, and political turmoil the country faced was beyond devastating. They weren’t proud to be Americans, and most days were dark. They cried for their neighbors, mourned the loss of loved ones, and prayed for an end to it all.
If it were not for him, she might have crumpled that year. Sometimes, life is too heavy for just one set of shoulders. Sometimes, the only way to get through hell and back, is to hold a hand you love.
Finally, 2021 arrived. There was a new Mr. President and a vaccine out, so hope floated far and wide. It would be his year to graduate, and their future would really start this time. They had plans to move in with one another, and she was trying to find her way in this world.
And that brings us to the morning that she wrote this, March 7th 2021, 1 year to the day since she first heard of COVID-19, and 7 years since she first met her true love on the dance floor of a band banquet.
Listen kids, the odds weren’t in our favor then, and they sure as hell aren’t in our favor now. Most people don't just stay with one person their whole life.
But your Dad and I were destined to be together. I don’t think it was a coincidence that we stood next to each other as freshmen in the band yearbook picture. I don’t think it’s chance that our relationship has tested all waters- that prom night was followed by a year of long-distance, then a year of independence, then a year of reconnecting, and finally a year of unprecedented national horror.
But we weathered all winds, and here we are.
Here you are.
I don’t know where your Dad and I will go next. I don’t know what 2021 will bring. I don’t know when we’ll decide to bring you into this world. But I do know that he’s the best choice, or choices, I have ever made.
I read once that high school sweethearts have a higher divorce rate because the kids that fall in love in high school won't be those same people ten years later.
And you know what, that is absolutely true.
How was I supposed to know that your father would be even more handsome, smarter, and kinder than he was in high school? How was I supposed to know that he’d encourage me to find my dreams, no matter what they'd be? How was I supposed to know that he’d listen to all of my crazy stories, patiently, and kiss me at the end of every single one? How was I supposed to know, that a boy who once picked me yellow flowers and hid them in my locker, would one day give me you?
The truth is, you don’t know.
Sometimes, you just have to take a chance, and jump.