Saturday 22 February 2014

The happily ever after

As a child, I loved fairy tales. Cinderella was my favourite. The idea of this all-encompassing love was something I strongly believed in and wanted to find for myself.
But one thing always bothered me: That the stories ended when boy and girl found each other. Isn't that when the story is just beginning? What happens to them once they are happily married? How does their story of togetherness unfold?

When I was 14, there was this boy who liked me. He was way older (19), and even though I was flattered, I didn't like him back the same way. My parents adored him though, he became a family friend, and came around to our house often.

I remember one particular Saturday afternoon. I was sitting in my parent's bedroom, sobbing my eyes out because he was going to come by later and I couldn't stand it any longer. I wanted to break up with him - which sounds ridiculous since we didn't really go out (we hadn't even kissed). But I had enough of his puppy eyes, the combination of hope and resentment, and how my family was such a huge fan of him. I just wanted to not having to see him any more. The combined expectation of them all was getting to be too much.

Coming back to me sobbing on the bed. My mom came in, asked me what's wrong, and with much crying I told her that I didn't want to see him any more. My exact word were: "I'm just not in love with him."

Her response was so shocking to me that I never forgot it.

She told me that true love doesn't exist. She said it was an invention of movie makers and song writers. She said that friendship, fondness and mutual respect are what makes a relationship work, not love.

I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe it. None of my romantic dreams would become reality one day? But how could that be?

As a child I believed my parents knew everything. I thought that they had all the answers. At 14, I had reached that point where I started to doubt my parent's wisdom - but only sometimes. I still wanted them/someone to guide me, be able to answer all my questions satisfactorily, and tell me how to get the things I thought I wanted.

But this? This I couldn't accept. I didn't want to! The notion that love wasn't real was too awful.
We had a big fight about it, and I didn't end it that day with the boy, but soon after.

Over the next few years I subconsciously set out to disprove my mom's theory. I had two long-term relationships (long-term for a teenager - both lasted over 2 years) with boys I convinced myself I loved.

But I couldn't forget those words. There was this nagging doubt inside me - maybe she is right?
I was very happy with each one of these boys, and have fond memories. It didn't work out because they weren't the right ones, and I was too young.

My happily ever after started in the summer of 2002. But I don't want to focus on the courtship (don't you just love that word?) and the wedding.
This story is about what happens after. After the fairy tale ends. When the real story begins.

Danielle Dobson Photography

I found true love. I never lost hope that it does exist.
That man of mine taught me so much about love. He risked everything for us, because he believed in us and our love.

Here is the thing about love. It is messy, and real, and it hurts sometimes. It makes you go where you never thought you would, and makes you do things you never thought you could.

It is risky business. If you give your heart away, there is a risk you may never get it back. You don't feel complete without the other person.

But it is the most wonderful feeling in the world. I believe it is what we live for - to experience love.

Ours has only grown stronger. When I think back to our wedding day - which was a semi-sad little affair, where you got the sense that people had taken bets on how soon it would end - I can barely believe how far we have come. Back then, our love was a small little sapling. It has since grown into a strong tree. A tree that has weathered quite a few storms along the way.

Danielle Dobson Photography

Of course there are days where he drives me crazy. Where we are exasperated with each other. Where the little stuff seems so important. 

But there isn't a day where we don't tell each other how much we love the other person. He is the first one I want to call when something happens: sad, happy, or insignificant. 

The fairy tales got it all wrong. The story doesn't really begin until the happily ever after. That's when the real stuff happens: the mundane, romantic dinners, worries, cuddles, frustrations, hours on the couch, shared joy, arguments about everything and nothing, growing the family (one puppy at a time), lots and lots of work.
Real life. And lots of love. Bigger and stronger and better than we ever imagined on our wedding day.

Fairy tales are like that annoying Facebook friend who only shows us the best parts of their life. Boring! We want to see the other half!
Somebody should write a sequel...

Lot of love, Miriam

After I posted this, Google Auto Awesomed my photo again. I couldn't resist to add it on!

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  1. your story is beautiful :) we should never stop believing in love.

  2. You wrote this beautifully! :) I believe in true love for sure! I don't think that everyone finds it and I think some people find it more than once... but it's definitely out there - and you have it! :)

  3. There is so much truth is this post. Love it. You are so right. As fairytales would have us believe the wedding isn't the end game. It's just the beginning of the story. ;)

  4. This was SO beautifully put and true. We put so much emphasis on the romanticized version of love, and while I don't agree with your mom that it doesn't exist, it just exists in a different form than Disney portrays. A more beautiful, tender, and delicate form. One with many more ups and downs. And I'm so glad you not only found your happily ever after, but realized that that was truly the beginning.

  5. I guess I'll just ditto Christina! :) very sweet

  6. So sweet Miriam! I'm glad you found your true love. It is a rare and special thing indeed.

    1. It is, and I'm thankful every day. I once found a wonderful saying that I felt was written for us:
      "The greatest relationships are the ones you NEVER expected to be in.
      The ones that swept you off you feet and challenged every view you've ever had."
      Love is the best thing in the world!

    2. What a beautiful quote! I think love does come when you least expect it :) It's funny the night I met P-I did not want to go out (b/c it was cold and rainy), and vowed I would not end up with any phone numbers...glad that did not happen :)

  7. adorable! I love the little animated hearts.

    1. Me too! Google does that automatically to some pictures, they call it "Auto Awesome". I have no clue how and why, but whenever they do I'm excited! :-)

  8. Aw Miriam. This is absolutely beautiful. Real true love absolutely exists and is completely worth the mess or hurt that sometimes comes with it. I'm so glad you've got your guy :)

  9. This is beautiful. Which, I realize, is an exact repeat of what everyone else has said. But it is and I'm so glad you wrote it and shared it. Long live love!



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