Yesterday when I got in the car to pick the kids up from school, I had my music app on shuffle and “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer came on. I’m a big believer that songs take you back to a specific moment your place and time. For me, that song takes me straight back to the movie theater when I went to see She’s All That with Toby our junior year of high school.
Part of what keeps a relationship alive is our ability to remember why we fell in love. I have always been a big believer in the great power that we have to direct our hearts by choosing to remember the good… I think that every relationship that we cultivate in our lives is like a quilt made up of a thousand tiny moments. Those moments may seem insignificant while we’re in them, but when you love someone it’s those everyday happenings that wrap you in those warm, cozy feeling of being “in love”. When we hold them close, it’s like stitching them into that quilt so that on the days when things feel hard or cold, we can bring out the quilt and curl up with all of the things that make that relationship special and significant.
Stitched into my Toby quilt is that trip to the movies to see She’s All That with Toby when we were 15 years old. It was such a big deal – we were in a big group because I wasn’t allowed to go on a date by myself until I was 16. All of us went to White Castle for dinner beforehand. The “date” wasn’t anything crazy or fancy, but when Toby leaned over to kiss me during the movie, I don’t think I had ever been that happy in my entire life. I knew that something was different with Toby – even back then, I knew I had fallen for my best friend.
One of the things that I think has enabled me to work through the hurt that comes with a separation is that I never lost sight of those moments. I never forgot how special it is to be in love with my best friend – what a privilege that was back then… and still is now. For me, it’s the thread of my Toby quilt. No matter what the specific moments that make up our love story, that thread of friendship runs through every laugh, kiss, tear, and breath that is woven into why I love Toby. Even during the times when reconciliation seemed impossible, choosing to remember the good (along with my boundless love for my kids) made kindness possible.
Despite how far we’ve come, Toby and I are not all rainbows and banana pancakes. Absolutely not. We’re still healing. We are human and we make mistakes and we hurt each other. All humans fail, but just because there’s hurt and struggle doesn’t mean that I have to throw away my quilt of the good things that make us special and worth fighting for. So sure, She’s All That was one seemingly insignificant night that came and went in my life like a normal date in countless teenagers’ lives… but it’s part of our love story. It’s those moments of joy and love that we hold dear that make up the fabric of relationships in our hearts. Keeping those moments alive – that’s what keeps people in it. That’s what gives them the fight to stay the course. That’s what gives them the resolve to choose each other over hurt, fear, and adversity.
Part of what makes me choose Toby every day is that I treasure the knowledge that I am still lucky enough to love my best friend – the man he is now AND the fifteen-year-old goofball that took me to the movies. I still feel butterflies when he looks at me that certain way that he did way back all those years ago in the movie theater. I still smile when I think about kissing him in that theater with the subtle smell of White Castle on our breath. It may sound silly, but it’s moments like that that makes us special. They’re all part of my love for him and I choose to wrap that quilt of love around me in the moments that feel difficult. Whenever I do that, I’m remembering the why. Remembering that I fell in love all those years ago and it was real. It’s still real. And it’s worth preserving my quilt and choosing that love every day for the rest of my life.