Right now there is a turkey in my oven, roasting itself away. In a little while, I’m going to get started on the dressing and the first steps for the yummy dessert we’re having. But it’s Tuesday! I hear you say. Why yes, it is. Sir Joshimus is at work just now, but he’ll be getting off shortly. And Thursday he works from noon to nine, so we’ll get no time together then. But more importantly is today. Today is a big day. Today is a day that I’m thankful for. Let me tell you a story.
Ten years ago, Sir Joshimus and I woke up at my little house on Dixie Ave. I dressed and went into the living room to be sure he was awake and ready to head out to his family’s dinner. See, we weren’t dating then – he slept on the couch most of the week, but he still technically lived with his cousin’s family. We hugged and headed out the door, going our separate ways for the day. I can’t remember much about it, honestly. I know we went to my Mammaw and Pappaw’s house in Lumberton, as that was the last Thanksgiving (and would be the last Christmas that same year) before they moved to Texas. I know that it was a loud and boisterous meal of some of the best food you’d ever put in your mouth, because that’s the way all our family gatherings were.
And I know that I was in a hurry to get back to my little house on Dixie Ave. I texted him when I picked my car up from my parents’ house and he met me back at home. I don’t know what changed, what triggered that Thanksgiving Day would be the day that things changed for us. But they did. We still were delicate when we talked about our relationship with other people and – for the next several months – to each other as well. But that day, he moved in. No more nights spent away, no more telling people he lived in Moselle. And no more sleeping on the couch. We were together, a unit even if we were afraid to call ourselves a couple.
Since this day ten years ago, we’ve spent twenty days apart. Twenty nights where I couldn’t snuggle him. The first of those days apart was the end of December/beginning of January and that was the trip that finally pushed us from living together to loving together. I still remember that first time he said he loved me. I was walking from our bedroom and he was standing in the living room. He said, “That’s what I really love about you.”
To a casual observer, this may seem like no big deal, but we had been so careful to never once even imply love between us. Affection, to be sure, but never love. Not until that moment. Of course, with all the grace that I’m known to have – *checks her sarcasm font* – I stared at him and then walked into the kitchen rather than the living room. It wasn’t until that night when we were lying in bed, that he said it again and said it right. “I love you.” The three most powerful words in the English language. And I said it back.
Now, that’s an equally huge moment – some might argue that it is a much more important moment. But today marks the beginning for me. The movement from the girl who ran away from anyone that might love her to the woman who sits here today. Ten years ago, I’d never have believed we’d still be together. I dreamed about such things, secretly where even my friends didn’t hear those dreams. But never then did I believe it was possible. Ten years ago today, though I was still hiding from myself and from him, I fell completely in love, gave my heart away completely, and gave myself over to the one man who could have truly hurt me with his rejection. And who, in turn, gave himself and his wide, gentle heart to me.
What am I thankful for? I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the love of the most beautiful man I’ve ever known. I’m thankful for the man who has stood beside me through the last decade and who has done the truly astounding. I’m thankful for the man who taught me to love myself, taught me that I was worthy of love and wholly lovable – not despite my flaws, but because of the whole of who I am. See, today marks the first day of my miracle.
For all the decades to come, Sir Joshimus, I love you. I look forward to the ride.