I am home.

For the past three nights, I’ve been away for work.

For three nights, I’ve missed the sound of her breathing and the weight of her head on my chest as I’ve drifted to sleep.

For three mornings, I’ve rolled over only to discover that she isn’t there to snuggle as my body awakens for a new day.

For three days, I’ve missed her in ways I never knew possible.

When I hear the door open, I spin, soapy hands outreached and a grin on my face as she rushes towards me. I jump as she lifts and in an instant, all is well with the world.

We are wrapped up in each other, smiling like giddy school girls as we kiss, again and again, trying to make up for three days in a single moment.

I am so happy to be home.

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My evolution of Christmas

Four years ago, I was preparing for a Christmas of chaos. I had three families to coordinate, my own husband and children, my parents, siblings and children and my (now very ex) husbands mother, sister and children. I had presents to buy, presents to wrap and most importantly time to allocate between three homes that exist approximately two hours apart, collectively ending up  four hours from home.

In my mind, the years of Christmas chaos begin to blend and I struggle to remember the specifics of each, but I remember feeling overwhelmed, underappreciated, guilty and so exhausted.

Three years ago, I was preparing for a Christmas unlike any I had ever known. I was alone, I was sad and I cried many tears. I had friends to pick me up, to keep me busy and to share their joy, but it was hard. However, when I finally gathered with my family and my children again, I felt a freedom I’d never known. Like the anchor I had been dragging behind me had finally been left behind.

Last year, I was surrounded (in my tiny townhouse) with my family; together with my children and my parents we celebrated Christmas in a whole new way. It was small, it was personal and I loved it. When my children went to see their Dad and his family, I spent a week with the most amazing girl, someone whom I couldn’t deny my feelings for and discovered that after a week together the only thing I wanted, was more.

This year, she is part of the family. Together we setup the Christmas tree, we listen to Christmas carols and we bake (gluten free) goodies. Together, we wrote Christmas cards, we bought presents, we hide the damn elf and we wrap the seemingly endless presents. We will have our own Christmas day and then pick up my boys and make the way to my family to celebrate Christmas all together with the family.

This year, I’m excited to see what Christmas will bring; together our idea of Christmas is evolving by the day and I’ve never seen anything quite so beautiful.

THIS is love.

I can feel my face as it transitions, tiny muscles contracting, moving and changing as my head nods ever so slightly and my eyes gaze downward (not with embarrassment but for privacy) as my emotions spill across my face.

I am overcome with a childish light; I giggle as the words tumble from my lips.

I love you.

I am amazed by the purity and authenticity of my feelings. My desire to share, all of me, with all of her. Her love envelopes me; urging me to be strong, to be brave and to be free, while assuring me that my heart is safe in her hands. My body craves the intimacy that we share, a current that connects us with a rawness like I’ve never known.

A year later, and she still makes me giddy; my happiness, my joy and my truth are written all over my face, every damn day.

And I know, THIS is love.

11:11

For the past year, I have wished for ‘love, light and happiness’ every single time that I have encountered an 11:11, and there have been many. Almost daily those numbers flash before me and I feel a connection with the universe; a doorway of opportunity to share my energy and release my dreams.

According to Kate Rose, the number 11 is “the universe giving us a sign to focus, to look at what is trying to call to us. It’s also letting us know that we’re on the right track” and 11:11 is related to “merging with our twin flames.”

Interestingly, my girlfriend and I had our first (not) date last year, on November first (11/1) and this year we celebrated our one year anniversary, our very own 11:11, when she came home.

I no longer have to ask where she will lay her head at the end of the day, because I know the answer. Before we sleep, her head will snuggle onto my chest and I will stroke her hair as our breathing blends to one. We will fall asleep together, in our bed. Because its no longer hers and mine, its ours. Our home and our life.

Seeing her every, single day gives me a ridiculous giddy smile and an indescribable feeling of joy and satisfaction. We have a lifetime of adventure ahead of us and although I never envisioned myself here, I feel nothing but certainty that this place, with this girl, my heart bursting with love, is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Dreams

I woke the other night and was overcome with the strangest feeling; I was scared and I was sad. I rarely remember my dreams and the details always allude me, but this time I awoke overwhelmed with feelings. In my dream, my girlfriend had kindly and sweetly walked out of my life leaving me wanting and alone.

I’m not afraid to be alone, to be strong, independent and fierce but after years of unknowingly searching for her, I woke curled into myself and overcome with sadness at the thought of losing her. Fortunately she was there with her warm embrace to envelope me with love and assurance, which was all I needed to drift back to sleep, but in the morning I hadn’t quite managed to shake those unwelcome feelings.

And I realized, for the first time in my life, I have a love that I’m scared to lose.

I know, that life is full of uncertainty, change and turmoil. I know that in a moment everything can change and that there will be moments, days and times where we don’t or can’t align and that’s just the nature of love, life and relationships. But I don’t want a partner who is willing to sacrifice who they are to keep the peace, because I’m not that girl anymore either.

I have a partner who challenges me to dream bigger and encourages my uniqueness, who respects me and wants me to grow more than she wants me to stay the same. I have a love that is rooted in acceptance and never asks me to apologize for being who I am.

And that is the type of love I think we all dream of, that is the type of love that you cannot create and you cannot will into existence. The type of love I have is so much more than good enough; together we have opened the door to a future full of adventure, laughter, love, light and happiness and although I never knew such an extraordinary experience was possible, now that I have it, nothing else will do.

Lessons in Love

I try not to dwell on the past, but I remember, so that I can learn the lessons and continue to grow and blossom. This weekend amidst a conversation with my girlfriend, we started to talk about love, particularly in the context of the past. She asked me, if you never cared what he did or who he did it with, did you never question if it was really love?

And I always tell myself, that I never asked the questions that I wasn’t ready to answer. That I wasn’t ready to change my life, so rather than reflecting and truly evaluating the choices I was making and the life I was living, I just kept following the ‘recipe’ for a happy life.

But if it was that simple, then I have to believe that the question would stop presenting itself to me time and time again. As we talked I had yet another realization; I barely had time to process the thoughts before I shared them with her.

It seems so obvious now, there’s still a lesson for me to learn about love, about why I was willing to settle for good enough, why I didn’t strive and dream and want for more. For the past year and a half, I’ve been allowing myself the comfort of an “I wasn’t ready” excuse, because in all honesty, I wasn’t yet ready for THIS lesson.

I can feel within me, this lesson is one of the important ones.

This lesson, like every one before it, is going to change me and its going to change the way I interact with the world. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but in time, I know another switch will flip and the world will become a little clearer.

All the Time in the World

I was almost 19 when I met my ex; it was supposed to be a summer fling that turned into a 14 year relationship where I lost myself for a long time. I followed the societal ‘recipe’ for happiness: got a degree, got a job, got married, had kids and bought a house. It was  easy to just do the next thing on this list without ever considering if it was truly what I wanted. I want to believe that if I had taken the time for that reflection, perhaps I would have reconsidered at least some of those steps.

But the past is part of the journey and its brought me to a most amazing present, so I rarely dwell, but part of that ever important journey, is the lesson. I learned through my first post-separation relationship that even though the path may appear different, simply going along with what’s easy is just a variation of the same mistake that I’ve made before.

So this time, I have my eyes wide open. We talk about life and our relationship, we are honest about what we feel and where we want to go in this life, together and on our own. And the truth is, I want it all with her, but not too fast and not today. But someday. And she wants that too.

I remember one day, early in our relationship, we were discussing all the possible adventures that we could pursue and she told me ‘we have all the time in the world’ and my heart melted, just a little, because I knew I wanted all of the adventures without any of the rushing, the pressure or the need to meet some external standard.

It’s been over 9 months and we live by those words; we do what feels right to us in the moment and nothing more. And it’s the most beautiful feeling.

We spend a lot of time together, we can barely make it two days without each other and we almost always have a sleepover because there is no greater feeling than falling asleep in each others arms. We live in different cities and without question, we both know that one day we will live together, that she will come to the house that I’ve bought and together we will make it home. But when?

Every single time that we spend multiple days together, every damn day is amazing, even if its a day filled with chores and errands. Things truly are better when we are together, so after much discussion we have decided to change our someday, to a someday soon.

We’ve decided that on November 1st, the anniversary of our ‘not-date, first date’ we will take that step, she will move in and we will begin the next step of our life together. In truth, I can hardly wait for that day to come, but I’m happy that we are giving ourselves time to process, to prepare and to grow a little more on our own. More than that however, I’m confident that this time living together is what I WANT and so just like everything with her, it will be different than anything before