I have been spending some time thinking about love. 

The sappy kind.

The cheesy kind.

The PDA kind.

I recently posted on my Instagram feed that 'falling in love with my husband began a huge shift in falling in love with myself. He showed me the way and I am so grateful'. And someone said, tell me more. 

So driving home this morning I thought about falling in love with my husband, moreso in the beginning and it ebbed to meet me in the now. We are ever-changing, ever-evolving beings so the falling in love is continuous - not past tense but ongoing. And I cried. Tears of gratitude and immense humility as this journey of love is never rainbows and unicorns. And yet it can be so cheesy and wonderful and reflective.

Chris was one of the first boys I met in college, we were both 18 and on the brink of freedom living in the dorms with no parents, a meal card and friends that bought me Smirnoff Black Cherry vodka (I just totally cringed and my stomach hurts reading that). It was a wild time and I was loud and totally amp'd and Chris was reserved, a baseball player with early practice and discipline. I adored him. A secret crush for sure and totally not our time to be lovers. So we became friends.

Chris saw me through those years of college and beyond. He knew most of the boyfriends I dated from 18 on and he took notes. We would talk about our separate love lives, me more than him because he was a bit more secretive. And we would chat on AIM late at night and he would send me music. He still does. The music, not late not chats on AIM, we upgraded early night chats on the cough by the fire.

It was years later that we finally were in the right time to start our dating life, to become lovers. How fun to say 'lovers'? And we did in the most magical of ways, as I have shared before. One of my favorite things Chris always says is that he saw all the other boys doing it wrong and the mistakes they made with me. And he always says this, 'they were all out to change you, every single one of them'. He was right, they were trying to have me fit the mold, their mold. 

And Chris said when he made his move, he loved me for me. For all my weird, for all of my many selves and for whomever I wanted to be at that time and this time and next time. He never judged me and he truly honored our differences.

I remember hearing him say that to one of our friends and gushing a bit, as you do. And I remember in those moments with Chris in the early stages starting to really embrace all my weird, all of my many true selves, my own core values and all the aspirations I had. 

And to be honest, he showed me that. He did. 

Some times, we have to let someone show us the way. Let them take us by the hand and say, try it this way. 

I often hear people talk about getting to know themselves, dating themselves before they get into a relationship. Amen, I did that for most of my early 20s. I honor that devotion to self and unraveling to truly get clear on who you are and what you want. And yet a word of caution, we are even changing beings, and if we date ourselves forever or choose to stay there too long, it can get lonely. Confession: I was so scared to fall in love with Chris, most likely because I had never truly allowed myself to fall totally in love I thought I needed more time, more excavation, more clarity.

To this day I am still falling in love with me, and Chris and my body and our home and our family and our life we have created. It is a moment to moment choice I make to keep learning, falling with grace, failing with grace, and being all in as all of me and all my weird, with grace. 

So grateful.

Jacki Carr