Just A Few Insignificant thoughts on the Boy I met Freshmen Year (and have been with ever since)
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We met in the first week of college.
I had just returned from an amazing summer in Israel. Four years of college in a suburb of a small Rust Belt city were staring me in the face and I recall woefully joking far too often with friends and family about my missed opportunity to steal myself a nice, Jewish boy while in Israel.
In exactly the same way my Mom predicted it would happen, we met at a Hillel Barbecue completely unexpectedly. He was this scruffy kid with a huge ego and a mesmerizing smile. He caught my attention – and he hasn’t let it go.
I remember he was standing alone. I approached him to start a conversation and, though he was quiet, I learned within the first few minutes of brief back and forth banter that he was an Israeli-American pre-dental student accepted into a 7- year Dental program at the University at Buffalo. He was proud of that fact, and I soon would grow to be, too.
It wasn’t love at first sight.
It was a culmination of simple, seemingly meaningless moments that cemented the foundation of our life together. It wasn’t the date nights; but it was all the silly moments in between. It was when we cuddled each other at night, greeted each other mid-day during hectic college schedules just to say hi. It was when we met for dinner, or for a quick dessert. It was when we argued and then made up. It was when we took long walks on the bike path talking about random things I’ll never remember. It was in all those blissful moments spent together when we knew we were in exactly the right place at the right time with the right person. It was sheer joy… and it still is.
But let me pause and put on my reality vision goggles because, let me be clear, we were young and stupid. The lovey-dovey moments were real, of course, but allow me to clarify: it wasn’t all sunshine and butterflies.
We were about as different as two people could be (and, in many ways, we still are).
He was a compulsive neat freak and I was a horrible a slob. He liked to plan everything down to the last detail, and I was extremely impulsive. He went to bed early so that he could rise early, and I was a typical college night-owl, rising in the morning only to turn off my alarm on the third or fourth snooze (belated apologies to my roommates at the time). He knew where he was headed professionally, and I was already planning my hop to major number two within the second week of the semester (and I'm still not quite sure).
And so we fought like hell. Relationships are hard at any age, but sharing your life with another person at 19 years old is an incredible and seemingly impossible challenge. We were selfish and naïve at times, thinking only for ourselves and letting our pride take over. We fought over silly things that meant nothing.
We’ve always been on the same team rooting for each other.
But, with every fight, we learned to fight clean and fair. We’ve bonded over our differences and we’re constantly learning to embrace the moments of tension together, rather than against one another. It’s an ever-evolving learning process. But we’ve always been on the same team rooting for each other; it’s what has made the sweet moments even sweeter and it’s largely why we’re still together today.
Even after 5 great years, we’re not afraid to admit that, in our early 20s, the many flavors of life are largely unbeknownst to us. That’s what’s most exciting, though. The years ahead will bring us joy and sadness, and surely everything in between, but if I get to experience it all while holding his giant, monkey hand (he’s Iraqi – he’s got a lot of hair people) I know we’ll be okay. We’ll be better than okay.
Our relationship happened for us, not to us, and we’re better people for it.
We have growing up to do, yes. But we’re doing the “growing up” together. It’s an unconventional path, and many my age suggest that I’m spending the best years of my life locked into a relationship – but I don’t really feel like I’m missing anything. Our relationship happened for us, not to us, and we’re better people for it. And while this journey through young adulthood is an incredibly intimidating one to take, it’s not so scary if you’re like me, and you’re in good company. I wouldn’t change a thing.
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