Last Saturday started like any other day.
The beautiful fall weather greeted the morning, warm and sunny and bursting with color.
Justin and the boys left for football practice, and I finished up a Zenkei Journal I was drawing for little Laurali, my good friend’s daughter who was turning one that day.
I had used quotes from Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go, and was filled with that sort of contentment that comes with creating something for someone you love, and having it turn out exactly as you’d hoped.
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose…
As I drew, I thought about all the choices she’d make when she was old enough that would create her path to a meaningful life…
It made me think of my own life and how it has unfolded thus far.
So many choices - large and small - led me to this table, this morning, this contentment.
When I was younger, the big choices were easier. I was fearless. Moving away to college. Moving to New York without a job or an apartment. Piece of cake.
As I got older, I became more cautious. I was bold, but calculated. My idea of crazy was wearing metallic nail polish.
I liked the comfort of my life. It was cozy and filled with everything I loved.
But the trip to Thailand nearly two years ago really opened me up, as traveling often does. It knocked me out of my comfort zone and it felt wonderful.
Without even knowing it, I came back from that experience with a new openness.
I went to dinner by myself for the first time ever. I went to a concert. Alone.
And later that week, I met Justin.
When he asked me out, he had already told me he had four small boys. Under the age of 9. There was a kindness and honesty about him I really liked.
And so, in a flash of newfound fearlessness, I said yes.
It was the first of many choices that would become the greatest adventure of my life.
We fell in love and, on the day after Thanksgiving, I met the four boys I’d been hearing about for so long.
They are the most extraordinary little boys. Loving and bright and incredibly funny.
They have taught me to look at the world with more humor and innocence.
I love their stories about school and the crazy things they’ve discovered on YouTube. (What does the fox say?)
Over the past year we’ve become a new kind of unit. We’ve sunned and skied and gone on trips to the ER together.
I’m so grateful that they’ve been so open to having me be part of their lives.
It has made me appreciate the person Justin is even more, seeing him as a father in addition to being a boyfriend.
His patience and capacity for love is astounding.
Every day, he makes a choice to be vibrant and positive, which continues to inspire me.
Because of Justin, I am living much more fearlessly than I ever thought possible.
It is the wildest ride and the ultimate blessing.
I often stop, just for a second, to say thank you for the gift of love and friendship he embodies.
So let’s flash-forward again to last Saturday.
Past the football and soccer games.
Past Laurali’s precious first birthday party.
To my apartment, and a bottle of champagne, a bended knee and a very important question.
And a new chapter of living fearlessly together.
To this, without hesitation, I said yes.