letter #004 | dear younger me: healthy love exists. (and you will experience it.)

healthy love exists. (and you will experience it.)

Letter #004

January 30, 2023 | 23:59pm

“hey siri, define a good morning”

I had to work the morning of his birthday, but I had planned to drop off a few birthday gifts that he could see when he opened his front door that morning.

Once I had everything in place though, I decided I wanted to see his reaction so I called him and pretended like I needed to see him urgently.

He said he'd be right on his way, but I didn't want to worry him so a few minutes later, I knocked on his front door and hid around the corner.

When he opened the door, this is what greeted him before I stepped forth from behind the corner:

Profuse thanks and lots of hugs and pictures followed.

I left for work soon after and the day was off to a great start.

I knew by the time I left his house that he still had no idea what was in store for that evening.

the plan

The last two times my partner and I had had date nights, the food and the service were both exceptionally poor.

So the week before his birthday, I told him that my grandmother would help me cook an elaborate romantic dinner for the two of us at his place.

I said he would need to stay out of the house for a few hours while we prepared everything.

This was really just a decoy to keep him preoccupied while we set everything up and waited for everyone to arrive, but he believed it wholeheartedly.

He often leaves cute notes for me in conspicuous places so this was his note regarding my grandmother and I preparing dinner for him. We took it after adorning his whiteboard for the party:

success is the sum of details

I find great beauty in small, thoughtful touches so I did my best to ensure the decorations for his party were all catered to my partner's favorite things with SpongeBob references galore.

Here were a few of my favorites:

the krabby patty cake & more decor

The cake was one of my favorite parts of the night because of its inside joke:

When my partner Rich first met my family, one of them kept accidentally calling him Rick, so in jest, I began calling him that, too.

There is a SpongeBob episode in which SpongeBob erases the “Pat” off of Patrick's nametag, so that it reads “Rick” instead of Patrick, and Patrick freaks out and yells, “My name's. Not. Riiiiiick!” That was my inspiration when selecting the cake design.

Below are a few other photos from the evening's event:

the video: the best day ever spongebob episode

In the few weeks leading up to his party, I collected videos from his family and friends wishing him a happy birthday and expressing what he meant to them.

Then, I interspersed the personal videos with clips from SpongeBob that related to the person's message, their relationship to my partner, or both.

The video contained a healthy mix of funny and sentimental moments and he was emotional by the end of it.

the kahoot: how well do you know old man jenkins?

Because my partner also owns a private tutoring company and teaches students, I felt it was only right that we brought a little schooling into the party.

I created a Kahoot!, an online multiplayer quiz game, that tested the party guests on our birthday boy's favorite things and fun facts about him.

Keeping in line with the SpongeBob theme, the quiz was titled,“How Well Do You Know Old Man Jenkins?,” a nod to the elderly SpongeBob character and a few inside jokes as well.

a few final thoughts

Currently, I still don't have the vocabulary to describe the full beauty or significance of that night for me and my partner's loved ones, but the words powerful, evocative, and ineffable come to mind as a start.

Beyond the magic and pure love that surrounded him and all of us that evening, I feel so blessed to be able to experience a love like this.

To move so intentionally and interdependently with another person.

To have someone who inspires, supports, uplifts, and challenges me. Who appreciates and encourages me constantly.

I feel cherished, accepted, and seen every day.

This romantic experience is so different from all my previous ones.

And for the record, I am not of the mind that one has to “kiss a bunch of frogs before finding your [compatible significant other].”

I think each experience lends itself well to teaching you what you do and do not want in love and in life and in a partner.

I don't regret my past experiences; they were teachers of worth, self-love, and compatibility.

But I am truly so happy and grateful for what I get to experience now.

It is such a blessing to have someone who I can walk alongside, share with, and learn from each day.

vale la pena - it's worth it

I will say though, that as with most truly valuable things in life, it does not come easy.

But, I wouldn't necessarily say that it is hard either; it just takes effort. Daily effort and tending to.

It requires a level of emotional maturity that I am still developing in some ways.

It's constant learning and constant, but gentle journeying out of my emotional and communicative comfort zones.

It's a lot of feeling like a beginner again, and a lot of lessons in grace and patience and courage and forgiveness (often of the self).

But I'm enjoying what I'm learning.

And I'm grateful I get to do so with him.

It's rewarding. It's nourishing. It's meaningful.

And it has been changing me for the better.

looking towards the future

I'm hopeful for the future, but not dependent on it, if that makes sense...I'm grateful for the time I get now.

I try not to concern myself with the question of permanence.

What I have now is wonderful and I will continue to enjoy and nourish it for as long as I can.

For now, that's all I need to know.

I’d love to hear from you.

Have any thoughts about this letter? Did anything resonate with you? Got an idea for something you’d like to see in a future letter?

Just reply to this email to let me know. I’m happy to hear from you and respond to every message.

I hope you feel loved this week, Reader. Take good care and I'll see you Monday.

With much love and appreciation to you,

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