I pulled out the piece of paper that I had written five years before. This was no ordinary piece of paper. It was the one on which I had created the love of my life. Writing to bring that love into creation and form, molding my hopes and dreams like a potter would clay. On this piece of paper was the love that I had asked the universe to bless and provide me with. I reread the description of this magical being that I had so carefully imagined, and smiled. I wondered if a love like the one I had described could actually exist or if I was being idealistic and expecting too much from the universe. I folded the paper back up and thought, well, I no longer have the need to experience the love of a lifetime, but a little company would be nice. Now the question was how to make that happen.
I had moved to a small New England town at the southern end of Vermont. I knew very few people and I was in my late forties. Most of the people in my age range were already in relationships. I made what at the time felt like a very bold decision…Tinder.
After downloading the app and beginning to create my profile, I thought it would be a good idea to get a little advice from someone who had some experience and expertise. Enter my twenty-five-year-old son. He asked me questions about who and what type of experience I was hoping to find, and then schooled me on the dos and don'ts of the online dating world. He also provided consistent reassurance and steadied my waffling and wavering thoughts regarding Tinder being the way for me to approach dating.
Photos, geographic and age range determined, a minimal biography on my forty-some years of life added to my profile, and voilà! I was launched and making my debut into the curious and oh-so strange world of Tinder. Swipe right. Swipe left. In the first week of the launch, I matched with quite a few people. However every time I attempted to engage in any kind of dialogue, I felt little-to-no pull to set up a meeting with the stranger on the other end of the line. Until him.
I was at work plugging away when the magical notification chimes sang their song. I casually picked up my phone to see what new possibility might lie ahead, fully expecting to put it back down and continue on with my day. Right from the beginning, it was just different. It was a simple message saying that he was dropping his daughter off at college (which had moved him into the geographical range that I had set) and that we had “matched” and he was saying “hi.”
I am not exactly sure why or what propelled me to immediately respond. There seemed to be all of these games and tactics one is supposed to employ in the world of dating apps. I could excel at these games, however, at this point in my life, I really had little desire to. I wanted the luxury and freedom of simply being me right from the start. No games. Honesty, authenticity, playfulness and a desire to keep growing no matter what the age, were some of the top characteristics that I was looking for.
So…I looked at his current location and I looked through his photos. Okay; there he was jumping out of a Dr. Who TARDIS, and there he was dressed as the Green Arrow crossing the finish line in a charity race. And there he was looking, well, simply put, real. Not to mention that he had really beautiful hair and a hint of mischief in his eyes. So I responded. “You are only 30 minutes away. Too bad I have some work that I have to get done or I would come and meet you for lunch.” I don’t remember the exact details of how the messaging unfolded, but we decided to meet each other for dinner the following week.
Truthfully I almost bailed. As the day approached, my son did a great job of steadying my nerves and reassuring me. When the time came, I hopped in my car and made my way to the meeting destination. I walked into the restaurant, spoke with the hostess and was led to the table where he was waiting. What do I remember from those first few moments? I remember thinking, wow, he is a lot taller than I realized, he really does have beautiful hair, nice eyes – let’s see how the conversation goes. I sat down. We said hello. We looked through the menu and placed our orders. Do you know what I remember the most? It just felt easy. There were no awkward lulls in the conversation. There were no flashing warning lights going off in my head. There was just a beautiful ease that I had never experienced on a first date.
After dinner, we decided that we would head into town and walk around. We stopped in a coffee shop for an after-dinner coffee, then walked until we came across a bench underneath some lovely trees. As we sat down, I noticed that it was starting to get dark out. At some point, I realized that he had put his arm around my shoulder. Wait?! How did that happen? I am always so aware of where people are in relation to my space and body. How did he manage to put his arm around me without me knowing it? Again, it just felt easy. It just felt right. I happened to look down and noticed his hands for the first time. There they were; the most beautiful hands that I have ever seen. I have such a love of hands and there were his. It took me a moment to realize that I had actually seen his hands before. Where? I wondered. Where have I seen those beautiful hands before? The image slowly came into my head. I had painted them from a dream that I had had five years before. A dream in which I was being held by those exact hands as I slept. It was a dream that was so real that when I woke, I turned to look and see who had been holding me but there was no one there.
No, could it be this easy? It had NEVER been this easy before. Really?
It was. I never went on another Tinder date. He was and is my one-and-only. We met in July. In September we spent two weeks together in New Orleans wandering around listening to music, feeling the city, sharing amazing food, being with family. We decided to move in together after that trip. The following spring, the pandemic arrived. He already worked from our home, and I began working from there as well.
And, although I had decided that I would never be married after being asked four times before and never making it to the altar, in May of the following year, we pledged our love and lives together in a very small ceremony in our backyard. In attendance were our three children, their significant others, my best friend and a dear friend who officiated the ceremony. I wore thigh-high black velvet boots, a turquoise and black striped dress with red roses and the largest smile you could possibly imagine while I spoke the following words:
From the moment that I found myself sitting across the table from you there has been a consistent thread running through my life…Growth. And for this I owe you a debt of gratitude.
Years ago I wrote a letter to myself and in it I described the love that I envisioned coming into my life. Then I prayed, and I waited for this love or something even more. You are my even more. More than I knew to hope and wish for. More than I knew possible to be.
My promises to you are:
I promise to continue to grow and to continue learning about myself in the mirror of my beloved.
I promise that I will support you in also continuing to do the work of your soul.
I promise you that I will continue expanding my understanding that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. That together, what we create is greater than what we could conceive of on our own. That our love serves a purpose larger and beyond ourselves.
I invite you to reside in my life and in my heart. I have made a home for you here. A place where you and all that you love will always belong. A place where you are always more than enough, where you are wanted, loved and deeply cherished.
I promise you love and a home in my heart. Now and forever.