On Valentine's Day, I asked Nick to tell me three things he likes about me.
He listed about 20. And then he asked me to do the same. One of the things I said got stuck in my throat, it made me so emotional.
I said that I love the fact that I know he's never going to leave me, never going to let go of me.
It came out of nowhere, that sudden burning hot throat close and rush of tears.
I know this sounds unromantic, so let me assure you that I had already told him all kinds of schmoopy things like about his sense of humor, his sweetness, his masculine ear hair, his child-producing loins.
Romantic statements abounded, I assure you.
But back to serious.
It took me a lot of work to realize that I spent most of my life worrying about my dad leaving us.
It wasn't until recently that I realized I had abandonment issues. And saying this I feel like I sound like everyone in therapy, all abandonment issue-y. But it is true that even when you get old enough to understand mental health issues, when your dad keeps trying to leave this world for good, it sure sets you up not to expect men to stay.
I'd always liked women more than men as human beings. Always had very close female friends and no male friends. Men were for dating. Women were where you put your trust, where you found your emotional support.
Makes for deep, genuine, healthy relationships with men, no?
I embarked on relationship after relationship threatening to leave. I was all, "Yeah, I'm here now, but don't get too attached, because I might leave."
And in that way, I coulddn't get too attached. Because that way, they wouldn't matter enough to hurt.
Of course, some of them did actually really matter, and I was ultimately devastated.
But when I met Nick, he felt like home. Not home where I'd lived, on guard, always vigilant, ready for crisis.
Because I'd chosen a lot of men who felt familiar - in that keep-you-on-edge kind of way.
Not like that.
Home like home where I wanted to live: Solid. Warm. Safe. Relaxed in the realization that he had my back. And would never, ever leave.
I tell you very candidly that I didn't even know that was what I was looking for. And as my mid-30s became my later 30s, and I was constantly reminded that the chance of me meeting my One became slimmer than my chance of being hit by a meteor, or whatever it is, I expected it less and less.
And then I met Nick, and he was and is my home, felt clogs, mallard prints and all.