It was a year ago today, in the very early hours of a Sunday morning, that Mike and I were introduced (by my ex-boyfriend, no less) on the dance floor of the Seattle nightclub The Cuff. We didn’t leave each other’s sight until the following evening, and it took us only a couple short weeks of dinners, desserts, walks, talks, movies, art shows, and a Broadway musical, to realize we were in love, and just how lucky we were to have found each other.
Today, as Mike and I celebrate our first year together, I want to take a moment to reflect on the 365 days that have passed. Like any year, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs, with some close-to-home personal events, and others happening on the world stage. The difference for us is that we’ve shared these moments together, being there in both sadness, and in celebration.
Over the course of the last year, I’ve been both promoted and laid off, moving rapidly from a largely commission-based sales position, to an ostensibly secure corporate writing job, to unemployment and fretful pondering of my “next move.” But through all of this, Mike has been by my side with love and support, his presence always reassuring. On the brighter side, after being laid off himself last year, Mike has found secure, full-time employment with a fast-growing local company after a year of off-and-on work as a freelance graphic designer.
Meanwhile, I have discovered the wondrous joys of blogging, and become the voracious reader I’ve always wanted to be, while Mike has found a new passion, volunteering as a summer camp counselor for LGBT youth, allies, and their children.
Together, Mike and I witnessed the momentous election of our first African American president, while also enduring the fallout of an economic crisis that ultimately cost me my new job. We protested angrily after the passage of California’s Proposition 8, but also celebrated and found hope in that five states have legalized same-sex marriage since we met (particularly significant, as Mike and I consider the future of our own relationship).
Mike and I hit it off with each other’s social circles in no time, both quickly coming to love the other’s friends as friends of our own. It’s rare to find people as warm, kind, and fun to be around as Mike’s best friend Jill, to name just one. And I know Mike shared my sadness when my dear friend Karl moved 1,000 miles away this spring, and that he will cry again with me when my best friend Meg moves to Winnipeg next month.
I was lucky enough to spend Christmas with Mike’s lovely family in New York, who instantly made me feel welcome and comfortable in their home. Mike has met about half of my family – no small feat, considering its size – and I’m pretty sure my sister Maura wants to adopt him. And since Mike and I met, I have welcomed three new nieces and nephews into my family, while Mike discovered that he has a long-lost half-sister (and baby niece) in The Philippines.
This spring, Mike also mourned the loss of his grandfather, whom he met only a few years ago. But Mike knows how truly fortunate and blessed he was to have finally known this man who lived his entire life on the other side of the world. And I know it’s times like this that we’re especially lucky to have each other.
During this time, the biggest personal decision made by both Mike and me was the decision to move in together. It was only about 5 ½ months into our relationship, and some may have questioned the wisdom of moving in with each other so soon. Nevertheless, it felt like the right thing to do, and neither of us had any serious doubts about our decision. We were set up in our cozy new place just in time to host a small gathering of close friends for Thanksgiving dinner. And every day that has since passed has only served to reinforce the wisdom of our decision to live together.
Mike is not my first “real” boyfriend, nor is he the first one I’ve ever lived with. But our first year together has been happier, smoother, more secure, more fun, and more fulfilling than anything I’ve experienced in past relationships. Mike is the first and only person I’ve ever imagined a future with while pondering lifelong plans, and I know he feels the same. We both look forward to a life of many years together with big and exciting plans, both immediate (traveling to South Africa this year) and farther off (marriage, a house, dogs, possibly kids, the works).
What I have with Mike is something I’ve always fantasized about, and frankly, always expected to find (call it “destiny” if you like). Even so, I still feel like the luckiest guy in the world when I wake up and see him next to me, figuratively pinching myself, and only regretting that we didn’t meet sooner.
What else can I say? I love Mike to pieces.