Recognizing Love as the Real Deal

How people fall in love always amazes me. It’s like a birth of a new child. All of  a sudden there is this whole new element present where there used to be nothing and you nurture it and watch and grow as it takes up residence in your heart. It’s as simple as it is complex. Love is simply present, out of no where, and changing your life all the same.

My brother met his wife in late Spring of 2009. They moved in together in June, were engaged in November, and were married the following March. It was a whirlwind romance to everyone viewing their love from the outside. He first introduced us to Veronica during our family beach vacation at their home in Wrightsville Beach, NC. I admired her courage, meeting her new loves entire family in a bikini. They moved in together that same week, and I couldn’t help but to think he was being a little foolish. And please let me say that I love Veronica dearly. She instantly felt like she belonged in our family that very week and I received a sister I never had. She’s one of the sweetest and humble women I know. But, from the outside, I didn’t understand why they were moving so fast. 

When their fastness was questioned, my brother replied with a confident, “It is what it is.” 

I had no idea what that meant. It seemed like a callous “whatever” statement. A way to brush me off. And rightly so. No one else has any business with any one else’s love life. 

The intrusion and questions continued as they quickly spun forward into a quick engagement followed by a beautiful wedding 4 months later. People questioned their motives, the word “pregnant” passed between hushed conversations. Who was anyone else to judge? They simply could not wait to be married, to start their lives as a unified couple. 

At that time in my life I couldn’t imagine loving someone THAT much with that much urgency. I didn’t believe it was possible. For me at least. And yes, I still hoped to one day get married, have a family, and to feel love. I simply couldn’t even picture that future for myself. 

I’m the type of person that could be alone for an entire weekend and be perfectly content by myself. I wouldn’t get bored or feel terribly lonely. As a child I’d play for hours by myself, making up elaborate imaginary stories. I can go on long solitary walks. There are certain movies and TV shows that I wish to watch by alone. I need silence to read and write, to really escape from my current reality and get absorbed in the story or my thoughts. I value my “me time” and I used to have inner dialogues with myself that I”d never dream of sharing with even my best friend, thinking no one else would understand.

I think you know where this is going…

I truly knew Ryan was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with when I invited him along to my family’s beach vacation.

These vacations are sacred ground to me. I let very few people into that arena. However cliché it sounds, the beach is a spiritual place for me. I could catch waves, swim out past the breakers and float on my back for hours, and take long meandering walks by myself all day. This is where I refueled, connected with myself and dreamed. These experiences belonged to me. They were all my own. 

But with Ryan I couldn’t wait to share each of my special moments with him. I couldn’t wait to have shared experiences and to create new ones at my place. 

beach couple
When I met Ryan it felt like when you get caught off guard in the ocean by a breaking wave and are pulled under the current. At first you can’t breathe and you panic. But soon enough under water with your hair floating magically around you and the salt water rushing through your finger tips feels like where you are meant to be. It’s quiet yet alive, and you can’t imagine being up out of the water in the cold air ever again. 

We fell in love fast and hard. I simply couldn’t imagine a world without him in it. 

I could feel my friends’ judgement and that’s when those familiar words slipped out of my mouth, “It is what it is”. He is my love. Once I knew it, I couldn’t live without it. 

Soon enough we were engaged and then married six months later. The ocean still remains a spiritual getaway for me. But now I have something even greater. I have a love that is ours. It feels like an exciting secret, an inside joke that can be told with a simple smile. Our own place that I can retreat to anytime I want. It’s as complex as it is simple. It simply is. 

xoxo Katie