Mushy, gushy, Valentine! Finding love when you least expect it

Seven years ago I went through a semi-messy divorce (I’m sure many of you can relate). I had been married for eighteen years to my “first love.” It was a very rocky marriage and when I finally said “enough is enough” like many of you, I vowed “I will never marry again it’s just too much work.”

Five years later I met this Italian from Chicago and we became friends. We started chatting via email and then on the phone. To me, it was safe because I was in Alabama and he was a million miles away in Chicago, to me a foreign land! I remember always being excited when receiving his calls. We would laugh and laugh and talked about anything and everything. We had so much in common. He would send me the sweetest letters and cards. One day he sent me my favorite flowers in my favorite color. I remember thinking, could this be Mr. Right?

Then one October we were talking on the phone and he said, “I think I’m going to come see you at Christmas, what do you think?” I swallowed hard and thought to myself, “Oh no, you’re going to ruin everything.” But found myself saying to him, “Sure, that would be great!” The next thing I knew he had a plane ticket to come for Christmas 2007. What a scary thing to meet someone in person that you had only emailed and talked with on the phone. Yet I gave in!

So, a few days before Christmas I drove to Atlanta, GA to pick him up at the airport. I was so nervous. I remember waiting at the gate for him to come through the door. He said he would be wearing the “Bubba Gump” hat I had mailed him so I would know it was him. (really?)

The next thing I knew there he was. When I hugged him for the first time I will never forget the feeling that came over me. It was as if he was coming home from a long trip. It was a feeling that  I had known him forever.

We had a long drive back to Alabama so I thought I would put in my favorite CD “Andrea Botticelli (it was really a test). No one I knew listened to Italian opera. As soon as it came on he said, “Is that Andrea Botticelli? I love him.” This was one of many things that happened that made me love him even more.

Three months later we were married. On Valentines Day! I know, that seems a bit unbelievable, but true. I can’t help but say that I know in my heart of hearts that there was a higher force at work bringing us together.

Three years later, (this coming Monday) we are still happily married. And like most couples we have seen our share of difficulties through moving to different locations, family dynamics, and financial hardships but I love him more today than I did when I would hear him call and say, “Hey Susan, it’s your buddy Nick from Chicago.”

I’m reminded of last year’s anniversary. It was my first few months being in Chicago and away from my family and friends. Even thought finances were extremely limited I made a very nice dinner of lobster and crab legs and we had a nice quiet time at home.

Afterward, I sat at the dinner table having a glass of wine and thought to myself, “I think this was one of the best times ever.” Even in little things and though we didn’t have any money to buy each other a gift….we had each other. Sometimes simple can be good!

We all can get wrapped up in expectations of “I deserve this or that” or “this is what I want”….but focusing on love, family and things that really matter help keep us in a place where we release all expectations of others and remember “It’s not about us.”

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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