This is something close to bliss.

You know how it is when you’re trudging through mud, and you just want to get to the end of the lake/swamp/muck and it seems like you never will? And some relationships can be that way, so you hope, pray, beg, and barter to either steer a different course with the one you’re with or have the courage to leave and seek a better, straighter path with fresher air and a bright sky?

And then you do leave and you’re on your own and you still hold a candle of hope for the kind of relationship you know is out there, and you’re convinced it’s not only in the movies, and you believe you can have it, you deserve it, you have so much love to give, and then you stumble into the light and there he is, in a singles ad on an online dating site and you can’t wait to meet him.

The first night I met Dan, I texted a photo of myself to a friend to make sure the shirt I was wearing wasn’t too low-cut. He walked me to my car after drinks and eats and almost leaned in for a kiss. I was so nervous. The night was cold. We met in a neutral place because that’s what you do when you’re in your 30s and you have kids to consider.

He asked me for a second date the coming weekend, and I said yes, agreeing to let him pick me up at my house. My stomach fluttered while I waited and all the way downtown to the restaurant in the car, it fluttered still. Dinner was fun. We laughed. Sparks blazed. At the door, he kissed me goodbye.

We just knew we were meant for each other from the start. It was heady and scary, almost like a rush of adrenaline or the feeling you get when you drink a little too much, not sure what’s real and what is imagined. I kept waiting for a shoe to fall, but they stayed tiedon tight.

After an unsuccessful relationship, eyes open a little wider. Second chances are to be cherished, if you get them at all.

Today, on the first anniversary of being married to the most wonderful man, I simply basked in being with him. The whole weekend was like that, too, and I am so, so lucky. I love being with this person, and the feeling is mutual. (And Dan, if you comment snarky otherwise, you are in big trouble LOL.)

We brought a bottle of delicious crispy-sweet Sancerre, cold salads and chocolates to the lakeside and sat on a blanket watching the gray sky roll over us. The water lapped underneath boat docks and an errant swan. It was absolutely perfect.

One year ago today, we stood on a sweltering Saturday under my grandfather’s tallit-turned-wedding canopy and recited the words we’d written to pledge our love and promise our devotion, support and endurance to one another. Our four children surrounded us. It was a perfect wedding.

I wish everyone in the world the kind of love I finally found at age 38. Everyone should taste the sweet cake-flavor of this kind of partnership.

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