The man who changed it all.
One year ago (on the Jewish calendar, that is), I met Mr. T at the top of Ben Yehuda for our very first date. It was the first night of Chanukah, a Saturday night. I lit my chanukiyah, made sure I looked awesome, and set off to meet a complete stranger with whom I'd only had a few email chats.
We schlepped around Ben Yehuda, Agrippas, and through Nachlaot in the chilly Jerusalem air, the both of us sniffling along the way. We talked about our past marriages, in a no-nonsense "this is what I can put up with, and this is what I need" way. We discussed how we got to where we are, our own unique paths that led us to being "religious" Jews. We talked about our travels, our talents, music, and everything else that came up organically, naturally throughout the night. It was a marathon date, the kind that lasts for hours.
It was incredibly late (or early) when we said our goodbyes. He had to work in a few hours, and I had, well, sleep to tackle.
What happened next was a whirlwind. Roughly 10 days later we worked out a chance for me to meet his son, iBoy. It was my requirement -- no "yes" to a proposal until I meet your son, which didn't stop Mr. T from proposing after our first date, our second date, and every date thereafter. He knew I'd say yes, I knew I'd say yes, but when you're bringing a child from the first marriage into the mix, it's a necessary formality.
Just a few days after our first date, I sent a picture of Mr. T to a friend, saying,
... he's perfectly imperfect and I think he's amazing.
I'd spent my whole life being chased by suitors. I was a tough one to wrangle, always independent and career-driven and destined for big things in New York City. I was pretty sure I was going to be single -- or at least unmarried -- for the rest of my life. Kids were not even a conversation. After getting married the first time around because it was time (I was 27 after all) and having one of the most confusing, depressing, and out-of-body experiences of my life, I was convinced the dream of singledom and a carefree baby-less life was back on, but this time in Denver. When I decided to make aliyah, I was open to the option of marriage, children ... happiness ... again. But I wasn't expecting a magical, miracle pill.
I wasn't expecting this, I was definitely not expecting Mr. T. One date. Proposal. Ten Days later, engaged. Two months later, married. One month later, pregnant.
After everything that has happened over the past month -- the ups, the downs, the twists and turns -- I can't say I would have wanted any other way. The financial and emotional challenges we've faced since meeting and getting married have, if anything, helped us figure out who we are as a couple, as a zivug. If my zivug sheni was granted from my merits, then boy oh boy I must have done something amazing so far to deserve such a life as this.
I can't believe it's been a year since we first met. Looking back at everything that has happened baffles me, amazes me, makes me smile. No matter how bad things have gotten, the battle has always been worth fighting with Mr. T. And it all started with the longest date ever surrounded by the lights of the chanukiyah.
Next up? Mr. T + C = Little Z