Our love story

Yesterday was Carlos and my first wedding anniversary. Since Sylvia’s death, we completely forgot about the approaching date. My mom thoughtfully booked us a room at the Paradise Inn at Mt. Rainier that we were able to escape to and spend 24 hours with no cell phone reception, no wifi, not even TV, in the mountains on completely cloudless days. It was gorgeous. We hiked, talked, shared memories, cried, laughed, ate a wonderful dinner and breakfast and enjoyed feeling invisible in the mountains with each other. We took the Skyline Trail hike counter clockwise at an early hour. It took just under 4 hours and because of the time we took off and the direction we went, we enjoyed well over the first half of the hike nearly completely alone. It was not the anniversary we expected, but it was magical.
On my Instagram I posted a picture recently regarding a shirt I purchased while I was still pregnant. (link here) The entire hike, I kept reliving the conversation I spoke about in that post. We are climbing our mountain Carlos. 

You know how people say you find love when you are least expecting it? It really is true. And on the verge of being obnoxious about it, most people I talk to agree. Carlos and I met at a point in both of our lives where the last thing we wanted was relationship. It was summer 2013 and Carlos had promised himself he would be single another year and focus on his career. I had just gotten divorced which, even under the most vanilla terms, is about the least amount of fun you can possibly have. The idea of being in a relationship, for either of us, was truly the last thing on our minds. But I saw him while out at a dive bar with mutual friends and knew I had to know him. He was magnetic, charismatic, a presence…people gravitated to him. He was everyone’s friend, easy to be around and had a smile that seemed confident and slightly bashful. I had to know this guy. He says I stalked him. And it might be true. But after the initial stalking, we were inseparable. We spent the entire summer together, and then the entire fall, winter, spring…and the entire next year. Completely unintentionally we went the first year and a half of our relationship never spending a night apart. Our relationship was a dream. It was the kind of relationship that had the comfort and ease I had no idea existed. The kind based on trust, understanding, communication, respect and a deep, true love. It was so profoundly simple. We didn’t fight, ever. Sure every now and again we disagree on something, but even still, I wouldn’t ever call them disagreements, because we talk about it, and then move on. We fit. It is smooth sailing, even keel…we know what to expect from each other, we know how each other will react and we know how to show each other our love. He made me a better person from the moment I met him and he continues to help make me the woman I am today.
Prior to the job I currently have, I never worked nights or weekends. Our Sunday’s were our day. We would get up, make breakfast together while making a list of food and meals for the week, sit around for an hour or so while our food digested and our pre-workouts kicked in, go to the gym for a couple hours, lunch at our favorite spot, head to Costco (every other week) and our favorite grocery store (weekly), and then home. Once home we would do laundry and start cooking our food for the week. About 5 or 6 we would open a bottle of wine and start making dinner together. Most often it was either pesto spaghetti with garlic bread and Carlos’ incredible BBQ chicken. Sometimes it would be one of two pizzas I’ve perfected that Carlos can’t get enough of. Other times it would be Yoke’s burgers from their meat counter which if you’ve never had them, you are reallymissing out. After dinner we would retire to the couch to catch up on our shows for the week or watch a movie. Bottle of wine, delicious meal and my favorite person in the world. Sundays were the best.
On a Sunday evening in May 2015 we started talking about when we would like to start a family. It was a conversation that had happened many times before, but this time was more of a specific month to go off birth control type of plan. I mentioned that when I was pregnant I would buy an inexpensive band and wear it on my ring finger. We are both about as open minded as possible, along with our families, but I know the negative connotation a pregnant woman unmarried can have to some and I figured it was a way to avoid a conversation or judgement. We had no plans on getting married – as far as either of us was concerned, we already were. Our relationship wouldn’t have changed had we never gotten married. It would have been the same, smooth sailing, full of love and laughter, Sunday dinner, relationship. However, during this conversation Carlos casually asked, “Why don’t we get married?” I could only answer, ‘Okay’, with a huge, cheesy, completely caught off guard grin.
We decided to do a surprise wedding. Carlos told our families and a handful of friends that he would be proposing and he needed them to be at our favorite winery the evening of August 29, 2015. Him organizing everyone to get there was difficult, and it was difficult for me to pretend like I had no idea anything was going on. I was hiding in the back office while guests arrived. Carlos calmed the excited bunch, welcomed them, thanked them and then told them that they were here for not a proposal, but a wedding. The now even more excited group migrated outside while Carlos directed my dad to where I was hiding. My dad walked me down the aisle to ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ and we were married with the backdrop of the summer sun setting over a vineyard. It was pure magic.

I took a job at the hospital following our honeymoon. I was moved to nights and worked weekends, including almost every Sunday. It was a hard adjustment. We went from being completely available to each other 7 days a week to not seeing each other, not even for 1 second, for 3, 4 or 5 day stretches because of the way our schedules were perfectly wrong with each other. We became pregnant that November. Working nights, not seeing my husband, being pregnant…it was a hard winter. I would cry sometimes simply because I missed Carlos. I missed falling asleep with him, I missed kissing him goodbye in the morning, I missed Sundays. Carlos would always hug me tight and say, ‘This is only temporary,’ as we hoped I could transition to a day position within the next year or two.
Carlos should write a book about the way to be the perfect husband when your wife is pregnant. He was fascinated with every step of the pregnancy, amazed at what my body was doing and made me feel beautiful, accomplished and worshiped every single day.  But it wouldn’t make sense to him to write any advice down, because he doesn’t see it as anything other than being himself. And that’s all it is anyways. It is just him. To write a million words about who Carlos is as a person isn’t enough. Carlos is, with every cell in his body, good. If you know him, you know, and if you don’t, then I don’t know how to describe him and give him the respect his character as a man deserves.

I had known since very early on in our relationship that Carlos was who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It wasn’t ever given a second thought. I know that the connection, love and relationship we have is what people search their entire lives for. I never believed in soul mates or even one person for everyone, but now I can’t see it any other way. Prior to Sylvia’s death I wouldn’t have believed our relationship could get any stronger. However, her life and death has created something profoundly deep between us. Where it could have torn us apart, it drew us together, clinging on to each other for dear life at times. I will never, ever believe we were ‘meant‘ to loose our daughter. I refuse to. But I do know there is no one else that I could wake up every day to this reality with. Carlos gives me strength when I have none, words when mine fail and love when I can’t even smile. Carlos made me believe in true love, in soul mates and in myself. If I could go back and tell that couple that met that summer in a crowded, grungy bar that in three years they would face the unimaginable together, what would I say?  I would tell them that they have found the person that will make them whole. I would tell them that there is years and years of love, laughter, happiness and joy to come. I would tell them they will face pain they had no idea existed and they will rise from it. And I would tell them it is all worth it.
Happy one year anniversary, my love.

Teresa MendozaComment