The Love You Take is Equal to the Love You Make

It started the other day with finding this photo:

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is: Share Anything Previously Written. Link up

We can’t find the original one – but just this edited one that Cassidy made for a mix cd from our trip to Yosemite. I think you can still see what grabs me about it. Look at the way he looks at me! My god, it’s taken over 10 years of marriage to realize he’s in love with me. Or to the depth and degree. I knew it before we got married but then everything got timey wimey, topsy turvy, and ANXIOUS, and I’m glad to be where we are today. I wouldn’t go back in time, except to realize it sooner.

He loves me – curves and sharp edges. All of it.

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He’s also on his way to Denver right now for a meaningful trip. Over six years ago, I wrote the 20 part love story of how I met Cassidy, because I want my kids to read it one day. Who knows what they’ll think? I don’t even know what current me thinks because you all know I never read anything I’ve published.. pretty much ever again. With some exceptions. I’m not reading this either but I know it’s relevant. I do. For Finish the Sentence Friday, we’re sharing something previously written.

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Something previously written:

And this is part 19 of my 20 part story. Is it totally weird that I’m sharing #19 and not #1 of 20? Probably.

My mind got clearer as the next week went on after our NYC/Mass reunion. Cassidy sent me a link of his ex-girlfriend’s photography. It showed the whole arc of their relationship. It was the place I saw a picture of him from the Phish show at Coventry, VT and learned they had seen each other and he had never told me. Then I saw their relationship unfold in late 2004 starting from a wedding in which she had taken him as her date, to a Thanksgiving together, to the famous New Year’s Eve where they got back together officially, to road trips, times with Stormy, everything. It hurt to look at a lot, but not as terribly as I would have thought. He looked dead and numb in a lot of her pictures. He never looked that way in mine…

It made me love him more. That is the selfish thing to say. I saw a sexy guy who was someone else’s at the time and I wanted him more. I looked at every picture, letting pain and sympathy for myself wash over me. Then I let it go. He showed me those pictures in the middle of my confusion for a reason. I sent him a text in the middle of the night after looking:

“You know how much I love you, right?”

It wasn’t a normal “Tamara” text. I was not usually so free with my emotions on text or email. Sometimes, often, in person too. He was floored. So was I. I was feeling like I was in the middle of a gigantic dream come true. I felt amazed to be experiencing something even more powerful than the amazing adventure of 2004. It took me YEARS to even slightly shake that feeling, not that I wanted to, but I felt I had to shake it. I’d only ever felt it from Cassidy and Scarlet. The dream.

A lot of painful memories surfaced as well. I remembered a night in a bar in February 2005 seeing a friend’s band play. There was a guy who looked like Cassidy on the dance floor. I missed him so much in that moment, but in a physical, bodily way. It was my first sensation of that feeling and it hurt so much I had to leave the bar. When I got into my car, that was when I discovered “Don’t Cry” by Seal. I told Cassidy this memory. I had to keep laying out my pain and memories for awhile. And, I had to keep confronting them, through pictures and stories. He told me of his pain too. I needed it:

“thank you for the “Don’t Cry” origin tale. It is ok for us to tell mournful tales. The more we talk about the days between the better we will understand each other..what we went through. it will be painful and mournful at times. The end result will be deeper love and understanding though. I used to see you on the street a lot. it was your hair. I used to look at maroon shirts in the boutiques on Haight St….and if one showed up in a window I would see it everyday. it hurt.”

Even with things up in the air, we started to talk about a strange idea. It was Cassidy’s strange idea. He knew that plans may have already been made, but put the idea in all of our heads of finally having that Thanksgiving together. In New Jersey. With his mom and Ernie. As he said, “I think our present totally dwarfs our past. And our past was pretty huge. So that says a lot about what’s happening right now.”

It was so much to think about. All at once. One step at a time, I said then. I still had potential Thanksgiving plans with D. We honestly had no idea. I look back on this time as a jumble of hazy and confused memories, but that was what it was like living through it as well. My sister invited me to visit her at her radio station and put a request on the air. I’d wanted to send Cassidy a song to let him know I was thinking about him. I had told him to listen. I looked at the millions of albums at the station and couldn’t figure out what to play. Clapton? Petty? Zeppelin? And then it hit me. The most perfect song ever.

A throwback to our 2004 roadtrip from Maine to JFK Airport the weekend we had met, but also a song that talked of a potential future. U2’s “Even Better Than The Real Thing.” Perfection. My sister recorded me sending out the dedication:

“Give me one more chance
And you’ll be satisfied
Give me two more chances
You won’t be denied
Well, my heart is where it’s always been
My head is somewhere in between
Give me one more chance
Let me be your lover tonight

Oh yeah, check it out

You’re the real thing
Yeah the real thing
You’re the real thing
Even better than the real thing“

The week or two between getting back from Conway and heading to Yosemite was..incredibly hard. D and I had a series of arguments, bad conversations, loving conversations, emails, phone calls and an in person breakup. After the end, I wrote to my mom, “It was brutal. I wanted to die.” I felt like I was really thinking clearly finally. I didn’t feel like D was thinking clearly and some of his actions hurt me a lot. My mom was a very innocent bystander, trapped in the crossfire, but she told me that during the long two months of confusion and pain, that Cassidy had called her and said, “Just let her be happy. With or without me. I only want her happiness.” My mom had been realizing what I had suspected all along – that Cassidy’s intentions were selfless even if his actions did not always show it.

The day before my trip to Yosemite, Cassidy wrote, “I love that our magic is a reality.” It was the simplest way to explain it. I was in so much pain, and that would take a long time to recover from, maybe never fully, but I felt like my mind and heart were locked in the same place. And I don’t know if I had felt that way with Cassidy until after we saw each other again after two years apart.

I was going to see my mom that night for a last dinner and good blessings before my trip. She wrote an email to Cassidy and me with what might be the best description of our emerging relationship ever. Our wedding officiant, Blase, even quoted her during our ceremony:

“I have been thinking of your love in terms of energy and what I get is that back two years ago, it was like pouring hot, molten glaze into two dixie cups. Now it’s pouring glaze into two ceramic, stoneware cups – Not only does the stoneware withstand the glaze, but the glaze decorates the vessels which are now mature, strong, and beautiful.”

(This is why I’m a writer. Genetics.)

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I had wanted so badly to believe I’d end up with D. And I’ll never know what would have happened, with or without Cassidy. When it was both of them, somewhere I believed in Cassidy but chose to focus on something I knew I had, not something only the smallest gut feeling told me I’d get back. I felt wide awake and alive now. As well as in pain. And my mom told me I looked skinny and radiant – sounded about right. I’d lost some weight with all of the stress of loving D and Cassidy.

I flew back to San Francisco on a rainy night. I was afraid my plane wouldn’t take off, but it did. And I arrived so late and there he was – with Stormy on a leash at the airport! We got in the car and “Going to California” was on the radio. I asked Cassidy if it was a cd and he said, “Umm…no. Radio, of course.” I went back into that city and back into the old apartment.

I could only look at it in wonder for hours. I’d wander up and down the long hallway, looking at Stormy, looking outside at the sky and just being in awe that I could find myself back there. I sometimes love to pretend that I’m in the past looking into a glimpse of the future, wherever I happen to be. I kept thinking that if my self from a year or even two years before that could see me now, on Oak Street in San Francisco, it would blow my past self’s mind. Utterly and completely.

We woke up the next morning and took in the sun and some of the parts of the city I had loved and lost. We drove to Yosemite and we had both made three mix cds each for the trip. They had themes. We got Pumpkin Spice Lattes and arrived in the cool, crisp mountains. Yosemite is..beautiful. I think. No, really. We did some half climbs, good drives, good pictures. We saw one deer. Our cabin had an outdoor hot tub and we saw dozens of shooting stars above us one night.

We honestly didn’t see much of Yosemite. We spent time together in the cabin. And we made meals together. Ok..umm…those of you who know me deserve the truth – Cassidy made meals for us. We watched the “Concert for George” DVD as well as “The Lake House.” In that movie, two people fall in love through letters. One is in 2004. The other is in 2006. They can’t quite get to each other. It felt like us. Waiting for each other for two long years; one suffering more than the other.

Frustrating and satisfying at the end. When we actually ventured outside, there were pictures.

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The inside view was so great, it kept us indoors for days. Mountains are great, sure. Some things are better.

We stole the most luscious, fluffy white blanket from the cabin. We hoped to get away with it but were secretly thrilled to get billed for it. Honesty is best, we had discovered. We now use it for our house guests in our own private cabin in the woods. We drove back to San Francisco and had a nauseating goodbye at the airport. On the plane back home, I slept through two movies and nearly through dinner. I had headphones in my ear set to some “Rewind” station on the plane’s channels. I woke up as we were landing in Newark, and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” began at that moment.

Coincidence? I think not.

I was so scared to be back in Jersey. Previously our time together would eventually pull us apart because the pain of saying goodbye after goodbye was too great. I was certain that our two years apart had strengthened us for the long, hard road ahead. Our previous relationships, mine strong and his weak, had taught us about love, life, awareness and magic. It sounded like it would be enough but my fears were still there. I still quoted Seal’s “Don’t Cry” on a daily basis:

“Cause I’m afraid what you’ve done to me
Is now the wolf in my bed
In my head, in my head, in my bed”

I still felt wounded. I had just ended a long relationship. And, I lived in New Jersey. He lived in California. I was trying to piece together full forgiveness and trust. We did have love, though..

Was that enough?

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is Share Anything Previously Written And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin: HERE.


About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


The Love You Take is Equal to the Love You Make — 20 Comments

  1. Wow! Just more than a few coincidences (NOT) in your budding relationship. I can see why you chose this story to repost.

    Like mother, like daughter in your writing skills! What a beautiful comment she wrote in that email.

  2. That comment about mind and heart being the same place… that struck me. That doesn’t happen very often. My mind is usually off in a different direction, and my heart is trying to make it sit down and be quiet so we can enjoy the way the moment feels. Such a beautiful testimony to your relationship, and I know your children will cherish your 20 part series!

  3. I’m so glad you chose this one to share and love love what your mom said about the dixie cups vs. the stoneware cups. Beautiful. And wow to all of the coincidences. I agree- not coincidences at all.

  4. It’s is 1000% all about give and take! And I think in my relationship we have a pretty great balance of that, however, if we want to talk love languages, maybe not quite in the love languages that we truly “speak”. That being said, our give and takes are NEVER ignored and 1000% appreciated! Love youuuuu!!!

  5. Wow Tamara! I had to read sentences and paragraphs twice and three times to absorb all of the feelings and emotions your heart and soul poured into this writing. There were pictures in my mind as I was reading and re-reading. What A Story Tamara, and every day you and Cassidy with Scarlet and Des are still adding to it!

  6. I always wonder what my kids will think of our love story. They might be like gross. Just glad we are here!! Kids 🙂

    Lovely story Tamara, with all it’s curves and real life-ness. Thanks for sharing with us.

  7. I don’t think there were pictures when I read this before? But then I remember these pictures from something else more recent? Anyway I love these pictures with the story. There’s so much adoration captured in them. Beautiful!

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