The First Time We Met
By: Meghan Moravcik Walbert
The first time we met, it was by chance. With mutual friends, congregating in the lobby of a basketball arena, ready for a game. The first time we met, we shook hands. Newly minted professionals acting the part. The first time we met, we stepped together onto an escalator to head upward and I thought, “Hmm … If I were single…”
The escalator whisked us upward, our balance tested. It’s odd how a simple ride like this can feel both fleeting and eternal when it’s propelled by a spark.
I watch us now, through the lens of distance and context, love and loss. Up we go, strangers who would meet again a few months later when I was, indeed, single. Strangers who grew up in neighboring states but only met when we each moved thousands of miles away from home to start our post-college careers. I watch us now, knowing where the escalator is headed.
The ride goes past football games and lazy rivers, past road trips to Mexico and local dive bars, past hikes and costume parties. It goes past an engagement in a pumpkin patch. Past a wedding in the desert where a monsoon wind lifts the cake into the air.
Next, we’re staring at our newborn son, the one who came late and with fiery marks across his chest from the labor of it all – proof of his strength, his tenacity.
Then, we’re collapsing into the last row of an airplane, our cat protesting loudly from her crate beneath our seats, our toddler bleary-eyed from the upheaval. This move back across the country, back home, feels both impossible and inevitable.
A split-second goes by and we’re getting the call: Our foster parenting license has been approved and they have a placement for us. A three-year-old boy we can’t yet imagine we’ll have for an entire year before we’ll have to let him go. The loss of him will strengthen our bond as a family of three in a way we never could have expected. The loss of him will break our hearts in a way we’ll never quite get over.
Next, a 9-year-old placement named James who is with us for just three months and breaks our hearts in different ways.
I watch us float upward, past one pregnancy loss. Further, past a second pregnancy loss.
I feel our pride as our son finishes the first grade. I see our joy as we receive updated pictures of our first foster son. I watch as we take James out to lunch for his 11th birthday, the natural way we raise our four glasses to the center of the table in a celebratory “cheers.”
On this ride, we’ve had joy and we’ve had heartache. The joyful moments have taught us to be content. But the heartbreaks have gifted us compassion; the losses have made us more resilient.
The first time I met him, we had a lifetime of adventure ahead of us.
I think we still do.
*Find more of Meghan's fantastic, honest writing at www.phasethreeoflife.com.