They met by accident and fell in love before meeting. Their relationship flourished when she came to this revelation.
We met by accident.
“I am sorry for the delayed response, give me a call back at…” His voice was smooth and deep, like rich chocolate. I saved the message.
It took me a few months to return his call. I told him that he had left a message on my machine, then went on to explain that he had dialed the wrong number. I also told him that his voice was the reason that I called back. He chuckled, It was sexy.
We got along like old friends. The connection was immediate.
We talked on the phone for months before finally deciding to meet in person. And we were friends for even longer before it progressed to something more. We had a lot of conversations over the years. No subject was off limits. And although we consciously compartmentalized our relationship, we always enjoyed one another. Friends with the benefit of love and other stuff.
His mother was one of his favorite subjects. Oh, how he loved her so. When he talked about her, his face would light up, and his voice became stronger. He would do anything for her, whatever she needed was already done. He made sure that she did not want for anything.
For almost two decades, I watched him expand and grow. He had always been kind and beautiful, generous and compassionate, brave and courageous. His physical brawniness was always a comfort. But his ability to feel without expressing caused me a great deal of anguish in the beginning. Then, something happened, and just like that everything was different.
Her death changed him. It made him a little bit softer. His reserve became a bit more quiet. And while he was always a great listener, he began to listen more intently. He opened up more. He shared more of himself. He told more stories. He laughed more often. His love became more candid. He was more vocal about his passions. He expressed more opinions. He expanded his capacity for knowledge and connection.
The relationship with his mother shaped his entire life. And her death spurred his evolution.
He did not just love his mother; he respected her. His respect for her shaped him into a man with a capacity to love, honor and respect women. He treated his daughters with the same level of respect. He allowed them to make their decisions. And even when their choices disappointed him, he owned the fact that it was not his job to prevent their mistakes.
Respect is the foundation of trust and honesty. Respect is not about affection and admiration; it is about space and freedom. It is about being valued and treated well; it’s about admiration and esteem. Respect is recognition of the soul.
For a long time, I believed that a man who loved his mother would love me. And while that is almost always true, it is not love that matters the most, it is respect.
A man that respects his mother will respect you.
Photo: Flickr/ Ed Yourdon