Today's Joy of Love assignment was to document Where. Where I fell in love. Where my heart became his. I could have applied this to my kids, but who wants a picture of a yucky delivery room? I'll take sunny California any day. San Diego, where JDubbs and I became officially us.
This is the photo I submitted for the Joy of Love assignment today. If you have ever been to San Diego, I really hope you made a stop in Ocean Beach. It's a unique beach community; I have yet to find anywhere quite like it. Walking the pier in OB at sunset is one of my greatest memories; it was a joy. I am making myself so homesick for that time and place right now.
I could have picked a different Where. I could have picked Vidalia's. JDubbs and I worked at Vidalia's restaurant in Wellesley, Mass together on and off for three years, and had a sweep-me-off-my-feet kind of summer the year I turned twenty. I can't say it was love at first sight because it was toward the very end of our working relationship that we started dating, but it was one of those things that you just know. At the end of the summer, he moved to San Diego and I went back to college in Connecticut, without much hope of seeing each other again. I used to joke to my college girlfriends that he had ruined me for all other guys; he would always be "the one that got away," the standard that I held anyone else to, and to which no one could live up. I knew I was destined to settle for someone less than him, because the odds of us winding up together were slim to none.
Well, fate intervened. Four years later, one of my great friends from high school (Molly) was dating JDubbs's brother Tom. Yes, you may have heard of them; they're married now. Another girlfriend had moved to San Diego after college. She asked me to come out for New Year's Eve 2003; Molly confirmed he didn't have a girlfriend and gave me his number. In a very uncharacteristic move, I called him and we met up. I think if there was a love at first sight moment, it might have been that night at The Tavern in Pacific Beach; we spent a few days together then planned my next visit in April. During that visit, we planned my eventual move from Connecticut to California in August. Seven months after arriving, we moved in together to a little shabby apartment in Ocean Beach, where kids partied outside in the courtyard until way past our bedtimes and we could see the ocean from our bathroom. Our alley backed up to the best bars around and we could just stumble home without a care.
We watched the sun set every chance we got and ate bagels from Newbreak at Sunset Cliffs and did the crossword puzzle. We had great friends within walking distance and had some unforgettable times.
We played Uno and bocce ball and horseshoes. We drank margaritas in the winter and never took off our flip flops. We explored the cliffs and had bonfires in our friends' chiminea. We sat in chairs made out of broken surfboards and learned to love wine bars. We bought local pottery and jewelry.
It had its flaws, which is why we eventually left. I had a homeless guy make his home under my car. We had to do coin laundry. The bars were just too close and too tempting. We got a parking ticket every other week.
But all in all, I look back so fondly on our time in OB; it's where we solidified our love, although it isn't where it started. It's where we became an us. Among the surfers and the sounds of the street fair, we would buy fresh flowers and just live and love. It was such a wonderful time and I'm so very glad we lived there.
We even brought Jax there in 2010 when we went back to visit. Em was in my belly. It was our first stop as a family and one of my favorites. It was important to me to show him where it all began.
Ocean Beach will always hold a special place in my heart. I love it and love you, JDubbs.