I’ve heard people talk my whole life about what it’s like to meet someone and fall for someone and be so incredibly happy that you just couldn’t possibly put it into words. I’ve read stories about it. I’ve dreamed about it. I’ve wanted to experience it. And a couple times, I’ve thought I was close, but it always slipped right through my fingers. In those moments, when I was sad, when I was discouraged, when I would lie awake at night, I always told myself that there was someone better for me out there. That somewhere he was lying awake waiting for me too. Although sometimes it was hard to believe, like when I thought what I had lost was so perfect, I always knew in the back of my mind that it was true. That better did exist. That I would find him. That I just had to be patient.
My mom likes to tell me the story of the Keno cards. It’s the story of how she knew my dad was “the one”. When she and my dad first started dating, he had to go away on temporary duty to Las Vegas. It was the early stages of their relationship, and while he was away he wanted to write her letters, a notion I wish was still around in today’s day and age. In his hotel room, though, he didn’t have any paper…but he did have Keno cards. So he wrote her to tell her how much he missed her and how much she meant to him on the back of a Keno card. And that was how she knew. That was how she knew she had found a man who would do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to show her he loves her. Whatever it takes to make her happy. That was how she knew she had found the one.
My whole life my mom told me to wait for my Keno card man. For the man who would go to any length to make me happy, to show me how precious I am to him. For the man who wouldn’t be ashamed to put me first and who would always remember to cherish what we had.
When my mom met my dad, they knew pretty quickly that they had found what they were looking for in each other. It only took them nine short months to fall in love and get married. Twenty-five years later, I know I would be stupid not to take my mom’s advice. That she was right all along. Even when she was telling me I was wrong, that I hadn’t found it, that I needed to wait a little longer…
And I guess that’s why she wasn’t at all surprised when I called her today and told her about how I was feeling and this new adventure life has brought me to. And I guess that’s why I’m not at all worried about where this path might lead. Because, for the first time, I get it. I finally understand what she’s known all along. Keno card or tiny piece of pink paper or champagne toast, sometimes you just know.