A month or so ago when we were headed up to Alaska for a really quick and last minute work trip, there was a moment on the flight from Seattle to Anchorage when I was completely exhausted (we’d been up for about 15 hours at that point after a long drive and day up in Seattle) where my eyes felt like they might not be able to stay open for much longer. It’s that kind of exhaustion that perhaps only travel can do to you, that exhaustion when you feel like you really might not be able to get up from that plane seat to get off the plane at your destination, when all you want to do is crawl into a bed somewhere. It was in that moment, that I looked over at Nick in the seat next to me. We both had headphones in, both listening to whatever we had playing on our iPhones at the moment, but in that moment we smiled at each other, saying “I love you,” without even saying the words, without any movement between us. And in that moment, I fully comprehended what our love is really all about.
Today, Nick and I have been together for 11 years. We’ve had hundreds, maybe thousands of moments between us in over a decade together, but it was that tired, slow smile on that flight to Alaska that made me fully realize that love doesn’t need grand gestures, it doesn’t need extreme highs, sometimes that steady, true and comforting love of a silent smile is what makes love all the more real in our daily lives.
Nick and I have been all over the world together. We’ve stepped foot on 6 continents, we’ve celebrated milestone birthdays and anniversaries and other occasions in numerous places around the globe. We’ve eaten countless meals off menus in foreign languages, we’ve fallen in love with places and had moments that we couldn’t quite believe were actually happening. We’ve done so much together, we’ve had so many highs. But at the end of the day, while our travels together might seem glamorous from the outside, my favorite moments together are the ones that often are never seen. Moments like midnight pizza in Reykjavik, bundled up against the November cold in the pitch black. Moments like racing to catch one of the most amazing sunsets we’ve ever seen behind the church ruins in St. Andrews. Moments like us eating one the best meals of our life at a tiny hole in the wall restaurant in Cambodia. Moments like silent smiles on airplanes when you can’t barely function you’re so tired.
Love is wonderful in all shapes and sizes, but for me, my very favorite kind of love, and the love I’m celebrating today with Nick, is the love of the small moments, the humble kind of love. It’s the kind of love that sustains you, the kind of love that comforts you. It’s the kind of love that no matter how grand it might seem on the outside, on the inside, it’s tender and soft and kind. It’s the kind of love that you know exists with the mere quiet smile between partners, when all you need in the world is that moment between you and that other person that only you can understand.