A few weeks ago, when we were allowed to visit my stepdaughter for the first time since she was taken from her mom, my husband showed me pieces of his past.
Andreas’ past is still a mystery to me, even after years of spending almost every single day with each other. Despite being super open with me from the very first day about his daughter and the heartache is caused him to not be able to stay with her, he doesn’t like to talk a lot about his childhood (isn’t that true for most guys?) and certainly not about his parents (it’s quite complicated).
He never knew his genetic father, but loved his stepfather, a hungarian ambassador in Germany, very much. Whenever he talks about him (which is rare), his eyes light up and you really see that he admired this man.
I talk of him in past tense because he was killed in a car accident right before Andreas’ 18th birthday, a stroke of fate that crushed a little part inside my husband’s soul.
But I digress.
Anyways, like I said, I don’t know a lot about my husband’s childhood and youth and I always felt that there’s a disconnection. But the more I ask, the less you he tells me.
I can’t even tell you why I have such a keen interest in his past. Maybe it’s because I am crazy about him and I want to know everything about him. Or maybe it’s just because I am a super curious girl and I can’t bare not knowing important mile stones of my husband’s life. Whatever it is, I had an unearthly urge to connect with the boy inside my man.
You see, Andreas grew up in East Berlin, right next to the TV tower. However, every time we were in Berlin in the past years, we were too busy to make it to this place.
But this time I was determined to see where exactly he grew up. I wanted to get a glimpse of that young, rebellious little boy and I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way.
So, despite it being freezing (around 0˚ F) and him complaining, I asked Andreas to walk with me down his memory lane. Being the incredible husband he is, he gave in and off we went.
First, I met his best friend for the very first time. I know how crazy that sounds, but that’s my husband. He is weird that way. We had plenty of opportunities to meet, but he never made it happen. So, we met Max for breakfast and I learned more about my husband’s life than ever before. Come to think of it, maybe that’s exactly why he didn’t want us to meet.
We got together right next to the TV tower, so there ways no excuse not to show me where exactly he lived. I was giddy with excitement when I discovered that he hadn’t promised too much. He indeed grew up only a few steps next to the mayor’s office.
Seeing the windows of his past was like seeing right into his soul. I was moved beyond words and I kept on staring at the place he grew up in. There he was, my baby, literally still a baby, playing, sleeping, babbling, growing, learning to walk and talk (which, I believe he didn’t stop doing for a minute since he uttered his first word) and growing into the man he is today.
Later that day, I met his daughter face to face for the very first time (again, all kinds of circumstances worked against us in the past years) and she is the most adorable little girl in the world. She looks just like Andreas and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Another piece of the puzzle. Another step closer to my husband’s inner life.
We had a blast, even though it was quite a limited time frame. Andreas needed to chase us for the entire hour and I had to rescue Laylah from him. I am not sure who enjoyed this game more, my husband or his daughter.
I even met his ex and mother of his child, which was necessary but quite painful for me. It caused a lot of mixed emotions and I still often think about this conversation wich pangs of jealousy and sadness. But when you want to get to know someone inside and out, you have to be able to master those difficult moments as well. Otherwise, life wouldn’t be have as fun, right?
The merits of this day will go a long, long way. I feel closer to my husband than I have ever felt before. I feel like I have been there, trying new jumps on the skateboard with him at the Alexanderplatz, breathing his air, developing his dream of freedom from the oppression of the East German regime. I connected with the boy that would later attempt to escape this country and I was proud of him.
Have you ever done such a walk down your partner’s memory lane? If so, what experiences and feelings did you have?
If you haven’t explored your partner’s past, I can strongly recommend. Your partnership or marriage can only benefit from it.