Being that yesterday was Father’s Day, I spent the day with my dad and family. We enjoyed a yummy brunch and relaxing time together. As the day went on my dad decided to share the story of how he and my mother met with my sister, brother and I. I’d been meaning to write about this anyway, but hearing my dad talk about it sparked my interest to share now.

I wrote a blog post last year about chivalry and talked about a bad date I went through, after I explained the date disaster I wrote out a list of my recommendations on what I think men should be like or aspire to be like in dating. I got quite the response from this post many months later, replies on Twitter, comments and emails. Many men, and I’m talking in the double digits wrote me expressing their disagreement and said that my expectations were unrealistic. I found it very interesting that men were so set in their opinion about this. I totally realize that everyone has their own expectations when it comes to relationships, I believe the beauty in it all is that because we are all unique we’re allowed to have our ideals. My list is certainly not the be all end all of how a man should be, merely my two bits on what I believe a gentleman to embody. I’d like to write this blog post and try to explain why I have the hopes and standards that I do. I am fortunate enough to be inspired by two beautiful love stories, that of my mother and father and of my grandfather and grandmother.

I am the product of true love.

Imagine you’re on a cruise ship in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico- you’re on a girls trip with a few of your best girlfriends, you’re enjoying great music, food and beverages. The last thing on your mind is that you’re going to leave this place in love right? My mom and her friends were out having a good time when all the sudden one of the people on board the ship decided it would be a smart idea to jump into the water and snorkel while drunk. Naturally he realized quick that his decision wasn’t the wisest of decisions, so paramedics and cruise personnel quickly whisked him out of the water. One of my mom’s friends was a paramedic so she went to lend a hand with making sure the man was ok. My now dad was the Doctor on board the ship, as he was attending to this patient he saw my mom from a distance. Because my mom’s friend was also helping attend to this man, she met my dad and then introduced him to her friends, one of which was my mom. They all chatted briefly, talked about their trip and then went on their way. My parents had no idea that fate would lead them to meet again a couple days later. One of the girls in my mom’s group ended up getting sick from dinner so they called the hotel Doctor to come and check on her to make sure it wasn’t anything seriously like food poisoning, the Doctor knocked at their hotel room door, my mom answered and it was my dad, again. From there my parents carried on a long distance relationship from Mexico to Seattle for about a year. My dad flew up from Mexico almost every month to see my mom, they wrote letters to each other and talked on the phone. Needless to say it was love, after their almost year love affair that spanned miles, states and countries they decided to get married. My dad proposed to my mom over a romantic candlelit dinner. As I grew up I got to witness first hand the love they shared for each other every day.

The second love story, that of my grandparents is also touching. My grandparents met, fell in love and were married for over 50 years. Four kids and several grand-kids later they were enjoying the life they had built together. My grandfather for most of his marriage was in the Navy so he was gone for many months at a time, leaving my grandmother to care for my mom and uncles. When it was time for my grandfather to retire and spend his days enjoying his family with my grandmother she was tragically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Slowly my grandmother’s condition began to worsen, she couldn’t remember who we were and had trouble even remembering my grandfather who had been her love for so long. I can’t imagine how difficult something like this would be, to see the person you’ve loved for so long slowly begin to lose their sense of self. What really tugs at my heartstrings is that my grandfather was so devoted to my grandmother that he took care of her in their home every day until she passed away. He was up with her every morning, making her meals, going for walks and loving her just the same. I can sincerely say that I had never witnessed such pure devotion before in my life. When others might have given up or sent their loved one to a home for care, my grandfather held true to the vows he took when he married her so many years before, “through sickness and in health, until death due us part.”

I have been fortunate enough to witness firsthand what devotion, adoration, respect and true love are in a relationship. It is because of these true life events I feel that all women should hold true to their standards and beliefs in what they want in a man or relationship. This also applies for men, all men deserve to be with someone who is just as true to them. Though we all have different ideals and standards I think it’s safe to say that at the end of the day everyone wants to be loved and appreciated.