If I was given a time machine, I would go back in time and have a little chat with myself, the 23-year-old-Carlos. This manly talk in October 2004, would include a couple of “friendly” slaps (in the face and with the fear of God) plus words of direction, a glass of wine, and a prayer. I would mostly talk to him/me about marriage. Encourage my younger-self to be patient, to not roll his eyes so much, to listen more attentively and to never add the word “divorce” to an argument.
I would tell young-ignorant-me to enjoy his upcoming wedding weekend and to not have a fight with mom. I would ask him to grab the mic and say a few words to his friends and family. I would say to him/myself, “Good job for choosing a 3 month honeymoon young man. Life will get busy and it’s impossible to pull that off again.” Then at that very moment, right when I’m saying that to the 23-year-old-me, the 73-year-Carlos would show up, ripped like Wolverine and holding the iPhone 25 Plus X. The coolest old man, would arrive from the future to say, “Don’t worry about it 33-year-old-me, you were wise enough to make time for long dinners, long walks and long hugs.”
And then… a deep sigh of relief.
I would ask 73-year-old-me to show me all those dinners and walks and moments of love. Don Carlos would use his iPhone to play a video on the Super Maximum 17.5 inch HD-actually bendable-screen, showing my life from 33 (now) to 73 (then).
I would see our eldest son Alejandro. 6 feet 2 inches tall, still blonde and still playing the drums. Traveling the world, loving the poor and being the funnest dad ever.
Then I would see Sebastián our second boy. The linebacker-chef-engineer who played for the Panthers in the NFL, cooks the most sensational meals and helped design the iPhone 25 Plus X with the bendable screen.
Yes! the very iPhone I am holding at age 73 – to show myself at age 33 – how proud I should be at age 23. Proud for marrying Catherine… The decision that started it all.
Then tI would beg the 73-year-old Carlos to show more, “I want to see Isabela!”
(And in the background, 23-year-old me, with the dumbest goatee in history, would ask us to explain, “What is an Eye Phone? Where is my Motorola? And who is Isabela?”)
Then 73-year-old me would light up and show us Isabela. The daughter that at 33, I have yet to meet. The girl we are adopting from Ethiopia who will be the princess of the house. The video would show her dancing with her husband on her wedding day, and me getting in the way because I want one more dance with my baby girl. I would see the smile on her beautiful dark face as she says to me, “Gracias Papi, por ser mi Papito.” (Thank you Dad for being my Daddy) And I would cry again, like I’ve been doing all day.
But then the video would focus on the lady walking towards me. Tall. Beautiful. Graceful. Radiant as always – My dearest Catherine. She would come close and give me one of her gentle hugs. The ones that say, “I love you, you’re sweet, I love it when you cry, now stop making a scene, come sit with me, don’t ruin our daughter’s wedding please” And I would see myself walking back to our table, holding hands like we were 23.
We would talk about our own wedding. Oct. 23, 2004. I would listen as Catherine gives me details of the day. I would stare in amazement at her incredible memory and her attention to detail. I would see myself focusing attentively to her every word, waiting to hear the same stories I have heard for many years and not letting her finish because I need another kiss.
23-year-old me, 73-year-old me and the today me, would look at this video and smile/cry. Then, we would take the deepest breath of gratitude as we Thanked God together because the perfect queen stayed with us 3.
“She is too good for me” – that’s me at 23. “She is still too good for me” – that’s me at 33. “She never stopped being too good for me” – that’s me at 73. And then, after looking at each other, and without saying another word, 23-year-old Carlos would sprint to hug and kiss and squeeze his soon-to-be bride. The 73-year-old Carlos would fly back to the future to kiss her more. And the 33 years old me would stop writing on his blog and would run to his beautiful wife to say, “Happy Anniversary my darling, Let’s go on a long date, and have a long talk, about our long life together, and the glory of it all.”
This week, Catherine and I celebrate 10 years of being married. It’s been glorious, it’s been painful, it’s been surprising and it’s been ours. We have endured moving countries, cleaning messes and changing diapers. We have been to the dark places of bitterness, arguments and loss of friendship. But, the greatest decision I made 10 years ago, is still the greatest decision I make everyday: To love my wife, to live for her, to support her dreams and to stay close. I know love is all about what you do for another person, but loving my wife is the best thing I can do for me. She is truly the best friend I have ever had. My most intimate confidante. And my greatest support.
After going to hell and back again, I can truly say that I love her today more than ever. And it’s my greatest joy to love her tomorrow, even more.
If I had a time machine, I think it would help me realise that the best thing I can do for my future is to learn from my past. But more than that, to focus and enjoy today. And today I celebrate my girl. The most forgiving, funniest and cutest person I know. She is joy, and beauty, and kindness personified, and I am the man I am, because I said yes to her.
The good news is, the best is yet to come.
(Te amo Chichi)
What would YOU do with a time machine? Share on the comments below
*This book has been super helpful for us: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Highly Recommend.