A friend of mine in college once said that we make a home with the people nearest to us. That’s why we tend to become friends with people who live in our halls or take classes with us or work in our office. It’s not always a matter of being meant for each other, as specific individuals, although sometimes that can happen—it’s just that we as people are meant to connect with other people. It’s what we do.
How I Met Your Mother is like that, in show form.
Marshall and Lily met on the first day of freshman year, and now they’re married. Ted and Marshall were freshman roommates. Barney and Robin took a little more effort, as Barney pushed his way into the gang from the outside, and Robin was pulled in. I don’t know of any show that’s dealt more directly with the issue of how we meet each other (it’s literally the title). Sometimes life throws us our people, and sometimes we choose them, even if we can only choose them by trusting that they’re still out there.
As much as this is a show about waiting—and it really, really is—it’s mostly about how the thing we’re waiting for is already happening. Future Ted seems pretty clear on the fact that he never would have met the Mother if his life hadn’t happened exactly as it did. We never know how close we are to what we’re looking for, or how much everyone else is helping us get there, not to mention making the wait worth it.
Ted sets up elaborate Christmas light displays for his friends when they’re upset, and he never lets them settle. Robin is smart and driven and insecure about the fact that she doesn’t seem to want the life that people seem to think she should, but she’s learned how to own her priorities because of people like Barney who need her as she is. Barney’s turned out to be the best at liking people for exactly who they are.
And then there’s Marshall and Lily, who couldn’t be apart even on the night before their wedding. They support each other in their professional lives, messily but completely, and they put their family first. I cried when Marshall showed up at the airport for Lily with a marching band in tow. I cried last week when they renewed their vows by promising that they’d never stop making new promises to each other. I might be crying now, it’s fine. Marshall and Lily are adorable, and they’re solid.
They’re what Ted has been waiting for, and he’s found it. We haven’t had nearly enough time with the Mother, but it’s been clear from the start that she fits just right with Ted. There really was someone out there for the guy with the red cowboy boots and the coin collection. The wait was worth it. I hope Ted has a whole lifetime with her and that she ends up on the front porch with the gang, listening to their stories—because she fits in so well with the group, and because this is a show about how everything is going to be ok in the end. But no matter what happens, we’ve had slap bets and subway races and challenges accepted. We know for a fact that these are the stories they’ll tell someday, right up there with the big ones like weddings and new jobs. And it’s been legendary.
POST-FINALE UPDATE: No.