It’s a busy week. And I’ve not had time to write or take any photos and this trend, looking at the calendar, is likely to continue. So, I looked in my draft folder and found a little story to share. I actually wrote this one four whole months ago, right around our wedding anniversary. All story, no photos. Well, except one of us. And I’ll put one at the very end in an attempt to force you to hang with me until then.
On 4/19/15 the husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. We marveled that, on one hand, it seems like we married just yesterday. On the other hand, it seems that we’ve known each other forever.
The husband and I married in our mid-30’s. First marriage for both of us. Both of us had somewhat given up. I mean, where do you meet people once you’re out of college? Bars were not our scene. The men I had met at church were an interesting bunch. So, we trolled where many troll these days…the internet. I, personally, had been off-and-on websites for a few years. The husband was more of an entry-level dabbler. When I met him I was on the tail-end of a membership at a different website and was preparing to toss in the towel for a while and just be content with single. I had, on a whim, hopped onto Match dot com and joined their free 3-day trial. Identified a number of interesting looking/sounding fellows in my area, sent them a message inviting them to email me at my private (read: junk) address and signed off. I received one response. From the husband.
We started emailing back-and-forth. Within a little over a week he suggested we meet. Which I find funny, knowing him as I now do. He’s a thinker, that man of mine. So, the fact that he suggested we meet that quickly still tickles my funny bone. I was proceeding with extreme caution. A girl has to be careful about these things. I did accept, but within the next day or so became very sick. Knock-me-on-my-ass sick. I was down for over a week and had to cancel on him. He thought I was blowing him off.
When I returned to the land of the living I contacted him and suggested we try again. We agreed to meet at Starbucks. He let me choose which one. So, I chose one on the other side of town from my house. Because, again, a girl can’t be too careful. We met. We talked. He seemed like a really nice guy. He told me he was leaving town for a few days to attend his brother’s wedding. I thought he was blowing me off.
It was not a marathon Starbucks session. We were there for an hour, maybe an hour and a half. As we stood to leave he failed to ask for my phone number. We stood there. Making awkward small talk. He says I rushed him to the punchline, that he fully intended to ask for my number. I still have my doubts. So, I asked if he would like my number. He eagerly accepted. And we parted ways.
As an aside, a couple of years ago he gave me that scrap of paper back. The paper on which I had written my name and number that very first day we met. He had kept it. All that time. He’s a good, good man, this man of mine.
My memory says he called the next night. We talked. After he got back from the wedding we went out on our first date to a local restaurant that remains a favorite. In fact, we went to dinner there a couple of weekends ago and when we were seated he looked at me and said, “This is the booth.” I nodded and he continued, “This is the booth where we had our first date.”
A couple of months after we had started dating we took a walk. We stopped at one point to enjoy the view and I blurted out what had been driving me a little crazy, “So, are we like a couple?” He says I was pushy. I say I just wanted to know because I was in my mid-thirties and if the relationship wasn’t a relationship then I didn’t want to waste my time. We agreed we were a couple.
Now, here’s where I want to make something clear. You’ve, perhaps, gleaned that I have a pretty strong personality. It came to me by way of my mother…my grandmother…great-grandmothers…aunts. All very legitimate. The husband is much more laid back. An essential part of our relationship. But, he is not a pushover on the stuff that matters. I’m saying this so that you’ll understand that if he had not wanted to be a couple that day we would not have been a couple.
Time passed. We enjoyed summer…fall… He slowly wooed my cat, Slater, because he knew if he didn’t suck up to that cat that all was lost. I remember one time, early in our relationship, when we were sitting on the couch in my apartment. Slater jumped up on the couch between us, laid down, stretched her feet out onto my leg and looked over her shoulder at the husband. “Mine.” The message could not have been any clearer.
As we approached our one year anniversary I began to harbor certain…expectations. Our anniversary came and went. Time passed. He was thinking. I was trying not to cop an attitude. Some days I did better than others. Other days I thought, “Maybe he’s not the one.” Turns out some days he, too, thought, “Maybe she’s not the one.” We did that dance. Summer came…and went. Fall came…and went. November arrived and, with it, my birthday. We borrowed a cabin on the Long Beach Peninsula for the weekend. And what a beautiful weekend it was. Uncommonly sunny weather. We went to Astoria, climbed the tower, and I thought to myself, “This would be a perfect place to get engaged.” No proposal. As the weekend progressed things got a little…tense. My patience had run out. I was reaching the point of ultimatum. At the same time, I loved this man. I didn’t want to lose this man. But, really, how long did he have to think?!
Let me take a step back: we had already looked at rings together. We looked at rings in July/August. So, that provides some context. Is it reasonable to take a girl to look at rings in August and then not propose to her until November? I thought not. I knew it was coming, but it was all in his sweet time. And that was driving me nuts-crazy.
Late that afternoon…or maybe it was the next afternoon…he suggested we walk down to the beach from the cabin. I agreed. I noticed, as we walked, that he kept one hand firmly in his pocket. Seemed a little weird but, hey…. We got to the beach and started walking. We were at the water’s edge, in the hard-packed (wet) sand when he took my hand and started leading me away, into the dry sand.
Here’s the crazy thing: when it came right down to that very moment? I was clueless. The reason he had his hand in his pocket? He was holding the ring box, terrified it would somehow fall out. The reason he led me to dry sand? He confessed later it was because he didn’t want to kneel in the wet sand.
He kneels. He pulls out the box. And I have no idea what he said. I’m sure it was very sweet. Very heartfelt. But the voices in my head were screaming so loud that I couldn’t hear anything. I babbled a “Yes,” bawled, and finally got that ring on my finger. As I admired the sparkle in the sunlight three young people, two female, one male, crossed our path. I managed to somewhat coherently communicate that we had just gotten engaged and asked if they would take our picture. The girls squealed with excitement and eagerly agreed. We still have that picture. In it we’re windblown with red noses grinning like a couple of fools. Fools in love.
That’s our love story.
And I promised you a picture for hanging in for the entire story. Here is our wedding cake. It was a delightfully delicious topsy turvy. I am a cake fiend.
Man…that dress had a good corset….
And, yes, that’s Grandpa in the background checking out what kind of wine we had to offer. Some things never change….