Tuesday, November 18, 2008
"True love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops. Everybody knows that."
Last night as when I climbed into bed it was long after my two boys had gone to sleep. I went in and checked on Baby G and then made my way under the covers next to my husband. As I waited for sleep to come my thoughts drifted back to the events that found me in this place, this place as wife to the man I dreamed of and mom to the baby I've wanted forever.
I first met the man that would become my husband when we were 15. We were at an Alta football game and I was wearing a blue puffy vest with khaki pants. He was tall, skinny, wore glasses, and made me laugh from go. I knew I liked him from the minute I talked to him.
Through high school we hung out with the same crowd and got to know one another. My first kiss belongs to one of his best friends. His first hand-hold belongs to one of mine. Even though I was dating someone else my mom recalls me coming home one night after being with all my friends and telling her all about this "friend." She says she knew from that moment on how much I cared about him and respected him. I remember that conversation going something like this:
Me: Mom, he is SO amazing. He goes home early on the weekends sometimes just so his mom won't be lonely! What boy does that?
Mom: He sounds really great. Do you like him?
Me: Yeah right mom. He likes fishing, not girls. I would never have a chance. The only reason he even hangs out with girls is because his guy friends are hanging out with us.
That pretty much sums up my sophomore and junior year with him. I had a secretcrush on him, dated all his friends, and hoped one day he would take me fishing.
At the end of our junior year we both got called to be on seminary council at our highschool. That was the catalyst for our friendship deepening. As we spent more time together doing stuff for council my secretcrush turned into secretlove. Certainly I wasn't in love, but I did develop a depth of love and respect for him that I hadn't ever felt before. The whole while I was sure he was oblivious to my feelings, and most definitely not reciprocating of them.
One day our senior year all the universities from around the state came to talk to the seniors about eligibility, admissions etc. We went around to the presentations together and talked about how it seemed too stressful to start planning to go to one of those universities so we started this inside joke about the Western Family College of Failures and Fishermen (WFCFF). I made applications for it, we filled them out, I applied to be the school mascot (a brown trout).
Long story short, one night I ended up at his house to deliver part of the WFCFF application (which for some reason included mini-bananas). We ended up getting into my car and talking. And talking, and talking, and talking. We finally ended up sort of confessing having feelings for one another, but mostly just in terms of respecting each other a whole lot. Apparently we talked for a long time about it because the next thing we knew his mom opened the front door all groggy and in her bathrobe and asked J if he had any idea what time it was and if he was with a girl named "L. T." Oops. It was 3:30 in the morning and my dad had been out searching for me (thinking I had been in a car accident because it was completely unlike me to be late and not let them know) and finally started calling around to my friends' houses.
Anyway, after J called and apologized to my mom, and after I got over feeling like I had ruined any chance I had with him by keeping him out all night long, our senior year continued and our feelings did, too. Once confessed, we swore secrecy because since we were both on seminary council we were not technically allowed to date each other. What a blessing that was! It made all the phone calls, emails, and little secret get-togethers so exciting and pure. We were just becoming best friends. We pretended like our friends hadn't noticed our secret. "Relationship? What relationship? Of course I don't like him like that!" Most (if not all) knew better.
We graduated and it took him exactly 3 days to kiss me the first time (and that was probably only because he was on a fishing trip). Oh! I still get butterflies thinking about that.
We dated all summer long and it really was like a dream to me. I couldn't believe that he would call me to hang out every day. We fell in love that summer, and then we had to move away to college.
He went north to Logan and I went south to Provo. I thought that would be the end of my fairytale. I thought that we would surely grow apart living so far from each other. What I didn't know is that distance doesn't stop two people in love, especially if they are 18 and irresponsible. We talked on the phone daily. We saw each other every weekend. We said we were dating other people too, but I'm pretty sure we can count the number of dates we went on with others on one hand. I think it is safe to say that the distance actually made us closer, made us realize really how much we wanted to spend every moment together.
He was turning 19 in June and going to be leaving to serve a mission for 2 years. I knew that was coming so I was really looking forward to the 2 month gap in between us both coming home from college and him leaving. We were going to have the best 2 months together.
Instead I moved to Hawaii to go to school for those 2 months. I didn't want to. I hated leaving him, knowing that when I got back we would have only days left together. But I knew I had to go. I had received an undeniable answer that Hawaii was the place for me, that I needed to start the separation between us before he actually left so that he could be as prepared for his mission as the Lord needed him to be. I think I cried the entire flight across the ocean.
Hawaii's beaches soothed my soul and I learned to love it there. That doesn't mean that there weren't tearful phone conversations (my roommates can vouch for that one), but it didn't take me too long to realize that I had absolutely made the correct decision. Still, it hurt because I could feel J slowly pulling away from me. I could sense a shift in our relationship. I was not going to go home to the same boyfriend I left-- he was being prepared to be an instrument in the Lord's hands and I knew things would be different.
I read "The Princess Bride" while I lived in Hawaii and wrote down two passages from it in my journal at the time. They were about undying love and I remember thinking that I hoped to be able to say them to J one day.
He and his parents flew out to Hawaii the last week I was there and we were able to go on the vacation of a lifetime together. I remember walking around some boat docks with his hand in mine and someone saying, "You two must be newlyweds! You still have that dreamy look about you." I remember wishing so bad that that was true, knowing that really, it could be the beginning of the end.
When he left on his mission he did so completely unattached. We were, in no uncertain terms, free to live the lives we needed to without each other in them. He wanted me to date with my whole heart, even give it to someone else if it was right. I wanted him to focus his mind 100% on the work he was doing, even if it meant tucking away thoughts of me for two years. Those were hard decisions, and I have to give most of the credit for the maturity of our relationship to him. He has always been wise beyond his years.
The two years went by rather quickly. I spent 8 of those 24 months in Romania. Letter writing was more frequent in the beginning, but by the end it had tapered off considerably. His parents forwarded his emails, and I devoured them, hungry for a portion of his spirit. Not a night went by that I didn't pray for him and pray that he would somehow know of my love. But he was there, and I was here. I dated a lot. I dated two people quite seriously. I dated one person VERY seriously. There was a marriage proposal on the table for the taking. In the back of my mind though, I knew I had to at least see, at least give it a chance with J. I couldn't make any decisions until he was home from Brazil and I had at least given it a shot.
Wow, he was weird when he got home. It really was incredibly awkward. Don't ask me what I was thinking when I decided to take his mom up on her invitation to go to Yellowstone with him and his whole family 3 days after he had gotten home. Seriously, why did I do that to him? Why did I do that to myself? There was one highlight on the trip (though if you have heard the story of it I am certain you wouldn't actually call it a highlight) that gave me a glimmer of hope that he still loved me but would just take a little more time to get there.
As soon as he did get there though, things happened quickly. He had come home on July 6th, we were engaged the last Wednesday in August, and got married 3 years ago today, November 18th.
Last night I was remembering how 3 years prior at that very moment I was laying in bed next to my cousin talking to her about how that was my last night to go to bed a single woman-- the next day I was going to be the bride of the man I had hoped to have for 6 years.
At our wedding brunch I came prepared with my journal from 2 1/2 years prior. I opened it to the page where I had scribbled down the quotes from "The Princess Bride" and I stood and read them to my new husband. This is what I said:
“I love you so much more now than twenty minutes ago that there cannot be comparison. I love you so much more now than when you opened your hovel door, there cannot be comparison. There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection. My mind begs you to ask it something so it can obey. Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. I will be quiet for you or sing for you, or if you are hungry, let me bring you food, of if you have thirst and nothing will quench it but Arabian wine, I will go to Araby, even though it is across the world, and bring a bottle back for your lunch. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do.” (Buttercup to Westly)
“I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids.” (Westly to Buttercup)
I remember feeling the depth of those words that day-- truly I had lived my life with the prayer that one day this man would look at me, and had spent years where he was my last thought before bed and my first thought in the morning. And there I stood, looking at this man, knowing that I had just been bound to him, and him to me, for all eternity. I would never wonder about our love again.
I am so grateful to say that 3 years later those words are even truer. Today I love him more than I did on our wedding day that there cannot be comparison. He has given me all I ever wanted in this life, and my happiness is so wound up in him and in the family life we have created together. I pray for years and years more of him.
The title of this post is also from "The Princess Bride" in case you didn't know.