Stephanie over at MamaDrama posted about meeting and marrying her husband in her January 30th post "Better Living through Chemistry". In the comments section, I suggested she print it out and save it for her children, because they would appreciate it someday. She then challenged me to do the same thing - tell the story of "how we met" and "how we got HERE", so here you are Z-boy - the story of how I met your father. I would have told you eventually, but Stephanie just can't wait.
So... where do I start? At the beginning? What's the beginning? I will arbitrarily pick my beginning as my FIRST marriage. I know you are curious about that as well, and I'll go into more depth with it but it was the first step in my journey to your father.
I was VERY young when I started dating my first husband. And only 20 when I married him. On the big day, I was walking up to the chapel and suddenly felt incredibly nauseous. I stopped dead in my tracks and began to cry. Papa hugged me and reassured me with, "You don't have to marry him, you know..." I dried my eyes on his sleeve, held my head up, and entered the church. I'm very stubborn, you know.
He wasn't really a bad guy, actually. Just a lot older than me. And we had different ideas about what life should be about and what was important.
Things between us DID get bad though, before our first year of marriage was out. He'd gotten a job halfway across the country and took me away from home and family. Without that buffer, that fall-back position, I realized very quickly that the marriage had been a mistake. However, I was stubborn. I stuck it out for another 7 years before admitting that it just wasn't working. And at 28, I packed up my bags and headed back South.
Your father's been married before too. That's where you got your half-brother.
They were young too. High school sweethearts, in fact. And they grew apart too - had different ideas about what life was about and what was important. They had their baby. They tried. But they went their separate ways as well.
Between the time we left our respective spouses and finally got together, there were other people. Your daddy had a long term relationship with another woman. I had one that lasted nearly 3 years before it fell apart.
Darling Man and I worked at the same place. We were friends. His car broke down? I'd give him a lift to the garage. I needed a drink after work? He'd join me and keep me company. We talked about work a lot, about our relationships a little. We both worked on freelance sports when we didn't work our regular jobs. His relationship crumbled about 6 months before mine did. It was another 6 months before we started looking at each other "that way".
Our friend Dan had built a firepit in his back yard and invited some folks from work to come sit around his fire and visit one night in December... December 7th, I believe. I went and got a hair cut and bought a new jacket. I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but I thought that maybe that night SOMETHING would happen. I guess I was finally ready. People huddled around the fire drinking beer, smoking and chatting - and Darling Man was on my right side. I have no idea who was on my left. The night got later and later, and finally, I said I needed to leave. He got up and offered to walk me to my car. There was that awkward moment just before I opened my car door. I thanked him for walking me out and he blurted out, "Would you like to come to my house and see my etchings?"
Oh, it was too funny, but it did break the tension, and of course I said yes, I would love to. So he ran back and said his goodnights, then came back out, said "Follow me!" and jumped in his car. Then, I swear, he tried to lose me. Was this some kind of test???? I did manage to keep track of him and pulled up behind him in front of his house.
The next morning, I dashed home, fed the cat and got ready for work.
And he avoided me. For days. No phone calls. Near misses at work. I'm thinking that I must have been terrible, oh god how could I have misread things so badly!
I finally caught up with him in the parking lot one day and asked him what the heck was going on. And he asked me to go for a walk with him the next day at the Wildlife Refuge. So the next day, we walked. And talked. For hours. Basically, he was scared shitless. He said that he was surprised by the feelings he'd been having and wasn't sure what to do with them. Wondered if it was a mistake. And I had been afraid that I'd lost my friend because I'd had the nerve to think that there might be more. But I didn't lose my friend. In fact, I gained a best friend.
My best friend moved in with me in March. In June, his ex-wife sent his son to live with us. Thank goodness I'd had all those brothers - actually was able to deal with this.
We had fun. We went on roadtrip vacations to climb in beautiful places.
You know this picture - it's been on our mantle forever!
Finally, after a year of fun, Darling Man popped the question. And I said yes.
We were married by the same priest who married my parents. And as it turned out, the same one who baptised you, son.
And of course, we still loved climbing....
After the ceremony and the reception, we came home, changed into shorts and T-shirts, loaded up the car and headed to North Carolina and Lindville Falls. It was beautiful and misty and very romantic. And we were so in love.
The really cool thing? We still are.
And in a strange bit of irony.... Did you know that your daddy worked for my daddy for years - even while he was still married to his first wife? And I NEVER met him. Then he quit and went to work where we are now, and I left my husband in Oklahoma and eventually went to work where we are now - and THAT's where we met.