No guest blogger here. Just me, and my keyboard, and my tea. Does that disappoint you? If you say yes, maybe it’ll get him back for Chapter 4. But, it will also make you my enemy, so watch it.
I thought it was high time to start Chapter 3. I drag my feet a bit to do this because all the remembering, the “shoot-I-forgot-that-part!”, whether I should include this and not this, and the writing can just be a bit of a task. But, at the same time, I really like it. I like it for the memory that will forever be in the blog archives (unless another Y2K hits, but then it wouldn’t be Y2K now would it? Think Y2K+10.). I also like it for the sole purpose of clearing up what really happened with some of you, nay-sayers or not. Cause let me tell you, we heard some crazy stories about how we apparently came to be girlfriend and boyfriend… husband and wife. Were they true? Um, no.
So where were we? Where did that darling husband of mine leave off?
Something about a calf (dirty man!)… and a Christmas movie… oh yes, and some chastisement over my height. I know just where we are.
The signs were there. If he were a guy my age, I would have been absolutely certain he was into me. That is not to say that they were entirely overt… no, they were subtle, but present. Some lingering eye contact, happy smiles, calls about “babysitting schedules” that lead into conversations about a million other things. But, as is only natural, I doubted and doubted that I was reading those signs properly. Because, as it was, he was older than me (quite a bit), and a professor (though–nay-sayers listen up–not my professor at the time! Remember? He was on sabbatical.). This could be all sorts of wrong.
There were only two dear friends who I trusted and loved enough to share my feelings with. This isn’t something that you go around and bounce off of people for their take. No, this was personal and private and could’ve been real troublesome if the cat got out of the bag. So, they heard my tales of woe (and laughter, and giddiness, and confusion) with patience and an open ear.
I decided I had to say something.
And when I say it was surreal and my palms were sweaty, I mean it was surreal and my palms were sweaty.
“I really enjoy our conversations and our friendship. But, ya know, we’ve been talking more often and…”
I might’ve just stopped there and left him hanging. I can’t even remember.
By the first few seconds of the conversation–that turned out to be nearly three hours long–it was confirmed that he liked me too. You’d think we were breathing sighs of relief knowing that the elephant was finally banished from the room. There were small sighs. But, this hopeful relationship wasn’t going to be easy. Professor. Student. You remember.
The next day we saw one another. Could I describe how weird it was seeing this man who before was only a professor and friend to me, as a potential date? A love interest? A boyfriend? No, I couldn’t describe it. I don’t think there are words. But trust me–it was cah-raaa-zy.
I really just had to trust God on this one. It was all so big for me to handle. Exciting, yes very exciting, but big (You know that moving forward with this one would’ve made me a mom of 4–at, oh, 22 years of age. It was a package deal.).
We spent that day together, with the kids, talking, getting to know youuuu, getting to know all about youuu–we treated it as a normal baby-sitting day, but I did less baby-sitting and more spending time with Steve who never actually left. I made sure I was still paid for the day though.
He deemed it only appropriate that he tell his boss about this first thing the next day. I mentioned sweaty palms earlier? I think he was the one who had them this time.
So, we were given a–how shall I describe it–cautious blessing. And a request that we keep it quiet. If it were not going to become anything, what would be the point in having a thousand-plus students hear about it? Made sense to both of us.
There was a little healthy sneaking around to do. A no-hand-holding-on-campus policy. A need to travel a bit further from the college in order to go on dates (Funny story: we did run into some people from the college once when on a date. We were 40 minutes from the college–this was our turf! We knew they knew. We were spotted. Anyway, we had to ask them before they left the restaurant that they kindly keep this juicy gossip quiet.)
Where was I?
We dated and got to know one another. And he immediately decided he needed to meet my parents–and sisters. I was already home, he flew in, they met. It went wonderfully. My Dad gave him a huge hug and had tears (happy ones, people!) in his eyes more than once thinking about the whole story, what his daughter’s life might now look like, and the fact that this widower might be finding love. My Mom was a bit more on the hesitant side–can you blame her?–but still welcomed Steve in with open arms. My sister Kate burst in the door exclaiming, “Where is he!?” You had to be there.
We dated. He made me laugh.
That might’ve been the best part (and still is).
The dating continued through the spring semester and we happily kept it quiet for months. Well, hang on, I might retract that. It was a challenge to keep it quiet, to worry about how people would perceive the whole thing when it finally was public knowledge, let alone worry when it would be public knowledge. How the cat finally got out of the bag is completely silly and, I’ll have you know, was not our fault (or any of my dear friends whom I trusted!). But, whatever–summer was approaching, and we were happy, and life was grand.
I was committed to take a 3-week trip to Israel for school as soon as college got out. This was not easy. Leaving a new relationship is tough. We wanted to spend every waking hour together. He wrote me 21 letters, each labeled by day, until I reached day 21 and we saw each other again. You want me to love you? Write me a letter, it’s one of my love languages. Not only one, but 21 did I have from him… I thought it very likely that I would marry this romantic man.
Summer presented a road trip out west to meet people who should be met at this stage of the game–Ohio (his cousin’s house), Minnesota (his late wife’s family’s home), Colorado (his folks’ and brother’s family’s home), and back again–and then… a trip to Switzerland (friends of his live there–yes that, and the magic that is the country of Switzerland).
And, what do you know, something special happened in Switzerland.