Alright, lovely readers. It’s true, I just returned from a month-long trip through England, Scotland, and a transatlantic cruise with my best friend, KitKat, and her amazing family, and I need to upload some pictures and share stories of that for certain because it was as amazing as it sounds. But here is something that’s been developing for a while, just made “official” on Facebook Thursday the 19th, and I think deserves a spot on my blog. (Besides, my family hasn’t even seen my Great Britain pictures yet, and I don’t think it would be fair to post those before they get to look.)
And it’s fitting to put here, because my blog actually has a special part to play in this story.
I can’t believe how far back this goes, but my journal says as early as December of 2012, (possibly even a month before) my friend and coworker Little Doris let a hint drop that she was looking for girls who might be good for her single brothers. I made some jokingly (but totally serious) comment about how single I was, and how much I don’t want to be single, and why hasn’t she sent out my phone number or Facebook page, yet? She kind of smiled and said, “Well… I think you’d be good for my brother… Insert Name Here,” and I repeated, “I’m totally interested,” and she said she’d see what she could do. However, I was not to get my hopes up, because “he doesn’t talk to girls, and I don’t know if I can get him to friend you, but we’ll see.”
We both got ridiculously excited and giddy when he did add me on Facebook. I’m fairly certain there were squeals, and possibly bouncing. Definitely giggling. I started to Facebook stalk him and Google things like, “naval flight officers” and what the weather was like in the state he was in. I liked the very little of him I saw on his page, and absolutely everyone who knew him had nothing but good things to say; especially his mamica and sister. I also found out he was friends with my KitKat’s brother! (Whom I shall call Lifebuoy.) We started chatting a bit about books, and tea. (Sigh.)
I’ll skip the bit about emotional turmoil due to subplots, and church splits, and all the things that happened between the part I just recounted and the next phase, but long story short, a lot of things happened between our initial conversations and January 20th, 2014, when my journal next mentions him. But by then, I was already suffering from an enormous crush. He had purchased a teakettle upon my insistence that if you’re not drinking tea regularly (and properly) you’re missing out on life, then sent me pictures with him drinking said tea. His family had stalked me at Panera, through donation pick-ups and having lunches there, and I was extremely nervous each time about giving a good impression. I’d started getting to know his family through knitting nights at his mamica’s house where (among not-so-subtle hints about him) I re-learned how to knit, and met other lovely people.
And in that January journal entry, I was already praying night and day that something might come of this. Now, I’m sure many of you realists are questioning right now whether my intense crush was based on something other than a few Facebook chats, and the very biased reports from his mamica and sister. And since at that point, I did not have anything more substantial, I was extremely jittery when I heard he was coming home for a few weeks to visit, and I might have something solid to base my fluttery feelings on. And wow, my prayers tripled.
I thought I was a pray-er before. I thought I was good about communicating with God on a regular basis. But I’m learning that nothing gets you praying more consistently and intensely than growing fond of someone in the military. You’re not just praying about the normal relationship issues like guarding your heart, and trusting God to make the timing right, and seeking His will in your decisions; you’re praying the man will actually make it through training/his next deployment/extreme sleep deprivation etc. in order to come be with his family again so you can finally meet and find out if he’s as great as your gut is telling you. It was really hard not to be selfish. I’d pray he’d stay safe, in good spirits, and turn out to have every qualification I was looking for in a husband. Then I’d have to amend, and pray he’d be a godly, faithful soldier, not for me, but Christ and country, and be safe for his mamica, and pop, and brother, and sister. But I’d tack on an ending, like, “but if that means someday that would benefit me, too… *doesn’t finish thought* Amen!”
He came home on a Monday; February 3rd. His mamica sent me a picture, and I said “Welcome home!” through her. I had heard through an extended grapevine he wanted to see me, but still had no direct word from him that he had any real interest whatsoever. When Wednesday the 5th came around, and Mosie and I were heading to knitting night, I had no idea if he’d be at the house, hiding away in his room, or present but totally unsocial and apathetic.
He opened the door, grinning. I brought tea, (Earl Grey, his favourite) and a package of brown sugar with a label I made stating that it was, “Organic Brown Vegetables/Really Healthy Stuff” so it could get past the Pop-radar of bad things. We awkwardly wove around each other to make tea, both pretending it wasn’t the least bit awkward. I complimented his LOTR shirt, which I was to later find out was a test of my nerdiness. :) We sat next to each other for a bit, he went to eat dinner in the kitchen with his dad. Mamica said, “He’ll probably leave after. He’ll go to his room and read or something.”
He did not leave after, but stayed the whole time.
He regaled us with Navy stories, asked Mamica to teach him knitting, and walked us out to the car with about seven pounds of feta cheese.
Since Mamica is an amazing stalker/photographer, there is picture evidence that we both had a wonderful time that first night…
Friday, I was with me bestest friend, and that meant when he texted me, responses were limited. He asked my opinion on the Avengers. I said it was a mixed bag and required more than a few lines of text to explain. I was not even intending on it being a hint, but he said he agreed, and asked if I was free for breakfast or lunch on Monday? I freaked out, and waited to respond until Saturday afternoon, when my thoughts were slightly more coherent.
I said I’d love to accept such an invitation, but he’d need to ask my dad’s blessing, first. He said he’d be sure to do that “tomorrow” when he’d be able to see him face to face at church. And he asked for the start of church times.
I warned him that Dad would probably use some intense method of verbal interrogation before letting us go out, but if he thought he liked me enough already to go through that process, I’d be rooting for him all the way. :)
I was a nervous wreck on Sunday. But by the end of the service, and one very long congregational meeting, we were a go for Monday’s date. (I don’t think Dad knew what hit him. To this day, he doesn’t remember much about it.)
And that’s how February 10th was my first date with David! And… ever. I mean, my first date… ever.
He came to my house at 1352… I mean, 1:52pm. He would have come to the door, but I didn’t let him. I ran out too fast. :) He ran ahead to open the car door for me. He did the same at every door we encountered, because he is a gentleman, and an officer, and I am a Disney princess. We talked a lot about KitKat and Lifebuoy, and why I call them by the names I do, and how I’m a writing slave, and why I like Kdramas, and good Disney movies versus bad Disney movies. We chatted family, church, fan fiction, Norse mythology, why I’m mad at bad endings, secret nooks, tear-jerker moments in Tangled, military bets, mermaid bedsheets, and suddenly it would have been weird to still be sitting at the restaurant because the food was basically gone, and I’d had two whole Cokes without realising.
The subject on the drive home turned to old friends, one of whom is to be envied for his English-accented girlfriend. David said he was really jealous because… accents, and he made the mistake of asking if I could do an accent. So I rambled something off in my English upper crust, asking exactly what kind of British accent he preferred, since there are at least two I’m fluent in. I’m pretty sure it was that and the Australian accent that sealed the deal. His face was pretty spectacularly besotted at that point. :)
Personally, I was when he bought the teakettle. And my books.
When we got back to my house, it was too soon to say goodbye, but I stuttered, and hemmed, and asked for a ride to the next knitting night, and his face lit up, and he said, “Definitely!” So I said thanks for feeding me, and trotted up to my door, and I turned around, and his window was down, and he was watching me walk to the door, and we waved and were both smiling like sillies, and it was the best date ever. :) Less than a half hour later, he texted me to say thank you for having lunch with him, and to let him know when/where to be, and he’d be there.
We were together as much as possible the last couple weeks before he had to go back, and had covered every topic from infant baptism to family discipline to disappointing other suitors for each other’s sake, because even though Dad wasn’t allowing a courtship yet, we could write to each other, and “talk about the future,” and we definitely didn’t want to be seeing other people. I began the writing streak by giving him a longish, “don’t forget me because I like you a lot” goodbye letter.
The 25th of February was our last knitting night with David before he left. We took pictures, and tried to knit, but couldn’t concentrate on the stitches, or anything happening in Horatio Hornblower due to the impending separation and the fact that I’d discovered his shoulder made a nice headrest.
He took me home, and I hugged him goodbye, his reply letter safely tucked in my knitting bag. We parted ways at the door, and I tried not to think about… anything, but it didn’t work. I knew deep down this was going to be a big deal. Just one little test out of many sure to come. Mum said, “Don’t cry,” and I wasn’t. I wondered if I was supposed to, or if my lack of waterworks meant he didn’t mean as much as I thought. I started brushing my teeth, hiccuped, and started sobbing. Then I read his letter, and wept some more, because he’s absolutely the sweetest… *sigh* He’s really very good to me.
Through my tears though, I was just so thankful for everything we’d shared and experienced in those three short weeks. I wouldn’t have traded them for anything. Even if we were predestined to be only long-distance friends, the impact we’d made on each other was… for lack of a better word, profound.
We’ve learned to take advantage of technology with Skype calls and Facebook messages while he’s been on deployments. In preparation for Dad finally allowing us to call it courtship, we exchanged lists of convictions, debated patriarchs and their moral dilemmas, swapped sermon notes, confessed sins of the past, learned what forgiveness and patience means, and prayed for, about, and with each other. I learned that it was mostly through my blog that he got to know and wonder about me before coming to visit. I surprised him by showing up to the base he was on at one point, and he surprised me at church the next Sunday.
May 10th, I received his letter that changed everything, and yet… didn’t. It was the first official “love” letter, since up to that point we’d refrained from using such a strong turn of phrase. We then had to chat on the phone, because he was a nervous wreck about my response, and I wasn’t about to make him wait for the post to get an answer. For hours we danced around the issue, until I read aloud my journal entry which was understandably messy, and we cried, and we said out loud that we loved each other.
And June 18th, he had a three hour conversation over the phone with my dad that sanctioned our official courtship. :) Dad says we’ve basically been courting all this time with our lists and our discussions, and he feels a bit out of the loop, but we’re “mature” and know what we’re doing. I should have recorded that for future blackmail, because I’m sure he won’t stick to that story. :P
The story is by no means concluded, but that’s where we are at this point. (I’m preparing to send my first love letter, because my trip took me away for a month and I didn’t want to write it with the distractions of Scotland/England.)
I wasn’t sure at first if I should post this, because it feels a bit like this is what people write for a wedding, when they put out “the story of us.” I don’t want to seem hasty, narcissistic, or smug, or any such thing. But I’ve already had people asking, and I’ve been writing fictional love stories for eight years now, so why not to share my real life fairy tale at it’s near beginning? (This is how I know Frozen is wrong, by the way. Stupid twist.)
I do feel like my life is a charmed one at times. But it’s really unfair to say I’m lucky. Luck had nothing to do with it. For over eleven years, I’ve been praying that God would send or lead me to a man who would love Him first, and me second. It’s God who’s worked His timing out perfectly to allow us to get to know each other so well in the short amount of time we’ve had. It’s God who’s been working in both our lives to prepare us for this, and only He (thought most likely working through loved ones) who can keep us steady and on the right path for courtship, and what follows.
I just want to leave that as a reminder for anyone who may doubt the possibility of ever finding the right one. Focus on your relationship with God, and He’ll work things out more wonderfully than you could ever imagine. Seriously, it is so worth it when it happens, but God has to be the centre. Because as gentle, and patient, and loving, and brilliant, and funny, and eager, and handsome as my David is, I know he’s only human and can’t make me entirely happy. (Shocker!) If I’m looking at him for my completion in happiness, I’m going to be horribly disappointed. So just… guard you heart, be true to your friends, and trust in Jesus. I can’t stress that enough. You’re going to need that solid relationship with Him when you do find the right one.
Especially if they fly jets that keep breaking. ;)
Oh!! P.S. When I made that “April Fool’s” post about being off the market, that was not a joke. Just… so we’re all clear now. M’kay. Bai.