Friday, October 13, 2006

October 13, 1996 Our First Date

(Photo above, late 1996)
Warning: The Haiti Blog is being hi-jacked today. It's going off-road. No Haiti content here.
When I write, I figure it'll either bore you, entertain you, make you laugh, cry, roll your eyes or just gag. Today may be a gag day. This post has a HIGH SAPPINESS WARNING. Stop reading now if you cannot deal with mushy.
By Tara-
Ten years. It hardly seems possible to me that it has been that long.
October 13, 1996, was a beautiful Minnesota fall afternoon, a Sunday that year.
We worked for the same company, but the nature of the job meant you rarely saw your co-workers. You would come get your equipment and then you would go off to work until after midnight, returning late to replace your equipment and head home.
Saturday, October 12 I ran into a cute young guy as I was dropping my stuff off. We chatted a little bit and he asked me what I liked to do for fun. I told him I liked in-line skating, he said "So do I, lets go sometime." He called me Sunday morning and headed out to my parents place to pick me up. No time wasted.

I recall thinking "Why does this kid want to hang out with me?" He remembers thinking "I thought this chick had one kid, where did the second one come from?"

I remember the day in perfect detail. It was one of those days where the weather couldn't be any more glorious. The sun was shining through a crisp blue sky onto the turning leaves, reflecting and sparkling off of the lake we were skating around. It was perfect. We chatted as we went and learned that we had a few good things in common. We both liked being outdoors, loved music, enjoyed sarcasm and humor. I recall thinking he was very funny and immensely sweet.

On that first date, the things we did not have in common struck me more though. I had kids, he didn't, I was 24, he was 21, I lived way to the west of the Twin Cities, he lived way to the East. There were other things too, we were both figuring out where we stood with God, and had issues to work through surrounding our faith. It further confirmed my suspicion that he must simply want a friend to roller-blade with once in a while.

Beyond the things we did not have in commom, we had both made a bunch of dumb late teen and early 20-something mistakes. We had both been hurt. We were what our pre-marriage counselor would later carefully call "damaged goods."

Our date did not end after skating, my Mom invited him to stay for dinner while my Dad scowled at him, tried to burn holes in him with his glare, strutted around acting mean and just generally tried his best to scare Troy away.

After dinner we went on an evening Halloween hayride with Britt (6) and my sister, Tina. Paige was only 23 months old, she was in bed. After we got back to Mom and Dad's house, (the gentleman that he is) Troy did not over-stay his welcome or kiss me goodnight. He simply said he had a lot of fun with me and hoped he would see me again very soon. That is when I first realized "this kid" was not just thinking of me as his skating buddy.
Our first date turned into a second which turned into more. (Stating the obvious for you here.)
We had a few rocky patches in our two years of dating, marrying in the fall of '98. Our first year or so of marriage was tough. I tried really hard to mess it all up. Troy tried really hard not to let me.
I remember thinking I would never find "the RIGHT guy," I believed I didn't even deserve a kind, patient, even tempered man like Troy. I guess God thought I did; lucky for me.
I cannot remember life without you. I don't want to remember life without you.
The thing that weirds me out the most, is that I am still learning about new aspects of your personality. You are so talented. You change diapers, spend time with your kids, treat me like a queen (even when I am a witch,) sing and play guitar (sexy), figure man stuff out, work hard (also sexy) love God and live your life in a way that shouts that you do. I am in awe of how well you have done at servant-leadership. BUT, I am most touched by your love and care for others.
Watching you with our kids, whether you are teaching Math to the girls, showing Isaac how to ride his bike, taking Hope for a day with Daddy, or wrestling with Jack -- the love and silliness you show them touches me. Like today, when you dropped to the floor and flailed around like a fool just to make the girls laugh. I love that about you.The way you make each of them feel special and important is so beautiful.
Your balance of multiple responsibilities and evenness put me to shame. It is embarrassing for me to think back on the time when I worried that you would not treat Britt and Paige the same way you would treat "your" kids if we had them. (The *IF* we had them part is pretty funny now too.)
What a dummy I was. You have proven me wrong a zillion times. The folly of underestimating you is coming back to smack me upside the head even now, as you faithfully and courageously look forward to adding one more person to the tribe.Thank you. You are the sweetest daddy alive. And I mean that. I don't care who gags.
Watching you in this role of "missionary" having no clue what to do -- well, it has amazed me. I had no idea! You are a stinkin' organized time management wonder ... AND a multi-tasker. Who knew? You love people who are not always very nice to you. Woot to you baby.
My life with you is an adventure. Thank you for being God's man for this family. Thank you for taking seriously your role as head of our household. Thank you for loving us all so well. Thank you for taking every goofy change and detour in stride and for being a stabilizing factor in my life.
You know this song is what I believe to be true. God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you. I thank Him for that daily.
Happy 'Beginning of Us' Anniversary.
Here is to ten more years of skating, laughing, learning, growing, diapers, detours, and adventure.
I can't wait. God is so good. I love you. ~Tara

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." ~Unknown