Monday, June 15, 2015

Thirteen Years -- Don't They Go By in a Blink?

Thirteen years ago today, Cowboy and I got married.

(Yes, these are our hands, my bridal bouquet, and my veil.)

At the time we got married, it was kind of a "thing" to have your invitations say, "Today I marry my friend."  I found that ridiculously cliche and sappy, and refused to get invites that said that.  Instead I got invites with a fairy tale castle and a carriage and horses.  It said something about "Dreams do come true."

But the truth is, I did marry my best friend that day.  A God-given best friend, guide, shield, provider.  A person who understands that he will never truly understand me, and I will never truly understand him, but that's okay.  A man who takes care of me, but knows I need to stand on my own two feet sometimes.  Who supports my creative endeavors, even when they make no sense to him.  Who watches movies with me just because I enjoy them.  Who still finds me attractive even though I've gained 5 pounds per kid over what I weighed when we got married.  Who does not feel in the least bit challenged by the fact that I am so fond of so many fictional men, because he knows none of them mean anything true and real to me.  Not like he does.

(We got married at my home church in North Carolina.)

A while ago, I posted a little about how we met, and so many of my lovely blogging friends wanted to know more that I thought I would elaborate a little.

My sophomore year of college I took a full year of German to fulfill my foreign language requirement to get my BA.  I chose German mostly because I wanted to understand the Krauts on Combat! a little better, because all they ever speak is German with no subtitles (except one episode).  And Cowboy, a lowly freshman, also took that class.  He sat at a different table, and he was, in a word, insufferable.  You see, he'd previously learned a foreign language, and once you've figured out how to learn one, you pick the other up pretty quickly. Also, he's very intelligent.  Now, I'm intelligent myself, and a good student, but I'd only learned a smattering of French before.  To learn German, I had to study my vocabulary and grammar assignments for hours every night.  I worked harder for that class than any other I took in all of college.  I regularly took my brain out of my head to let it air out a little, then coated it in melted German and crammed it back in, hoping something would stick.  At least, that's how it felt.

Cowboy?  Cowboy looked over the vocab list as he walked to class in the morning.  And he got 'A's on his quizzes the same as I did.  And he was not reticent about this fact.  In fact, I found him conceited, arrogant, opinionated, and utterly annoying.

If you think that sounds an awful lot like how Anne Shirley felt about Gilbert Blythe, or how Elizabeth Bennet felt about Mr. Darcy, or how Margaret Hale felt about Mr. Thornton, etc. (or, as they write in German, usw.), you're not wrong.  In fact, as a teen, I harbored a secret dread that I would one day fall in love with a man I originally found completely horrible.  I used to look at the guys I knew and think, "I can't stand this one or that one -- what if I end up married to one of them?  How could I ever change my mind about such an irritating person?"

Turns out, minds can change.  Cowboy was friends with some of my friends, so we ended up eating at the same table in the cafeteria sometimes.  The spring semester, we wound up in the same Christian Doctrine class together, in addition to German.  I couldn't help noticing that he had wonderful broad shoulders.  And dimples when he grinned.  I'm perilously fond of broad shoulders and dimples.

I went to the dorm room of some mutual friends one winter evening and asked, as casually as I could, if any of them knew if Cowboy had a girlfriend back home or anything.  One of them said yes, she thought he did.  (I later found out that she was herself angling for his affections.  Cowboy, being even more clueless than most boys, had no idea at all either of us were remotely interested in him.)  I decided that was the end of that, and decided to forget about him.  Plenty of other eligible guys in our... okay, actually, there were only two other guys at our tiny 450-student college that year that I was remotely interested in, and they most definitely had girlfriends right there at college.

Whatever.  He probably had a girlfriend back home.  And after all, he was annoying.  Sure, he kept sitting by me in chapel a day or two a week.  Sure, he teased me endlessly by singing "The Bunny Song" from Veggie Tales because he knew it got stuck in my head and annoyed me.  (WHAT is wrong with boys?!?!?!?!?!)  Whatever.

This is where the divine intervention comes in.  God must have seen that I was about to turn my back on a guy who would make me happy for the rest of my life, if I could just get over my mixture of shyness and annoyance.  Cowboy was on the debate team, and he had to go away to a debate tournament and miss several days of classes.  He asked if he could borrow my lecture notes for our Christian Doctrine class.  He sat near me, he knew I took good notes.

So I let him borrow them when he got back.  And, in an impulsive gesture that is utterly unlike my usual cautious, plan-prone, reticent self, I wrote in the margins, "If you like me, why don't you ask me out already?"

And after I handed the notes to him, I wanted to go throw up in the bathroom.  Or ask for them back quick, saying I'd given him the wrong ones.  Or something.  Dreadful impulse!  Why did I do that?  (Insert other self-recriminations of stupidity here.)

The next day in class, he handed the notes back to me and said, "So, there was something really interesting written in the margins of one of these."

I crawled under a desk and put my back pack over my head and sang, "Zippedy-Doo-Dah" very softly until they came and locked me up in an insane asylum.

Okay, no, that's just what I wanted to do.  Actually, I said something very cool and calm like, "Oh, really?"

And he said, "Yeah.  Are you going to Spring Formal with anyone?" (That's a formal dance our college had at the end of every year because who doesn't like dressing up and dancing?)

I said, "No, I'm not."

He said, "Now you are."  And walked off.

In hindsight, wow, really?  That's how he asked me out?  I think some of my initial impressions were not all that off-base.  However!  At the time, I walked in a sort of daze to my next class.  And went to Spring Formal with him a couple months later, and we exchanged long emails all summer long, and dated all fall and winter, and the next spring, he proposed.  A year after that, we got married.

(We were somewhat infamous at college for our unabashed displays of affection.)

So!  Happy anniversary, dear Cowboy.  I love you!  (Merry Christmas!)  (Nuts!)

43 comments:

  1. Awwwww! I love your and Cowboy's story, and it sounds like the two of you have an awesome relationship. <3 As I sometimes say to my mom and dad...I totally ship the two of you. :)

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    1. Eva, that's such a cute thing to tell your parents! I bet they dig that :-)

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  2. Hamlette, this is probably my favouritest post of yours, ever! I'm so glad I asked you the question in the first place and made everyone ask you for more! :-P

    As Eva said, I totally ship the two of you. :-)
    You know, I have that fear too. Of ending up with a boy I don't like at all now. *Thinks of boys I do not like* (No. I won't end up with them. Ever. You wait.)
    As I said before, the story of the notes in the margins in THE best. :-) *sighs rapturously.*
    "Well, now you are." HAHA. I like Cowboy a lot. ;-P

    This was just lovely, Hamlette, thanks so much. :-) Also, lovely wedding dress, and congratulations about your wedding anniversary! (Almost the same as the prince of Sweden, who got married yesterday. Random.)
    I hope one day I'll have such a special story to tell! :-)

    ~ Naomi

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    1. Naomi, aww, really? I'm glad you liked it!

      I really liked my wedding dress because it was comfortable, had no train, and cost less than $200. Also, you can't really see it in these pictures, but the top part of the bodice isn't lace, it's crocheted-looking daisies. And my flowers were yellow roses and daisies, so my dress matched my bouquet! Random, I know, but it pleased me :-)

      Thanks for asking the question in the first place!

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  3. That's a wonderful story. I don't think I'd have the chutzpah to do what you did, but I think it's totally cool. Long may the two of you love!

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    1. Janet, yes, that is way more moxy than I usually display, so I'm still kind of shocked I did that ;-) Thanks!

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  4. Congrats on your anniversary!!

    Next Saturday will be twelve years for my wife & I.

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    1. Thanks, George! And happy anniversary to you as well. June is a popular month for weddings!

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  5. Oh my word!!! Your story is SO sweet! I love how much your "first impressions" mirrors that of Anne and Gil, Lizzy and Darcy...well you mentioned them all already. ;)
    Anyways, thank you for sharing your story and I hope you and Cowboy have a wonderful anniversary! (It's actually my parents' anniversary today as well! :))

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    1. Natalie, you're welcome :-) And happy anniversary to your parents! How cool we share the day! I knew ever since I first saw Seven Brides for Seven Brothers that I wanted to get married in June, and I did!

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  6. I love your story SO SO much. :-) Thanks awfully for sharing it with us mere peasants.

    I think almost every girl who watched AofGG and P&P growing up harbors a secret fear of marrying someone she can't stand. ;-P It happens so often in books and movies, you an't help but think of all the guys you think are annoying, and wonder, "what if..."

    Happy anniversary! :-)

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    1. Emma, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks!

      And yes, there seem to be a LOT of stories where the heroine can't stand the hero for a long time. Are there any where it's flipped and the hero scorns the heroine but she loves him? I'm sure there are.

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  7. Love it! Happy Anniversary and thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Jamie, thanks! And you're welcome :-)

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    1. Charity, hee, it kind of is. Actually, my mom didn't like my dad that much originally either, which I find quite amusing.

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  9. Wonderful story Hamlette! Happy anniversary! :D Oh and I love your wedding dress!

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    1. Sarah, thanks! I loved my wedding dress too because it was Not Itchy. You wouldn't believe how many wedding dresses are horribly itchy! I found one that was so beautiful and elegant, lots of satin and beading, huge huge huge skirt, like something out of Gone with the Wind. The bodice and sleeves were all lace, and I was sooooooo sad, because it was so gorgeous, but... super itchy. Ugh.

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  10. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! This is just so sweet and perfect and happy and and :-DDDDDD Happy Anniversary!
    ~Evie

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    1. Evie, thanks! I'm glad it made you smile :-)

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  11. Happy anniversary, and congratulations!!! Thirteen years is definitely something to be proud of!

    Thanks for telling us that story--it's really encouraging, because I am, at present, a college student and I sometimes wonder if I'll EVER find a boy I really like :)

    No. That's not true. In my heart, I know perfectly well God has somebody all picked out for me already. I just have to FIND him. That's the hard part. So it's great to hear stories from people who have already "been there, done that" :)

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    1. Jessica, thanks!

      I'm glad you found it encouraging. I never dated in high school, or the first year of college, and I spent a LOT of time wondering if I was ever going to realize my dream of getting married and having kids and being a homeschooling mom. I went on three dates the summer between my freshman and sophomore years, involving two different guys, and it was nothing special with either of them. Nothing worth pursuing beyond a date or two.

      So yeah... I know where you're coming from. I kept trusting that God would help me find someone, though I don't actually subscribe to the "there's only one perfect person out there for you, and if you don't find them, you can't ever be happy" theory -- I think God puts us into contact with people we can be happy with, but lets us choose and then live with our choice. Cowboy is the right man for me because I decided to marry him and he decided to marry me.

      (Kids, on the other hand, are direct gifts straight from God.)

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    2. Yes, I agree with you--there isn't necessarily only ONE "perfect person" for everybody. I think it's more like if you're meant to get married, God will make sure there's at least one person out there that you can be happy with. So I guess the main thing is trusting that He will help you find somebody.

      Yeah--that's my dream, too, getting married and having kids and being able to homeschool them. It's hard sometimes, because people are always asking me, what do you want to do with your life? And so of course I tell them, well, I'm working towards x career (because I am), but what I CAN'T always tell them is that I'm only planning to work until I have kids. Because the career would be nice, but it's not my ultimate dream. My most honest answer to "what do you want to do when you grow up" has always been, since I was like, 4 years old, "I want to be a mom." But I go to a secular university and the people around me don't always understand that, which is frustrating. Arrrgg . . .

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    3. I know just how that is! I always wanted to be a homeschooling mom, but at the same time I knew that was not guaranteed, so I would tell people I wanted to be a writer, and I did go to college so that I would a) be able to support myself if/when necessary, b) I would be able to homeschool in pretty much any state in the US without too much red tape, and c) I could just learn more about the world and become a better-rounded person. Even at the tiny Christian college I went to, most of the women were like, "Oh, I'm going to be a teacher," or "I'm going to be a chemist," or "I'm going to be a graphic artist." And I would be like, "I'm going to be... a person."

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    4. Awesome line--"I'm going to be a person." Think I'll borrow that, if you don't mind :)

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    5. I don't mind, Jessica! (BTW, 'Jessica' is my favorite name ever.)

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    6. Oh, thanks! Yeah, I love it too--I'll have to remember to use it for one of my kids someday :) It's just sooo pretty.

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  12. Such a sweet story - and post! Glad you shared. (And your photos are lovely.) Congrats on 13, here's to many more happy years! :)

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    1. Thanks, Rissi! It was fun digging out the wedding albums to find a few pics to scan in for this :-)

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  13. Awww, this has got to be one of the sweetest romances that actually happened in real life. I was smiling and oohing and aahing like a dork the entire time I was reading this 'cause it was so awesome. Wow! That must have taken a lot of guts to write that in your notes. I know I could never be that brave. XD
    Lovely pictures of your wedding, and congratulations on your 13th anniversary!

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    1. Elizabeth Anne, thanks! I'm glad you liked it! And yeah, writing in that margin was pretty scary at the time!

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  14. Happy belated anniversary! I love your story. Thanks so much for sharing it!

    I have no such story to share in return, but maybe someday. Until then, I could perhaps wax eloquent for an hour or two all about how life has been quite adventurous from VA to CA and back to VA....? That's about all the story I've got currently. Oh! No no! I could talk about my friend Angi and I! Our story is kind of interesting. Maybe.

    Anyway! I won't actually bore you with any of that, but I did absolutely love reading yours. "How we met" stories just make me smile. I love them! And everyone's is so different, yet so them. :)

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    1. Thanks, Kara!

      Moving from VA to CA and back is a lot of adventure! I've moved a lot in my life (IA to MI to NC as a kid, then MN to WI to CT to VA as an adult), but never all the way across the country. That's a very major change of scenery.

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  15. Daww! That is such a sweet story! And beautiful wedding pictures, by the by! I really like your dress:)

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    1. Hee. Thanks, Olivia! I liked my dress too :-)

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  16. I know it's been a couple days (and you already know this ;)), but I did so enjoy this post!!! (Of course, very much including the pictures, too.)

    And yes, indeed -- June is such a very lovely, wedding-ish month! :)

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    1. Heidi, it really is the month for weddings, isn't it? Is it the weather? The fact that school is out? I have no idea!

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  17. I loved reading this!! I've always been scared of marrying someone I didn't like originally either! Still scared about that actually....I must learn to be more open minded. :D I love your love story! <3

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    1. Jamie, it just seems so unlikely, doesn't it? That someone you dislike (for very good reasons, of course) turns out to be the person you fall in love with. It seems like a fictional plot device, and so inconvenient in real life. Hee!

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  18. What a super sweet story, so great to read it! Thanks for sharing it with us!
    (Yes, this is how behind with blog reading I am...)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Birdie :-)

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