I think I was 16 when I had my first “boyfriend.” It wasn’t really much since neither of us could drive, but it taught me the lessons I needed to learn. It ended with me spending three days of my life crying in my bedroom because he had moved on to bigger and better things (meaning, a good friend of mine) and no one had the respect to tell me in the process. After those three days, I realized that I had just wasted three days of my life on a boy that wasn’t a part of my future. It was then that I made the decision to date my husband rather than date to find my husband. To help me recognize my husband when I saw him, I began a list of characteristics that I wanted him to have. I wrote them in the back of a notebook I had.
Rewind two years. I was 14-years-old, focused on playing drums, eating Skittles, and teaching myself how to hack into websites. I was also the girl who paid attention to those around her, and who decided to take the abstinance route of sex before marriage after hearing the stories and seeing the results of pre-maritial sex among her friends and older teens. Hormones, crushes, and dreams don’t just dissapate with such a decision, though, so I bought a spiral notebook and began to write letters to my future husband to help remind me of why I wanted to wait and also to keep the hope that this guy really did exist somewhere. I didn’t know who or where he was, but he mattered an awful lot to me.
Over time, more and more letters were added to the notebook, and the list of “husband characteristics” grew. By the time I entered college, my list contained 44 items.
I was going to go to a university or 4-year school. Instead, I could only afford to attend our local community college. I was going to take my math class at night, but it conflicted with my Basic Firefighter class. Instead, I attended a day class. The first day of class, the guy sitting two chairs away from me leaned over and said “nice purse,” referring to my messenger style purse that was constructed soley out of Duck Tape. I said “thanks.”
Ron was going to go to the Pittsburgh Institute of Art after high school. Instead, he was kicked out of his home at the age of 16 and ended up getting his GED a month or two before graduation. He worked, and waited until he turned 23 so he could get financial aid to attend school. Instead of an art institute, he ended up at the same community college. After telling me he liked my purse that first day of class, he went home and called his mom. He told her that he had met his wife. When she asked what her name was, he replied “I don’t know yet. She’s the duct tape girl.” Then, he broke up with his girl friend and began the wait.
Day two of class came and went. Day three of class came and I called the college to drop the course–it was boring and I could take it online just as easily. They told me it’d be no problem, but then came back on the phone after putting me on hold only to tell me that their computer system had a virus and they wouldn’t be able to drop me today. I would have to go to class. On day three, all of us were to turn in papers stating the members of the “study group” we were mandatorily forming. I didn’t know anyone in the class because I’d been home schooled, so as I randomly started writing my name on a paper, the professor pointedly told the class that anyone who hadn’t given him a paper yet would be assigned to a group. My group consisted of myself and four guys, none of whom I knew because I had vowed to not have a social life in college and just get good grades instead.
Ron had vowed not to talk to anyone either. He was 23 and most other people were 18. He was there to get the grade and get out…until I showed up with my knee high striped socks, argyle skirt, rocker t-shirt, and the purse. Then he was there to get his wife, I guess.
We met in August, and by October 3rd, I knew he was it. We fit. Perfectly. Physically, personality, interests, and abilities. I refused to look at my list, nor did I tell him about it. Instead, I waited until I knew I could compare him to that list and honestly ask myself if he fit it instead of trying to make him fit it. After all, even though I was dating someone, I wasn’t going to continue to marriage unless he really WAS The One.
There’s two things my husband is not on my list: he is not a musician, and he needs to improve on his anger expression skills. There are Forty-two things on my list that he is: an artist, loving, tallish, blue eyes, a Christian, enjoys snowboarding, an awesome daddy.
My family went on vacation the summer of 2004. Ron went up to my house every day we were gone and built a stone bench near our creek, and a banner out of sticks and twine that read “RACHEL WILL YOU MARRY ME?” It poured rain all that week, but he kept working with the ring he had designed for me in his pocket. Much to my parents’ dismay at the time (that’s a whole different story), I said yes.
February 18, 2006
We were married, and it was beautiful. We made almost everything by hand and had the most gorgeous wedding I’ve ever been to. I gave him the notebook that night, list still intact. Many waters cannot quench love.
We have been married for four years. Not always easy, but it’s right. So right that I think we should have just rebelled and gotten married back in October after we’d met. I love my artist husband and am so delighted that he’s mine for the keeping. He is what I’m not, and together we would make a pretty spectacular being (maybe that’s why our daughter is so completely awesome?). Since getting married, we’ve moved 8 times, graduated with our bachelor degrees, traveled most of the US, made two kids, and lived beautifully.
And yes, good little girls do make mighty wild women.
So here’s to my husband who doesn’t read my blog. But if he did, I hope that he would read this and remember the sweet moment when he first knew he was in love. I hope that those are the memories we will keep ready in our mind to re-capture our hearts again every day.
Want to see some paintings of us? Visit Ron’s website at http://EastFineArt.com.