Friday, April 16, 2010
Seven Good Years with My Sweet Man
I got asked earlier this week how I met my husband. They didn't even know it was our seventh anniversary. So I told the story...
He was stalking me. You can accuse me of exaggerating, but hear our story first.
I was managing the bookstore at a Warm Beach Camp where two brothers, Stephen and Eric grew up attending youth camps, retreats, and family camp. My friend Kristi, who also worked at the camp, was married to Stephen. Whenever the guys were around they would inevitable wander into the store. Stephen would come up to the counter and start talking to me. Eric would stand and listen. This went on for years, literally. Whenever I used to chat with Kristi about this guy or that guy she'd work into the conversation how she thought her brother-in-law Eric was going to make some girl a great wife because he liked to cook. "Lovely," I thought, "but he'd have to learn to talk first." My idea of a perfect spouse included an instant connection, the kind of person you could talk to for hours about everything. Instant chemistry.
After five years at the camp I had met all my career goals and decided to go to Haiti to teach at Quisqueya Christian School, the English speaking school where I grew up. (Apparently when Eric's mom heard she had a conversation with God about what He had planned, because she had decided I would be good for Eric.)
After a year I ended up back at Warm Beach Camp. Maybe it was Eric's mom's fault that I didn't stay longer. Back at the camp I took a job working as the assistant to the Director of The Lights of Christmas. Eric and his family were regular volunteers at The Lights. In fact, that year Eric worked every night of The Lights, heading up his own Parking crew. He often ended up in my office, delivering something that my boss had requested his parents pick up on their way up to volunteer. Wearing rust colored Carhart overalls, rain gear, and a full beard, he looked like a logger (I didn't happen to have a thing for loggers). Still, he never said anything more than, "This is the stuff Jeannie asked my mom to pick up." I'd mumble, "Thanks." Still, I knew he liked me and it made me very nervous.
I started to avoid being in my office, which was easy because of the nature of my job. One night the last weekend of The Lights I came back to my office to discover a piece of Four-Layer Mint Chocolate Torte sitting on my desk. My woodsman had made it. So, we know Kristi hadn't been lying, just to get me to bite. I tried to blow off the sweet gesture, but my best friend at the time was insistent that the boy (who happened to be a second cousin of hers) had it bad for me.
The following Spring I had an "Okay, God, whatever YOU want for me" moment. I even chopped off my long red hair to mark my commitment.
A couple of weeks later things slowly began to develop. Eric was around two weekends in a row, running sound for the camp's Women's Retreats. I guess the retreat speaker even prayed with him over the Lord bringing a woman into his life. (He told me he wanted the speaker to pray about a very specific woman, but if you know Eric, you know that he isn't one to speak up and say what he wants.)
One Sunday afternoon he finally called... Kristi was helping again, she gave him my number. He wanted to know if we could do something sometime. Still feeling a little nervous (and secretly wanting to run the other direction) I suggested going to see Spiderman with a couple of my friends. We did.
He was up again for Working Weekend. He spent a lot of time in the store that weekend (I was back managing the store, as well). He was finally starting to do some of his own talking. And his brother wasn't coming up with him any more. The last day he finally got up the nerve to ask me out on a real date. He wanted to come and make me dinner.
A few weeks of dating and I got the boy to shave. He was pretty cute under all that facial hair. We were married less than a year later. I don't regret a single moment of it.