Once upon a time…
Haha. Not really. I am no princess, that is for sure!
I absolutely adore my husband. You may think that we’re still in the honeymoon phase… and we are! But! I still believe he will always be my Prince Charming. On Sunday (4/1/2012), he was my hero, yet again. Let me do just a little bragging on my guy and how he brought out the best in me. 😉
Let me take you back to spring of 2009. I was dating a guy that I liked. Yes, you read that right, liked. Eh, he was okay. He was a lot of fun; spontaneity was a part of his routine (if that makes any sense). The first guy that I had met that actually liked that I was “smart”, enjoyed volunteering, was an academic himself (working on his MBA)… and he was a “business type”, along with being OCD about nearly everything. Everything had to be just so, and not just about him, but about me. His clothes were always pressed, shoes always spit-shined, hair always coiffed just the way he liked it, no dust anywhere in his condo, everything was name-brand (because, as we all know, if it’s not expensive, it must not be made correctly, and must not be worth having)… I’m not kidding. I don’t think I ever once let me see me without makeup, without my hair done, or without my outfit being as perfect as I (if you know me at all, I’m not a fashion-conscious type of girl) could manage. Granted, he was fun (I even got to go on a business trip with him to Key West once), but this just wasn’t me. I thought, on more than one occasion, that if his momma would have raised him right, we wouldn’t have had so many issues.
Then came the (first round of) bad news. For his job, he’d be sent out on the road for extended periods of time, all over the country. He assured me things would be fine, and I was okay with it. At first. He’d only be gone for a week at the beginning, and since I was busy with my last semester of college, the weekends would have been the only time I would have seen him anyway, since I lived in a small town in southern Indiana and he lived in East End Louisville. As the trips increased in length, I found that he’d be less interested in seeing me when he did manage to come home. I figured he was just distracted from working so much. No big deal, right? Then came the big trip to Wyoming. Six weeks, minimum. Ok, sure, no big deal.
When he got back from that trip, that was pretty much the end of it. I saw him once in that six-week time frame, on Thunder. I have never once mentioned to anyone that I loved this guy, because, well, I didn’t. He was fun, but that was about it. Even then, I don’t think that I saw it being a long-term deal anyway, because we were just so different. But, the part that really made me downright angry, was learning that over the whole course of these business trips, he had been taking “protection” with him, while I was at home waiting on him. Yep, I was livid.
Just because I wasn’t in love with him, didn’t mean I wasn’t still hurt and upset over how it ended.
Unfortunately, that was not to be the last of my bad news in 2009. Around the same time as all of this was happening, I received another devastating batch of news. My first application to medical school had resulted in being put on the dreaded waitlist. To any premedical student who is going through this arduous process, being waitlisted is much more like Hell than Purgatory. You are this close but might as well be at the bottom of the pile. I was an absolute mess after that thin little letter came my way. Out of over 4,000 applicants, 300 (or thereabouts) were accepted, and only 100 placed on the waitlist. So close, yet so far. There I was at the end of a stellar collegiate career, with no boyfriend, no job lined up, and having to hope every single day of the summer that someone else would drop out of the “accepted” list so I could fill his or her spot. It was dreadful.
If you know me at all, you know that I eat, sleep, breathe, and medicine 24/7. I truly believe that medicine is my calling, my way to help people to the best of my ability. Not being accepted was nothing short of devastating, after I had worked so hard and had it completely consume my life ever since I was 14. To have my dreams smashed like that… I was lost.
So, at the end of that summer, my name was never called to fill a spot. It was not a good time to be around me; I did not even feel like myself anymore. Over the whole course of applying to medical school (application is submitted in June; they don’t have to give you any word about a decision until the following June, and if you’re waitlisted, they could make you suffer til mid-August), I had been confident of my acceptance. Not in an egotistical, they-have-to-take-me-because-I’m-brilliant confidence, but an I’ve-done-everything-they’ve-asked-of-me-and-more confidence. So instead, I started a Master’s program at the University of Louisville. Little did I know how much a change would occur in me because of that!
All of this backstory has a reason, I promise!
This still wasn’t all of my bad news for 2009. Unfortunately, I am still not kidding. But let me interject a little good news into the story.
November 10, 2009. That was the first day that I had heard of David. An acquaintance of mine just so happened to ask me if I’d be interested in meeting someone on a double date. Oh boy, I thought, if he’s friends with you, he must be crazy… no thanks. Apparently, a friend of her boyfriend was moving home from a job in Iowa, and wanted to meet a good, smart girl who wasn’t nuts, and her boyfriend had suggested me. So I let her tell me a little about him, and I found that they had already told this guy a little about me. So she gave me his name and I looked him up on Facebook (don’t you just love Facebook stalking?). So I friended him. That led to a few friendly messages, eventually exchanging phone numbers, and a few texts. No blind date, but I was getting to know him.
This was not a good time to get to know me. I was still downright angry with the world. Angry for losing a boyfriend and wanting to figure out what I had done wrong, angry for not matriculating into medical school, angry for going into a new program at a school I didn’t like (and convincing myself that if I wasn’t mentally incompetent, I wouldn’t have been there to begin with). I had convinced myself that all men were absolute jerks, and you just had to find one that you could deal with his particular nonsense. I did not recognize myself in those days. I was lost. I felt as though God had abandoned me and did not hear my prayers.
Thanksgiving of that year was pretty much like any other Thanksgiving prior. But it was that night that will forever be burned into my memory.
My grandma had a pretty bad case of Alzheimer’s. I’d suspected it a long time before my dad took her to the doc to confirm it. She had been living with my aunt, to keep an eye on her so she wouldn’t wander off and not remember how to get home. During Thanksgiving, her one request was to spend one last night in her home. My dad and two aunts agreed, reluctantly, but only if one aunt could stay with her. There was a noise at the back door of her house that night, and grandma kept getting up to go check on it; she couldn’t remember that she had already went to check on it before. My aunt had ushered her back into bed a couple of times that night. This was an older home, and it was built a little odd by today’s standards. There was a narrow staircase of about four or five steps from the kitchen down to a landing before the door at the back entrance of the house. On her last trip to the back door, she fell down those stairs and broke her nose along with her first two cervical vertebrae. My aunt and my dad rushed her to the hospital; it was miraculous that she did not do any damage to her spinal cord. The doctors and nursing staff were able to stabilize her, but it was not to last. God called my grandma home that night.
I missed the week of finals of UofL because of the funeral. So add to my dreary disposition, panic induced by having to take incompletes in two of my first three graduate-level classes until I could finish both 20+ page papers. I was an utter mess. By that point, I was DONE with 2009, and just knew 2010 had to be better.
My grandma had so many people show up to her viewing and funeral. I was amazed. My favorite professor from IUS even showed up to give his condolences. As we left the funeral home the night of the viewing, there was a double halo around the moon. I had never seen anything so beautiful, and in my mind, God was letting his child show off a bit in the heavens. I’m a sucker for anything involving nature, and laying out at night during the summer to watch the stars is one of my favorite things to do. I just had to tell someone else about this, to show them. So who did I text that night?
And, he had already seen it. And he himself had spent quite a while outside, gazing at it.
I spent the next few weeks working on my papers, since I was so far behind. I was worried sick about them, since I had been given extra time, and wanted to make sure they were good. I spent far too much time on them, I’m sure. But when I couldn’t quite find the right words to say what I wanted, I asked David for his opinion. The poor guy. He patiently listened to this girl he barely knew, going on and on about bioethics, of all things!
Once my papers were done and turned in, he asked me out. And I said yes. Little did I know what I was in for!
My Prince Charming didn’t ride a white horse, but instead drove a little silver Celica. We had never actually met in person, but he came to the house to pick me up, and met my family on the first date. Poor guy! But he must have passed the test, because (I found out later) mom told dad that night that she thought they had just met their future son-in-law.
[Side note: For our second date, he came over for New Year’s Eve Bunco with my family. We were at the same table once the whole night. And yet he still came back! Poor, brave guy!]
In all honesty, that was the first night I actually felt like myself again. I had a great time. We had dinner at Olive Garden, followed by a movie (Sherlock Holmes). David could make me laugh, it was effortless being around him, it just felt like I had known him all of my life. I don’t know how else to explain it. He had me hook, line, and sinker on that first date; he was honest, genuine, loved family, and was an avid Discovery Channel viewer. David is the only man who ever got a kiss on the first date. That was December 26, 2009. We have been inseparable ever since. Didn’t I just say that I just knew 2010 was going to be great?
I love his loyalty and how he is genuine about everything. There is no need to hide any of my thoughts from him, to put up a front, to have to hide my true self from him. I never had to get all dolled up for him for our dates (although I did, because I felt like it!). It wasn’t a Cardinal sin for me to go without makeup, and he loved me anyway. That was the real kicker, right there. He loved me, even when he had met me during one of the blackest, darkest times in my life, when even I felt like I did not deserve happiness. I had been miserable, but he woke me up and brought me back to the light. I don’t even think I’ve ever told him that. He wouldn’t take credit for it, even if I did.
I could go on and on about all of the aspects of his character that I admire about him, but I’ll save that for a later post. 😉 This one is far too long as it is! God is ALWAYS right in his timing. Now more than ever am I sure that every single thing happens for a reason, even if we don’t figure out exactly why until much later. If I had to endure it all over again to come to the same outcome, with David by my side for the rest of my life, I would do it in a heartbeat. He’s more than worth it.
So now, every time a friend of mine is bemoaning singleness, I tell him or her not to worry, that the right time and right circumstances are approaching. Even though it’s cliche’, it’s true. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if it hadn’t have happened to me. God’s story for me is far better than anything I had ever imagined.
“We could never learn to be brave or patient if there were only joys in the world.” ~Helen Keller