Nearly every girl grows up dreaming of getting married; what their dress would look like, how they would wear their hair, what colors they would use in their wedding… I wasn’t one of those girls. Granted I had childhood crushes. When I was in second grade, I had big ones on Patrick Swayze, (specifically Orey, his character from the North and the South,) and Dean Martin, not realizing that Dean no longer looked like he did in his classic Martin/Lewis movies. As I got older, I still didn’t think of it too much. I wasn’t interested in dating, as I was busy running track, writing fiction stories, reading, and taking ballet. (At that point and time, music wasn’t a big part of my life yet.) I had a few boys that I liked, but I was dorky enough that none of them liked me back. And HONESTLY, I didn’t really care that much.
I made a list of qualities that I wanted in a husband on a piece of paper, and every once in awhile prayed that God would direct me to the right guy. I also prayed that my heart would know who the right person was. I was even so freaked out about it, that I asked God to give me some sort of sign, so I would know who the right person was for me. Little did I know that I would get nearly every thing on that list, and little did I know that God would actually make it really clear to me whom I was supposed to marry.
I met my husband when I was in 4th grade. He was a junior in high school. He doesn’t remember me. I remember him. Our love story starts MANY years later, when I was 18 years old. But I’ll start at the beginning, in the 4th grade…
When I was in 4th grade, I switched from going to public school, to going to a private school that had grades Pre-K to 12. It was a very small school. I think that my class was one of the largest, with around 13-17 kids in the grade. Basically, I spent a majority of my school days in the same three rooms, and a gymnasium. I had previously gone to a fairly small elementary school in a farming community in central IL, so the transition from 30 kids to a class to 13, really wasn’t that jarring.
Every day we would watch the high schoolers make their way to the gym to eat lunch, since the gym doubled as the cafeteria. The boys were rambunctious and goofy. One of them was a guy named, Eric. I thought he was cute. He worked at the local K-Mart. One time when I was 10 years old, while my mom, my brother and I were at K-Mart, Eric came up to my mom and talked to her for a few minutes. While they were chatting, I told my brother that I wondered if Eric had a girlfriend. *snicker snicker* As if a junior in high school would be interested in a scrawny, 4th grader with buck-teeth, and giant coke bottle glasses.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and I remember praying for Eric while he was in college. I didn’t have any romantic inclinations concerning him, I just felt like I was supposed to pray for him, so I did. A few years after that, when I was a sophomore, Eric ended up coming back to the private school to help teach Science. Some of the girls had crushes on him. I thought it was stupid to like a teacher.
A couple of years after that, I graduated a few months early so I could go to Pasadena, CA, to study dance and mime. I left home at 17, (with my parents’ go-ahead,) for 6 weeks. When I returned, I had found a little bit of freedom to express myself as a person. I decided to wear my hair in two ponytails to mime practice. (Yes, I was a mime. Erg.) I also decided to wear a pair of mens’ jeans, because they had a really long inseam….
By that time, Eric had also joined the church’s mime team, at the request of his sister, who was one of the leaders. Earlier that year, Eric and I had been put in a group together to choreograph the resurrection of Christ. At the time, he was really into martial arts. (He has three black belts.) I was really into ballet. He wanted the angels to sidekick the Roman soldiers as He came out of the tomb. I thought this was ridiculous, and unbiblical. A verbal sparring match ensued between us, which we got “in trouble” for.
Anyway, back to me coming to mime practice in two ponytails… We grew up in a very conservative environment, where most of the people all dressed alike and wore their hair fairly similarly. So picture, a boisterously happy girl with an outfit consisting of a blue leotard, a tight cream-colored shirt, and a pair of mens’ jeans, with her hair in two ponytails. I was already different, because I had big dreams, and had a unique personality. Dressing like that pretty much freaked some people out, as well as some of my other outfits. Eric was one of them that specific night at mime practice.
For some reason while there, one of the guys said something about my jeans. I said that I didn’t care if they were mens’ jeans, they were long enough for me. (I have a long inseam.) Eric pops into the conversation and blurts, “I will never marry a girl who wears men’s clothes.” Since I am quick-witted, and a smarty-pants, I was fast to say back, “Well, I guess that means you aren’t meant to marry me.”
The joke was on us.
(Part Two coming soon…)