Monday, March 05, 2007

A Love Story

Many years ago, I saw this gorgeous guy at our church picnic. He was playing volleyball while my girlfriend and I were sitting under a tree. I had a test the next day, so I was studying hard, or at least trying to. (I was a senior in high school) I don't know if I actually met this guy that day or if it was several weeks later, after my 18th birthday. My dad had taken me out for dinner and at the restaurant, they took a picture of me that my dad kept and carried around in his pocket so he could whip it out and brag about his daughter. Well, this young man happened to be attending/helping with some meetings that my parents were also involved with. My dad pulled out this photo and it caught the young man's eye, so the next week at church, he wished me a happy birthday. I didn't think much about it, but several weeks later he came up to me again to tell me he was leaving within a week or so to go to Guam for several months. You see, he was in the Air Force, and he was stationed less than 5 miles from where I lived, in fact, it might have been 3 miles from our house to the end of the runway. During church that morning, my brain started working on this idea. Approaching my dad was easy. "Hey dad, can we invite this guy over for lunch after church?" "Sure, he's a nice guy." So, I went up to the young man and asked him if he'd like to come over. He had to let his friend's know he wasn't staying for the potluck and he wouldn't need a ride home from them, and then we all piled in my dad's little car and headed for home. It was a wonderful afternoon of getting to know Robert. Because this was California in November, it was nice outside, so we took a walk with our dog to the park. During this afternoon visit, it came out that he would be gone for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think it was the weekend before Veteran's Day, and he would be leaving right after Veteran's Day. So we put together an impromptu Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Day, to be done on Veteran's Day, after we went downtown Sacramento to see the Veteran's parade. It was a fun day!! Then he left.

"Hi, I'm at LAX, on a layover, I thought I'd call and say hi. We are stopping over very briefly in the middle of the night in Hawaii." A day or two later, I started getting letters. Beautifully written friendship letters. I wrote back and it started this wonderful, aching, long-distance relationship. On Christmas Eve there was a huge parcel on our doorstep. Addressed to ME, from HIM!! Inside was the most beautiful hanging shell plant-holders. If you think of the macrame hanging thingys, it's like that, but much more beautiful. I think we have 3-5 of them now, but no place to hang them.

When he returned in mid-January, we spent as much time together as possible. Weekends, evenings, whenever we could squeeze in the time. Then Valentine's weekend, we went to see my grandmother who was in the hospital at the time. Her birthday is February 14, so it was special to go see her. I did not see that at the time, I was bored!! I had friend's in the area, even an old boyfriend that I hadn't seen for a few years. BAD IDEA, I wanted to go out with my friends. I have no idea how I got home to Sacramento, it was a 3 hour drive, but my parents and Robert went home without me. It still hurts to this day to think of the hell I put him through. So, Valentine's Day is a non-day for us really. When I did get home the next day, it was tense. It was tense for the next 5 months as I partied with my friends and tried to finish up my senior year. Robert came to my graduation. There were other girls in my class that he was friend's with. But, when he came up to congratulate me, I melted and asked him to come over for our family and close friend's party that afternoon. He did, and we started over.

When he was done with his 4 year tour, I think it was another 7 months after this, he stayed in the area working for a while, then came home to Oregon to start at the community college in Roseburg where his mom and step-dad lived. We knew at that point we were going to get married. We just didn't know when. For 4 months one of us drove the 12 hour trip to see the other. I think I must have come up in October, he came down in November, I came up in December and spent Christmas with his family, and the car broke down, so his step-dad drove me to Redding and my dad came and picked me up. Then in January he came down to CA. We planned to spend Valentine's Day together in Oregon, but there was a snow storm coming over the mountain's and my dad would not drive me up. I fell apart. I called Robert on the phone and just balled my eyes out. How could this happen? So, you know what we planned? We planned a wedding. A "let's go to South Lake Tahoe and get married" kind of wedding. Who cares about anyone else. HA. Did it work? NOPE. I must have said something to someone, it came out and my grandma said, "no you aren't." I told them we were getting married in 3 weeks and that was that. Would you believe my mom put together a wedding for 350+ people on a very small budget, and we were married 3 weeks later? Yep!! I can only imagine the work that went into it. I really have no clue. I just remember all of my relatives there, even my other grandma who just happened to be in from Singapore (I think). So, we were married in our home church, on a Sunday morning at 11:00 am., had a fingerfoods lunch reception and by 4:00 were driving to Oregon so he could finish Winter Term at school. I am sure that many thought it wouldn't work out for us. I am sure they thought we married for "other" reasons. (See 7 months down the line) But we didn't, we (I) couldn't stand being away from him, still to this day, if either of us goes away for more than a day, it's really hard.

I don't know why I am smurking in this photo, maybe it's something Robert said to me, or his brother as best man was making a toast?

Yes there were hard times, not working when I should have, because I was pg. Going to school full-time for both of us, with a toddler. But we did it. We made it work. We had a great support system of friends and family. Yes it was hard, and there are days now that can still be a struggle. I think every couple has them, but marriage takes work, you can't take it for granted.

So here we are, 18 years later. Still in love. Happy Anniversary, honey.


Donna said...

Happy, happy, happy anniversary!

Roxie said...

Congratulations, you adorable kids!

mazhalai said...

happy anniversary

Lavendersheep said...

Happy Anniversary!