3 years ago today, I married my favorite person.
I was never very good at relationships. I had my share...the high school sweetheart, the college love, and each time I was too immature and did something to ruin it. I dated the same boy in high school off and on until I was 23. We would date for a while and he would do something that proved he wasn't perfect and I would break it off. I always had this perfect idea of what love was...what the perfect man was, and when he or anyone else fell short of those expectations, I broke it off. He told me once that I put a wall up and once it was there, there was no chance at breaking it down. I had unrealistic expectations that no one would have ever lived up to. He left for the Navy my second year in college. We were never in the same place at the same time (physically or emotionally)...and the rest is history.
In college you would think I would have matured. I was mature in many other ways, but looking back I did a lot of childish things in relationships. I have always had a hard time expressing my feelings. I remember once trying to have a conversation with my boyfriend about our relationship and I literally could not put words, much less sentences together. We were on a road trip and I think we drove the rest of the way in complete silence while I as trying to figure out what to say. He surpassed my maturity immensely. He was so sure of himself and of our relationship, and I was a mess. I ended the relationship and was unable to communicate my feelings or reasons at all. I think in the end I was afraid...and the rest is history.
After college there was some time when I was single. Even though I sucked at relationships, I seemed to always have one, so I struggled during this time. I met N a few times through mutual friends, but the first time I really met him was when a group of us were heading to Memphis to see Widespread Panic. There was an open spot in our car, so he jumped in. He and I sat in the back seat and didn't talk too much on the way there. We made small talk and I remember mentioning some random things, you know how people who don't know each other talk. Someone on the radio mentioned the name Darius and I commented on how much I liked that name. When we got to Memphis, we hung out at a few bars and our waitress at one was named Darius and when she said her name N pointed it out to me because of what I said in the car. I was genuinely surprised that he was actually listening to my babble. After the second Panic show I was laying in bed ready to go to sleep. N came to the hotel door and said he and Nik were going to get into some mischief and wanted to know if any of us wanted to join. I jumped up ad we went exploring the hotel. We kept talking about our adventure and our seeking out of mischief. We wondered into the hotel library and as I looked over at the books on a shelf, I saw a book called American Mischief. I thought it was pretty cool and told N all about it. The next morning when we were packing up to head home, he came to our hotel room and said he had a gift for me and handed me the book. It was a little thing, but for some reason it really got my attention.
When I got home I wondered and paced and thought and thought about what to do! I was really excited about this person who listened when I didn't think anyone was and gave me a silly gift celebrating our first adventure together. I finally convinced myself to call Nik and ask her for his number. Then I called him! Yes folks, I called him! He invited me to a bar that he was working at that was about 50 minutes from where my parents lived. I was living with them at the time and had plans to move into my own apartment about 2 weeks later. I begged my sister to go with me, so we went upstairs and asked my parents if they would watch my nephew so we could go. I still remember my dad telling me not to drive so far for a boy. I told him that this boy was different...and I was right.
When I began to get to know N, I realized that I really wanted to make this work. I tried hard to say what I wanted to say when I wanted to say it, and worked hard to communicate my feelings. We dated for almost exactly 4 years from that date before we got married on December 9th, 2006. It has not always been easy...I'm sure I am difficult to live with at times. I have to try very hard to communicate and sometimes still have a very hard time putting words together into sentences, especially when trying to describe how I feel, but I am working on it, and N's unwavering acceptance of me for who I am, imperfections and all, certainly makes it easier. So today I reflect on our life so far together and realize that this is still the beginning. We met 7 years ago and hope for 73 more. I love his humor, the way he makes up songs for and about me on a whim, the way he sits back and listens to any given problem and when the time is just right jumps in with the best suggestion possible, he interrupts my blogging to ask me questions like "how is it that you do the running man again?", he wrestles with BBZ and reminds me how fun life with a little boy should be, he takes amazing photographs, he is the best gift-giver I know, he loves me and I accept his love with open arms, he knows all of my flaws and loves me anyway. N and I were finally both in the same place at the same time...and the rest is history.
And with all the wondeful gifts N always gives, the best one is napping upstairs right now, and I will never be able to thank N enough for giving me him.