Dean and I met on August 22nd, 2003. See, us women remember dates like that. It's a fault of ours, one that drives our significant others crazy. THEY say we "remember everything". (because they don't realize sometimes we make the stuff up to to make them THINK they forgot something really important, thereby making them feel guilty so they do good stuff for us.)
That first fall, Dean went up to my parents house up north with me, where he suffered through the Spanish inquisition and passed all tests given by my parents and siblings. While there my mom said, "So who's hosting Thanksgiving this year?" and before anyone could open their mouths, Dean said, "We will!"
INSERT GASP HERE
"Umm HELLO??? I've only known you two months and Thanksgiving is two months AWAY, and what if I don't like you anymore by then? THEN who's cooking? Because have you BEEN in my kitchen and SEEN the sign that says, "I serve 3 meals: Frozen, Microwave and Takeout!" ???? So if "We" are hosting Thanksgiving that means "YOU" are doing the cooking!"
We did host Thanksgiving, and Dean did cook. My parents live several hours away so they don't get to my place too often. When my mom walked in my kitchen, the first thing she noticed was the coffee pot, "When did you start drinking coffee?"
"I don't. That's Deans. I think there is even coffee here somewhere. And I've seen coffee cups too."
My mom was in love with my boyfriend.
Later that night we joked that we would take this relationship one holiday at a time. You know, that holiday stress, especially when there are blended families involved, can sentence a new relationship to doomdom! Thanksgiving went well, but Christmas was right around the corner. AND, Dean had a trip to Mexico planned that he'd bought tickets for BEFORE we even met! Umm...yeah, he was surfing Match.com looking for someone to go along on the trip but he won't admit that.
We survived Christmas, and the Mexico trip...with all of his siblings and spouses... that trip was awesome, and my sister and her husband came along too!
In late February we were in our his basement watching TV when I decided the room needed some color. I got some of Angela's crayons (did I just say Angela had crayons here?) and drew a model for him of what I wanted to do in the room. The next weekend it was done, and the room was way cool!
So, the following spring (We're in spring 2004 now, by the way.) Dean's twin brother asked if he and is fiance could get married in our yard. Oh...wait. It was Dean's yard. I was just the weekend live-in girlfriend at the time.
Anyway, we Dean said yes to them getting married here. Then we looked around our his yard and realized there was a lot of work to do before anyone would be getting married in it! He let me design the landscaping project, and we had 50 tons of rocks delivered, which had to be carried by hand. Together we built a large boulder retaining wall (in the pouring rain) and then landscaped around our the pond.
Little did we know, that project was more difficult than any holiday we'd been through. One day, when we were just about done, we were surveying our work at the end of the day. "Honey," I said, "Someday I'm going to get married in this yard. Just so you know. If I don't marry you, well...whatever, I'm still getting married here. It's beautiful."
Surviving the holidays and the big projects wasn't about being nice to each other (ok, well there was a lot of that.) it was about discovering a lot about each other. We discovered we both think the same way, and have similar tastes and ideas. We even like the same colors. It was also about communication, and being able to say, "Hey I thought you were going to grab that giant rock I just dropped on my foot that I'm pretty sure was your fault!" without killing the other person. And learning that next time I needed to be clear about my needs, "Hey, I'm handing you this giant rock! Can you grab it before it drops on my foot?"
One year later, a year of holidays and a couple more big projects, Dean and I did get married in OUR yard.
This weekend, we advertised on craigslist for people to come get free rocks. Lots of 'em. 50 tons of them. We don't need the pond anymore. It served us for 6 years and we're done with it. But, like all marriages, we do need a project to keep us communicating and learning about each other, so we're taking out the pond and making it smaller and easier to manage. We're eliminating some things from our yard-our life-that we don't need, that we don't have time for, that are no longer a priority for us.
Instead we're adding something that is important to both of us. Something we're both ready for. Something that we feel strong enough in our faith in God and each other that we can do it well. It's called adoption, and we can hardly wait!