Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Since everyone is sharing their love stories...here's mine!
It was spring of my sophomore year of college when one day I noticed a new and very handsome guy sitting at the back of the church for daily mass. We finally met a few days later on the steps outside the church after I'd been playing guitar at mass one evening. "You rock," he said. "No, Jesus rocks!" I replied poetically. And there the romance began!
I still remember the day I called my friend Michele and told her what Steven's last name was (it rings rather cutely with my name) and that he played golf (I thought that was rather attractive)...of course the most important ingredients to a healthy relationship! We got to know each other over the coming weeks as he was hanging out at the Catholic community house I lived in, and he was getting more involved in church activities.
One evening a big group of us planned to go out country dancing. He called to tell us that he wouldn't be able to go because his buddies were making him "go stag" to a formal dance that night. "Aw," I told him, "the girls and I would all love to be your dates." "Wanna go?" he asked. A few hours later we were on our first date! His buddies were rather impressed that they left him at the dorm with no date and he appeared at the dance a couple hours later with a date!
I still have a great picture of us at my house before the dance. One of my housemates had a lot of family visiting for her graduation and wedding, and all the little kids helped me get dressed that night. The picture is of Steven and me with the kids, and I always hoped it would be providential and that one day we'd have a brood of our own!
The next morning we went to Sunday mass together, he helped me move my stuff home for the summer, and he met my family. A few days later I met his entire family at a big surprise birthday for his brother. That itself was rather attractive as I'd always hoped to have a big family and his own family with 6 older siblings and many nieces and nephews was so wonderful. That summer I worked across the state at a summer camp, so we spent our days on the phone, sending love notes and care packages, and trying to visit on weekends.
We knew rather quickly that we were meant for each other, but had to wait for school and job things to fall into place. We started marriage preparation before we were actually engaged, but knew we wanted to marry soon. The proposal came on the Feast of St. Joseph, May 1, 2001 (3 years into dating and a couple months before the wedding) in the Adoration chapel of my home parish. I came out of the catechism class I was teaching and he walked me into the chapel. He knelt and asked, "So, do you have any plans for the next 60 years or so?" I wasn't sure how to respond! But the elderly ladies there in the chapel got very excited. One even had a cheesecake in a bag and gave it to us!
After the proposal, we went out to dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant. Just a few weeks ago we were eating there and I started tearing up at the dinner table thinking about how gracious God has been to us over the past 5 1/2 years of marriage. How we went from 2 college kids with big dreams, to a family of 4 trying hard to live them out. Although the past years have been wonderful and challenging, I am excited to see what God has in store for our future. I feel like we're really starting our settled family life now with our house and an area to call "home."
And so, this Valentine's Day is a very special one...one where our family shares in a deeper love and new joy we haven't yet experienced. We will get to share the day with new and old friends from our homeschool group and with our own little family at home as we start to make holiday memories that our children will keep with them for years to come. I also pray that our own romance is revitalized as we begin this new phase in our lives, that our faith and prayer life grows deeper, our marital bond even stronger, and that God might continue to bless our marriage with faith, hope, and charity...and new life too!
Happy Valentine's Day to my own handsome Valentine, Steven, and to all of you! May God's love permeate your soul and bring joy to your life!