Happy Valentine's Day!
Today marks my sixth Valentine's Day with Papa Bear, aka "Mr. Wonderful". I am so blessed that God chose this man for me, and in such a typically "unconventional" way.
I met my husband on eHarmony.com in June of 2003. I had been on eHarmony before, but it was expensive, so I ended my relationship with them. Then a year and a half later, they wanted to kiss and make up, by offering me a whole year for $100, instead of $50 a month, so naturally I accepted. After all, I was living WAY out in the country, commuting to and from work, and away from home for about 11 hours each day. I had a little boy, so I really didn't have time for "dating". Plus, I didn't want to just "date around". I was tired of the games. I wanted a husband. And I knew that was what God wanted for me to, otherwise he wouldn't have given me the desire, right?
So, I hooked back up with eHarmony.com in April of 2003. I had gotten quite a few matches, but after going through them, I was quickly weeding them out. There were a few that got to actual email communication, but not much past that point. There was one that I spoke to on the phone several times, and we even went on a date, because he was actually from the same 100 mile radius as me.
Enter "Michael" from San Ramon, CA. Where on earth is San Ramon? Is that near L.A.? UGH! Well, this probably won't work, because there's now WAY I'm moving to California. That's one of the last places I would want to move!
Unbeknownst to me at the time, Papa Bear had gotten a FREE month of eHarmony for taking some personality test on Tickle.com. We were matched in his 2nd or 3rd week. There was something about his pictureless profile that made me want to find out more about him. There was a question that asked something like this: "Who is the person that you admire the most?" or "Who is the person that has influenced your life the most?". One of those two.
His answer? "Aside from Jesus, it would be my dad....." We don't quite remember what the rest of the answer said....or if that was it. But it piqued my interest. I thought, "Wow! A guy who seems to have a GREAT relationship with his dad!" That's pretty uncommon these days. Usually you will find loads of guys who have good relationships with their moms (and he does!), but not with their dads. My brothers don't. (I didn't have a good relationship with my dad until God changed my heart.)
So I had to find out why. I sent the first contact. I found out later that he wasn't even sure about making contact back. He was a little on the shy side, even though he was on eHarmony!
Well, one thing led to another, and soon we were emailing one another. I was really starting to like this guy. In the meantime, I went on the date with that one guy who lived in my area. We went miniature golfing, and he didn't even let me win! But I was already hoping that it wouldn't work out with us, because I was already starting to fall for Michael. It didn't.
Now, normally I am the one who wears my heart on my sleeve, but I told myself to take it slow...pray...not rush things...pray...take it easy...pray...don't make a fool of myself...
But it was Michael who slipped an "I think I love you" in the middle of a conversation on September 11, 2003. Out of the blue. Like, "WHAT?" I mean, I had been feeling that way, but I wasn't about to say it. And when he said it, I didn't know what to say! I said "Thank you, that's very sweet!" WHAT? That's all I could think of???? Well, I was caught off guard. So I ended up writing him this long letter explaining why I reacted the way I did. Silly me. He hadn't even noticed my weird reaction.
Soon we were talking on the phone every single night. (Before it was only once a month, because he didn't have long distance, and neither did I.) By November, we KNEW that we wanted to get married. We had never even met in person, but we knew. It was just one of those things. I think God gave us all that time together, but apart, so that we could really get to know each other, without things like "physical affection" getting in the way. Trust me, after we met, that was not even an issue! But I think that God really wanted us to get to know each other on a very deep and intimate level. And we did. We talked about everything under the sun, including discipline and parenting, our favorite cereals, money, dreams, etc.
In January of 2004, I had my gall bladder removed. Michael drove out from California in a bad ice and snow storm, so that he could see/meet me and meet my family. He drove about 18 or 19 hours straight! San Ramon is in the SF Bay Area, so he had to drive the full length of CA, PLUS all the way across Arizona and halfway across New Mexico, to where I lived. And I was not at my best...I was still recovering from surgery and from added vertigo.
He was there. There was about 20 minutes of akward tension. Then it was as if we had known each other our entire lives. We fell in love all over again...seeing each other. He loved my family, and my son, and even asked my parents for my hand in marriage. We had a romantic "early" Valentine's Day dinner, complete with steak, baked potatoes, rosemary garlic bread, chocolate covered strawberries, and sparkling cider.
I cried when he left.
I couldn't be gone from him for long. I had to see him again. We made plans for me to fly out to California for a week for his birthday in March. I met his family, took a studio photo with him, and got officially proposed to, all in one day! The next day, we told his family that we were engaged. Their reaction? "That was fast!" What I didn't know, is that, while I had told my parents about him in July of 2003, he didn't tell his parents about me until February of 2004. No wonder they thought it was fast! :-)
I cried, and he cried, when I left.
Well, we planned a wedding, in between two more trips out to CA, including one with Brother Bear so that he could meet the family. We got married in New Mexico on July 17, 2004. He drove out with his mom, dad, sister, grandma, and nephew. His brother and sister-in-law flew out. His groomsmen drove out together. His dad was his best man. My sister was my maid of honor. His sister was one of my bridesmaids. We had a wonderful wedding, of which I don't remember much, except the fact that he gave a ring to my son (who was 10 at the time), signifying that he was now Brother Bear's dad. Everyone cried during that part of the ceremony! We had a quick reception with everyone, and then a small, more intimate BBQ with close friends and family.
We had no honeymoon. We spent one night at a bed and breakfast, and then we moved 1100 miles to California.
This was the first time I had ever been this far away from my mom. But I was with my husband, and I loved him, and I still love him. More and more each day.
Why I love Papa Bear:
He loves the Lord with all of his heart, and wants to serve Him in all that he does.
He loves me, and is a good provider.
He loves me, and he makes me laugh.
He loves me, and he loves Brother Bear as if he were his own biological son.
He loves me, and takes care of me when I 'm sick.
He loves me enough to be ok with the fact that, since he taught me to fish, I have caught more fish than he has.
He loves me enough to never yell at me or our children.
He loves me enough to want to live in a small 2BR apartment in order to be 5 minutes away from his work.
He loves me, and his favorite time of the day is at night when we can finally get in bed together and snuggle.
He loves me, and he brings me chocolate!!!!
He loves me, and he works hard at his job, so that we are provided for.
He loves me, loves my family, and loves his family.
He loves me, even though we haven't been able to get pregnant.
He loves me, so we made the decision to adopt, so that we would have more kiddos.
HE LOVES ME, even when I'm PMSing and moody!!!
I love my husband SO much. Thank you God, for giving me such a wonderful man!
Do you have a special Valentine love story? I'd love to hear it.