Like “How I Met Your Mother”, only wholesome*. The story of how my husband and I met. *Names have been changed
Our family’s conviction when my brother, sister, and I were growing up was that my siblings and I did not date. The idea was that we would have more of a “courting” relationship with someone that we would consider marrying. Sounds strange, I know. But it sure helped weed out some jerks without all the heartache.
Fortunately for me I met a very sweet guy when I was only 13 years old. His name was *Nick. He was older and it started out, on my part as a silly junior high crush on an older boy. You know how it is.
Nick, in fact, was 7 years older than I. 20 years old back then. His only interest in me was as a friend, actually a mentor of sorts. We met at a church retreat. His father was the guest speaker for our church’s weekend get away. I, as always was the younger sister tagging along with my brother and sister and their fellow high school friends. Nick took pity on me and spent the weekend making sure I had a friend to talk to. When we all went hiking he made sure to include me in conversation. We went down to the creek; Nick took the time to teach me how to skip stones. And when we all parted ways at the end of the weekend, Nick was considerate enough to give me his address when I asked for it.
And so our friendship grew through letters exchanged. As it turned out Nick was a youth pastor and had a wealth of advice for me every time I wrote him, telling him of my latest adolescent woes. There were never any phone calls; we did not have opportunity to meet again, only faithful letters of encouragement between teacher and student. Funny stories shared from one friend to the other for five years. And then, I decided to take the plunge and so I sent Nick a graduation invitation. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t come but on the off chance that he would, I wanted to let him know his was welcome. I might add by this point I was completely smitten. My entire family had become involved. When a letter arrived, they all knew about it. I would shove it in their face to read, whether they wanted to or not, sorry sis. Nick had done very little to encourage my feelings. He had been an absolute gentleman and I am pretty sure still saw me as the scrawny little incoming freshman that I was when we had met. He had mentioned pleasant surprise over a picture I mailed of myself 3 years after we met. He wrote that I had grown into a beautiful young woman. That was enough to keep me going a few more years. Though there was still a 7-year gap between us. Funny how that gap never really closes in. There was a bit of a difference in my mind between a 13 year old developing a relationship with a 20 year old, vs. an 18 year old with a 25 year old. O.K. so it was still a little far fetched but I was still hopeful.
My hope was further validated when Nick wrote to say he would not miss my graduation and requested my phone number. I literally camped out by the phone a couple of days after mailing a letter that included my contact number. I was not disappointed. The phone call came we made plans for his arrival, along with his good friend Carl who would be joining. He called a few more times just to chat and we spent several hours on the phone during the weeks leading up to my graduation. I felt even more hope for a relationship stirring in me, as Nick seemed somewhat interested. And I was giddy with anticipation for his visit and what it might bring. And so I waited.
To be continued…