Ok, so tonight I've read two different friends' blogs about their "first dates" or when they first got together. They also posted old photos of them and their spouses.
Tonight Anthony isn't here. He's in Ocala, FL with my dad preparing to play guitar at a church up there on Sunday. I realized when I was putting our boys to bed tonight that I would be going to sleep alone and it immediately made me miss Anthony and wish he were here. This post is long, but I'm feeling sentimental...
While I read my other friends' posts (thanks Anna and Elizabeth!) I got to thinking...
"What if on our first date, or the very beginning of our relationship, someone from the future could have told us what our life together would hold?"
Like a big Future-man Life-Spoiler Alert...but in a good way. I don't know if I would have believed half the stuff Future-man would tell me (with his own commentary on my feelings about my future-self)... something along these lines...
*"You'll fall in love with him during a 'break' even though you won't be getting much break from each other. He's so patient, you're getting yourself into the right thing here."
*"Y'all are so alike, for your first Christmas you're going to get each other the same thing without even asking or talking about it. And the gift will be going skydiving."
(me skydiving. Anthony bought me the package where I got a video and photos from my jump)
*"Your Grandmother is gonna call him "Shirley Temple" for the first few years of your marriage."
*"Oh, yeah, marriage. Yeah, he'll ask you to marry him just 10 months from now."
*"Sorry, but one of the proofs that you chose a man worthy of your love will come when your little sister Veronica will die in a car accident 2 weeks after you get engaged. Trust me. He's a winner and you'll be blessed to have him by your side."
*"You'll learn together from the start. You'll take on debt together and beat it. You'll be amazed at how he leads in your marriage with such strength when it comes to stuff like that."
(Us engaged and visiting a school for our Masters, posing with the president)
*"Your wedding will be beautiful. It'll be Asian themed. Which is ironic because just a few months after getting married you'll decide together that Asia is where you want to live. Yeah, he's got it in him to take on Asia."
(Us engaged and visiting a school for our Masters, posing with the president)
*"You two will walk on a plane in Miami with excitement and joy and get off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ready to meet adventure head-on."
*" Your first baby will be a boy and he'll be Asian. Well, according to all your friends in Malaysia he'll be Asian. His passport will say, "United States of America" on it and his hazel eyes might beg to differ, but the number of languages he'll hear in his first 48 is enough to make him Asian."
*"You'll give birth half-a-world away from what you know and it won't even phase you. Mostly because Anthony will be such a loving and supportive friend that you won't ever feel like you've left behind much. He'll be there and that's more than a lot."
*"One warning. He'll like curry more than you will. As long as you let him live in Asia, you won't have to learn to cook it."
*"He'll be your reality check when you think you want to get pregnant after you two decide you're going to adopt your second child. You see how much thought and time he's taking into just making it 'official' with you? He'll have that same steadiness of character in moments when you need it most. It'll be a good thing he reminds you that adopting is enough...you'll love him for it."
*"You will hold your second baby, another boy, in your arms before you even thought you would. He'll be gorgeous. Anthony will be amazed at your family of 4 right along with you."
*"If you want a "push prize" for the second baby when you, in fact, had nothing to do with his birth, it'll take some convincing. But by then, you'll know he'd give you the world if he could, and does when he can. So just ask sweetly when you do."
*"At almost 6 years of marriage, you'll be even more excited when he gets home everyday than you were when he agreed to go with you tonight to St. Augustine."
.....and of course since Future-man doesn't really exist, I can't say much beyond that...
But what would you have done if someone could have given you a run-down?
I don't mean in the , "Would I want to know?" sense, but in the "I am so amazed at all God's done in my life simply by giving me my husband as my mate" sense.
So, what was our first date?
I'm not even sure if the night I'm about to describe officially counts as it. But it was important, so here goes.
It was something out of a book. We had been spending extra time together that whole summer despite us both having summer "jobs" that took us out of town. I worked at a camp that traveled to different locations and he played guitar at several camps and also traveled. By Labor Day, summer's end, I knew Iiiii wanted to keep hanging out with him, but still wasn't sure what he was thinking. It took a lot to let him lead...but I'm so glad I did!
Of course, I didn't want to go alone.
I'm sure I probably asked him to go, but didn't close the invitation to anyone else either. But as I hoped, it ended up being just him and me. I'm sure our other friends saw what was happening and also wanted to finish their spaghetti dinner and watch whatever movie we had rented.
So we drove. Waited for my parents to get there. Then drove back.
On the way back (so he told me later) I called a friend from the camp I had worked at that summer to give my condolences for her grandmother's death. I didn't reach her and left a voicemail. I quoted some Bible verse in the process. Anthony later told me that that did it.
"I have to marry this girl." he thought.
Well.....maybe not marry, not that night anyway, but he knew he wanted to make it official.
We hit traffic on the interstate and decided to take A1A back up to my house. For those of you unfamiliar with Northeast Florida's map, we took the road up the coast.
I can't remember if he suggested it, or me, or both of us together, but we decided we wanted to stop and walk on the beach. We found a public beach (it was night by this point) and set out. We didn't get very far. Mostly because of the thunderstorm just off the coast. It was incredible to watch it out there. So very "Florida." Mesmerizing.
We had grabbed beach blankets and sat and talked for awhile. The little we did walk, we looked down and noticed that the beach was glowing. Glowing blue. And not just glowing, but more pulsating or twinkling. I had lived in Florida my whole life and never seen anything like it. When we raked our feet or hands across the sand, the trail lit up and sparkled. Crazy. Like the beach and the thunderstorm were giving a clue to the incredible journey ahead of us that was starting that very night.
We didn't talk too much. Anthony was planning to move to Nashville later that fall to pursue music. I didn't tell him at the time, but I knew he wasn't gonna move. Don't know how, just knew. I think the Lord had really given me a peace about letting go and giving him the reigns on what would happen with our relationship. I think I knew (and definitely hoped) somewhere deep that he was it and whatever had begun slowly that summer was important.
What he did manage just a few minutes before the storm closed in on the shore was, "I'm really gonna miss you when I move to Nashville."
What did I say?
At first nothing. For once in my life I was speechless. Literally. Could. think. of. nothing. to. say.
After a few moments all I managed was a frail, "Me too."
We were staring out into the ocean. I guess my response was enough to make him brave.
"I've really liked hanging out with you." he said.
Again with the speechlessness and uncreative response. Get it together Sharon! I should have known then only the love of my life could have the power to leave me without words.
"I've liked hanging out with you too."
Then I don't remember, but it started raining and cut the conversation short. But he had said enough. It was enough for my heart to know he was gonna miss me. Which he never had to do because he never moved to Nashville. (Duh. He could've just asked his future wife and she could have told him)
We got back to the house and to our friends. But man, that night changed everything. Or so it seemed. I guess the truth of it is that God was working his plan for our lives all along and that night was the first real glimpse (however brief and speechless it might have been) into the life he had ahead for us.
Later on that week (I'll have to ask Anthony if he remembers if it was that night or another) we were on the phone talking about the Sunday School lesson we were to teach our respective Middle School classes the coming week and somehow we got to talking about "us." We made it "Official" official then. Funny now when I think the telephone helped him to be a bit more brave, and me to be more composed to answer.