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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Story of Us

It has been a year - exactly one year ago today was the day that The Dude and I went on our first date.

But there is so much backstory leading up to that night that I thought that I would finally share all of it now. We've hinted around about it before, but I have never really spilled all of the details.

My second husband and I split up in May 2009. I knew at that time that it was over and that there was no turning back as far as that relationship went. I was done with it, and as far as I was concerned, I was done with relationships entirely.

But, as time went on and after my divorce was final in January 2011, I thought that maybe I was ready to put myself out there again. So I half-heartedly set up an account on one of those *cough* wonderful free online dating sites. I messaged back and forth with a few guys, and even went out on a few dates, but none of it felt right. And after my ex unexpectedly passed away, I suddenly realized that I was NOT ready to be dating. I had way too many emotions to work through at that point. So I quickly hid my profile on the dating site, and promptly forgot about it.

Months passed, and my mental state improved. I don't know if anyone really knows just how deeply his death affected me - but it did. There were a lot of unresolved issues, and there were many things that I had to learn to accept before I could think about moving forward with my life. Finally, I felt like I was there.

So in about mid-September or so, I unhid my profile on that site. I tweaked it a bit, and added a few more pictures along with more disclaimers - for instance "I am NOT a booty call", "I will NOT send you naked pictures", "I have 5 kids with 3 different fathers, so if that bothers you then you need to move along because it can't be changed" and other things like that. Buried in the midst of my profile was a little blurb that said something to the effect of "I don't go to the gym, but I do try to walk/jog several times per week and I'm currently training for my second half-marathon - there's a story behind that, so if you'd like to know it, just ask".

Anyway, more messaging back and forth with various guys, more dates that never went anywhere, more idiots who only wanted a booty call or naked pictures, and more morons who wanted to just jump straight into a relationship.

 Somewhere around mid-November, I decided that I was done with even attempting to meet someone. Either that site was useless, or I was an idiot-magnet, or something. But I was done with it. I decided that instead of just hiding my profile, I was going to delete it for good. I was looking around for the 'delete' button and I couldn't find it anywhere. Then I got distracted and had to walk away from the computer again.

When I came back to the computer a couple of hours later, I was downright disgusted to see that I had another message in my inbox on that site. I seriously almost deleted it without even looking but I thought no, that would be rude, and I might as well read it. So I sat down and looked. I looked at the guy's profile first and thought "hmmmm.... he's cute" and so I opened the message fully expecting to see another "hey baby" or "wanna chat" looking at me.

Instead, his message read something like "They say curiosity killed the cat. I'm not feline, but I'd love to know the story behind the half-marathon".

I sat back in my chair, surprised. Here was a guy who obviously actually read my profile and paid attention to it - and he knew how to capitalize the appropriate words and didn't type in text-speak. I figured that it wouldn't hurt to message him back before I deleted my profile.

I think we messaged back and forth until about 4am that night.  And the next night. And for several more after that. We talked about so many things in those messages - and it was so easy.

Neither one of us can remember for sure how long we messaged back and forth like that, but it was somewhere in the 1-2 week range - and then we decided to meet. Thanksgiving was coming, and so he asked me what my schedule with the kids was like for the next few days. I told him (figuring that if anything was going to scare him, the multiple holiday custody arrangements that go along with having multiple kids with multiple fathers would) but instead he suggested that we just meet at Burger King the day after Thanksgiving so that I could bring Daniel with me and he could play in the playground while we talked, and I would not have to pay for a sitter. Surprised by his willingness to work around my schedule, I agreed.

So, on November 25, 2011 we met face to face for the very first time. We sat and chatted and watched Daniel play for probably 2 hours or more. Then he came over to my house the next day to watch a movie, and we ended up talking (yes, talking) until 4am.

It took a few weeks for me to get up the nerve to agree that this was what I wanted. I went into it saying "no relationship" and just kind of found myself in one. But I vowed that it wasn't going to get serious. Seeing each other exclusively was fine - but no, it wasn't going to be serious.

Five months into it, we admitted that we loved each other. And here we are a year later.

Yeah, we kind of like each other.
And this might be one of my favorite pictures of us.

Had to gross out the kids with this one!
It hasn't been the easiest year. We've definitely had our ups and downs, but we've been able to work through all of it together and we've come out stronger than ever each time. We still talk about everything. We don't make major decisions without discussing them first. We have been brutally honest with each other, and have hurt each other's feelings plenty of times, but at the same time the honesty is what keeps us strong as a couple. It's something that I've never had the chance to experience before, and I have to admit that it is amazing. We've made it through major holidays with extended family, a cross-country road trip with the kids, massive catastrophic mechanical failure in my van, health issues for both of us.....all of that on top of the typical stress that I deal with on a normal basis with the kids and school and custody.... and we still like love each other.

He's still the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think of when I fall asleep at night. I still get butterflies in my stomach when I see him walk into the room and he can still make me melt with just a look from him.

I don't know what I did to deserve a man like him, but I'm not going to argue.

Happy anniversary, babe. I love you!

19 comments:

  1. I love you right back.
    Oh... and RESPECT THE LINE! Where ever that went...

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    1. Yeah, that line was handy while it lasted! ;)

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  2. Love this! Thanks for sharing your story! (And gorgeous pics!)

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  3. Ack! I think I got diabetes reading that! lol. All joking aside, you two are great together. May you have many more years of happiness together. Happy Anniversary!

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    1. Also, I noticed you didn't change the Cowgirl's patch on his jacket in these...

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    2. Thanks Jen! And no, I figured I'd leave the original one on here, and keep the "fun" one off - but I might post that on my page later! ;)

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  4. D'awwwwww!!

    *coughcoughVegascough*

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  5. Okay, I'm getting mushy in my old age or somethin' cuz I was okay until I read the "Respect the line" bit then I started crying...you guys are awesome!!!

    Ames, I've walked along side of you on your road for...well awhile now and after everything you've been through, every trial you have faced with grace and every time you have reached out to help others with their burdens when you were struggling with your own; for those reasons and so much more, you deserve this!! I'm so glad to see you smile...in fact I might spill the beans and admit this is the happiest I have EVER seen you. ;)

    Way to go K - keep up the good work man.

    DAWN

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    1. This IS the happiest that I've ever been. :)

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  6. BEING SOME 40 YEARS OLDER THAN YOU, I KNEW YOU'D FALL IN LOVE AGAIN WITH THE RIGHT ONE. KERRY IS IT FOR SURE. WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOUR STORY ARE THE KIDS. THEY LOVE HIM AND HE TREATS THEM LIKE HIS OWN. HIGH 5 KERRY. EVERY CHILD NEEDS THAT SPECIAL PERSON IN THEIR LIFE JUST TO FEEL LOVED.I KNOW THE OLDER 4 KIDS HAVE A FATHER BUT YOU CAN STILL BE THE BEST STEP FRIEND [FATHER IF IT HAPPENS] THEY COULD HAVE IN THEIR LIFE.GOD HAS GIVEN YOU A GIFT NOW GO FORWARD.

    GRANNY

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    Replies
    1. They do love him - and I'm pretty sure that the feeling is mutual!

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  7. Love this story!

    So glad you found happiness!

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  8. I love your story! Here's to many more anniversaries! MUAH xoxo

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I have only two rules - don't reveal anyone's personal information, and be respectful. It's not difficult, honest. Now, go on and play.