Thursday, December 10, 2015

Why thanksgiving is so much better than Christmas (because come on, Christmas is about Santa and presents; lets stop lying to ourselves)

I was considering it, and I decided, I need the official version of how Chris and I met.  Or at least I need to write it down.

before I start, I think you should know, I am almost unendurably smitten with Chris, to this day.  I love Chris so very much and there is no success or adventure that could have compensated for not being married to him.  That is probably why I see this story as so deeply important.  It explains why I am who I am and why I am where I am.  But it is going to be painfully sappy and religious and I know some of you aren't into either of those things.  So, you have been warned.

I know that you hear in fairy tales about being destined for someone.  I always thought it was nonsense.  And while some people really are wonderful enough to make it work with whomever, I think that we were born crying, for fear that we would never find each other again.

I remember watching my parents marriage and thinking that I would never want that.  That I would never be someone's wife.  Even so, I was deeply concerned that I would never find him.  It makes no sense.  But I was not going to do that whole marriage thing.  It looked awful.
That being the case I ultimately decided to go on a mission, because I felt pretty strongly and clearly that it was something I should do.  And also, because that is what women who are going to be old maids do, according to my Dad.  So, it fit.  And once I decided that it was really what I should do, I knew it had to be immediately.  I rushed the paper work and got out as soon as I could.  I wasn't sure why.  My Dad speculated that it had to do with some guy.  Whatever Dad.  I guess he was right, though.

My MTC companion and I both went to the same mission and we saw each other here and there.  When we returned home we became room mates.  More because she was incredibly organized and got a group of us returned missionaries together.  I think I was a horrible room mate.  Mostly I was gone.

What does this have to do with meeting Chris?  Well, I will tell you when I am good and ready.  Because I am the writer here and I know most of you have already tuned out.  So I can be as long winded about it as I want.

Anyway, The night before the start of Thanksgiving break, I found myself deviating from my normal routine.  Normally I stayed in the library until they played loud music at midnight and announced that everyone had to go home.  I had walked half way home when I realized how early it was.  I almost turned around and went back to the library.  I paused there on the sidewallk weirdly torn.  For whatever blessed reason, I didn't turn back.  I like to think it was the good old-fashioned spirit that kept my feet moving to somewhere that I needed to be that night.

So, before long, there I was, in the apartment, decked in a white t-shirt that my younger brothers had cast aside and a pair of yellow Christmas light pajama pants that I had found floating around back home.  Yup, super classy. My room mate mentioned that her friend was coming over, so I obligingly sprawled out on the living room floor with a text book.  Yup, classy room mate.

Someone knocked on the door and I saw him framed in the door way.  I can still see it.  Decked in a forest green hoodie that made his beautiful eyes dance, was Chris.  I thought idly, 'huh, I am going to date that guy.'  Which was nonsense.

I had actually dumped a guy just that week because I had decided that dating for fun wasn't a kind thing to do to people.  He thought it was going somewhere and I knew it never would, because he hadn't served a mission.  So if I was going to date, it should be because I was honestly looking.  I wasn't going to get married, remember? So, that whole impression about dating the guy with the gorgeous green eyes was just crazy bubbling up.

He sat down and started talking with the people who were there.  Soon he directed his attention to the girl in the white shirt lounging on the floor in front of a text book.  'Hey, so what is your name?"  I put on a comically distressed expression and responded 'what?  you don't remember me?  After that night we had?!"  I had often answered this way to guys and, at least at BYU, the reaction was always to blush or stutter or just be completely confused.  Chris smiled and said 'Oh my gosh - you were the girl at squaw peak!  I didn't catch your name, but I think I caught your gum!"  I laughed, delighted.  Seriously, no one else had shot back, much less cited the notorious make-out spot as a come back.  I don't remember what the rest of the conversation was, but I do remember Chris showing me the latest console game that was coming out (the wii, totally dates me, huh?).  And as we peered over the keyboard of a laptop, it hit me.  'I am going to marry this guy.'

When he decided to leave, he offered to come and check on me while I was home alone for the Thanksgiving vacation.  All my roommates would be out of town, so of course someone had to come and check in on me.  I gave him my number, just to ensure that when he passed by, I would actually be there.  And that was it.  I knew he would call.  And soon.  I was arrogant that way.

The next day he sent me a text message asking if I would be home that night.  I was standing in front of the BYU library.  I can still remember the way the air felt, cold and just a little breezy, the purple and yellow pansies that were planted in the planter behind me.  I smirked with satisfaction when I saw it.

That's right, you thought I was great.  We met every night that Thanksgiving week, except for thanksgiving day.  You know, family is important.  I made him some amazing fudge topping that first night.  I thought I was sharing nector of the gods.  It was only after we were married that I learned he hates fudge.  And he still gives me a hard time about a shirt I was wearing.  I thought it was beautiful, but he thought it was absolutely hideous.

That week we went to see the lights at temple square, we went for dinner at an Indian restaurant.  We went bowling.  On our first date he held my hand while we were at a movie.  He says that I was hiding my hand under my leg, but I was not.  Eventually he leaned over and said 'Can I hold your hand?'  I obliged and made it as easy for him as I could.  His palms were so nervous sweaty it was almost comical.  He was charming and fun, confident and tender and strong willed.  He thought about things and liked that I had opinions.

After the first date I was on a group phone call with my room mates (one of them expected to be proposed to soon and we wanted stories) and my room mate asked if Chris had stopped by.  I said that we had held hands on the first date.  I didnt think it was a huge deal but on the other end, all I heard was 'Whaaaat?!'  I had been happy about it myself,  but wasn't sure what this reaction was all about.  Later Chris told me that she had called him up for details.  And that is when I found out.

Chris had dated everyone.  And by date I mean he had taken out everyone but had never had a relationship until only a few months before me.  Which means he had gotten to 26 without so much as holding a single girls hand, in spite of his constant dating.  I think he was looking for me.  He just didn't know it.  I think he was just searching for me.  I am just glad that he recognized me when he found me.

I was also grateful for the heads up.  This guy needed someone who was a slow mover.  So instead of kissing him goodbye, I gave him a warm hug when he had to leave town.  He did find time to sneak by and drop off a bouquet of balloon flowers before he actually left for his flight.

Anyway, it was a good thing I had such a striking impression on the whole marriage thing.  I was having to make some serious decisions.  I knew at least three people who were older, had graduated from prestigious colleges and were still single and alone.  I watched them wander round the world, alone.  Some were fancy barristers, and they were still alone.  And they were not happy.  I was offered some exciting opportunities but it became painfully clear to me that if I wanted this to work, I would have to pass them up.  It was hard, but I was right in the end.

So there it is.  And that is probably why we celebrate Thanksgiving with more excitement and fervor than we do Christmas.  It is because that is when happiness began.  It was the start of feeling true joy.

Every time I think of this story I wonder what would have become of me had I never served a mission, or if I hadn't left immediately to find my room mate, or if I had strung that guy on in a vain exploit.  Or if I had actually turned around and gone back to the library.

I am so grateful for some of the active good choices I made so that I could be in the right place at the right time.  I am so grateful that the spirit was there to push me where I would not have gone on my own.  It is the ultimate thanksgiving story.  I am so grateful for Chris.  Gods greatest gesture of love for me was helping us to stumble into each other.

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