Today I received assorted Valentine’s goodies from my husband – a rather suggestive card (it’s okay, we’re married), a package of chocolate cupcakes, a bag of Ghirardelli chocolates, mocha coffee creamer, and a bag of Doritos Dinamita Chile Limon. My husband knows me very well (and apparently will still love me when I gain a couple hundred pounds). I’m either well loved, or he’s really hoping I get him that PS4 he’s been wanting as a Valentine’s Day present (keep hoping, honey!)
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share the story of How I Met My Husband.
In March 2012, I’d recently ended a 5-year-long relationship. I’m not much of a social butterfly, but a couple of my friends pointed out that it’d been months since I’d hung out with them, and I got bullied into going out one Saturday night. I almost didn’t go – I was tired, it’d been a long day, I didn’t really feel like putting on makeup (or even getting out of my pajamas)… but I forced myself to get dressed and go be social. Just for a little while.
It was sometime between 10 and 11 when I arrived at Sally’s, a little local hangout that sadly no longer exists (it was sold last year and the new owners have apparently done a great job with the changes they’ve made, but I haven’t had a chance to go check them out. Not much of a social butterfly, like I said). We sat around chatting and listening to music for a while. At one point my friend Mike pointed to someone and said “Hey, if that guy finds out you’re a geek, he’ll totally go for it.” I turned around and glanced at the person he was pointing at, but the person was facing the other direction, so all I saw was the back of his head. I shrugged and turned back to the conversation. I really wasn’t interested in dating anyone yet, if ever again.
Fast forward a half hour or so, and I was headed up to the bar for a refill. The guy Mike had pointed at was standing nearby, and I got a look at him from the front. I recognized him; we’d both attended the local college around the same time (2007-ish) and we had some friends in common (and he had been a high school classmate of my ex’s), but we’d never met.
That’s when Mike, who was also standing nearby, decided to give matchmaking another try. He walked up to us and said to the guy, “Have you met Tara?” gesturing at me and then walking away. (If you’re a fan of the TV show “How I Met Your Mother,” you’ll know where that phrase comes from). The guy (whose name I knew was Spencer) introduced himself with a handshake. As it turns out, he did (does) in fact like geeky girls. He noticed my t-shirt right away (I tell myself he was looking at the Slurm logo and not my… *ahem*… “assets,” but I’m probably fooling myself). He complimented me on the shirt (being a fellow Futurama fan) and we proceeded to spend the next couple of hours talking about everything.
We had a ton in common, and he was ten inches taller than me (a huge bonus, since I’m 5’10), but I wasn’t sure how things would go. I was as giddy as a teenaged girl about him, but I was also a single mom of three boys, and two of those boys are autistic. Any man I dated had to be good for my kids as well as for me. “Single mom of three” would be intimidating to most men; “single mom of three boys” possibly even moreso, and “single mom of three boys and two of them have autism” multiplies the intimidation factor by – well, a lot. On top of that, Spencer had never been married and had no kids – he was basically a confirmed bachelor at the age of 35, doing his own thing and living his own life with no one to answer to or be responsible for except for himself.
We dated for a few months, and it was great – to my surprise, our relationship got serious very quickly. My kids didn’t intimidate him at all – in fact, the first time he came over to my house, he saw Braeden’s IEP on the kitchen counter and picked it up and read it, asking questions as he did. (Bonus of having a boyfriend with an education degree!) He and Braeden also took to each other as soon as they met – Braeden is mostly nonverbal; the speech he does have can be difficult to understand, even for me sometimes. But Spencer was able to correctly interpret a request that I wasn’t able to make out on the first try. That’s when I knew he was the one – when he made that critical connection with my kids, and seemingly effortlessly. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have kids of his own, he connected with my boys so well that I knew if things went that way, he’d make a great stepfather to them.
Long story short(ened), he proposed in August, less than five months after we first met. Knowing that I love sunflowers, he’d found a huge field of them that he’d planned to propose to me in the middle of – but it was pretty chilly that day, so instead he pulled over to the side of the road, pointed out the field of flowers, and said “You wanna?” I knew what he meant, since we’d been discussing getting married for the past couple of weeks. I said “Yeah, may as well” and there’s our romantic engagement story!
On our weddding day (10/11/12), the weather once again refused to cooperate; we had to change the venue at the last minute from the city park to my mother-in-law’s living room – fortunately we had a small immediate-family only ceremony instead of a lavish gala. At the reception (thankfully already planned to be indoors at his uncle’s restaurant), Spencer called me his “Lebenslanger Schicksalschatz,” another phrase from the TV show How I Met Your Mother. The definition of the phrase provided in the show is “lifelong treasure of destiny,” or “The One.” For a non-romantic, he sure has his moments.
We bought a rambling old Victorian fixer-upper house that I lovingly call The Money Pit in December 2012; our son Taylor joined the family in March 2013 making us a family of six (with me the only female) and we all lived happily ever after (we hope!)