Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


WWW As My World Turns

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How Do I Live…?

(Beware...it's the big post! New pics at the end too!)

Everyone knows the song from the movie Con-Air by Trisha Yearwood called “How Do I Live”. It’s a heart-felt, poignant song about being without the person that you love.

I feel the essence of that song as I sit here and type this. So…this is a “recap”, so to speak, of what happened while “D” was here. For those of you who don’t already know, “D” is really Dan. So, for those of you who have been asking me for a name, there it is. My soldier’s name is Dan.

Dan is my perfect fit in every way. He’s amazing, he’s unique to all other men I’ve dated in the past. He truly is one of a kind. I am so glad that I met him and it was too soon to let him go again.

Dan came in to Dallas last week Tuesday at the midnight flight, so really he was there on Wednesday at 12:01 in the morning. I drove up from Austin right after work. Talk about a bad hair day! I could do NOTHING with my hair, so I teased and fluffed and sprayed it into a helmet. LOL! I am growing my hair out again. I'm tired of it not holding in this heat and humidity.

I arrived in Dallas around 9:30 so I had about 2 ½ hours to wait. As tired as I was, I couldn’t really sleep b/c I was so wired and excited! I ended up grabbing about an hour between 10:50 and 11:50. Dan’s plane got in a little early so he called me around 11:55 from the runway. I was parked literally right across from his arrival/baggage claim area. When I saw him walk through the doors into the waiting area I was just filled with warmth. It was so good to see him again!

So, his flight was one of 4 flights that had come in at the same time and they were all using the same baggage carousel. Dan’s flight was the 3rd one on the carousel and wouldn’t you know it? His duffle had been left in Denver. It was scheduled to arrive at my house in Austin by noon or so the next day. Suuuuuuure it was. It didn’t arrive until Thursday well after 5 in the afternoon.

It was close to 2 in the morning when we left the airport. I drove up until Waco, where we stopped for him to get some food and buy some clothes at the Super Wal-Mart so that he would have more to wear than his khaki pants and t-shirt, you know, just in case his duffle didn’t arrive when it was supposed to. He took over in Waco so that I could sleep for a little while, since I was going to work on Wednesday and was taking off Thursday and Friday before having to take him back to Dallas on Saturday so that he could get on a flight back to Iraq.

Of course, he couldn’t check in to Camp Mabry until the next afternoon so I offered to let him crash on the couch at the house. He accepted and we talked for about another 45 minutes or so before I finally drifted off to sleep, Dan at the wheel, holding my hand. With traffic so bad, and part of I35 shut down right outside of Austin, I was awakened as soon as he let go of my hand to take the wheel with both hands. It was around 5:15 at this time so, sitting in traffic with nowhere to go, I called work and left a message that I was going to be in late and explained the situation and that I was going to catch a couple hours of sleep. We made it to the house around 6:30 in the morning. I was sleeping by 6:45. Thankfully my mom was able to take Emily to her school that morning b/c I was just passed out.

I woke up at 9:15 and showered and got ready for work while Dan was still crashed on the couch. Then I woke him up so that I could take him to get a rental car to drive around Austin in. Poor guy was so tired it took him a little while to wake up completely. After his shower, we went on the search for the rental car. I ended up having to go out to the airport to find him one. I got to work shortly after noon.

That evening we went out to dinner with my “other parents”. Mama Marty and Daddy Darrell are my other mother and my other father. Darrell was the one to walk me down the aisle when I married “The X” b/c my own father was physically extremely sick. They are my mom’s best friends. Their oldest son, his wife and their two kids were there as well, which delighted Emily to no end! Emily attached to Dan really quickly and as we were headed from the car to the restaurant, Emily walked in between Dan and I and took his hand in hers. It was very sweet. It kind of startled Dan for a split second, but then he relaxed and went with it and Emily had the biggest grin on her face. Dan got along very well with the family – all of them. Mama Marty and Daddy Darrell really liked him a lot. Marty said that Dan fit in perfectly. He was very family oriented, polite, respectful, very knowledgeable about what was going on in the world, talked to everyone with ease and freely, was very open and was very kind. He and Darrell talked military and that was an interesting, rather lengthy conversation – and it would have been longer had we not had to go and get Emily in bed.

I took Dan to Camp Mabry to check in around 9:30 and then we went back to the house to watch movies. After he left around 12:30 in the morning, I woke up around 3:30 with the worst stomach cramps. I don’t know if I had food poisoning or a bug, but I felt awful. I was sick until 9:30 the next night, which was really bad b/c Emily’s back to school night was that night and so there I was with Emily, Dan, my mom and “The X” in this hot classroom and I felt like passing out. We went to dinner after, which I couldn’t really eat anything still but tried a couple of fries and drank a shake that had strawberries, bananas and pineapples in it. I started feeling just plain AWFUL and didn’t want to throw up in a public restroom. We barely made it home before I started upchucking so hard I started choking and it was so violent that the muscles around my ribs started spasming rather painfully. I was a little freaked out! Here I was I couldn’t breathe, was choking and throwing up at the same time and my rib area was cramping painfully. Oh, it was a bad couple of moments there.

Thankfully, as soon as I was done I started feeling a whole lot better. Poor Dan, he was so patient and gentle and kind to me, even though his own back had popped out of place earlier in the day and he had got it popped back in just a few hours before and was still sore. So, instead of going out, we stayed in again to watch more movies and just veg on the couch. It was wonderful!

Friday dawned and it was A LOT better than Thursday. Dan came over around 9:30ish and we just relaxed on the couch and watched the news. Then we drove around Austin for a little while and I took him to Hula Hut, which he really liked – GREAT Polynesian/Mexian fusion food in a casual atmosphere on the lake. Coming back out of the restaurant, wouldn’t you know it? I rolled my ankle in a little hole in the ground. This was just not my time.

Dan and I got him some new running shoes, went to get his back adjusted one more time, went to Best Buy and got two internet cameras so that we can talk over the ‘net and see each other without him having to wait for the phones with a 20 minute time limit every time he calls. We then went to pick Emily up at her school, which she just loved! She was so excited to have us pick her up b/c I never get to b/c of where I work and where her school is. I think she was more excited to see Dan than me. LOL! I took both of them for Marble Slab Ice Cream afterward. It was just a beautifully idealic afternoon – except for the HEAT!

We were supposed to get together with MC for about an hour or so, but by the time we got back to the house and just relaxed from the heat of the day (did I mention it was HOT!), we were beat and just wanted to spend time with my mom and Emily since he was leaving the next day and Emily was leaving the next morning to spend Saturday and Sunday with her daddy. We ate Schlotzsky’s, which he’d never tried before, and watched some of the movies that we had bought that day at Best Buy. I put Emily to bed and she started crying and just burst out of her little self that she was really going to miss Dan. She snuggled up next to me and cried a little longer. I told her that we would continue to pray for Dan that God would keep him safe and bring him back home to us safely.

After she was sleeping we watched Larry the Health Inspector – rather disappointing, even though parts were pretty funny – and the Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail. We were just kind of cuddled up on the couch and I enjoyed every minute of it! It was so difficult to say goodnight as he was leaving to go back to Camp Mabry one last time, knowing that this was the last night that we had to spend together for a long, long time. I was so tempted to ask him to stay just to have him near, even though it would have been on the couch, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. That would have sent the wrong message and this relationship is better than that. Granted he did sleep on the couch the night we arrived, but that was out of necessity, this time he had a place to sleep.

Sometimes it’s just so hard to do things God’s way instead of the world’s way, but I didn’t want to set Dan and I up for any unnecessary temptations. He and I had had a discussion on that already and agreed that we wanted to honor God in every way and that meant not getting into the “gray” areas of temptation. How can I ask it of my daughter when I don’t practice what I preach? I don’t want to get into a discussion with Emily down the road and tell her one thing and then have her respond, “but mom, you don’t do that” or “but mom, you do that”. Be the example you are trying to teach.

So, anyway, Dan left around 3:30 in the morning. I went to sleep for about 4 ½ hours and woke up to get Em ready for her dad. I woke up surprisingly refreshed and fairly wide awake. Dan came over around 9:30. My mom took some pictures of us and we were out of there between 10 and 10:30. He had to be back in Dallas by 3, however, there were a few construction areas going up there that we needed the extra time on.

We talked up a storm on the way up there about taxes, home-schooling, the prison system, social security and more. Not so surprisingly, we had a lot in common in viewpoint and opinions and on the taxes, when he saw something a little differently than I did regarding the middle class, I explained my view and he listened and thought about it and decided that I was absolutely right. So not only is he man enough to listen to a differing opinion, he was man enough to admit that someone else’s viewpoint was correct, even though it had differed a little from his and he respected my opinions. Priceless!

We stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Waco – which he had never been to (excellent home style food!) and we held hands almost the entire time we ate. He was in his uniform and a couple of people talked to him, but not as many as he was afraid would. He was concerned that there would be a lot of people trying to talk to him and ask questions and we didn’t have the time to just stand around and chat. We made it to the airport with about 40 minutes to spare so we sat in the minivan and just kind of held hands in silence for a while, then I crossed the console and leaned against him and he held me as I silently cried. I didn’t want to make him feel bad about having to leave but at the same time it was so hard for me to let him go again.

I had wrestled with the decision to tell him how I felt. I didn’t know if it was too soon, but my gut said to go ahead and tell him so…I used the “L” word. Yes, I told him that I loved him. I let him know that I wasn’t in love with him…yet…b/c that took time and proximity, but that I was looking forward to that as well. He closed his eyes and leaned forward and kissed me and hugged me. He told me that he wasn’t going to say it yet b/c it meant something different when a man said it than when a woman said it but that it was so wonderful to hear it from me. He did say that he liked me – a whole lot. I'm glad that he didn’t tell me that yet b/c I did not want him to say it to me just because I had said it and I'm glad that he recognized the difference.

It's not so much that when men say it that it means something different than when women say it, but that women are intrinsically and inherently the more emotional of the two genders and, as such, are more apt to feel things faster, I guess. However, usually when men say it there is more of a permanence behind it b/c men usually will not say it until they are 100% sure that they are ready to and all that it entails for them. Men are, at the heart of it, complicated creatures on a different level than women. For the most part men are easy and uncomplicated in most matters, except in matters of the heart. And there, I think that men are MUCH more complicated than women. For women, love is a simple thing. You either do or you don't and there aren't all these factors to consider, unlike with men.

There are the women who love indiscriminately, but that's not me. I never say what I don't mean when it comes to love b/c it is a very serious emotion. With the exception of family, I have only used it a small handful of times in my life with other people – my closest friends MC and Amy being two of them.

This is not something that just "appeared" overnight. It started before we even met - during the chats and phone conversations. It's not something that is said lightly or for the first time on a chat or over the phone. It's a very personal feeling and emotion. Anyway, I started feeling that prior to Dan coming over and then in the time that we spent together it just kind of solidified it and I honestly wrestled with saying it, and I wrestled long and hard with saying it, but in the end, my gut was to go ahead and say it b/c, and heaven forbid, if anything ever happened to him over there - and I do have God's assurance that He is watching out for him - but IF...I didn't want Dan to not ever know how much he had touched me and how I have come to feel for him.

As I said earlier, I'm not "in love"...yet. I'm very much looking forward to that part though. There is a difference between being IN love and loving someone. Falling IN love means spending time together, in proximity, getting to know the other person in person and building that connection, and we haven't had the opportunity yet to experience those for an extended amount of time. But loving someone means that you have come to know the other person's heart and personality and that they have caught your heart by WHO they are and what they do and are, that they have become someone very special to you and have found their way into your strongest of affections. You can like somebody and not love them, you can love somebody and not like them (kind of like with family - you love them but don't like their personality or actions), but the best of all is when you LIKE and LOVE the same person. And I definitely like Dan too. :) He is a very special person to me.

Anyway, to resume the story…

We went inside the terminal and they ended up allowing the people who were there with soldiers to get a special dispensation from TSA to go through security and wait with them on the other side until they left. We had a good 3 hours ahead of us and that was just fine with me. I think it helped me to be more strong and stoic about letting him go again. We sat and watched planes board and get loaded and fueled, etc. We talked, we leaned on each other and cuddled, we held hands…during one of the discussions we were having, he mentioned that in a “normal” dating relationship he wouldn’t have met my mom for a few weeks and he wouldn’t have met Em for at least 2-3 months after that and I told him that I completely agreed, that the progression of things would have been different but that this was not a normal dating situation.

THEN…we got to the “interesting” part.

He said that I knew how he felt about kids (LOVES them!) and how he wanted a large family and so Emily wasn’t the problem…I was the problem.

My response (jokingly) was, “I'm a problem??”

He kind of got a little flustered and said “no, no, that didn’t come out right…” pause, pause “it’s just that, well, I'm not marrying Emily. I'm marrying yo–Oh, boy, I, um, didn’t mean to say that. I, um, oh boy.” Poor guy was so flustered and tongue-tied. It was endearing to watch as he got red in the face and tried to stammer out an explanation. After several seconds of this I finally place a hand over his mouth and said, “It’s ok. I understand what you meant.” At the same time inside I was really warmed, excited, giddy, etc. by the knowledge that he’s been thinking about IT – you know, the “M” word, with me. :) (VBG!)

I had been praying, as had a couple of other people that I would know just what his intentions were toward me before he left for Iraq for another 8 long months. And there it was. He’s committed to this relationship and is even thinking about the “next” step – the BIG step.

He’s looked into transferring units from Nebraska to here in the CenTex area, also has discussed schooling and work options. He seems to be very serious about spending time together to get to know each other better to determine if this is “IT”.

Anyway, there were two rain delays that kept them there another couple of hours, so we got to spend an extra 5 hours or so together. All in all that time was a real blessing. I cried just a little when they finally lined up to go and as he finally had to let go and walk through the doors. My heart was so heavy at that point. I waited with three other women, one of them the woman from two weeks ago that I met in Dallas and her three kids, to watch the plane pull away from the terminal – several heart-stopping moments occurred when they brought people out not once but twice to look at the engine under the right wing. We all were a little disconcerted and were silently pleading for the guys to be taken off of the plane if it wasn’t going to be safe. But they seemed to get stuff together and ended up taxiing away. It was a rather quiet group that headed back to the garage.

On the way back home, I slipped on a wet floor in Hillsborough as I stopped to get some Braums ice cream (cherry limeade sherbet) and messed up my knee – it’s still all lovely shades of blue and green and reddish purple and it clicks when I bend it too far. I'm waiting for a week to see if that changes as the bruising goes away. Nobody that worked there asked if I was ok or offered to help me get up or anything. The only thing I got from a (probably) 18 year old kid behind the counter as I was sprawled out on the floor was “You might want to be careful there, it’s wet and slippery”. Gee, thanks for the warning after the fact, scooter.

I also, only by the Grace of God, made it home in one piece. I didn’t want to sit in a parking lot somewhere to go to sleep but I was so stinking tired the last 40 miles my eyes kept crossing and I would start to nod off. Thank the Lord that He was watching over me. It was around 1:30 when I got home and as soon as I got in the house and changed into my pj’s (a world record I'm sure at about 30 seconds) I was in bed and sleeping.

I didn’t cry at all on the way home but when I woke up the next morning I had a bit of a difficult few minutes.

On Monday, Dan called and wouldn’t you know it? They lost his duffle going back. They picked up another unit in Hungary whose plane had broken down. Out of the 120 of the original guys on the flight in Dallas, his was the ONLY duffle that was sent on with the other unit instead of staying put with him in Kuwait. He’s still waiting for it – now that he’s back at his base in Iraq. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever see it again. Both of his running shoes, including the brand new pair he didn’t have a chance to wear, his cowboy boots, clothes and a couple of uniforms are gone, quite possibly for good, unless there is a miracle. Thank God he had his electronics (computer, new computer camera/microphone we had bought together, iPod and digital camera) in his carryon and had that with him.

The running shoes are probably going to have to be an early Christmas gift if his duffle isn’t returned. He said they were the perfect fit for him for the first time ever. He has a fairly small foot for a man (9 ½) but it’s really wide so he usually has to get a size or two larger to accommodate the width and then for the most part they’re too big.

So I’ll wait. I’ll be keeping the “home fires” burning and counting the months, weeks and days until he gets back. While he will be back in February sometime, he has to be demobilized in Wisconsin which will take a month or so, so I won’t actually get to see him until at the earliest April of next year. He’s worth the wait though. :)

My mom said that this is not a man I would have chosen for myself had I just seen him walking down the street but that this is a man who fits me perfectly and she’s right. That’s why I'm so thankful for eHarmony, they got so in depth into what I was looking for and chose the match and who would have guessed that on a whim and a prayer that I would have ever found someone like Dan? He has a true heart of gold and really tries hard to live a true Christian life and not just be a Christian In Name Only – and that’s what matters to me.

So, as Paul Harvey says…

Now you know…the rest of the story.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for you I always pray with joy. Phil 1:3-4

The Lord will keep you from all harm, He will watch over your life. Ps. 121:7

If God is for you who can be against you? Rom 8:31

Here are some pictures of Dan and I and Dan and Emily and, well, just Emily b/c she’s so precious!


Dan and me at the house

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Dan and me the morning he leaves

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Me in Dan’s shirt – a little big for me don’t ya think? LOL!

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Dan and Emily

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My little angel – isn’t she sweet?

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Em on her first day of kindergarten…my baby’s getting so big…SNIFF-SNIFF!

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Jean-Luc Picard said...

That was a wonderful post, Nic. How lucky the two of you are to have found each other. Thank you for sharing those thoughts and those great pictures.

greatwhitebear said...

Terrific post, and great pics... you are a VERY handsome couple!

cmhl said...

Emily is such a sweetie--- how CUTE...

what does SHE think about Dan?
has the ex had any snarky comments about him?

I"m proud of you, girl. Kudos to you for entering into this with an open mind, but at the same time being careful.

Bill said...

Nic!! Outstanding!! I'm so happy you've found this... you certainly deserve it.

The smiles on Emily's face speak volumes... children are, in my experience a great judge of character!

I'm glad you've been blessed with this love.

one4JC said...

Wow it is nice to see that maybe there will be a rainbow after the storm for me as well...since I'm always just a little behind you :o)

I'm happy for you!