Even though I am the right-brained creative ‘artist’ I have always craved security, having a plan, organization – order. Maybe it comes from taking care of myself since I was a young teenager. When you have to juggle high school and “where am I sleeping tonight?” or “when is the next time I can eat?”… Well it just shaped the person I became (like a lot). So when Roy (my husband) happened, I was taken for surprise. By the time Roy and I arrived in Omaha, I had broken so many of the rules I clung to in order to protect myself. Roy and I had already said those three crucial words and had only been going together for about two months (though we had talked to each other for longer). I didn’t have a plan or a roadmap and for some reason I didn’t care. I felt secure, when I had no official reason to feel that way. Roy uprooted his life to be near me and things were moving really, really fast (but not physically, I was still a tease apparently).
Roy found an awesome apartment, a three bedroom, two bathroom. He went for a three bedroom in case I decided to move in when my lease was up in June. The extra bedroom afforded me privacy and took the pressure off, even if it went unused. And if I didn’t move in, he could downgrade to a two bedroom (the least was up in August). Even though I didn’t live there officially, I spent most of my time at Roy’s, since my place was on the other side of town and a slum (not a nicer way to describe it, the landlords refused to replace windows that were never there when we moved in, fix pipes and other things that caused sanitation concerns and resulted in a few ER visits for me because of infections – yay chemo). Roy worried and didn’t like me staying there. I can’t say that I would change anything about our relationship or how we happened, but this obviously took a lot of the mystery out of our relationship early on.
The next few months we shared together were absolutely magical though. We went on a trip of a lifetime to Italy (Venice, Florence and Rome) that he had been awarded because he was in the top ten branch managers in the entire country for this bank chain, before he made the career move into the operations side of things, met each other’s parents (poor Roy) and supported each other with any life stuff that came up. Then just after our six-month anniversary, Roy wanted something and even though he didn’t come out and ask, I am fairly intuitive and he can be somewhat transparent at times. I knew he wanted to move to Colorado. His brother had just had twins, and kids were high on our list, but in the meantime he wanted to be there for his niece and nephew, and be the kind of wonderful uncle he had growing up. I called him out on it and he admitted he was thinking about it, but knew Denver was nowhere on my list of places to move. That was true. We had compared notes on places we wanted to settle down with the plan of doing so in another year (one more lease term) not too long ago. We had decided on Florida, where Roy is originally from, because it was the only place that showed up on both of our ‘top five places’ lists. I didn’t like the cold, or dryness and was terrified of heights so what could Denver offer me?
The answer to that question was easier than you might expect. I saw the look in Roy’s eyes as he talked about. I felt how much he wanted this, even though he wouldn’t admit to it, and I wanted to do that for him. I realized I didn’t care where I was, as long as I was with him (I am sure my inner feminist was screaming). In typical Roy style, he only brought this up, a few hours AFTER we had signed an early renewal of our apartment lease. He figured we could move there once that was up, but I wasn’t having that. He wanted to be there for the milestones and that many of those would be in the first year of the twins’ lives. Out apartment complex was great and had no problem disregarding our early renewal, which gave us enough time to figure things out. A few days later, Roy dropped another bomb when we were in the car, waiting at a red light. He was thinking of buying a house.
This made me incredibly nervous, because we talked about moving to Denver for two to three years and then settling down like we originally planned. I wasn’t stupid, buying a house meant at least three to five years, probably even longer. I would be lying if I said my anxiety instantly dissipated, but my desire to make Roy happy and my belief that making him happy would make me happy easily won out. There was never an internal struggle really. Roy later told me that this was the moment he knew he was going to propose. My willingness and encouragement to move and that whole experience after it happened was the final reinforcement he needed to know that this was forever. For me, I didn’t worry about Roy proposing or when. I told a friend, “I know where we’re going to end up, you know? We’re going to get married and we’re going to have a family. As long as we’re together, the ‘when’ things will happen doesn’t matter much to me. Because I know what is going to happen.” It might sound weird, but like so many things up to this point, I didn’t have a doubt on my mind where we were going, so I was content to just enjoy the journey to the next step.
If you are skeptical of my crazed organizational prowess, our move will expel any lingering doubts. We decided to look into moving to Colorado August 12 and closed on our house on September 30. I had done thorough research on the properties, originally 78 were considered, put them into my magical Excel sheet with more than fifty categories of consideration down to school districts, property taxes, growth potential and the distance of Roy’s work commute as well as to his brother’s place. (I love me some Excel.) When I sent our realtor my spreadsheet with our top twelve properties he said he was intimidated, but it made his job incredibly easy. We knew what we wanted, were prequalified and motivated. We made the trip to Colorado, viewed all of the properties on our list in a single day. But when we walked into our house we both knew immediately – this was it. It felt like home and was the first place we could see “we’ll put this here, and this will be your office, and this mine,” etc. We made an offer, played that game, and Roy took care of his work arrangements while I was left with moving arrangements. We packed up everything (and you know everything was meticulously labeled and inventoried), hired movers (relocating to another state is a total pain when it comes to moving, we had a lot of heavy furniture), I made appointments with all of my new specialists and we were on our way. (It probably won’t come as a surprise that I unpacked our entire house in a few days, while Roy was at work. I don’t like living out of boxes and actually enjoy putting things away – I’m weird.)
A few months later, I had my first shunt surgery with Roy. It was good practice for him because it fell into the 2% of shunt surgeries where I had time and they chased whether it was actually the shunt or not (72 hours of nervous system overloading pain, but whatever). It happened two days before we were going to send out Christmas cards. So, as soon as I was back home, I wore a hat, Roy wore a Santa hat so it wasn’t obvious and we took pictures, wrote personalized notes on about four dozen Christmas cards and sent them out.
Roy proposed to me a week after my surgery. I think a few people might have thought it was because of surgery, but in all honesty he had had is planned for months. He proposed on the anniversary of the first day we talked (December 18). He acted like he was sick and asked me to bring up some Tylenol and water to our room. When I arrived with the water and Tylenol he started the stereo which played “Just The Way You Are” and was down on one knee, when he presented me with a ring and went into his proposal spiel. I wish I knew what he had said, but I was too shocked. I didn’t take in the individual words, just what he meant. I didn’t take in the ring until a few hours after it had been on my finger! I could only say yes and there was a mixture of laughter and happy tears. He had champagne ready and we toasted a new chapter in our lives. It wasn’t what we needed to know we were forever, but it was an important declaration to make to everyone else. That was the happiest moment in my life, until the actual day we said “I do” six months later.
Roy didn’t change who I was, but he brought out things in me that no one else could. Being around him mellowed me out and made me appreciate things I might have otherwise overlooked. I took everything, including myself, a little less seriously. Just like he affected me, I apparently affected him. He became more assertive, and courageous in his own way. He doesn’t like to make waves, but a little of my feistiness rubbed off and he stood up for himself, his beliefs and for me. This from a guy who used to avoid confrontation by any means necessary. Together we are the perfect unit, our differences complement each other and we don’t try to change them.
Sometimes I am still amazed at how lucky I am to have found Roy (or I guess he found me, or as I sometimes tease him, stalked an online profile and I noticed). I think it was important that I wasn’t looking (and Roy never had the agenda though I think he was looking a little – maybe?) and we were both in a place in our lives where we loved ourselves and were able to be loved. It is funny to me how I broke so many of my rules, and yet we ended up happily ever after (when the times that I followed said rules, it led to disaster). It was completely unexpected and yet it felt ‘right’ from the very first day we met in person. I felt like I had known him for years, and yet on this day we have only known each other for four and a half years.
I think it is important to note I never fell in love with Roy. I don’t like the word falling, and that was what I used to do. It implies the likelihood of getting hurt, damaged or worse for wear. Loving Roy was never scary, even with the uncertainty it sometimes brought. I always felt light, and I still do to this day. I didn’t fall in love with Roy, I floated in it. Gentle, comforting, beautiful. Floating in love is way better than falling in love – I highly recommend it! ♥ ♥ ♥