Back in my single days I was a cold-hearted-man-hater. Now, I know that when you’re single (and sometimes even when you’re not) it’s pretty natural to express frustration with the opposite sex, but I assure you that cold-hearted-man-hater is not exactly an exaggeration. My favorite t-shirts surmised both my objective: “Professional Heartbreaker” and motto: “Celebrating my independence from boys!” All attempts to conform to the traditional rules of the dating game were non-existent. When other girls flirtingly laughed at male stabs at macho-ism I rolled my eyes and instead of coyly teasing I pounced on every opportunity to stir up an argument. My roommates refused to watch chick flicks with me because of my snide comments and I had an editorial titled “Heartbreaking All the Boys Away” published in the school paper on Valentine’s Day. I called males jerks in private and public, denied all attempts at displaying affection, dished out bruises in low-key neighborhood sports games, and even threw a couple of shoes. Amazingly, I still spent most of my time with boys in spite of the nagging lectures on proper date etiquette and my growing reputation as the “worst date ever” (a result of a doorstep goodbye where he went in for a hug and I intercepted with a handshake, said, “Pleasure doing business with you,” and shut the door in his face). I was feisty and spunky; I wouldn’t take crap from anyone. I was also alone, but I would have told you that’s the way I liked it.
Fast forward five years. Noel is coming home today from a business trip in Washington DC. For three days I’ve felt listless and incomplete. Every night after I’ve cuddled Cooper and sang him to sleep, I video chat with Noel. We talk about everything and nothing just to postpone saying goodnight. After I snap the computer shut with a sigh, I watch a sappy Disney movie while drinking steamed milk or working on some craft I’ve devised. I might even cry.
Although it’s somewhat traceable, I am sometimes still mystified at how I’ve ended up where I am today. Looking back, I’m a little shocked at my over-confidence and ashamed at how insensitive I was. Still, sometimes I miss my fire. Ultimately, I think I’ve become a better person since meeting Noel. I’ve mellowed a bit and even though I detest the crying, I think it’s more healthy than the anger. I’ve come to see dependency on someone not as a weakness, but as an unfailing source of strength.
The good news is I haven’t turned into my single self’s nightmare of a thoughtless, domestic pushover. The other day I was pushing Cooper in his stroller and someone made a cat call. I felt my old fierceness snap into place. My eyes took on a look they haven’t experienced since one of my students asked me if I was “feeling kinky” and instantly a stream of brilliant retorts flowed into my head. The vehicle disappeared before I could do anything, but I walked taller in its dust. I may be softer and more in tune with my feelings, but I’ve still got it in me. Heaven help us if we ever have a little girl.
Got in and out of the car without hassling with a car seat
Dressed up for something other than church or a wedding
I can count the number of times we’ve left Cooper on one hand and all of them were with family members for 2 hours or less, so I was pretty nervous for the evening. We were those parents that handed the babysitter a 1/2 page of typed instructions and called to check up on things during intermission. Everyone survived the night and the nice family we left Cooper with was kind enough to say he wasn’t a problem at all (even though he started crying before we even left and refused his bottle after all our diligence in having Noel feed him a bottle every night this week). Dates are nice, I highly recommend them.
Right before Noel and I got engaged we went Christmas shopping together for the first time. Christmas was a little over a week away and neither of us had given any thought to what we would be purchasing prior to stepping foot in the Cache Valley Mall. It is important to note that neither of us is particularly fond of crowded places and the average time it takes us to get a headache while doing anything retail related is about 70 minutes. We quickly discovered that I had falsely assumed that Noel would instinctively know what to get for my two brothers and Noel had falsely assumed that I would have great insight into what to get his sisters. Gift giving genius eluded us in every store we visited and eventually we ended up in Walmart (it pains me to admit this) where we made our only purchase – some cheap, lame-o, candy gifts for my brothers. We didn’t say a single word to each other on the ride home. In some ways it was a Christmas miracle that we still got engaged a couple of days later and that anyone in our family got gifts from us.
To avoid marital conflict, we’ve done our shopping a lot different since then. Before Thanksgiving we’d completed 95% of our Christmas shopping. So, today was a pretty good Friday.
It’s official, as of yesterday Noel and I have been married for 3 years. In a big picture view 3 years isn’t that long, but it sure makes some of the newlyweds in the ward gasp 🙂 A lot has happened since then and I know we’re in for a whole lot more. I’m trying not to get sappy or emotional (I blame it on the baby), but I’m grateful that I’ve been blessed with such a perfect match.
I recently extended an invitation for someone join the Merket family. Unfortunately, she declined. Something about my line of tying my shoe while we were out on a hike Monday and then saying, “While I’m down here…” was “ridiculous.” It sure made the rest of the trip down to my family’s home a little…um…awkward.
Just kidding. She said yes. Audrey and I are getting married! March 10th is the big day. We’re both really excited about all the money the government will give us for being poor, married college students, not to mention the fact that we love each other. Keep your eyes open for the upcoming link: Audrey and Noel — THE WEDDING.