Wednesday, 14 December 2016

How I Met Their Father

Tharin and I reiterated the story of our relationship for the millionth time last night, and I find it interesting how, though we have been together for five years, there are still new details to discuss, new insights to be taken from our past.

I thought I would write it all down for the blog, a little How I Met Their Mother narrative, to the best of my memory. Getting married as young as I did - a month shy of twenty, has had its share of ups and downs, and I think I will write another blog about that experience as a whole. I do want to say that it seems clear to me when I look back on my relationship with Tharin that it was meant to be as, and when, it was.

Getting married so young has greatly contributed to the person, the mother, and the wife I am able to be today, as it gave me plenty of room to grow, blossom, and bloom in this vocation.

We first met at a Catholic retreat we were both really involved in, called Search. I can remember the first time I saw him, we were sitting in the chapel at his high school, which had tiered seating all in a circle, and he happened to be sitting just below me. He had blonde-tipped, spiky hair with a guitar on his lap, and I remember thinking: "I am going to have a huge crush on that guy."

The retreat was over a weekend and Tharin actually ended up spending a lot of the weekend hanging out with a girl that I was good friends with at the time. At first, I was a little frustrated, but I reserved myself to not caring about it, and this ended up coming across as me being stuck up - this was his first impression of me.

At the end of the weekend, he was intrigued by me when I made a point of hugging him goodbye, hitting him with my slipper for some flirtatious reason or another.This is the part of the story I do not understand, and he cannot adequately explain. He went to Rome the next day, but before he went, he added me on Facebook, and although he was in a completely different time zone, he would set an alarm on his phone to get up and talk to me, sometimes at two in the morning. At this point, I felt completely platonic towards him, having written him off as my friend's guy.

We ended up seeing each other on two different occasions that year, from the February when I met him to that September when he moved a province over to go to a bible school, and we were inexplicably drawn to each other, though we were practically strangers. The second time I saw him, I walked into the room he was in and began talking to him like I had known him forever, and my friend asked me who this guy was because it was clear something was going on.

Though it was anything but clear at the time.

When he came to a conference that summer which my family attends every year, we spent a lot of the weekend together, and though I was interested in a few different guys at the time, there was something about Tharin which endeared him to me above the others. He was shy and sometimes quiet, and my mom regrettably referred to him as the puppy dog, but the Saturday evening, we stayed up at the campfire long after most everyone else had gone to bed, me at his feet while he played with my hair, talking for hours. It should have been clear we were interested in each other, and clear that we got along, but I had a lot of confusion surrounding me at the time, and it was not so black and white.

Before Tharin left for bible school, he asked if he could come see me and if I would like to go to a wedding with him, and I remember deliberating over this decision.

The backstory is that, over that period in my life, I was really hung up on a guy that was no good for me and went against my values. When I look back, I made a much bigger deal of him than I needed to, but I was drawn to him for the same reason I thought I would have a crush on Tharin when I first saw him: I wanted a "bad guy", to be challenged and changed, to have excitement and experience.

This is not the time to go into detail about that part of my life (if I ever need to again), but suffice it to say this guy would push-and-pull me; I was so off-balance back then, drawn to Tharin for that inexplicable friendship, and drawn to my desire for something else. My decisions that summer were resulting in a lot of my closest friends and family members being really disappointed and angry with me, and at the time that Tharin was leaving for bible school, I was in a tug of war between my desire for a relationship with him, with the bad guy, and with two other Catholic guy friends.

World Youth Day Spain was that summer, a friend of mine and I went, spending a lot of our down time on that trip discussing our different boy troubles, and when I came back, I had made my decision. I told Tharin I was going to date one of the other boys and broke off our conversation for reasons that are varied and difficult to explain.

This is my favourite part of the story. Tharin felt blindsided by this decision, I had been a terrible flirt, and told his mom he had really thought there was something about me. She told him that if he let me go and I came back, then it was meant to be, and if not, it simply was not. He went to bible school with this on his heart and offered up his daily Chaplet for his future wife, and for me.

I dated the other boy for only a month, but Tharin respectfully did not talk to me for months, except on my birthday and at Christmas. February came around, the weekend of the Search retreat we had met at a year before, and I very clearly remember first seeing Tharin there. He had been asking me before that retreat if I was coming, and I had complained to my sister about him, thinking the interest between us over. There was a large open space called the Commons area, and I came down the hall into it. He was standing far across on the other side, wearing a green sweater, turned away from me. From that distance away, my heart had hit the floor. I liked him, and I liked him a lot. It had suddenly been clear as day, and it had seemed laughable that I had been trying to tell myself otherwise. That dramatic, I promise.

I spent that weekend seeking him out, though he was working in a different area of the retreat than me, and we managed to spend almost every moment possible together. At the end of the weekend, when he was finally released from his duties, I thought I was very clear about my interest in him, as I, very literally, trailed him around the school like a puppy.

He did not pick up on this, and we parted ways without knowing where we stood. After that weekend, we were texting again, and after about a week or so of Tharin not picking up on my hints, I said, quite bluntly: "Tharin, I want to be your friend." From then on, we talked almost constantly and were soon talking on the phone for hours every night, though I had never been the kind of person to like talking on the phone and he was at bible school where he was not supposed to be pursuing a relationship.

The night after we first talked on the phone, I wrote in my prayer journal that I thought I was falling in love with him. There was such a feeling of home, of rightness in him, although this did not mean I made it easy for either of us. The girl that had been so attracted to the bad boy, so intent on being a rebellious version of herself, had a very hard time allowing herself to be settled, and, while it became more and more clear to me that Tharin was my future, I felt angry at God for being so forceful with me.

Those months of our relationship while Tharin was still at bible school where months he spent fighting for me almost daily. On the phone he would pray with me, remind me to trust, and most nights he would put me to sleep with some story he would make up of birds, or knights and castles, allaying my fears and reminding me that God was in control.

He was in bible school for two more months, and only had one weekend free a month. The first month, we made plans for him to come see me, and I hardly slept the night before because I was so nervous. It was a Sunday, and the first thing we did was go to mass together. Sitting beside him, my arm just touching his, I fell in love with his breathing - slow, steady, sure, it made me feel so comforted. That visit went better than I could have expected; we listened to a band we still share a love of, to this day - Walk Off the Earth (this is the first song he showed me), ate a disgusting coconut, sang and played guitar, and I remember talking to him as he washed the dishes (it took probably two hours, something he is still painfully slow at) and realizing how similarly we thought about everything.

Our first picture together, at my first football game.
The next visit was Easter, and the last part of our relationship I will recount in this post. He had already met my family at the conference that summer, but I was nervous, and not at all sure how the weekend would go. My family was playing board games when he got there, so one of the first things we ended up doing was playing Pictionary together, and the rest is history.

It was like we shared a brain. Even after all of this time, I remember drawing two lines which crossed at the top, and Tharin guessing teepee correctly, within seconds, and that is basically how the game went. A little history of Pictionary in our family: my sister dated a boy for years, and it was always painful to watch them play Pictionary together because they just did not get each other. When she started dating the man she later married, our family joked that we would not know if he was right for her until they played Pictionary together, and sure enough, they had been a good team.

Tharin and I passed the Pictionary test with flying colors, but the same cannot be said about our first kiss. Let's just say Tharin missed the perfect opportunity out on a sunset walk, our faces basically half an inch from each other, because he still did not trust my signals, though we did end up having our first kiss later that night.

A week later, Tharin and I met for supper at my parent's house, and the three of them went down to the basement to talk. It took a very long time, and by my mother's account, Tharin was so nervous he was shaking in his boots, but in the end, they gave him permission to date me. That night, we had a very long talk about some of the things we felt we needed to share with each other before we took our relationship further, and then we made it official.

I wish I could say it was a smooth ride from there, no more of the confusion and mixed signals the beginning of our friendship had been riddled with, but that desire for something more, chased me for a long time. In fact, the anger I felt with God for pushing me did not dissipate until we were married.

Three years into our marriage, I am so grateful that Tharin and I got married when we did, that he gets to be the guy I am a team with. He is such a good man, as I talked about in my previous post, and I finally understand why God was so forceful with me when it felt like the timing was wrong. He knew, so much more than I ever could, that the best was yet to come.

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