Let me start out by saying that I'm a pretty horrible fiance. For three years, I've been writing this blog and this is the first time I've written a post specially for the man in my life. Probably because he's not a fan of me discussing my personal life with the world... but he just doesn't get how close the world and I have become.
It's even worse that I got up this morning, hobbled myself to my computer desk, and didn't even say a word to him for almost an hour. It completely left me that it was his birthday, even though I knew when I went to sleep last night. After a cup of coffee, it hit me...and now I feel terrible because I forgot and it took me so long to at least wish him Happy Birthday.
Hubby's not really that in to birthdays. At all, actually. He says countless times that his birthday is just another day, and he's not a big fan when I go and do something like make a big deal out of it. Like, oh I don't know, write a big birthday post especially for him.
Let's start from the beginning, shall we?
Around 8 years ago, I was a single mother taking care of two young children, working a full time job, and trying my hardest to ignore how lonely I was. I had been single for about 4 years..and was finally coming to terms with my position of mother and sole provider. I'd been on a few dates here and there, but never really found anyone that caught my interest enough.
Rather than try and find a man to fill the void of adult interaction, I took up online chatting. Back then, it was very popular. I could do a quick search on Yahoo and discover a plethora of local chat rooms full of men and woman in the area who were just looking to chat. Many nights I would have conversations with people at the other end of their screens as if I were in a bar or at a social mingling event - totally in my pj's with the TV playing and the kids nestled soundly in their beds. It worked for me. I didn't have to sit and stare at the walls after my kids were asleep and wallow in my self pity.
One night, I got to talking to one of the guys in the chat room. He was funny, didn't ask me inappropriate questions, and we spent several nights private messaging one another. I'm not going to say that there was some kind of magical spark right off the bat. He was just a nice guy who I liked talking to. We talked about jobs and our families and life in general. And then he asked me if I'd like to meet him in person.
At first, I was a little thrown off. I hadn't really made any plans to actually meet people from the chat room. The chat room was my safe haven. A place where I could mingle in total privacy. But, we'd spoken for a while and I thought what the heck.
I'll admit, I broke the cardinal rule of meeting someone off of the internet. I invited him to come to my house. I know, I know. It was a very stupid mistake... and dangerous for both my kids and I. But, I was young and stupid and totally new at meeting people off of the internet. Thankfully, I lived in a duplex complex - had neighbors on both sides of me...and thinking back, had something bad happened a quick scream would have notified someone to come help. Hopefully. Glad I didn't have to think about that. Man, was I stupid, now that I'm really thinking about it.
Anywho, that's neither here nor there. He came over. To my house. I will admit, the first meeting was kinda awkward. He didn't really say much. We chatted a little about the chat room, and then we got in to the chat room to speak to some of the friends we'd made in there. He thought it would be kind of amusing to share with some of them that we were at the same place, chatting together. Especially some women that had been acting pretty friendly towards him. And, we spent a couple of hours doing that before he decided he needed to leave to go to work.
And then he left.
My first reaction would be that I wouldn't hear from him again. He'd dodge my messages, go offline when I was online...that type of stuff. He had shown no real interest in me at all - other than just being someone he could talk to in a chat room. I brushed it off, because his almost cold shoulder had turned me off at looking at him as anymore than a friend also.
Then, about 20 minutes later, I received a text message from him: "I had a great time. And, you're really hot! Hope we can do it again sometime".
I was shocked. I guess I had totally misread his thoughts and actions while he had been there. So, the next night he came over again....and then the next...and some nights we just talked for hours alone online. We got a little more personal, a little more friendly, and within a couple of weeks we were making out like teenagers before he had to leave to go to work.
A few weeks of him coming over and chatting online seemed to be going really well. I hadn't told anyone about our meetings - I didn't really know what our relationship was becoming. He'd only ever come over once the kids were asleep, so even they didn't know I'd had a man in the house several evenings. Then, he dropped a bomb on me that his brother (and roommate) was getting married and he was going to be homeless unless he found somewhere to live pretty quick. Without hesitation, I told him to come live with me. As a roommate. Help me with some of the bills, have a place to leave his stuff... he worked 3rd shift, so he'd sleep while I was at work, I'd sleep when he was at work.
And the rest is, how they say, history. We've been together ever since.
The first few weeks were...urm... interesting. The kids were kinda thrown off by this guy suddenly in the house. He was very nice to them...played with them...fixed them food and drinks when they wanted it. I heard a lot of disapproving comments from people I knew about how stupid it was for me to let a man in the house without first getting him around the kids to see how he did with them. But, within a month, they were totally accustomed to him being there. In fact, one morning about two months after he'd been there, when he'd cooked breakfast for all of us, Peanut asked him if she could start calling him Daddy. I was mortified. I figured he'd be out the door quicker than a bullet. But he didn't. In fact, he just told her that he'd talk to me about it.
I thought he'd brush it off... but he didn't.
We sat down with the kids, and had a long discussion (as long as you can have with a 4 and 3 year old) and explained to them that he wasn't their daddy, but if they wanted to call him daddy - he'd be OK with it. We told them that he was my boyfriend, and he would be living with us and he would help take care of them. I was scared out of my mind that something would happen and my kids would get attached to this man, and then he would disappear suddenly... but I figured I'd give it a go. They deserved a man in their lives just as much as I did.
And again... history. He's been their dad ever since. And, a few weeks after that incident, he surprised me by asking me to marry him. No glorious proposal, just a simple question... "would you marry me?" I, of course, agreed. I even got to pick out the ring I wanted...which was awesome. We've been engaged ever since, and one day I will commit to filling my end of the agreement and actually marry him. But, my hesitation to get married isn't because I am unsure about marrying him - it's just the simple fact that I want all of our other ducks in a neat row, AND I want to look hot in a wedding dress. HA!
I am fully aware of the mistakes that I made... but, thank goodness everything worked out. And, I couldn't be happier with this wonderful man. He's not just the man I love, but also my best friend. Starting our relationship off the way we did was fast - but we'd spent a good amount of time just talking and getting to know each other. We shared secrets with each other, our pasts, our ups and our downs. We weren't strangers when we first decided to move to the next level - despite how fast it all seemed.
I had never been with a man that was so interested in how I was feeling or that wanted me to talk about it if I was upset or angry or happy or whatever my feelings were. He refused to argue with me or fight. Which was totally out of my comfort zone. The only serious relationship I'd had prior was a violent one. It seemed totally weird that I was now with a man that believed in discussing problems rather than duking them out.
In the 8 years we've been together, we've had our ups and downs. But, not the normal ups and downs. All of the ups and downs we've gone through together - mostly being on the same side of each. We've had money problems, and living problems, and job problems... but all problems we've tackled together. He was my saving grace when it come to going to school and bettering our lives. He has sacrificed so much for the kids and I. He wants nothing more than to find a better job for himself, a job that he enjoys as much as I enjoy mine. But, he put that on hold. For me.
We don't fight. Ever. We get disgruntled with one another, sure. But there are no raised voices or arguments or tantrums. We just talk. We compromise.
At the end of the day, it may be Hubby's birthday - but I'm the one that got the real gift in all of this. Him. I couldn't have asked for a better man or father to come in to our lives.
I don't get the chance near enough to tell him how much I love him - or show him, for that matter. I just know that I couldn't imagine my life without him. He is my rock. My lifeline. My best friend. I see us spending the rest of our lives together... because I just couldn't imagine my life without him.
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY LOVE.
Thank you for being you.