If you're following along, a month ago, my husband and I found out he has a four and a half year old daughter that he never knew about. It's been a whirlwind month of emotions and life lessons for us both. So I decided to share this journey with my friends, starting with mine and Robert's beginning. I'm not sure how this will all flesh out here on my blog but for now, here is the continuation of how, or should I say, when, we fell in love. You should read this post so you can follow the trail.
So where did I leave off? Oh, yes...my heart beating a little faster when Robert came around. It was true. Although at first, I tried to deny it. I was sort of involved in a long distance relationship that wasn't right for me. I wanted that one to be right. I was tired of being alone and long distance guy was really nothing more than a dear friend who I tried to make fit the bill. He wasn't here though and gave no indication of moving here. And Robert was here. All the time. Our friendship grew. We spent a lot of time together. He was always at my house, helping with the day to day chores, taking me and the kids out to dinner or the movies, cleaning out my garage. Gradually, his heart was being healed and so was mine. It's strange, but our friends and co-workers seemed to know we were dating before we did. When they would ask, and they often did, we told them we were just friends. "You spend every spare minute together!" they'd say, "You're dating."
"No we're not! He's just a friend. He sees me as just a friend, too."
"Whatever. Let me know when you two figure it out."
The thing is, I had been praying for awhile about finding Mr. Right. This was my prayer:
Dear God, I'm so tired of being alone. I'm ready to find someone, the right guy. You also know that my track record sucks. I'm not even sure that I know what real love looks like. So when you send this guy, please don't let me miss him. You know what I need better than I do so send me the guy of my heart.
Long distance guy was not the guy of my heart and that was becoming very apparent to me. One day, I was on yet another difficult job and called Robert to ask for help. Once again, he was there in a flash, with a smile and a wink. I told him the problem was at the control panel, located in the laundry room, and as he squeezed past me in the tiny hallway, he lightly placed his hand on the small of my back, and immediately my stomach was full of butterflies.
I stopped what I was doing and turned and look at him as he breezed into the laundry room.
"What the heck?" I thought, "what was that?"
He brushed by me again, on his way out to his truck to grab a tool, and there they were again. Unmistakable. Big, flapping, butterflies!
Later, he walked me to my truck when the job was finished.
"Thanks for coming to my rescue again," I said.
"No problem," he answered with a smile. "Dinner later?"
"Sure, " I answered, "see you at the house."
He smiled his sweet smile and gave me a wink before shutting the door for me. And all the way home, I had this goofy grin on my face. And every time I thought of his hand on my back, the butterflies were back in full force.
"Okay, God. Help me here. I'm losing it! He can't be the one! You gotta help me! He's ten years younger than me, he loves video games, he doesn't like to read, he's a complete and total slob! We have nothing in common! HE'S ONLY 12 YEARS OLDER THAN MY SON!"
I argued with myself for a couple of months. Our friends continued to ask questions and smile knowingly while we denied. We were so tentative. We said little things sometimes, testing the waters, I guess. Once we were talking about a job I had managed to finish alone and Robert asked me how I managed to figure it out.
"I'm just special, I guess" I bragged.
"You're pretty special all right," he said.
He said little things like that all the time. Things that kind of made me wonder. But neither of us would make a move. It was such a sweet time of friendship and getting to know each other. And wondering.
And then on the day before Mother's Day, 2005, I couldn't deny my feelings any longer. It was a Saturday, another long work day for me, and Robert had finished up his job early. He would usually come help me finish mine, but on this day, he said he had some things to do. I was a little hurt but couldn't deny him a life. After all, he was there for me all the time. Maybe he had met someone. Maybe he wanted to spend some time with his friends. Maybe he was getting tired of me. I was wrong. He called me and told me not to bother picking up the girls, he had already done so, and they would meet me at the house. When I arrived, he and the girls lead me out back to the deck, where he was building me a privacy fence! I had mentioned only once that I wanted one. He still does things like that to this day. He's amazing at surprises. And there on the patio table, was a big box, wrapped in yellow paper and a card. I was overwhelmed. The girls were jumping up and down, begging me to open it. I sat down to open the box and as I tore the paper away, I saw the word Roomba. I looked up at Robert and started to cry. I had been a mother for 17 years and never had I had such a special mother's day. Or mother's day eve, actually.
"A Roomba? That's a pretty expensive gift...you shouldn't have, " I said.
"Well, I did it anyway. It's from the girls," he said. The girls nodded emphatically.
"Yep, it was their idea," he said, "and I agreed. Seems like every time I turn around, you're sweeping the floors. This way, maybe you'll have more time to spend with the kids. And me," he said. His blue eyes met mine. Something was different there.
We all went out to dinner and spent hours watching Roomba do her job. He's a gadget freak and secretly, I think he enjoyed the robot more than I did. We named the robot Priscilla, after one of our favorite movies, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert. It had been such a very long time since anyone had made me feel so special. As the evening came to an end, I walked him to the front door. I was so thankful for his friendship and told him so. I thanked him for a wonderful day and for my new robot friend, Priscilla. He smiled as he stood in front me. We looked at each other for a minute or so...I really wanted him to kiss me but I was afraid to make a move. Finally, he said, "Um...you can give me a hug if you want to." Not quite what I was hoping for but, I hugged him. I fit perfectly into his arms. I felt safe. He held me for a good two or three minutes and when we parted, he reached over and tucked my hair behind my ear and told me goodnight. After he left, I turned off the porch light, locked the door and rested my head against the wall. Sigh. Why didn't he kiss me? Maybe he really does only want to be friends. I felt like such an idiot.
Later, as I climbed into bed, my phone rang. I jumped out of bed and raced through the house to the kitchen...it was him!
"Hey, were you asleep?" he asked.
"No, not yet. Everything okay?"
"I think so. I'm not sure though," he said. There was a short pause, he took a deep breath and asked, "Did I just miss something?"
"Maybe," I answered, "what are you referring to?"
"Um...did you want me to kiss you at the front door? Be...be...before I left?" he asked.
"I'm such an idiot. I wasn't sure! Oh my God, you wanted me to kiss you and I told you you could hug me? I'm such a dork. I sat in the car for five minutes pounding my head against the steering wheel! I wanted to come back inside but I...I...I... wasn't sure...I'm not very good at picking up signals..." his voice trailed away. He stutters a little when he's nervous. That was the first time I heard it in his voice. I've come to love that stutter.
"Really? Well, the next time a woman gazes into your eyes for more than 10 seconds, looks down and then looks back up with her head slightly tilted to the side and a slight smile, and moves in mere inches from your face, you should kiss her. If you want to, that is."
"I want to."
And the next night, he did.
Two months later, he proposed. I freaked. I told him I had to think about it and ruined the perfect proposal. As a matter of fact, the only real proposal that I had ever had. One month later, I asked him to ask me again and I accepted. We were married on March 25, 2006.
Up next, the first few years, a lost and found son, a grandson moves in, teenage daughters and learning to love.