Here is our story...
Nov 23, 1989 his family came to share Thanksgiving Dinner with my family. We were 3 and 4. I don't remember the meal, except that Ryan sat on phonebooks at supper and I thought that was cool. I do remember after dinner we went out and played with sand toys in the snow (it was falling- a rare thanksgiving treat!)...I remember coming in feeling cold and running around playing hide and seek, it ended with my slamming his finger in my bedroom door.
A few weeks later his family moved in to a house down the street from me.
Our families on a camping trip together...I'm the little girl on the far left and Ryan is the one holding a cast up... He fell ove a 6ft fence when my sister (center) was babysitting him! We're around 7 and 8 years old here.
I remember so many things, we were pretty much inseparable growing up. I had my girl friends in the neighborhood: who'd I'd play with a few days a week, but Ryan's house was my favorite place to be. His family was younger than mine and his Mom was always having babies. every year or two there was a new one to play with...But more than that, there was Ryan.
I remember spring afternoons when we were so happy to have grass again, laying in the grass playing with the clouds (ya know "I see a rabbit...No that's a space ship.." etc)... I remember talking about really "deep stuff" laying on his bed (we were 6 or 7 and it was the only place we could hang out where the babies couldn't get to us- completely innocent.) talking about dreams we'd had recently, some times we'd had the same dreams (I'm not kidding).
I remember hours of riding bikes, swinging on swings, playing with his siblings, a million adventures.
We grew up. I was 12 and I remember feeling kinda funny hanging out with him, I was scared the changes happening in me would change our friendship. I was shy. Added to the fact I was heartbroken, his family had announced that in a year they would be moving to join a mission group and leaving- forever. I was a little more scarce from his house.
I remember the day he left. I cried that night into my pillow so my sister wouldn't know how sad I was.
Friends (and my older siblings) always teased us about our friendship. I'd always act disgusted, because in my heart Ryan wasn't "like that" I didn't LIKE him, never once. I told him about my crushes... He laughed at me. It was always just a beautiful easy friendship.
So he was gone. we emailed- we still have some of those emails: they are hilarious! We wrote about day-to-day life. Occasionally he'd call and we'd talk, but it wasn't the same as being together. His family still came back for 2 weeks every other summer. Ryan and I'd soak up as much time as we could together. He had other friends to see but he always reserved a day to hang out... We'd go to the park where we grew up, walk around the town where we grew up. It was still all about memories. And it was a little weird, a little awkward, we were just not settled into ourselves...I guess thats what puberty does to you.
But the summer after my senior year of high school (he was heading into his senior year) things changed. It wasn't about "memories" so much as the present: what we were going through, who we were becoming. I remember sitting in his parents SUV talking until midnight, we could see his parents in the living room waiting for him, looking out at us in the car...talking. I do remember that night, wondering briefly what it would be like to kiss him. I wasn't really attracted to him and I was absolutely appalled at that thought. I was terrified of any thing being weird between us. He was too important of a friend. Though I could easily admit to myself that I dreaded us really growing up...Because I knew we'd both some day marry other people and our friendship would end. I told him I was going to name my first daughter Rian (Ryan) in his honor...even if my husband hated the idea. (which consequently he does, I tried but he refuses to have a namesake! )
I went away after that summer, I moved to a city 3,000 miles away (and he and his family were living 2000 miles away from our home town)...He called me a few times a month and we'd stay up way too late talking. He was going through a lot and needed a friend. I was lonely and homesick and it felt good to be needed.
Then the next year he moved back to our home town (area) he was going to be going to school. I remember he got his wisdom teeth out right after he arrived (they had a friend who was a surgeon) I brought him green jello.
I was dating some one else, and in a really bad place my Dad had just been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and I was just living a nightmare...Ryan kept his distance, gave me space...We still talked quite often (which infuriated my dumb controlling bf). That relationship ended in October...I was heartbroken, I had been drawing a lot of comfort in that dark time from that unhealthy relationship. God had pulled a lot of things I had built my identity on out from under me. Thanksgiving 2004 I was really lonely, I didn't have many friends and I was just feeling so sad. I went upstairs alone and cried for a long time and then God gave me a verse: Psalm 145: 3-9 I felt the Lord tell me that He'd been crafting me a love story, one that my children would be blow away at. I wrote it in my journal and said "okay God, sure ya are..?"
Again Christmas Eve (holidays were hard after Dads diagnosis) I was sitting in front of the Christmas tree it was late at night, every one was in bed... I was looking at the lights and crying- they swirled around through my tears. I was asking God to help me, help me be patient. I wrote in my journal that I was feeling so restless...I told Him I felt so ready for my other half and I was aching, I didn't understand these feelings (as I'd had them for a while and tried to make them work with the boyfriend and it all fell apart horribly)...Why did He give me these feelings if He wasn't doing any thing with them!?!? I told him I knew I was young, but I was ready to get married, and to please do what He needed with my heart to change whatever...And I heard "Peace. The smoke is beginning to clear, hang on you're going to be blown away!"
A week later Ryan returned (form Xmas break) with his younger brother. We all hung out, for 3 days we spent almost every waking hour together (with his brother who I love)... We had a blast. Some thing was different. It was like when we were little again, it was that old peaceful companionship (like we'd settled back into ourselves some how...maybe it was being past puberty and all that drama?). One night we were hanging out at 4a.m watching a stupid Arnold Schwarzenegger movie and Ryan was sitting across the room and I was laying on the couch and I looked over at him and prayed silently "God please don't let him find a girl at school. I can't stand the thought of going to his wedding and pretending to be happy for him. Please Jesus, let it stay like this...I don't want to marry him! [I couldn't let my mind even GO there, eeek!] , but please let us be like this when we're 80, sitting across the room laughing and being together."
That night (morning?) Ryan went to bed and he said it was like God hit him with a 2x4 "She is the one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Ryan: "What? HANNAH, seriously God HANNAH???" "She's the one!!! Marry her."
He prayed about it a few days later...Called me up and after a 3 hour conversation (yeah....) finally got around to it and said "So I think we're supposed to get married, how would you feel about it?"
I said, "I'm so glad you just said that! I feel the same way. I was so scared you were going to heee and haw about it and we wouldn't get to this conversation until next summer!"
I still didn't "like" him, can't say there was suddenly all this chemistry and fire works...He was still just Ryan...But over the months we got to know each other better, a few months in (we both can pinpoint it to a weekend), we fell in love: we KNEW it was going to happen, was happening. We got officially engaged 2 months later and married 5 months from that date. We'll be celebrating (pizza with the girls?) 5 years since our engagement this Friday....And a 5 year anniversary in December, the next day we'll be celebrating our first daughters 3rd birthday!
And there is Part One of a very long story...I'd like to talk about my first daugher some time soon.
The spring after we were married... April 2006