Thursday, February 14, 2013

Our Story: Part VII

If you'd like to catch up on our story, click here and scroll to the bottom.

The Words I Love You

Nate has a way of emphatically jumping into things he is excited about, and our relationship was no exception. Over Christmas break we met each others' families and went to a few get-togethers--one included most of my family friends, another included dinner with three married (or soon-to-be married) couples. Christmas break was full of awkward excitement that propelled us into the next semester and moved us closer to our first Valentine's Day.

We established early in our friendship that he was a staunch Michigan fan, I was a born and raised Hawkeye, and there was little either of us could do to change that. Once we realized Michigan and Iowa played in Iowa City on Valentine's Day, Nate's plan was set in motion.

We left after class on Thursday, skipped Friday classes and headed down to Iowa City for the game. Nate had a friend who was an Iowa student, lived close to Carver Arena, and was willing let us stay with him for the night. Neither of us thought about the disaster potential of an 11-hour, overnight road trip for a couple who had been dating for two months, that is, until we packed up the car.

As we started heading south, I was armed with my pillow and nerves. Nate was prepared with an audio book. Soon the conversation was easily flowing, and I shared my first of many cheesy poems with him, a nice change of pace from helping others write to their boys. We arrived in just enough time to drop off our stuff and make it to the game.

Valentine's Day 2008...just a little excited.
The game did not go my way, but we did get to hear the Iowa fight song many times over, which was a beautiful thing. 

We meandered our way back to Austin's and soon they showed me where I would be staying. I found myself sleeping in another man's bed, hearing Nate and Austin catch up downstairs, running through the day's events, wondering how I ended up here, hoping for where we would go.

I woke up early and survived the first "you-weren't-supposed-to-see-me-before-I-showered" moment. (Thankfully it was a good morning!) We headed back to Orange City, finished listening to Prince Caspian, and played the random question game for hours.

We traded questions and answers and many laughs in between. The last question of the day was Nate's: "What do you think about words I love you?"

My heart skipped, and my brain went into overdrive. "I love you? Is that his attempt at telling me? Because that's absurd. Does he expect me to say it back? Whaaat?"
"Um...I like them?" I said.
Nate smirked. "I like them, too. But I've used those words too much, and the next time I say that to a girl, I want to proposing to my wife."
[Queue huge wave of relief]
"Are you ok with that?"
[Queue huge wave of gratitude and appreciation]

We made a bet years ago that if one of our teams won a national championship or was ranked #1, the other would wear that team's apparel. I will now be much more careful with my bets!

*               *               *

"That's the miracle love lets you say: I am chosen."
Ann Voskamp
Happy Valentine's Day to the one man I have ever loved! 
Thank you for choosing the girl who will always be a bit of a tomboy. 
Thank you for choosing me still. I am thankful to be yours, and 
I never tire of saying those words. I love you, babe!