Tonight we had a date.
Joel and I.
A sweet lady in our church, our neighbor, offered to take the kids for the day.
And we decided to send them to her after lunch.
Joel was away since breakfast getting trained for a part time job and he called to ask me to meet him in town for and early dinner date.
I thought about it all day.
And when I sent the kids to our neighbors and prepared to go to town early to do all my weekly grocery shopping before meeting Joel, something happened.
A something I was not expecting.
A something I was pleasantly surprised to find.
It was butterflies.
In my stomach that is.
And instead of leaving the minute the last cute little toddler shoe crossed the threshold, I stayed and spent way too much time on my hair and makeup.
I sewed the tear in my favorite shirt and scrapped the tennis shoes for my favorite brown Clarks.
Like, first date wonderfully excitedly nervous.
To meet my husband…….of 12 years.
I laughed at myself trying to pick out the cutest dangly earrings I had.
He was to be done with training and meet me at Walmart at four fifteen.
I mean does it get any more romantic than that?
Well it WAS a SUPER Walmart.
But the wonderful thing is that it COULD have been the front of Maggiannos in Chicago for the anticipation I had.
I sat in my jumbo van and stole looks for him out my dented car door window.
I played with my keys, searched for something on the radio, turned the van on and off checking the time in two minute increments all the while half laughing at the knot in my stomach.
And then he drove in.
He didn’t see me. He drove a bit and would you believe I was half too nervous to even get out of the van?
I gave him five minutes and then decided to go and see where he went to look for me.
I was parked on the side and as I came around the front there he was.
Big smile from me,
Big smile from him.
And then I saw it.
In his face.
He felt the same way I did!
He pulled me close and we walked hip to hip back to the van because walking side by side isn’t close enough, mumbling something about which vehicle had the most gas in it to take and where do you want to eat, half laughing at ourselves and you look lovely and nervous grins.
We got in the van still smiling like we were running off on our honeymoon and decided on a restaurant.
He ran to open my door and my mind kept telling me, “twelve years???? Already?”
We asked for a booth with a view.
Our waitress commented that we snuck out without the kids. We were amazed that she remembered us from a store we frequent. She was a cashier there.
She left to bring get us our water and we sighed.
Even she was tickled that we were out together.
And she smiled when she came to take our order and noticed that we had decided to sit together in the booth instead of across from one another.
I leaned into him, and just as I was enjoying my wonderful twelve years of living, he said it.
“I’m glad I married you.”
He had been thinking the same thing I had all afternoon.
How we had been married twelve years.
Twelve years of fights, misunderstandings, of knowing the other better each year, of first borns, tight spaces, hope deferred, and financial mishaps.
Twelve years of bad haircuts, car accidents, feast and famine, dinner flops and discipline dilemmas.
Twelve years of “I’m sorry’s, you shouldn’t have, I thought you knew that, why didn’t you , you’d better! And too many sighs to count.
Twelve years of pursed lips in rebellion, exploding diapers, no clean whites, forgetting special days, yelling at each other for being sick too long or cutting themselves, or burning themselves or forgetting a coat, a hat, proper shoes or gloves.
And an unexpected date……
We share dessert and fight over trying to give the last bite to the other for them to savor.
“I’m glad you married me too.”
And I persuade him to enjoy the last bite,
And I savor this moment.
The last twelve years of last bites of dessert that are my life.
O taste and see that the Lord IS GOOD.
And we head to the van, hip to hip to go home and gather our little band of blessings.