So This is Love

Three years ago or so, I ‘met’ a blogger online through Dude Write, a blogging competition for men that sadly no longer exists.  I suppose, in a way, the end of this story can be credited somewhat to the founders of Dude Write, Youngman Brown and Wily Guy …..so thanks, gentlemen!

But I’m jumping ahead!  You’re probably thinking, “What ending? What’s she talking about?”

Let me tell you the tale.  I met Michael Walker of Defying Procrastination at Dude Write.  He even sponsored me once for a Dudette contest week there.  I considered him a casual friend back then.  He was engaged at the time and I was, well, in my own little world.  We kept in touch through comments on blogs and occasional emails and tweets, but that was pretty much it.

Skip ahead a bit to me starting this blog and tweeting to let everyone know about it. Michael congratulated me and somehow we found ourselves messaging one another on Facebook.  At first I thought, “Hmmm, this guy is awfully chatty with a single person of the female persuasion, for a man who’s married” –until I realized he hadn’t gotten married, that his relationship had ended.

A few Facebook messages turned into daily Facebook messages that turned into messaging all the livelong day. Phone numbers were exchanged and we switched to texting.  At one point I remember being shocked to see by how much my text messages had increased…I went from 254 the month prior to us starting our text-a-thons to 1,632 the next month.  Seriously!

Phone calls began slipping their way into the madness and somewhere in the progression of messages, texts and calls, feelings changed and I was suddenly thinking of this casual friend I didn’t know all that well as something more.  My heart that had been dormant for, ahem, quite some time, shook off the dust and cobwebs and, without my explicit permission, started beating to the tune of Michael’s words and voice. I was a bit unnerved…but it’s amazing how much control one little organ can have.

When we finally moved to Skype (thank you, Skype, for existing!) I couldn’t deny that an actual relationship was forming…yes, without us ever having met in person.  I know it may be hard for some to understand, but the quantity and quality of our video chats were greater than most face-to-face dates.

One moment really stands out to me that made me realize that this was much more than a blogging friendship.  I told Michael that I had been snooping around on his blog and that I really loved a particular post of his called “Michael.”  It described his life and all he had experienced, but also how the one thing he was missing was a special kind of love.  When he replied that the post had actually been his bio on a dating site, I remember thinking that had I read it in that setting, it would have surely drawn me in.  I also thought, “I think I might be that special love he’s been looking for.”

So by the time I went to visit Michael in-person, it was no shock to me that I didn’t for a moment feel like I was meeting someone for the first time.  Instead, I felt like I was seeing someone I cared about after a long separation.  We quickly confirmed that we had a connection unlike either of us had experienced before and we knew that this was a relationship we both wanted to pursue.

Michael and I at Natural Bridge Caverns...our first adventure together :)

Michael and I at Natural Bridge Caverns…our first adventure together 🙂

Michael and I at hockey game

At a Texas Stars hockey game. I know…I’m at a sporting event…it MUST be love!

The trip was amazing and fun and all the special things that being with someone you love can be.  This man has an Excel spreadsheet for planning and he’s not afraid to use it!  Michael spoiled me…by buying my favorite chocolates online so I would have them at his house…by having  a bouquet of my favorite flowers waiting for me…by treating me to one fantastic meal and activity after another.

One night I met twelve of his friends who all came out because they loved him and were eager to meet the new lady in his life.  That alone said so much about the kind of person he is.

My trip only confirmed what I already knew…I love this man. It turns out, he is exactly what I needed at this exact time in my life. He has qualities that I never even knew to dream of in a partner, but I’m so thankful for every piece of him.

Fast forward to now and I’m sitting here looking at a bunch of empty boxes that will be soon holding my favorite belongings…because I’m moving to Texas to be with Michael!  We know there’s still more to learn about one another, but we also know enough to realize that we want to start a life together…and we need to be in the same place to do it.

So at the end of March, after Michael comes to Michigan to meet my family and friends, we will be loading up my things in a truck, including my dog and three cats (yes, he is a prince, he’s never even questioned that the furry ones would ALL be coming along as well) and heading home together to Texas.

I can’t imagine anything better.

Michael and I at airport

Michael posted this selfie of us at the airport right before I left with these words: “She’s not even on the plane yet and I’m already missing her.” How can you not love a guy like that?

 

 

One Last Surprise

As Christmas quickly approaches, it is the perfect time for a favorite holiday memory blog hop hosted by Janie Junebug and Cherdo on the Flipside!  I confess, I didn’t even start to ponder this until the last minute, but as I thought about it, I don’t think I can come up with a better memory than one I posted a couple of years ago on my old blog.  If you’ve read it before, I apologize, but if not, I hope you enjoy it:

 

My dad was a master present-giver.  Every year, without fail, there was always a bounty of presents under our painstakingly-decorated tree.  No matter what else was happening, no matter how poor we were, and we were definitely poor at times, he always found a way to Santa-tize our house.

On the really special years, his signature move came after all the presents under the tree had been opened.  He would sit there, looking dissatisfied, until we asked him what was wrong.  He would reply that it seemed like something was missing.  Then, sly grin on his face, he would reach into a hidden spot, saying, “it looks like there’s one more.”  And then he would pull out an amazing, surprise present for each of us.

The Christmas after he died?  He managed to do it one last time.

He passed in November that year and I was still living with my step-mom when Christmas rolled around.  We hadn’t put up a tree or decorated and didn’t really plan to do much celebrating.  It was hard to have holiday spirit when the one who carried the Christmas torch was missing.

We each had bought a present for the other and sat down in our bare living room to open them.   After I appreciated my new purse and she her new sweater, my step-mom said, “‘Wait, there’s one more.”  She reached behind the end table, and pulled out a small box.

“This is from your dad,” she said.

I stared at her, about to ask how that could be, when she continued, “He ordered it for you before he died.”

Instantly tearful, I took the box from her, and opened it.  Inside was a bracelet to match the necklace my dad had given to me for my birthday that year.

 

 

From a jewelry line based on the “Footprints in the Sand” poem, it had a little heart with small footprints walking through the center.   All I could think of as I gazed at the bracelet was the last line of the poem:

“…My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”

My dad had died unexpectedly from a heart attack, so he hadn’t bought it knowing how meaningful it would end up being to me.  He had just been doing what he loved to do…buying me a special present.  Even through my tears, I couldn’t help but smile as I imagined my dad sitting there with us, smirking in satisfaction at pulling off that last, surprise Christmas gift.

 

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

 

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Good Night, Love Ya, See You Tomorrow…

My dad died in November 17 years ago.  I was shocked when my step-mom reminded me how long it’s been.  But in another way, it seems much longer than that.  I miss that guy, even though he was “a handful.”  Oh the fights we used to have 🙂  I began to experiment with eye rolling as a teen and you can guess what behavior would send my dad from 1 to 10 in .5 seconds.  So of course rolling my eyes became my favorite thing to do.

He was a bit on the controlling side (my brother will laugh at the understatement there) like, if we didn’t know our weekend plans in advance, say on Monday or Tuesday, it was a major fight to get out the door on Saturday.  But, seriously, what teenager knows what they are doing on the upcoming weekend on Monday??

And the Christmas tree.  Oh, the Christmas tree.  There were rules.  Like these:

  • All ornaments must hang; they could not rest on the branch below them.
  • No ornaments could hang from the string of lights, they could only hang from the branch.
  • Two ornaments of the same color could not dangle next to one another on the tree. Never, ever.
  • There could be no obvious “holes” in the tree.  You had to start on the inside of the tree and work outward to ensure that said holes would not exist.
  • Tinsel could never, ever be used, unless you were willing to put it on the tree one strand at a time.

It has made putting up my own tree interesting, as I find myself purposely breaking the rules, while simultaneously feeling guilty for breaking the rules.  Ah, parental issues.

And, oh, the issues from his ‘teasing.’  It could be a bit warped, like the time he hung my favorite doll from my bedroom light. Still so mad about that!

But in spite of the challenges of growing up with my father, I loved him like no one else. He was the one who taught me the passion of reading a good book.  He indulged my love of animals, all the way back to the night when he brought a stray cat I had wanted to save against my mom’s wishes in from outside and snuck it into my bed. He was smart and funny and underneath the bluster, a big softie.  No surprise that smart and funny are at the top of my list in looking for a partner.

Yeah, I miss him.  One of the things I miss the most is saying goodnight.  Even though we weren’t an especially emotionally demonstrative family, we always ended the night with a kiss and me saying, “Good night, love ya, see you tomorrow.”  In later years, his response would be “Spaghetti” because he swore I said it one night while half asleep, but I think he made that up.  Still, I wouldn’t have liked saying goodnight any other way.

dad and us 2

And there he is…

 

Good night, love ya and see ya tomorrow, guys!  (well, not really tomorrow, but just go with it)

 

P.S.  Not too long ago, the lovely Janie Junebug passed on a list of 50 questions that she answered on her blog.  I decided to add them to my About Kinley Dane section, for those that want to learn all kinds of completely useless information about me.  So if you are feeling particularly bored…feel free to peruse: About Kinley Dane.