Throughout our Valentine’s Event, Hearts of Love, I want to share some love stories and “how we met” stories. I’m going to start with my own how we met story, with a little background…
I had my first child when I was 19. His father was not capable of caring for himself, let alone a child, and was out of the picture before you could see a baby bump. I was okay being on my own, and in those early days I was in the “I hate men” stage of my life (who could blame me, really?). When my son was about 18 months, I started seeing someone. He was a nice guy, but he wasn’t right for me, and we split up after about 9 months. And I realized something that most single moms realize at some point…that my heartbreaks were not just my own, and my son was going to suffer if i was going to let him get to know anyone I dated. I decided that I would not date anymore, and it was surprisingly easy!
As the years passed, I grew more and more comfortable with myself and realized I didn’t need a man in my life to be happy. I wasn’t looking or interested in having a relationship, and I didn’t want any more children. Eric, on the other hand, was not so content with my chosen lifestyle. He thought I should be married, and tried to set me up several times. I remember one day in particular, we were walking down the street (he was around 5 years old) and a man in his late seventies/early eighties was walking towards us. He smiled and greeted us, and Eric looked eagerly at me and said “You could marry him Mommy!” Needless to say, I didn’t pursue that option.
Around that same time, I was working at a non-profit agency and had the opportunity to coordinate a golf tournament fundraiser. While taking a break at the golf course, I noticed an old school friend working the bar and approached him to say hello. I chatted for a few minutes while he looked at me like I had two heads….and then told me he wasn’t who I thought he was. I was so embarrassed! He looked so much like my childhood friend! I excused myself and avoided eye contact whenever possible, lol.
Over the next few years, I would cross paths with this man several times. We chatted and nicknamed each other by our workplaces “golf guy” and “town girl” (because my job was for the town).
By the time Eric was 8, his nagging had pushed me to look into dating. I did the unthinkable and signed up for online dating. I was matched with a lawyer who lived nearby and we soon met and became a couple. He was a professional, financially stable …. everything I thought I wanted. But I soon learned he was also controlling, condescending and did not share my parenting values, and the relationship ended after just a few months. I returned to my theory that single is better.
The night before Eric’s ninth birthday I was convinced by a friend to go out to a annual local event that I despise…Beer Tent. Yes, I live in a small rural town, and when the fair is in town, we have beer tent. I had managed to make excuses and avoid this ritual each year, but she was present when my son was invited to a friend’s house for the night and I wasn’t quick thinking, so I begrudgingly agreed to go. My friend disappeared in a sea of people at Beer Tent, and left me wandering around alone … until I ran into golf guy (who hadn’t actually worked at the golf course for quite some time, but I still called him that). We talked and danced and had a great night … and we have been together ever since. Within three months we were engaged and a year later we were married.
Mike and I are nothing alike. He loves hockey, and I hate sports. We are opposites, and I think that is what makes “us” work. It has been almost 10 years since that Beer Tent, and 13 years since we first met at the golf course. We have been through deaths in the family, miscarriages, job losses, family changes, new jobs, new homes, new babies (3 more!), and all of the regular marital issues that most couples go through. We have had good times and bad times, and I still think we are perfect for each other … although I no longer think he is that perfect, lol!