We had a good Mother's Day:) Christi got breakfast in bed-eggs, bacon, lemon poppy seed muffins, and orange juice. She got the usual conglomeration of homemade kid presents. I won some points with my gift this year. About six years ago, Christi vacuumed up her wedding ring. We were able to get it out of the vacuum bag, but it had been severely disfigured. Since then, Christi has purchased a $7.00 crummy junk ring at Walmart about every 2 months. These rings turned green or brown or some other ugly color long before she would replace them. (Side note: One time Christi was talking to a friend while wearing one of her discolored Walmart rings. The friend glanced at Christi's hand and commented-Wow! A two-tone wedding ring! How cool! We laughed at the prestige to be found with this dime-store special:) Anyway, for Mother's Day I secretly took her original wedding ring to a jeweler and had it fixed. She is still smiling to have a real ring on her finger. I copped out with a Stouffer's lasagna for dinner, but it was delicious. I did make one of Christi's favorite desserts: Thai sticky rice with Mangos. The sticky rice is sweetened with coconut milk. It's delicious! So Mother's Day was good.
On Mother's Day morning, the ring got us into some conversations with the kids about our dating life. They were fascinated! It was so cute. They were particularly drawn to three stories:
1. Our first kiss. Christi and I hadn't technically been on a date yet. We were both counselors for a youth camp at Brigham Young University called Especially for Youth. (It is an AWESOME program, if you ever get a chance to send your teenage kids!) As a counselor you have virtually no free time during the week. It's a blast and you get to meet a lot of other college kids who are also counselors, but you have no unstructured time to just hang out. Saturday night is the only night you can do your own thing. So one Saturday night, a bunch of us decided to go to a country dance. Christi and I had flirted some, but nothing serious. (Besides, she had just volunteered to serve a year-and-a-half long mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so I didn't figure there was much use in my pursuing anything with her.) Whenever we discuss this particular dance, Christi reminds me that I didn't ask her to slow dance even once. We danced a few fast dances, but nothing slow. I did, however, ask Christi's close friend to slow dance a couple of times. Oops! Another friend drove us back to BYU campus, where all of the counselors were staying in the dorms. During the ride, Christi and I got talking some more and I started becoming more and more interested in this attractive, fun girl. So when we got back on campus, I chivalrously offered to walk her back to her dorm. Before she went inside, we sat outside and talked. And talked. And talked. And I realized what a gem Christianne truly was and is. So at one point I said to her: "I'll bet you a quarter I can kiss you without touching your lips." Christi, thinking "How cute, he's going to kiss me on the cheek," said "OK." I told her to close her eyes. She complied, and I planted a kiss right on her lips. I said "I lose. Here's your quarter.:)" She was pretty surprised, but let's just say she earned a few bucks that night.:) The boys couldn't wipe the smiles off their faces as they heard this story, and are determined to use that line at some point in their future.
2. Christi's decision to marry me (vs. her high-school sweetheart). Christi had dated a really great guy all through high school and had fallen in love with him. The two of them (and most of their small town) were sure that they would get married after he returned from serving his two-year mission. I met Christi the last week of June, 1997. Her high school sweetheart was coming home from his mission in September of 1997. Even with limited math skills, I was able to see that I basically had 2 months to make this girl fall in love with me and forget him. Man, I did everything I could to win her over. I gave her so many flowers (including one week where she received some every day). I called her. I sang to her. I played guitar for her. But in spite of my best efforts and her growing feelings for me, she made it very clear that I was NOT to propose to her until after her missionary returned. YEAH, RIGHT!!! Here's the girl of my dreams, ("She's almost perfect" my future mother-in-law informed me the first time I was introduced to Christi's family-and she is!) and she expects me to sit around and wait for this other guy to come back and remind her of why she loved him??? NO WAY! I proposed to Christi the night before her missionary returned from Italy. (I planned a GREAT proposal date, if I do say myself, but that's a story for another entry.) Anyway, toward the end of a perfect evening, I got down on one knee, and, with my hand shaking visibly, held out the ring and asked, "Sweetheart, will you marry me?" Her response? "Did you ask my dad?" ??? Did you ask my dad??? Fortunately, I was able to answer, "Yes." (Yet another story. Yes, I had asked her dad. I had driven the 2 hours to Ferron, UT. Her family already knew that I had chronic problems with punctuality. I had called Dean ahead of time and asked if I could come and talk to him. I'm sure he knew what was coming. He agreed to meet me at the end of his work day outside the school where he teaches. So, as usual, I had timed things to the last second. I would have been on time if there had been no complications. I really would have! To get to Christi's home town, you have to drive through a 60-mile long canyon which for the most part is one lane in each direction. This is the truth: A semi-truck had crashed in the canyon, spilling huge amounts of re-bar all over the highway. Traffic was stopped for a long time. I was terribly late to an appointment to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage. Not only that, but there was no way to call and let him know. There was also nothing for him to do but wait for me. We had agreed to meet outside the school. So when I finally showed up at least an hour late, poor Dean was still sitting sitting on the curb in the hot summer sun, waiting for me. It's a wonder he didn't just scowl and say "Get out of here and leave my daughter alone!" Instead, he completely cemented himself in the position of the world's most wonderful father-in-law (no offense Dad, you're awesome too.:). We went into the school, sat down at a couple of students' desks, and talked for a little while. Small talk at first, then, the question. "Dean, I would like to ask for your permission to ask your daughter to marry me." "Got it!" he instantly replied. No questions about how I was going to support his daughter. No lectures about how I had better treat her perfectly. He knew me well enough by then to know he would say yes. And instead of making me sweat it out, he made me feel like he was lucky to have me for a son-in-law. (And believe me, I'm sure he had MANY concerns and questions about my capabilities. I really can't express in words how grateful I am for Dean and LaRita. They have been amazing to me. I hope I can be the same for my kids-in-law.) So I answered Christi: "Yes, I asked your dad." She put the ring on that night, but never did say yes. She also told me she was going to the airport with her missionary's family the next day to pick him up. She took the ring off to do that. This was, of course, very fair, given that I had proposed when she had prohibited me from doing so. She spent a rough next couple of days deciding what she was going to do. Then she told a very disheartened young man that she had decided to marry me. After relating this story, our kids were fascinated by the concept that it had been such a hard choice at the time. They kept asking things like "Are you glad you married dad?" "Did you make the right choice?" "Did your missionary marry someone else?" She answered yes to all of them. What a lucky guy I am!!!
3. Christi got asked out on a date after we were married with four kids. She was at Walmart in Tennessee with just Jessica. With still years to go before I would fix her wedding ring, her hand was bare. She noticed that a particular guy always seemed to be near, no matter what part of the store she was in. At one point, Christi asked a Walmart employee where she could find a particular tool that I had asked her to purchase. The employee wasn't sure where or what the tool was. Enter the date-asker. The guy who was always near approached Christi and helped her find what she needed. Then he somewhat awkwardly said: "You may have noticed me nearby today. I've been trying to get up the guts to ask you something. I know it's a bit strange since you don't know me, but I was wondering if you would like to have dinner sometime." Christi was very flattered! She answered "Oh, that's so sweet of you, but I'm married with three more kids at home!" The guy was embarrassed, but it wasn't too bad. When we told the kids this story, they, the boys in particular, were so worried about this guy. They kept asking, "Do you think he found someone to marry?" "Do you think he's married now?" Do you think he's happy?" They asked these questions over and over during the course of the day. Their empathy and concern was so cute:)
Well, this entry turned out much longer than I had anticipated. But the bottom line? I'm married to the most wonderful girl and the best mother in the world and we have the most wonderful kids in the world. (Isn't it great that for me they absolutely are the best, and yet for you, your family is the best? God is good!)