This is part eight of the Homey and Me Love Story. It is when I was a going to college (and met and married Rusty) long before I met Homey, but an important part of the story, nonetheless.
In a matter of months, things between Rusty and I had escalated quickly..faster than I could have ever imagined.
I remember one evening, in particular. Rusty and I were hanging out at his house. I had finished up my homework, we ate dinner, and were watching “That 70’s Show.” We were sitting in an annoyingly disgusting pretzel-like fashion – typical of young, Mormon, seriously dating couples. Rusty was holding my hand, and at some point, he kissed it. He kissed my ring finger, to be exact. Right where a wedding ring belonged. Needless to say, he was thinking about marriage. And soon, I was, too.
Not long after that we actually started talking about it.
But we weren’t engaged just yet.
One day, Rusty made a date for me to go skiing with him. I had never been. We spent all day in the snow. It was a lot of fun. It was March – spring skiing – which is the best because the sun was shining, it wasn’t bitterly cold, yet the snow was powdery and soft.
I had no idea what I was doing, but Rusty was patient as I snow-plowed down the bunny hills.
On the chair lift, we had a little conversation:
“Wow. This is so much fun!”
“Yeah. This is a beautiful day. I have a feeling you’ll remember it forever.”
That statement made me perk up – the way that a dog does when you open his dog treats. I imagine that I was sitting on the chair lift just like a hungry mutt – with my head cocked to the side, and eyes wide.
Rusty didn’t explain. I don’t think that he even noticed my pause. But his last statement kept running through my mind.
We had a fun day, and I returned back to the dorms, sunburned and sweaty. Something must have been different because when I walked into my room, my roommate asked, “sooooooooo……..?”
I then asked, “So….what?”
“Let me see your hand.”
“He didn’t propose.”
“Dang it! I thought it would be today.”
“I know. But guess what, while we were on the chairlift, he said something that really made me think that he might do it later.”
I told her about our conversation. I also told her that we were still going to go out. Rusty planned on taking me to a nice restaurant to finish off “the perfect day.”
By the time I got out of the shower, all of my roommates and friends were going crazy. They helped me carefully dress and prepare for what we were sure would be the night Rusty proposed.
Later on in the night, we went out to a nice restaurant. Then, we drove around. Rusty was nervous. He finally stopped, and popped the question. He kissed me a lot. I said yes. We both cried.
I was engaged.
I was nineteen years old, engaged, and I wasn’t scared.
As we drove home, I looked at my ring, and chuckled to myself. I admitted to him that I had a feeling he would propose.
“How did you know?” he asked.
“Well…because of what you said on the lift.”
“What do you mean? What did I say on the lift?”
“Well, how you said that I’d never forget today.”
“Yeah. Because you skied for the first time. I still remember the time I first went skiing.”
I started to laugh. “Well, I figured that you’d be proposing today.”
“Wow. I had no idea I was going to propose. It wasn’t until I left to pick you up that I thought it would be a good idea. In fact, I left, went back home to get the ring, then came back here to get you. I’m glad I did it!”
“Me, too!” I said.
“Would you have been upset if I hadn’t?” Rusty asked.
“No. But I’m pretty sure that my roommates would have.”
“They know, too?” He asked.
“Well, I was so excited about the ski trip and what you said on the lift that we talked about it all afternoon while i was getting ready to go out tonight.” I explained.
“Women.” Rusty said, laughing.
I had never imagined that I would be married while so young. First of all, I had always imagined myself serving a mission for my church. Back then (1998), women had to be at least 21 to serve a mission. I figured I’d go to college, get my Bachelor’s degree, then serve a mission. Meeting Rusty, and actually wanting to marry him came as a huge surprise to me.
But, I found myself, with a ring on my finger and a date set.
As happy as I was, I began to feel jitters. Marriage – isn’t just some little thing you decide to do one day.
There was the mission thing, I would think about that – and my ideas for my future. But when I prayed about it, I felt secure. I could also serve a mission a little later in life – with my husband. There was no need to worry about serving a mission while I was young.
I also began to feel perplexed. So…to explain…when I was fourteen years old, I received a Patriarchal Blessing. This is a very special blessing that you can receive any time in your life. Often, people who grow up in the LDS church choose to receive their patriarchal blessing while they are in their teenage years or even early twenties. A patriarchal blessing comes from the Lord, and it may contain information about your life. In my case, my patriarchal blessing mentioned marriage. It said, “You will be able to see through to the day when you will find a young man who is worthy, willing, and able to take you to the house of the Lord there to be married for time and for all eternity.” I have to admit, I was stumped by the phrase “you will be able to see through to the day…” Getting married before I was twenty hardly seemed like seeing through to the day. Yet, when I prayed about marrying Rusty, I felt good about it. I felt like it was something I should do. I felt like it was the next step I should take in my life, and that both he and I would grow from it.
While Rusty and I were good at expressing ourselves physically, sometimes we didn’t have the best verbal communication. Well, I was fine verbally (obviously…anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem with verbal communication). But Rusty wasn’t much of a talker or thinker. Sometimes, I had a problem with this. Sometimes, I thought I wanted to spend more time talking with him…thinking…philosophizing. This has always been a hobby of mine, and I had experienced many conversations- with both men and women alike – about thoughts. I love exchanging ideas. For the most part, Rusty and I didn’t exchange ideas. He listened to me pontificate without much input or opinion.
This was a problem for me. But I remember praying about it, and having the distinct thought that we didn’t have to be exactly the same. I felt that I would be able to teach Rusty and that in my relationship with Rusty, I would also learn many things. We didn’t have to be able to “philosophize”. I was comforted, and I continued on with the relationship.
Throughout this time of dating – as the wedding date approached – I was filled with the usual excitement and anticipation. I was picking out dresses, flowers, invitations. We found a place to live, and registered for gifts. Yet, I tried to be open eyed about the whole process. I didn’t want to walk into marriage like an idiot. My parents have been divorced. I know that marriage isn’t easy. And every time I came up with a concern, it would be met with reassurance and comfort from the Lord.
Ultimately, I kept going back to the thought of how happy I felt around Rusty. He was always smiling. We had so much fun. He could find a friend anywhere. I once told him, “You are just like Ferris Bueller.” I loved being around him. While I’ve never been shy, I’ve also never sought to be the center of attention. Rusty was always the center of attention anywhere he went. His personality was simultaneously brilliant and magnetizing. I felt like being with him – being his fiancee – left me dripping with that same brilliance. I liked being with him. I felt proud to be his girl.