Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Love in the Real World: How I Met Your Mother

This  is week 2 of the series, Love in the real world. There are so many Hollywood love stories out there that we forget what real love looks like. So over the next few weeks you will hear about what real love looks like (or doesn't), the good, the bad, and the in-between. Enjoy!

Today we will hear from Jeff Williams a good friend and my first blogging mentor.  He blogs over at The Rantings of a Dad.  He is funny and honest.  His is the only dad blog I read.  That says a lot because I have about 90 on my Google Reader!  I hope you enjoy his story for today.

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Lunch at Olive Garden.  Photo Credit:  diaper


Recently, a friend of mine got me into the television show, “How I Met Your Mother.” When starting to write about how I met the mother of my kiddo, I thought about all the ex-girlfriends, dates, etc. I’d gone on in an effort to meet her and decide that this would end up being way too long and way too humorous at my own expense.

I mean, I had some horrible dates. Most of my exgirlfriends (I believe) are on good terms with me, and wouldn’t appreciate the spin I would put on the stories of our breakups and why they didn’t work out. I did have some dates that were not funny at all when they happened, but looking back, I can’t believe I survived them. I even once gave a speech in college about how horrible my dates had been, much to the laughter of the audience. Again, mostly at my own expense.

Mostly.

My friends gave me all sorts of grief over these girls, the hilarious experiences, and the shame I often felt after each conquest ended in my own humiliation. Sometimes they knew the girl outside of our group of friends, and social gatherings tended to get awkward if I said a date went awful or if it went awesome. So over the year after High School, I developed a system. A code, if you will, of how my friends would know if a date was good or bad depending upon where we ate.

If a date went awesome, and I thought there may be a second date and perhaps a relationship that would spawn out of everything that had gone on that evening, we went somewhere nice (keep in mind I hadn’t even gone to college at this point and “nice” meant Olive Garden or sit down Mexican food), if a date was just okay and I wasn’t sure, we always ate at Fazoli’s. If a date was horrible, we got Taco Bell and I took that bog-hag home soon after.

This system did not translate well to where I went to college. Mostly because where I went to college didn’t even have a Taco Bell. It was a town of about 1200 people and the nearest Wal-Mart was a 45 minute drive away through ice and snow.

But that didn’t matter, because when I first went to college, I was dating this awesome girl from Chicago who I’d met through a mutual friend. She was incredibly intelligent, fun, and after one semester away from each other, not for me. So we broke up.

Then, my second year of college began and I started seeing a fellow missions student. We dated for a few months in the second semester of the year. Things were not really fireworks and sparkles, cake and ice cream, or anything else awesome. We really did like each other, and decided we’d take a break for the summer and keep in touch, and see what developed that fall. Halfway through the summer, I hadn’t heard from her and, brave soul that I was, I broke up with her via email.

I had a date or two over the summer, but nothing really worth mentioning. Oh, well, except that this one girl wanted to go on a date and when we finally got together she told me she thought she was pregnant before the date was over (we hadn’t even kissed, so… pretty sure that kid wasn’t mine). By the time I went back to school that August, I was pretty set on not dating and just focusing on my studies. Spending time in the library with dusty old books sounded just as appealing to me as spending time trying to find that special someone.

Then, the first day everyone started coming back to the campus, my roommate of the previous semester, Jorge, grabbed me by the arm and said, “Jeff, you gotta meet this girl. I’m gonna hook her up with Joe. She’s perfect for him!”

First of all, I knew Joe and nobody was really perfect for him.

Well, that’s not fair. Last I heard, Joe’s happily married and doing well, but we weren’t ever really good friends and if I were being completely honest, the sheer fact that Jorge wanted this girl for Joe probably made me want to meet her and change her opinion of Joe pretty quick.
Then I saw her, Jennifer Omdahl. The most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. It was as though light from Heaven shined down upon her and she glimmered in its glory.

No, that’s not true. She was beautiful, I’m not denying that, but there really wasn’t a chorus of angels singing or anything like that. No shekinah glory enveloping her. Nope. She just stood there looking gorgeous with a beautiful smile on her face as Jorge introduced me to his #1 draft pick for Joe Malsbury. We shook hands and I took a mental note of what she was wearing: tight jeans, a red t-shirt, a black sweat band on her arm, her short hair sticking up in the back. She was pretty, and from the brief introduction, too sweet to date Joe. I don’t know why, because when we met it wasn’t like in the movies where everything aligns perfectly and I just knew, but I never took note of what a girl was wearing the first time I met her. I never cared. I never felt so stunned when meeting someone like I was that moment. I still don’t believe in love at first sight, but there was something. Something clicked and in my heart I knew this girl was important somehow.

Unfortunately, I had my books and little time to deal with chasing girls. I especially wasn’t going to be chasing “Jen” if she was reserved for Joe.

Guess what. I ended up marrying her anyway.

There’s more to the story, like how we started dating, how I asked her dad for his permission to ask her to be my girlfriend (thank you Joshua Harris* for humiliating me one last time), and how our first kiss came while watching Spongebob Squarepants.

But that’s a story for a different time. This is just how I met her.

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