The first time my now husband ever told me he loved me was at a high school dance, and we weren't even dating. We were just friends, dancing to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" (I know, I know!) and I have no idea where those words came from. They surprised me, but I understood.
Our first kiss was simultaneously the worst and the best. I had broken up with one of his friends after he started to imply that he was assimilating me like a borg. "How are we today? What are we feeling like? What are we thinking?" I was thinking he was creepy. I was very traditional in this month long relationship and waited patiently for that first kiss, but it never happened, because he never made the first move. Obviously heartbroken, he began telling locker room stories about how I had a chastity belt from my neck to my knees. Jeremy begged to differ.
He was sitting behind me on the bleachers at a Varsity football game after his JV game with his friend Levi. They were debating the truth to this accusation and Jeremy said, "Oh yeah? Watch this!" He tapped me on the shoulder, grabbed me when I leaned back and gave me an upside down kiss. "What the hell?" I thought. But then I thought, "I wonder what he really kisses like?" So after the game in the parking lot outside my car we tried again, and it was really, weak in the knees, want more forever, nice!
We didn't start dating then. We dated other people, even each other's friends. And then at dance team state competition he kissed me again. And I guess we made it official that Monday at school (Which he will argue with me on this, was Dec. 4th, 1993, but that's when it was official, no, that Saturday with the kiss doesn't count, Jeremy!).
He proposed to me at my favorite place on earth, the deck of the boat house overlooking a perfect sunset on Rock Island, WI. What did I say? I said first, "What did my father say?" and then I said yes, of course. (My father would interject here that he was not asked, but was told.)
Our wedding day, after a brutal rehearsal the day before (we are all surprised no one was killed by me), couldn't have been more perfect. June 2nd, 2001, a bit of drizzle and clouds in the morning to cool things off, bright sun after we emerged from the church as Mr. and Mrs. Rudd. We had an extremely complicated schedule of picture taking to avoid the bad luck of seeing each other before the moment. I didn't have nerves, surrounded by my best friends preening and primping me like a princess, I was just extremely excited, like a bridled horse pulling on the reins, ready to bust out into a full out gallop, just to feel the wind blow by!
And when the doors opened, and I stood before him as his bride to be, I was awash with the knowledge of the blessings I had in my life to be marrying this good, loving, hardworking, man.
So what do I love about my husband? Here's a little list:
1. When I think he is not paying attention and doesn't know who I am or what I like, he proves that he knows me better than I know myself.
2. He's a good kisser. Really, it is the reason I agreed to go out with him. He still turns my knees to jelly!
3. I like his nose, it's very Romanesque.
4. The way he tells stories! I get to hear them over and over again, but his face just lights up and his arms start going, and everyone is enraptured with his tale.
5. Together, we feel strong, able to face any challenge and any joy. I wouldn't face them with anyone else by my side.
6. He would follow me through hell and back, pushing, pulling or carrying me if I needed.
7. He gave me 2 wonderful little girls, that he loves very much and would do anything for.
8. He likes to cook... need I say more? But I will...
9. He's smart. He has a problem solving approach that is fail safe. First he talks to himself in an upbeat, positive way, like brainstorming, but the thoughts always trail off and sentences are never completed. Then he gets quiet and brooding. Then he mumbles. Then he swears. Then he threatens to give up. Then he swears some more, and maybe throws things or kicks things. Then more moody brooding. Then an aha moment! More talking to himself in unfinished thoughts and phrases. Then excitement and a flurry of activity, and viola! He's McGuivered himself a solution!
10. He can't say no, no matter how much he would like to sometimes, even to his detriment, to someone in need. He would bend over backwards for a stranger to help them out.
So, happy Valentine's Day, I hope your marriages/relationships are full of love and laughter, passion and romance, but most of all that you realize why you still love each other! I love you Jeremy Eugene Rudd!