The 10 Year Engagement
In 2007 my life was spiraling down out of control. Luckily everything changed for me in March that year. Little did I know that a 10 year engagement would turn into a life of together forever. If things hadn’t changed I’m not sure where I would be now, or if I would even be here.
Over the course of 2 years prior to 2007 I had become an alcoholic and the beginning of that year I was in a downward spiral with the only end in sight being rehab or death. It was bad. I would leave my young son with my parents and go out drinking at least 5 nights a week, sometimes 6 or 7, and stay out until the early hours of the morning. Drinking was all I had. I didn’t have a job or a relationship. I didn’t have school or many friends. My health was not good. I was depressed, and drinking helped.
Drinking, and Drinking, and Drinking
The nights I went out to drink were mostly blurs. I never remembered exactly what happened, how much I drank, or how I got home (although I knew I drove because my car was always there when I woke up). I would drink mixed drinks, strong mixed drinks, probably the equivalent of 5 or 6 shots per drink. And I would usually consume at least 10 of those mixed drinks and sometimes up to 15 per night. That’s a lot of alcohol for such a small person.
Change is Coming
In March of 2007 my life completely changed. I went from being an alcoholic to not drinking a sip in the blink of an eye. And it’s all thanks to one amazing man. I met my husband and he made me realize that my life was worth something.
It Happened Just By Chance
Just by chance I met him. A friend had forgotten something at work and I had to take her back. Sitting in the car I looked through the front door and saw him standing there. He was tall enough (I’m so short that if someone was taller than me then I was fine with it). His hair was dark and he had a goatee. He had a good build. I don’t know why but something sparked in me. Even from that long distance I could see something in him.
Couldn’t Hide It
My friend noticed my stare and told me he was single, or newly single (going through a divorce). Fine with me. I told her to give him my number and of course she immediately called work and told him about me. He called me the next day and we planned for me to visit him at his apartment a couple of days later after he had gotten back from taking his daughter to visit her grandparents. It was a date and I was excited, but extremely nervous too.
Time to Date
It had been a long time since I had been on a date or even met anyone new. All the past relationships I had since my divorce two years earlier had been with people I already knew. So this was something new, something I hadn’t done in quite a long time. And I was slightly petrified. I was unsure of how dating went now since it had been so long. Little did I know that dating wasn’t going to be a problem.
Meeting for the First Time
We met, and the connection was instant. He had a daughter and was going through a divorce, I had a son and had already gone through a divorce. We were both born and raised in the area. We had the same beliefs and values. Conversation was easy and flowed the whole night. I even felt comfortable enough with him to tell him the first time I met him about my illness and disability and he was fine with it and told me that it wouldn’t affect how he looked at me. His name was what concreted everything for me, Donald (or Donny). That was a name of great men, at least in my life. My grandfather and my father both were named Donald and they were wonderful men, so I knew that my Donny would be the same.
Fast…Fast and Furious Fast
Things moved quickly with us. We got engaged and moved in to an apartment together with our kids, who acted like they had been siblings all along. Over the years life was good…no great. We dealt with ups and downs, but we were always together and always loved and supported each other. I had health issues and he was always there to help me. I even went through 4 surgeries and he took care of me while I recovered.
We had 2 daughters and a son together, moved into our first house, bought vehicles together. Everything we did was together always. We were married in our eyes and our families’ but not legally. Legally we couldn’t get married because my disability and insurance coverage would change too drastically. My medical bills alone were reason enough to not change things since they were so high and without being married we paid very little co-pays.
Almost 11 years into our “engagement” after the birth of our son he finally said, “Let’s just do it, let’s finally get married”. And of course, I agreed. I made the appropriate calls and was told that my disability and insurance wouldn’t change, good enough reason for me to make it legal. We decided that we would get married after our taxes came we would do a courthouse wedding and have our kids and my parents there. Fine with me, I didn’t need or want anything big or costly.
To my surprise he planned a wedding with my family and best friend in attendance. I walked in thinking it was a surprise birthday party for him and my cousin and found it was a surprise wedding for me. It was the most thoughtful and amazing thing ever. I didn’t have to worry or stress about any planning, it was simple and rustic, and everyone I loved was there. Plus, it was super cheap.
So, 10 years 9 months and 5 days after our relationship started, we finally got married (legally anyway). A long engagement but it was all worth it and I wouldn’t change a single thing.
11 Years Later
Now 11 years into our relationship, 5 1/2 months into our marriage, I love him more now than I ever have, and that love grows stronger every day. He is the most amazing, wonderful, loving, caring, kind man in the world. And I couldn’t ask for a better husband, partner, best friend, or father for my children. He makes me a better person, a better mother, and I don’t know what I would do without him.