Wes & I went on our first date! We met online on January 28th, 2010. We were both members of Plentyoffish.com (yes really). Wes made first contact, but I was being picky about who I responded to after receiving over 30 new emails a day. So, although he had a cute pic:
he also mentioned that he was ex-infantry. While I thought that was admirable, I wasn’t sure I would have anything on common with a soldier; I was sure he would be tired with the fact that I can be a touch, er… dramatic… cring hysterically every time a spider comes near me, and a touch er… superficial, with a very long running hair obsession However, Wes had taken the time to actually write something thoughtful, rather than just the usual “Hi, how are you?” initial contact.
I remember him commenting that the change from London to Alabama must have been huge, and asking me how that was. It was sweet, and thoughtful. I felt that if someone had taken the time to write something personal and well thought out, the least I could do was respond.
We traded many emails, often running to 3 or 4 pages, and after 3 days decided to talk by Skype, to, as Wes put it, make sure he wasn’t a ‘bald troll’. We had a lot of fun emailing and Skyping; Wes was laid back and made me laugh; we quickly fell into in-jokes.
I didn’t anticipate meeting Wes for several weeks, but he said he would like to take me out for Valentines Day. However, as Valentines Day is somewhat pressured, we agreed to go for a date first, a hike at Oak Mountain with his dog the day before: February 13th.
Wes traveled the 10-hour drive from North Carolina, and I sent him a mix-CD, some homemade brownies, and some roasted rosemary and sea salt almonds I made for the journey. On the day Wes texted me and said he was here and could be meet up an hour early? I refused! I was still painting my nails and styling my hair and had a thick face mask on. I think it annoyed him, but come on. Girls: You can’t show up an hour early for a first date, right? We’re all still trying to lose 10 lbs in that time!
So, we met at the right time, outside my apartment. It was a really cold, snowy day. I saw Wes pull up and somehow lost my footing and fell over. I stood up… but fell over again. And again. Wes tried to catch up and kept asking if I was OK. Sure I was, I just fall over a lot I explained. Looking somewhat confused and alarmed Wes handed over some cuttings he had potted for me and I trotted them upstairs.
Wes also bought me an Alabama football baseball cap. A very exclusive and hard to find Alabama baseball cap. Which I looked at and enthusiastically, but blankly said “Wow! Cool!”. Wes said “It is for Alabama!”
“No! The football team!”
“Oh. I see. I like it anyway.”
Cue Wes trying to explain how hard these were to get, without making a big deal out of it.
Patience. He had the patience of a Saint.
We drove to Oak Mountain, picking up salad boxes at V Richards (a local health foods store) on the way. I got my neuroses out in the open immediately and explained I was super picky about eating and didn’t eat many carbohydrates. Or much fat. I watched in horror and Wes’ version of ‘salad’ seemed to be constructed of 90% mayonnaise and was placed on a lot of fried bread 🙂
We had a great hike at Oak Mountain. Yes, I continued to fall over several times, including headlong down a hill – arms outstretched in front of me. We chatted for several hours, had a lot of fun, and had our first kiss 🙂
Afterwards we picked up BBQ and ‘Old School’ on DVD and went back to mine. We chatted and chatted, and when it was time for Wes to leave (2 am I think), we realised we had forgotten to watch the DVD. It was a good sign 🙂
And that was it. He went home, and returned with 13 beautiful red roses the next day, taking me out to Silvertron Cafe. He returned to North Carolina on the 15th, and I wouldn’t see him for 10 more weeks.
Did I know Wes was ‘the one’ then? Not at all! I know when I did know that – while I was on a 6-day wilderness hike at Isle Royale in Michigan. But, I had no idea after our first date. Wes says he did, but not me.
I remember that Wes was funny, good at making conversation and seemed to have many interests, or at least, the capacity to be interested in many things. I have a very low boredom threshold, like to get into a lot of things, and am happier when I can share those things with someone special; Wes seemed interested in whatever I had to share.
More than that, what I saw and knew then, was Wes’ good heart. He was extraordinarily gentle in his approach. He was faithful, and loved God. He had a good heart, he knew what honesty was and pursued it. He respected family as something important, and when push came to shove, would put family first, before his own needs. I saw in his a carer, a people pleaser, a good father. I knew he was someone who would protect those close to him.
People often wonder how Wes & I ended up together; we are certainly very different on the surface. And I won’t say that we have not faced severe challenges in the past 3 years! But, on the very deepest level, we share a lot. We believe in God, we love God, and we both want to put our lives in His hands. We both value family, and protect those we love above all else. But while I am flighty and temperamental, Wes is very steady. He finds it hard – and sometimes tiring – to keep up with my endless activities and emotions, I know. But he tries. And he my rock. He is my safe base from which I can be myself, and from which I can take risks and explore everything I love. He is the one who reminds me, from time to time, of my priorities, what is important and what I mustn’t lose sight of in the endless pursuit of novelty and excitement.
We’re a good pair. An unusual, but a good pair. We actively work at our relationship, and have worked through some really tough times. But, I know that that helps me grow and develop. And, everytime we overcome a challenge, it really does make us stronger. I believe the foundations that we are laying now take work because they are very deep and will indeed, last our lifetimes.
I look around; at our house, our dogs, our cats, our beautiful baby boy. If we can do that in 3 years, I say: bring on the next 30!!