Monday, September 29, 2008

Why I love wildflowers

The best person in my life was born tomorrow. This is for her. Happy Birthday Trish. I love you.

A few years ago I met my wife. I really started to like her when, on a date with my family no less, we started playing Killer Frisbee and she started knocking people down to make a catch. It was the point of the game, after all. Very cool. A hot girl. And a tough girl. And a fun girl.

After that I started to get to know her better. Smart. Fun. Up for a challenge. Great listener. Sincere. Kind. And she smelled really good. I still remember how great it felt to hold her hand. It was like a warm blanket wrapped around us wherever we touched. But I especially loved to hold her hand.

I knew she was different, this relationship was different, when we so quickly and effortlessly grew so close. Within a few weeks I was at a point with Trish that had taken me a year or more to get to in my previous relationships. New territory.

I owned a landscaping company in college, which I loved; nature, getting paid to exercise, and a mind free to think. One day, as I worked I remember walking down a path of wildflowers at one of my properties while thinking about Trish. I realized I was at the dreaded crossroad again. Was I ready to give my life to someone? Yes. Was this the Someone...?

I had been here before. Many times. I hated this place. The problem with relationships is that you have to get to the point where you really care about the answer before you can even ask the question. Which means you are going to hurt, or they are going to hurt - every time - until the one time that you don't.

I'm a list guy. Pros/Cons. Work it out. Solve the problem. So I made my list: reasons why I am ready; reasons why I'm not; reasons why we're good for each other; reasons why we're not good for each other; and so on.

I don't remember a single item on the list. All I remember is that as I thought about Trish that day I started to feel guided with answers to my questions - some of which you can't answer logically. Thoughts flowed to me like I was having a conversation with a wise, trusted friend. And I was. I have never before or since had such an extended period of personal revelation. I spent the entire day in quiet communication with the Lord and He very directly answered every single question I had.

That night Trish came to see me. By the time she got there I was completely at peace with our future together. I remember sitting in my beat up Chevette, parked next to that path of flowers holding her hand and telling her about my day. I remember looking at her and thinking, "I really hope I am not freaking her out right now".

And also I remember how good she looked. And smelled.

Thankfully, her feelings for me were mutual. We prayed together about starting a life together and felt peace. It was beautiful.

Since then I've added a lot of things to my list of reasons why I'm ready, why we are good together, and why she is the one for me. I hope she has too (or at least that her list of pros still outweighs the cons).

We've passed through some heavy winds and rain and a lot of sunshine too. But no matter what happens I will always know that she is my Someone.

I still love how she smells. And how it feels to hold her hand.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The teenage phenomenon: texting

A couple of years ago Trish introduced me to the blogging world. Since then, she and her family and friends have started their own blogs. From her blog I have learned that my wife is a great writer and quite profound. I am learning things about her that I didn't know. Also, I love her vulnerability and humor. I consider that a gift. So thanks. I am a lucky man.

Well, I have decided to join the party. I know. Seriously. Get excited.

In my blog, I've decided to address questions of life and relationships I have had (or others have posed) that are puzzling. I will also be providing periodic sports, food, entertainment and music commentaries and other random observations.

So here we go.

Topic #1: The strange phenomenon of teenage texting.

Like most kids, when I was a kid of around 11 or 12 I became interested in girls. At different times during my long and distinguished career as a ladies man I would set my sights on an unsuspecting (but fortunate) girl, get up some courage, smell the armpits, make sure my zipper wasn't down, then casually stroll toward her at lunch (or gym, or detention) and, drum roll to her.

I have since learned that social norms have changed. Kids no longer need to even be in the same room to meet, socialize, fall in love, and even creatively "get the freak on". Literally. (I must admit, upon hearing some of the horror stories here that I was impressed by the creativity displayed. Depraved yes, but ingenious nonetheless.)

In order to compete in today's ever-changing information age it seems that, for teens, speaking in person has become a thing of the past. Face-to-face interaction is not only clunky it can be downright...awkward and apparently something to be avoided if at all possible.

Does anyone else find this strange?

Isn't that awkwardness PART of the social development phase? I thought it was necessary in order to learn to deal with emotions and feelings and to learn to appropriately respond to stress, conflict, attraction, anger, etc.

I pause here to catch you up on some terms in teen'dom that I am still a bit fuzzy on but according to my daughter I think go something like this:

Friend = Anyone programmed into my phone who I text daily.

Dating = Texting hourly and/or actually doing things together after school, on weekends, etc.

Going Out = Texting half-hourly and/or meeting exclusively for lunch, movies, Halo tournaments (online of course - which means you have to be in separate buildings whispering sweet nothings over the internet about how to use a photon torpedo or electrified battle ax to cyber-kill your best friend and his girlfriend. It's a double date.)

Boyfriend = Someone I am texting half-minutely to share my devotions with, holding hands with, kissing, etc. and who others acknowledge is mine.

The actual human interaction part of these definitions isn't any different than I would expect. The strange thing here is that any and all of these relationships and activities can be successfully navigated without ever actually interacting in person. You can progress in a relationship just by increasing the frequency and content of the texting.

So, follow me here. You can have a full-blown boyfriend in 8th grade who you share deepest feelings with and pledge devotion to who, if you bumped into in the hall would, without a word, cause you to blush profusely, clam up and run the other way only to text seconds later to make up.

So, if this alarming trend continues can you imagine where we are headed?

A few disturbing scenes from our future:

Wedding -

Priest: (Via webex from home office) types, "I now pronounce you man and wife." Then signs out CU@church.

Groom: (From the Sports Bar via camera phone), "I love you, honey." Then he texts, "UR SO GR8" before turning back to the game.

Bride: (from the salon) texts back,"I ♥ U2. CU L8R"

Two years later:

Groom: (From the Sports Bar upon seeing he is an hour late for tv dinners) gets the following text from his wife, "♀ :( ♂". He then orders flowers online from his phone and sends an eCard of apology as he heads out the door...

Presidential Debates -

Moderator: (Via online PowerPoint presentation) Slide #1 "How about the economy?"

Then the candidates (from home of course) will furiously text out their responses on screen for all to see. Answers won't be important. Speed of completion will be crucial however. Extra points for wingdings. Of course mispellings will be docked - unless they are from the approved lexicon of Webster's Texting Dictionary.

Sports -

No real stretch here. We'll just play video games with no real sports EVER being played. At least the super bowl commercials will still be there at the online gaming Madden Football '25 Championship...

Back to my point: I hate teen texting. I guess there is one advantage to text relationships though - no teenage pregnancy. Of course, there won't be any married pregnancy either but let's not look the gift horse in the mouth.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go back to ignoring my kids while surfing the web and reading all of your blogs...