When I first saw this Writer's Workshop prompt for this week, 5 Random facts about you and your family. (inspired by Nice Girl Notes), I knew I wanted to choose it but wasn't sure if I'd be able to come up with five things I haven't shared here in the nearly three years since I started this blog. But I dug down deep and while you may have heard me talk on some of these things briefly, I think I have managed to come up with a few things I haven't written about before...
1. I met Darin on my 23rd birthday (4-19-94) and I won't say I knew with 100% certainty that I would one day marry him but I strongly suspected it. The whole night was very deja-vu-ish. We got engaged almost two years later on a trip to Las Vegas and married a year after that so we were together exactly two weeks short of three years (and my 26th birthday) when we took our vows. (4-5-97) We honeymooned in Grand Cayman. Swimming with the stingrays was just about the most magical thing I had ever experienced at that time. I swam with them again eight years later (June, 2005) during the cruise I took with my three "young widow" friends.
We were all in the water (there were a lot of people around this time) and I was being flooded with all these bittersweet memories when I looked out across the water to see a boat with the name Happy D written across the side and I just knew...knew it was a sign from him telling me that all was well and that he was proud of me. (He often called me D and we always signed our cards that way since we both had D names).
2. Devin and Dracen are four years apart. Devin's due date was July 9th though he didn't finally come into the world (via c-section after 26 hours of labor) until July 17th at 10:39 p.m. Dracen's due date was July 24th, four years later, and after much thoughtful consideration I opted for the scheduled c-section due to the possible risks of a natural birth after a c-section (vbac). Those are usually scheduled for one week before the due date, July 17th. I asked my doctor if we could wait one more day so they'd each have their own day so Dracen came kicking and screaming into this world at 11:27 a.m. on July 18th.
When I was getting to know Charlie and the conversation turned to our kids, I thought it was so awesomely coincidental that his youngest two kids, Ryan and Shana (now 23 and 19), were also four years apart and born on the same day in October.
3. Shana is a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill this year, currently planning to major in History and then go on to law school. Ryan recently (as in just this month) got a job with Ringling Brothers. He had been working for Charlie's HVAC (heating and air) company but being more of an artistic soul, did not feel this was what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He made a couple of calls and the next thing we knew he was on a plane to meet the circus train in Orlando, Florida.
His oldest son, Chris (25), grew up with his mother in Michigan, visiting Charlie here in North Carolina in the summers. A couple of years ago he was living in Texas where he was going to school to be a police officer when Charlie called him up and asked if he would be interested in coming to work for him. He made a quick decision and moved the next week, diving in head first to the world of commercial heating and air. He took to it like a fish to water.
4. Charlie and I had our first date on December 30, 2006 after "meeting" and chatting it up online (Yahoo). We ate Japanese food and then went to see Rocky Balboa. He confessed later that he feared he had really messed up by suggesting that movie since Rocky was grieving his late wife in it and said that every time he went to try to hold my hand, the subject came up in the movie again so he never did. I think he feared I was going to break down on him in the theater or something which I found sort of darkly humor-ish.
I had been back in the dating world for almost two years by the time I met him and had finally decided to take some wise advice by just trying to have fun and not taking it all so seriously. We got engaged less than 14 months later, on a Valentine's Day weekend trip to Savannah in 2008 and married on June 28th of that same year.
5. When Charlie and I first got married we were living in the same house the boys and I had lived all their lives. Darin had bought the house about a year before I met him and we actually met there, being set up by his cousin who was dating a friend of mine at the time.
We (me and Charlie) began looking for a bigger house almost right away but just couldn't find a good match since we were trying to stay here in the same school district and close to the boys' grandparents (Darin's parents). The house we ended up buying was actually one of the very first ones we looked at. It was for sale by owner so we were shown around by the couple themselves. Though we liked the house, we weren't ready to make a decision yet since we'd only just started looking and we heard the house went under contract that next month but just the day before the scheduled closing, the man (owner of the house) passed away from a heart attack. She decided not to sell.
To make a long story short, about a year and a half later, we still had not found a house. A couple from our church (who live across the street from the house) told us the lady had decided to sell so they told her they'd call to see if we were maybe still interested. We were.
I can't even begin to explain it but this time when we walked through that front door and were greeted by her smiling face and kind eyes, I knew we were home.