After he drove away, I immediately went to find my mom. I had some conflicting emotions going on in my heart and I needed to sort them out loud with someone.
"How was your evening?"
"It was fine." (Anyone who REALLY knows me, knows "fine" is code for "not good.")
"Do you want to talk about it?"
I was quiet for a minute, pondering whether or not I really wanted to say it out loud because once I did, that meant it was real. "Mom, he told me he loved me."
Now it was my mom's turn to be silent for a minute. After what felt like eternity, she said, "Well, do you love him?"
Freak. out. moment. Did I really love him? Like, the real I-have-found-the-one-my-soul-loves kind of love? I've only known this guy for 6 weeks! Is that possible? What about all the walls I have up around my heart? Am I willing to let those down for this man?
"Mom, I don't know. Maybe? But, I've only known this guy for 6 weeks."
"Who says there is a timeline for falling in love? There's no set rule that you have to go on "x" amount of dates before you can fall in love with someone. Sometimes, it just happens fast."
Whoa. Come again? My mother is telling me that it's ok to already be in love? "I don't know mom. I'm gonna have to process this."
"Don't feel like anyone is rushing you. Just pray about it and seek the Lord and He will make it clear to you."
Christmas came and went and I already had a trip planned to go to Dallas to spend a few days with Kaitlyn (my bff from Kannakuk). We had a blast together! I told her about Daniel and our conversation and that he had told me he loved me. She was such an encouragement to me--she echoed everything my mom said and prayed with me about it. As I was riding in the plane back home, I knew without a doubt I was absolutely 100% in love with this man and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Before I told him though, I needed to ask my parents if they could see him as their son-in-law and if he would fit into our family. They both gave me resounding "yes" and told me they were excited to be gaining a son. Daniel and I already had plans to see each other for New Years and I decided that if I had the opportunity that day I was going to tell him. I always love New Years Day because of all the football games that are played, but New Years Day 2009 was going to be one that I would remember forever.
I got to his house bright and early wanting to spend every second I could with him. I'll never forget-- we were sitting on the couch watching the Cotton Bowl and for some reason, everyone else had left the room. It was just us for a few brief moments. I seized my opportunity. I looked at him and said, "I love you." He turned his head towards mine, "What did you say?"
"I said, I love you." Slowly, a huge grin broke out onto his face and it stayed there the rest of the day. From that point forward, our discussions would turn to "when we get married" and he would always tease and joke with me, "Are you sure you want to marry me?" To which I would always reply, "Yes! I'm absolutely sure I want to marry you!"
February 2009 my mom's dad suddenly passed away. It was a rough time for my family. We had no idea he was so sick and while it's inconclusive, we think he died of Multiple Myeloma. He and my grandmother had been together since she was 17 years old, and now that he was gone, she wasn't really sure what to do. After his death, she moved in with us, which afforded her the opportunity to grieve and not be alone. She also got to spend a lot of time with Daniel and they quickly became close. In June, she bought a new house closer to my parents and asked me if I wanted to be her roommate. So, I moved in and a few weeks later I started x-ray school.
In the middle of July, we found out my cousin was getting married in Destin, Florida on August 1st. My family always loves going to the beach so of course we weren't going to pass up THAT opportunity! Since I had just started back to school (and my hours were Monday-Friday, 8-4) my parents graciously decided to fly Daniel and I down with their bonus miles that Friday afternoon. I remember being so excited, sitting on the plane thinking about what a great weekend it was going to be--my cousin was having a beach wedding and my birthday was only a few days away...
to be continued...
click HERE to read Part 5