After dinner at Denny’s, we headed back to the hotel and a much anticipated swim in the indoor pool for the boys.
When we arrived back we went our separate ways with the plan that the boys and I would meet Mike by the pool after the swim suits were on. I’m pretty sure the door was barely closed before the boys were dressed in theirs. The excitement was building as they tried to patiently wait for me by the door. I’m not sure how many times in that few minutes I said the words, “Hold your horses!” Haha. Even though we were slow, from the boys view, we still beat Mike to the pool. I’ve posted a picture at the bottom of them waiting in the chairs for him to arrive. I’m SO glad I took pictures that night, since it wasn’t as handy as it is now with cell phones; but I had managed.
What a fun hour or so (I don’t recall how long) but from the pool to the hot tub to the pool and so on, I watched as they interacted with Mike and got rid of some of their energy. He was very patient with them, and I could tell he was genuinely having fun. They were talking to him non stop and laughing and saying (about a million times each), “Hey, watch this!!!”
They were trying to impress him, and it worked; he was very impressed. As you can imagine, we didn’t get to talk much during this time; but that was ok because this weekend was about him and the boys more than anything, or at least that was the plan 🙂
Around 10:00pm we finally talked them into drying off and heading back to the room. They were intent on wanting Mike to hang out with us longer, and I wasn’t about to argue against it. After all, I still wanted to visit with him as well. I knew eventually they would fall asleep and I would have him to myself, but until then I was perfectly happy and enjoying watching him with my little guys. So he headed to his room to change and we did the same after he accepted our invitation to come back over and hang out with us in our room.
The boys were starving after such a fun swim. Mike took them to the vending machines when he came over and even that was such fun for them.
I was very proud of them with the exception of Caleb embarrassing me half to death at dinner with his proclamation of, “My momma’s gona’ buy me a ‘tep-daddy” …..it had gone very smoothly. There was a connection between Mike and the boys that could not have been fabricated; it was amazing to watch, and I remember thinking how good he was with them.
I felt like the boys were starving for a “daddy” to be honest, and this was a gift to them. I watched this play out that evening, and I was drawn to Mike even more than I had imagined. It really scared me because for the first time, I KNEW I loved him and that made NO sense to me. “How could I possibly love him?” I thought to myself, and then refused to think about it again; but within a few minutes those thoughts would come back in my mind, and I seemed to be powerless over them. I felt vulnerable, scared, full of doubts, almost panicked. I felt the walls I had built up so strong for protection against any heartbreak, being chipped at…..little by little….”But what if he doesn’t love me? I mean really love me…;” but then I’d catch his eye, and we would exchange smiles and my insecurities would vanish (at least for awhile).
We tucked the two very tired little boys into bed and then went back into the living room area and sat on the couch together. I think we had planned on watching TV together for awhile but somehow instead we sat there talking for hours.
Almost from the first few minutes of quiet, our time seemed different than any other times we had spent together talking. We talked about a lot of things that night; in fact, we talked until almost 2:00am. Eventually our conversation came back around to Caleb’s comments at dinner, and we laughed. Somehow it didn’t seem as big a deal as it had earlier to me in the restaurant. All he had wanted was to be heard; and when Mike patted him on the head and smiled, it was all Caleb needed. In fact I guess it was all Mike needed as well. For it was that very night, after hours of talking, that he would look me in the eye and tell me for the very first time that he loved me. I found myself telling him that I felt the same, even though all the while my brain was screaming, “No, it’s too soon, what are you doing?” After all we had only known each other a total of 36 days. Yes that’s not a typo: 36 days… and the boys he’d only known for a few hours…”This is crazy,” I thought. “I’m setting myself up to be hurt; I can’t do this.” He held me close and told me he had never felt this way before, and promised he would never hurt me. By this time I had shared enough on different occasions that he knew the insecurities I held; he knew about my wall of protection that I had spent time building up. I’m sure he knew my heart (though for the most part healed) still showed signs of trauma. The scars were still there, even though not as visible as at one time, still there as a reminder of rejection and heartbreak. It felt like Mike could see all of that, but could also see past all of that, and what my heart could look like if it was given to him.
What I didn’t know till later was that during the same time frame when I was being served with divorce papers, almost a year earlier, Mike had decided he wanted to find someone that he could love and eventually marry. He had been so busy with his business he never dated any one girl more than a time or two.
So during that time he asked God to give him a wife and a couple of kids :)…..which I just happened to have:)
He realized soon after meeting me, that I was the answer to his prayer.
How special this night was as we talked. I felt like every prayer I had ever prayed was being answered in those gentle, quiet moments with him.
So you see when Caleb told Mike earlier in the evening, that I was going to buy him a ‘tep daddy, I could not have imagined before the night was over, Mike would tell me he loved me for the first time; but that’s not all…..he would also ask me to be his wife…or as I always like to put it, “He asked US to marry him.” After all, we were a package deal, and it was just the family package Mike had prayed for, as well as the “‘tep-daddy” Caleb had prayed for in his little song.

Philippians 1:6
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

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