Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Our Love Story, Part 3

Part 1 here, Part 2 here

Life was a whirlwind. Winter is cold in Utah, but I can’t remember the bite in the air. We walked to school together, hand in hand. We studied together in the Social Sciences section of the library. The more I learned about him the more I was interested. His family was in the dairy business, and he grew up on a dairy in California. Could this be the man that would give me my dream country life?

One night after we parted he texted me. “I could quit school and work and just follow you around all day. It would make me the happiest man in the world.” Little did he know how much that text would mean to me. I would read it night after night, deleting every other text but never that one. And still feel the butterflies the same way I did as the very first time I read it.

I went all-out for Valentine’s Day. Finally a reason to love this holiday! Late on the night of the 13th our downstairs neighbors could hear me as I pound-pound-pounded those Oreos into powder for some homemade truffles. The weather didn’t dampen my spirit as I taped heart after heart on the windows of his truck. He repaid me tenfold. Flowers a day early (who does that?) and a dinner at Bombay House. We experienced Indian food for the first time together and fell in love… with each other and the food.

He returned the hearts from his truck with an anonymous drop-off on my doorstep on the eve of a big test I had in my Native American history class. On each heart was a word of an encouraging sentence. “You’ll ace this test,” it stated, “because of your Indian blood. Make Grandpa Emery proud.”

My dad advised me to start working on my mission papers “just in case.” I still had several months until I turned 21 but had always had a strong desire to go, although it had been waning since these recent romantic developments. I mentioned it to Ben in passing who provided no response. He was 26, which is not an age at which most men are willing to “wait” for a missionary. I consulted my bishop, who, although he was in China at the time (long story), phoned me and suggested I write out a list, a comparison of what my life would look if I went on a mission or if I married Ben.

Late that night on the 5th floor of the SWKT (the Nursing Advisement Center where I worked), but long after closing hours, I charted it out. I took out two clean sheets of printer paper, and drew my life 5 years down the road as Mrs. Ben Dilsaver, and five years down the road instead as a return missionary. Then again ten years, and fifteen. The only conclusions I could come to was that I would miss out on the amazing character and unequaled companionship of Ben Dilsaver, and that as his wife I had the potential to bare more children than I would as a returned missionary two year later.

We had the opportunity to go to the open house of a new temple built in Draper, Utah. Parts of the temple that are kept sacred and closed off are open to the public before the temple is dedicated. Each temple tour ends in a sealing room, where marriage ceremonies are performed. As the patrons left Ben and I stood up and looked into the "eternity mirrors," two mirrors directly facing each other that symbolize a married couple going on for eternity. I held on to him tight and smiled as our reflections went on and on. I did not see the change that happened in Ben's heart at that moment, when he realized that I was the one he wanted to be his companion for eternity.

I went to the temple often to do baptisms. “Heavenly Father,” I began, “I love this guy. I don’t know what you think but I think he is just great. If you are not opposed I would love to spend forever with him.”

“You’d love him, Dad! In fact he kind of reminds me of you.”
“When are you going to bring him up to see us?!”
I was nervous. We hadn’t been “official” that long and now I was going to suggest meeting my family. It had been almost three years since anyone had “met” the family, so everyone was in an uproar. On a weekend near the end of February, we drove up to Idaho.

“Okay now go over them again.”
“First there’s Joel, then Sarah, then Justin, then Heather. She’s the one you’re going to meet first. Bethany and Haley, you’ve already met them, Whitney’s on a mission, then me, Derek, Dillon, and Cassidy.”
“And tell me a little about each of them.”
We did this for hours in the truck before arriving in Idaho. We met Heather first, then up to the big house for some more of my family. Ben was calm, he was not intimidated. He joked, he had an incredible memory for names and details. It was a smashing success.

We used the long six hour drive back to Provo to decompose everything. What did you think of this? How about her? What did you think of my hometown? Six glorious hours just talking. We talked about what was important to us, what we wanted to do in life, how one would raise their kids, how we felt about each other.
“Ash I’ve never felt for you what I feel for any other girl.”
“I feel the same way about you. I’ve never been so happy.” I agreed.
I leaned in close and rested my head on his shoulder. “So…” I said hestitatingly, “what do you think the timeline is for us?”
“I want to keep dating you, and then…” he paused and gently pulled me close, “maybe get married at the end of the summer?”
I smiled a big smile. “How about the beginning?”
That night I called my family back home and broke the news that we had used the “M” word. They were ecstatic, talking dates and giving marriage advice. I was on top of the world and in love with Ben.

The next day was busy, as the whole semester had been. Ben and I sat in the lounge to work on my presentation about apple pie for my speech class. We talked about dates, when to get engaged, when to visit his parents, when to get married. June 19th was the scheduling pick for the wedding day. It became our mantra. “I can’t wait until June 19th.” “100 more days until June 19th.” “Forever starts on June 19th.” It was our goal, the sunset on the horizon. We were deliriously happy.

That conversation, however, also came with the appearance of our very first “misunderstanding” (I call it a misunderstanding because arguing with Ben is not possible when he never raises his voice or gets angry. It's usually just a one-sided conversation where I'm blubbering on about something inconsequential.). When it came to visiting his family, we were on different pages. I started talking early March and he was saying late April.

I was adamant that I didn’t want to get engaged until AFTER I had met his parents who lived in Illinois. I didn’t want to be some stranger, some “thief in the night” who had stolen their son away without so much as a “How do you.” Ben did not see things the same way I did. He didn’t see why we couldn’t get engaged before we went out there, so why the rush. Knowing Ben and his family so well now, I can see I was making a big deal out of nothing. However I did win, since I thought it was ridiculous to do all the wedding planning while I didn’t even have a ring on my finger.

The ring. That was the next project. I was never one of those girls who had their wedding all planned out before they were even engaged. So when I knew I would need to give my input about the ring, I simply said, “something like my mom’s.”

If you haven’t noticed by now, I love anything old, sentimental, or nostalgic, so this turned out to be the perfect choice. My mom’s ring was a typical setting in the 1970’s so I thought a re-creation or a pawn shop beauty wouldn’t be hard to find. Actually it turned out it was nowhere to be found. After talking to a couple of dealers in the area to no avail, we ended up at good old Custom Ring Design right on 9th East across from the Creamery.

One Saturday morning we got up bright and early to try and beat the rush. Evidently we had gotten up too early, since the store wasn’t even open yet. We sat across the street on the grassy area by the Creamery, eating sandwiches and chocolate milk, and discussing our impending engagement. Once the store opened and we perused the diamonds, I got to describe my dream to the jeweler through pictures and words. A dream that would be an eternal symbol of our love for each other, a daily constant reminder of my soul’s connection. Once it was “in the works” we flew out to Illinois.

I knew Ben’s family was all dairy farmers, and although I claimed to be a country girl I knew nothing about manure or cows. I had seen plenty from a distance, ranching was in my family (which I thought was equivalent. Anything to do with cows is the same, isn’t it?), and I knew hayseed was in my blood. But nothing could have prepared me for the stench.

Continued here

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