Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wrinkles & The Beginning of "Us"

Lately I've had to come face to face with my mortality again and again. I don't like it. When I look in the mirror I no longer see the smooth, firm skin of my youth; instead I see little wrinkles around my eyes and furrows between my eyebrows. Aren't I too young for this aging nonsense?!? Apparently not. Could it be all those hours I worked in lawn maintenance, mowing and trimming and weeding and hedging in the sun? Or maybe the window washing job. What was I thinking? Why couldn't I spend my summer days behind a cash register or cleaning bathrooms under the glow of friendly fluorescent lights? Now I've added motherhood to the mix of face stressers, and next thing you know I'm going to have a gazillion laugh lines and "parenthesis" around my mouth. I think it's time for a face lift.

This is one reason why I didn't want to marry Chris. My ideal husband would be about 7 (maybe 30, no sense in taking chances) years older than me and he would look older and have lots of wisdom and when he hit the age of 50 and had his mid-life crisis he wouldn't look over at me and realize he had a 50 year-old wife who wasn't as much of a keeper as he'd initially thought and then dump me for someone else with fewer furrows and parenthesis. If I hadn't lost all the blossom of my youth at least I would have something going for me. But no, I had to end up with a baby-faced boy who ages just GREAT and is actually 10 months younger than me. Life is cruel.

It all happened like this: I met him the day after I got back from my internship in Kansas City. Unbeknownst to me, before I got there our sisters (one of his sisters was best friends with my sister) had been buttering him up and telling him how much he would just adore me and how we could be so happy together and who-knows-what. I, on the other hand, knew nothing. He was the little brother who was years younger than me, probably spoiled and very juvenile. He got excited about meeting me from all he was hearing so he wrote me a message on MySpace, introducing himself and what-not. I don't really remember what it said.. something like, "hi i'm monica's brother and i like regina spektor too! can't wait to meet you." I don't think I was impressed by his grammar. I probably wrote something short and nice back and didn't give it much thought.

Then came the day when I moved back to Atlanta and we finally met face to face. He walked into the basement apartment where I had moved in with my sister Louise and his two sisters. We walked up to each other and shook hands and said, "Nice to meet you." and then he pretty quickly walked over to the couch and sat down. I was relieved because I expected him to want to make conversation and it could have been awkward at first. Poor boy was nervous, though, since everyone had hyped me up so much in his mind and for all he knew he had just shook the actual hand of his ideal soul mate who could make all his wildest dreams come true. I'm glad no one had said anything to me or I probably would have been a wreck on the inside, too. Having known Chris for a few years now it's firmly established that I'm much better at getting emotionally overwrought and nervous like a scared chihuahua when it comes to potentially nerve-wracking situations, so it's understandable that the girls let me remain oblivious while letting the potential enormity of the situation rest squarely on his shoulders. We hung out around each other all the time after that since our sisters were so close and it became apparent that we hung out together very well. We had a bundle of things in common, and we could make each other laugh a lot. I noticed a lot of whispering going on behind my back and he stared at me a whole lot which made me think he must like me, except.. why would he? I was the tall, insecure missionary girl who probably wasn't his type. It perplexed me. Then a month after we met I was outside the basement on a chilly day thinking things over when lo and behold, he came out and stood before me.

"I thought I'd tell you that I have a crush on you."

There was a pause. I don't know if I said anything or just looked at him while he squirmed. "Well, it's pretty cold out here. Guess I'll go back inside."

It was a little exciting. He liked me, he really did! I enjoyed it and rolled it over in my mind again and again. Part of me thought, "Aw... what if..?" but a bigger part of me thought, "Gosh, this is kinda fun but it can't be right." So I toyed with the idea for a few days, not sure exactly what to do. We kept hanging out as we had before, except now that he'd professed his feelings our interactions could only be termed as flirting. Such a dirty-sounding little word. We passed notes in the prayer room and talked and giggled on the phone. Well, he chuckled and I giggled. I drew a stick figure of him in a crib and then I wrote under it, "I'm old enough to be your mother."

Then it kinda reached a point of decision. I realized I couldn't keep going. I half-heartedly tried to make him stop liking me.

Me - "I'm older than you. Women don't age as well as men."
Him - "You're only ten months older. It's not really a problem."
Me - "I'm too tall for you."
Him - "I like it."
Me - "I'm weird."
Him - "I don't think so. You're the funniest girl I know."
Me - "What if I get in a car wreck and the car explodes and I become really deformed?"
Him - "I'll take my chances."
Me - "Do I look funny today?" ..after I cut my bangs until they were only about an inch long and didn't wear make-up in weak hopes of running him off.

He peers at me by the light of a street light as we walk down the sidewalk and then looks away. "No." Oh you boy....... why are you so lovely sometimes?

Finally I had one last trick up my sleeve. I said I'd call my dad. In my mind that meant I would call my dad and tell him there was this boy who was being terribly amorous with me and maybe I should be told to stop talking to him for fear of ending up doing something irretractable like eloping with him. My emotions were too confusing and scattered, I couldn't be trusted with myself. My dad could save me and demand that I stop acting flighty. He always had in the past!

When I told Chris, though, he thought I meant I'd call my dad to get his permission to love him. Poor guy, when he found out that I was trying to back out and get away he was pretty upset. He listened to the song "Realize" by Colbie Caillat while he cried (or so goes the story), reprimanded me for acting pursuable, angrily denounced me, and then shut the door to his heart. That lasted for about a week. He stopped acting fun and friendly and I hated it. He wouldn't teach me how to play the guitar anymore. He wouldn't make conversation with me. We call that period of our relationship "the bump."

It turns out, though, when I called my dad he basically said, "Chris seems like a nice young man. Follow your heart." Of course he didn't tell me to follow my heart, but it was basically as un-helpful as telling me that. I really couldn't take Chris' silence. It was terrible. I wanted him to be my friend at least, and we could take it from there. After a few days of that insufferable phase he warmed up to me again and... well, that was the beginning of Us. :)

We were still awkward with each other at this point. But not too awkward to pose our feet together, apparently.


  1. It'll be a good story to tell the young'uns someday. And stop worrying so much about wrinkles. Would you dare say Mama is unattractive? I think not!

  2. Aww! Hannah! You're so cute! I've never heard this story, so I really enjoyed it. :o)

  3. PS...This post motivated me to listen to Colbie Caillat's song. And then another song. She's cute.
    Hannah, I am so glad you married Chris.
    I love you.

  4. Thanks all of you. :)) I'm pretty happy with him.

  5. Oh Hannah....Chris just seems like the most perfect match any girl ever hope for!!!