Clint and I approached our wedding the way we do most things in our lives. This was our special day, and if someone didn't like that we were having a wedding while I was 7 months pregnant, well then they could just suck it and not come. Our wedding was to be a reflection of us as individuals and as a couple. We would never have pulled it off however, with out the help of family. Especially Clint's mom who made both my dress and all my bridesmaids dresses. And since they were all in a renaissance style, I convinced Clint and the groomsmen to wear puffy shirts. I stopped short at the tights though and let them wear black jeans. It would have been really funny though!
Clint and the boys spent the morning cutting up and generally annoying Clint's sister Misty (who helped out so much and did most of the decorating with the help of my bridesmaids) by throwing roll of tape across the pavilion. They got so out of hand she finally told them to leave! They ended up coming to the house to pick up the flowers. When Jeremy (groomsman and Clint's childhood friend) opened the door to the house, the cat Pepe ran out. So he called to my mother-in-law..."Your pussy's loose!" He has yet to live that one down.
While all this was going on, I was in the final stages of getting myself ready. I was starting to worry a bit since my bridesmaids had not made it back yet from setting up (and didn't until 45 minutes until it was time to leave). I really started freaking out when everyone was getting ready to leave and my dad, my ride hadn't made it there yet. Of course I started crying and make up had to be re-touched, but it all worked out. My dad made it there and we were off to make my grand entrance. I arrived in style in a Z-28 T-top Camero and walked down an aisle of motorcycles to my love waiting for me in his puffy shirt.
The ceremony itself was my least favorite part of our day. We had decided to keep it short and it was only 15 minutes long, but during that 15 minutes the pastor talked about giving money to the church no less than 4 times. We had chosen to use a pastor from Clint's parents church since we weren't established at one at that point. This was one of those mega-churches and they were in the process of breaking ground on a bigger and better facility. We were not impressed and my in-laws stopped going to that church shortly there after.
When the ceremony was over it was time to have a party! We had brisket and turkey legs for everyone to eat. We danced with each other, our parent and our friends. And then everyone at once. I probably didn't sit down for more that five minutes the entire evening and that was to eat.
We left to go to our hotel around 10 happy and exhausted (and starving). We ordered room service and watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding while Clint spent a good 30 minutes pulling pins out of my hair.
We didn't get to go on a honeymoon, we had to be back to help Clint's sister move the next day and I had to be back at work on Monday. We have since made up for it with all of our trips and travels.
Clint, I just want to let you know how much I truly love you. We have hit some bumps along the road in our 8 years of marriage, but nothing like the obstacles we faced in the beginning. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without you in it. I would certainly be less fashionable and likely would have buckled under with many of the issues from my family.
You are my provider, lover and best friend. I cannot wait to see what the next years hold in store for us.
My time there was filled with experiences I never expected to have. Like being a waitress/beer tub girl in a country bar, getting to know and actually considering an ex-convict a good friend, owning my first motorcycle and the one and only Bike Week. It seems like there was so much that happened in just over a year. I have picked just a few moments out of time to share.
Labor Day weekend of 2001 saw me moving to Florida on my own. Clint wasn't quite done with his job and I was transferring within my company to another apartment property that needed an assistant manager a month ago. No big deal. It would be an adventure. I hopped in the truck with the dogs, my mattress and 19" TV and not much else.
I had been adjusting to my new surroundings for exactly one week when as I was opening up the office, making the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and coffee, I turned on the TV in the resident lounge area. The top news was that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings. Everyone was scrambling to find out what was going on when on live TV I saw the second plane circle around and purposefully fly directly into the other tower. The news continued to unfold the most devastating news of my lifetime over the remainder of the morning until the owners of our property decided to send us all home for the remainder of the day.
The next several days filled me with anxiety. I was all alone in a new place with no cell phone service. I was a nervous wreck until Clint showed up unexpectedly. He had decided to leave a week early, just one day before the tragedy to surprise me.
In late November of that year our friends in Texas called to let us know they were having a baby. We were on our way to the airport when we got the call as I was going to Atlanta on a business trip. I started counting as soon as I got off the phone. Then, I check my calendar when I got on the plane. I had the whole flight to worry about the possibility. When I finally reached the hotel, I checked in and then went in search of a store. I needed a pregnancy test. My suspensions were confirmed. We were having a baby. I was not sure whether to be excited or scared. I was definitely worried about telling Clint. I shouldn't have been. Somehow he knew the second he got on the phone.
Just a few weeks later I started spotting at my company's Christmas Party and miscarried later that weekend. The way Clint supported me through the emotional aftermath confirmed what I already knew deep down. Clint was my future.
My doctor advised after the miscarriage to wait at least 3 months before trying again if that was what we wanted to do. So we sat down in April and had the conversation. Yes, we did want children, but our situation at that time wasn't right for it. We knew we wanted to get married when we got back home to Texas, about a year later and we wanted to be surrounded by our family and friends. So we would wait. I got pregnant with Angelique the same night of that conversation. We decided to wait a little while to tell anyone this time mostly because I was nervous. That changed Mother's Day weekend. I received a package in the mail from Clint's mother. She had started making a blanket as soon as she found out about the first pregnancy. She had said in her letter that she knew there would be another baby someday for us. At that point we had to call her up to let her know that should would be a grandma sooner than later.
We also called Clint's grandma to let her in on the news. Her response was my absolute favorite ever. She told him, "Well honey, I knew if you kept trying, you'd get it right someday".
We also got engaged in May. We had gone to the mall to look at rings and try to figure out what to get. I was looking at a 1/4 carat princess cut while he was pointing out a 1 carat marquis. I told him I could never wear anything that large. I would be happy with something smaller.
When we got back home I was laying down, contemplating a nap when Clint told me he had a surprise for me. It was hidden somewhere in our apartment and my clue was moo. I spent the next half hour looking under bells, checking the milk, cheese and yogurt in the fridge, looking in jacket pockets and shaking shoes. I gave up and he told me I had a one point been close. So, I started my search again only to come up empty handed, again. I was frustrated and crying on the bed when Clint took me into the closet, picked up one of his dress shoes and pulled out a box.
Clint proposed to me in our bathroom while I was bawling and getting on to him for being so mean to me. He had bought the ring in March and was waiting for us to go home Memorial Weekend to have all our friends around us, but with my emotional state figured it was better to do it with just the two of us. Oh yeah, it was a 1-1/4 carat marquis that I had told him was too big. I got over that though.
I moved back to Texas and in with Clint's mom and step dad 6 months into my pregnancy in order to keep my job (gotta keep the insurance when you're having a baby) and plan our wedding. Clint stayed in Florida to finish his last month of school. We were getting married one week after graduation!
After all of the events that transpired over New Years, I was bound and determined to start anew. No more staying in a relationship because it was familiar. I went out on a first date for the first time in nearly 3 years and it felt good. I hadn't not been in a relationship since my senior year of high school and I was less than 2 months from my 21st birthday. I was embarking on finally taking my mother's advise and "sowing my wild oats".
Clint did finally talk LJ into giving him my phone number. When he called he brought up the fact that I failed to give him my number himself. I had to remind him that he failed to tell me he had a live in girlfriend. He then filled me in on parts of their story (which is far more extensive than he shared here) and that the fact they were still living together was just a matter of her finding somewhere else to live. If they had still been together they would have been at the same New Year's party. He had a point, but I was still sceptical. So, I would talk to him when he called, but there was no way I was jumping into the middle of that kind of mess.
That January, I spent a lot of time hanging out with LJ at her house and going out with large groups of friends. Safety in numbers type of thing. Then, Clint started showing up for these group outings. I had a feeling LJ was helping Clint along behind the scenes, but I was having nothing of it (well, almost nothing). One night - in January (yes, even in Texas it gets cold in January), he rode his motorcycle across Houston in 32 degree weather. Everyone at the house went out to check out his bike and ohh and ahhh over how nuts he was. I kept my happy ass right there inside where it was warm. His attempt to impress had failed (I know I was being bitchy, but he kinda deserved it after New Years).
It was probably about the 3rd week in January when he finally broke down and officially asked me out on a date. I've told that story in detail before and if you want to read it go here. It was a great evening, if not a bit odd, but I felt truly embraced (literally) for who I was, not only Clint but also his friends. I lost all mine in the break-up...it was one of Bryan's provisions.
I think it was one weekend after that when Clint stayed the night with me at my apartment. We were woken early in the morning by something hitting my window. I lived on the 3rd floor! Clint looked out the window and informed me some goofy asshole was throwing rocks at it. Well shit! The goofy asshole was Bryan and he definitely knew I had an overnight guest. I went down stairs to see what he wanted. He was livid and made some threats along the line of a video he had made of us together, that I was unaware of while it was being taped, would find its way to the Internet. He didn't really have to worry about his part in the video since he made sure his face was never on the screen. He left me to "think over" what he had said.
Clint was ready for a beat down, but allowed me to handle the situation. Bryan called later and apologized and the video was destroyed as was anything that I had felt for him. Kristi of course created her own type of havoc. She had moved out at some point in January, so that was one issue out of the way. Then an old friend of theirs died in a motorcycle accident and the funeral was on Valentine's Day. She used their shared grief to get him to leave me at his apartment to go talk to her about their friend. Once there, she professed her love and begged for him to take her back, blah, blah, blah.
I knew that night that our relationship was different when he came home, apologized and told me all about what had happened. This was something new for me. Honesty and complete disclosure. Things were not going according to my single lady plan, but I didn't care anymore.
Then, in March, we came to a cross roads. Clint was leaving in September to go to Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando. I had 3 choices: we break up and if we weren't seeing anyone when he got back, we could try again; we could try a long distance relationship and I would got out to see him when I could; or I could go with him.
After an extremely emotional start to my New Year's celebrating, I wanted nothing more than to wash away the year 2000 (and the past 3 years) with as much alcohol I could possible manage. I did wait to start on my mission until I got to my cousin, LJ's party (yep, the same one Clint and I are related to) and had every intention of staying the night. Not long after I arrived so did another ex boyfriend of mine. Joe was the boyfriend I ran back to during my relationship with Bryan. He happened to be dating another cousin of LJ (and Clint's - 3rd cousin, I think) They have since married so, I'm technically now related to an ex-boyfriend. All the more reason to get plastered as soon as possible.
I was well on my way with my bottle of Parrot Bay when Clint walked in the front door. Teasing commenced on the 2-step debacle. A challenge was issued and room was made to clear up the who was the better dancer. The consensus: He's a better 2-stepper, but I have skills.
A few drinks later Joe caught me in the kitchen and a "discussion" ensued about how since I cheated on Bryan with him, I must have also cheated on him. That and the fact I had opportunity and didn't answer the phone every time he called me at night was enough proof. He worked on an offshore oil rig and worked 2 weeks on, two weeks off. I tried to explain his flawed logic since the at the time we were dating I was in high school, participated in debate and worked 32 hours a week. I didn't have the time or energy to try to cheat on him. It was Clint who came to my rescue and told him to back off.
The night wound down as New Year's typically does. With a kiss at midnight. Both Clint and I were on our own and it made sense that we would kiss, and make out, and wow!
Due to lots of people staying the night and lack of sleeping surfaces, Clint and I shared a queen size air mattress. It was flat in the morning and you can make what ever inference from that you will.
The most amazing thing happened in the morning. We had so many interest in common and tons to talk about. He stayed at the house helping to clean while LJ and I ran to the store for stuff to make everyone breakfast. While on the way there she filled me in on the fact that Clint had a girl friend that he lived with.
Ummmm, hello! That would be something to disclose! But I didn't say anything when we got back. If anything I had a solid reason to not fall back into the same old pattern with Bryan. I had burned the bridge. FINALLY! That night as we were all leaving to go home, Clint asked if he could call me. I told him he could, then intentionally didn't give him my number.
Wow, I hate this story.At least it has a happy ending.I ended up with the most wonderful woman in the world who has helped me become a man I never thought I could be.
OK…Junior year high school.My friend Wild Bill introduced me to a girl he new from his neighborhood at lunch one day.She was one year younger than me 5’4”, blonde, blue eyes about 100 lbs.Met her again at a city dance that weekend and started dating from then.It was puppy love at first sight.I should have known she was going to be trouble.On our first date her father came to a party she drug me to and caught her with a bottle of rum thrown up.I fortunately was not drinking because I wanted to make a good impression on the folks.Dad grounded her and I hung in for the next few weeks.We were pretty much inseparable.
For the next few years of High School it was a typical relationship with only a few arguments here and there.One of which is when she scared the crap out me saying that she missed her period and she might be the P word.Of course this was just a test from a silly little confused girl.After I graduated she still had one year left.I worked and went to school while she did the same.In the winter of 1998 I sold my beloved motorcycle and bought a ring.(I wish I could go back and beat my own ass for that dumb move).I remember asking her father if I could marry her.He said “You know she is going to end up just like her mother”.Kristi’s mother was a notorious head case who purposely argued with her father constantly to annoy him.His escape was making slot cars in the garage.
After we were engaged I got cold feet.I suck at math and in college it was not getting any better.So I got a tutor.Welllll long story short, I screwed the tutor and failed math.A few of my friends saw me with this girl and told Kristi.This began our demise.Shortly after she graduated I joined the Army.College sucked and I needed to get the hell out of that town.While in basic training I received a letter from my mother explaining that Kristi was dating one of my old friends.Who is still one of my close friends.I forgave him because I understood.(Her Va JJ was a man eater and he fell in love).When I took my first leave from the Army I came home 6’3” 220 lbs of solid rock.I went to a party that night to see my friends Alex, Wild Bill and Shawn Watkins (God rest your soul brother).I was showing a young lady I had just met a demonstration of how beer taste better when it is drank off of a boob.She walked in.My old friend was scared and she was jealous so she left him.Wow it sucks when it comes around to bite you in the ass.
At that moment I had ceased to care in my life.I gave up on God, my parents, responsibilities and pretty much anything else.I sank into drugs, alcohol and gambling.A few weeks later I was injured in a training exercise in the Army.One year later I came home medically retired.We were constantly on the rocks.It seems like all we did was argue and make up and my habits got worse and she got crazier.I was dating two or three girls at once and living with her.
On New Years Eve we were just about done.My best friend came home on leave from Maryland and it was time to party.He wanted to go to my cousin’s house and so I told the crazy B adios.I walked in to the party and saw this hot little number with liter of Parrot Bay Rum to her lips.This was no casual drink; this girl was on a mission to get shit faced.I looked at my BF and said that one is mine.
I love you baby.I have been clean now for over eight years.Funny thing is at those moments in my life I never thought I was going to live this long and now with Cara my babies and God I can’t wait for the rest of my life.
If you are just joining this saga, go back and read Love at First Dance? and The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Cara. Clint's wasn't meant to be story should be up any day now (as soon as he gets a chance to write it, he's pretty busy working and taking care of kids while I'm working all the time).
The other day, Clint read my version of events from our first meeting on the post Love at First Dance?
His comment..."You didn't look awkward and shaggy. I wouldn't have asked you to dance if I didn't think you were cute."
And, just because I am stubborn and have to prove a point. I searched out and found a photo of my self at the right age. He has since changed his mind.
My photographic evidence (I got one of Clint too):
And, this day wouldn't be complete without saying a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! To my big 5 year old man.
Christian you surprise me everyday. I love watching you grow and learn and experience new things. I never would have imagined your interest would span so far. From karate to dirt bikes, fishing to friends. I enjoy the time we spend just you and me...even when some weeks its just when we are getting our shots together.
I think my favorite thing you have said recently, is that when you are a grown up, you are going to get dressed up and go to a wedding and invite Abigail (a very cute little girl in your preschool) and you are going to marry her and have 16 kids. I will remind you of this someday. And son, if you have 16 kids...mommy is not babysitting for you.
For those of you just joining in, I am telling the story of how my husband and I came to be. If you missed the beginning, go back and read Love at First Dance?
Now, our story wouldn't be complete without the stories of the ones that came before. You see, Clint and I were both supposed to marry other people at one point in history and both played a role in our relationship. Today, I will tell you about Bryan and I have persuaded Clint to share his story as well.
I had this terrible habit when I was a teen. You see, I continuously broke one of the biggest dating rules. DON'T DATE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH. Then again, I was in high school, participated in extra curricular activities and worked about 32 hours a week at HEB (major chain grocery store in Texas). The window for meeting guys outside of school and work was barely a crack.
Bryan and I had our first date towards the end of my senior year of high school. I was 18 and he was 20. He had asked me out a year before, but my parents were not about to allow me to date anyone older than me, so I had turned him down. That rule changed (or was overlooked) when my parents started having trouble in their marriage and I started dating who ever I wanted while their attention was otherwise occupied.
Two weeks after our first date, my prom date called me on the Monday before prom (I was going with a friend since I didn't have a boyfriend) and informed me he did not feel comfortable taking me. You see, the plan had been for a group of us to all go together and he had a "thing" for one of my friends and her boyfriend was coming home from the Navy to take her. I did the only thing I could think of. I called Bryan and asked if he wanted to take me. For some reason he said yes with only 5 days notice to get a tux, but hey...I had a prom date and the day was saved. We were pretty much a couple from that point forward.
There were several break-ups along the road which he attributed to my stubbornness and making up my mind on things before talking it over. For me it was more about his desire to keep his life separate from me while exercising control over me. I am not about to say I was perfect and failures we faced were completely his fault, I had a lot of issues. Many stemming from examples of my parents' relationships which were anything but stable.
It was not uncommon for him to ask out of the blue if I had cheated on him. Eventually, it can be said that I did. Weather it was kissing a guy after a party, having too much to drink and making out with my roommates friend, or running back to an ex, it all occurred during break ups (or breaks if he would not get out of my damn car until I agreed to it). My biggest fault would be failure to disclose my activities during our time apart when we would get back together. For some reason in my mind, dysfunctional was better than alone.
The relationship started to wear on me and I spent a lot of time looking like this:
(If you are done lecturing me now, please get out of my truck!)
In fact I think he took that picture of me when I was already pissed off at him. We spent a lot of time fighting/breaking up just like this.
The final straw for me came Christmas / New Years Eve 2000. Bryan and I had been unofficially engaged (committed to be married with a promise ring - that was to later be replaced by a nicer one) for nearly 2 years. I went home sick from work with a wicked migraine, vomited from light sickness and pulled the covers over my head for the next 6 hours. That evening I was feeling a little better (still nauseated and physically drained) so he came to see me at my apartment to exchange our Christmas gifts since he would be leaving the following morning to go hunting for a week with his dad. He was pretty insistent on getting it on because he would be gone for a whole week, which I gave into, but the big kicker was that he wouldn't kiss me or even face me since I had thrown up because it may have been the start of the flu or "something". He just couldn't risk being sick in the deer stand. Ass!
I was left spending Christmas Eve evaluating what I was doing with a guy who would use me like that, especially when he thought I was sick. He should have been taking care of me, instead of taking advantage of me. I had the whole week to stay nice and angry. When he got home on New Year's Eve we were supposed to go to a friends party together, but I had found out my cousin was having a party as well and wanted to put in an appearance. One of my ex boyfriends was also going to be at my cousins party. It all ended with an ultimatum. "Is the other party so important to you you are willing to throw this away?" It didn't take me long to answer.
After he got done throwing a tantrum (flushing my ring down the toilet, raiding my closet and taking everything he had bought me that he could find) I left him standing in the living room of my apartment (my roommate was home) and went to my cousins party. That was the night I met Clint (again).
When I was a kid, we went camping every summer at a place called Chain O' Lakes. My mom (step mom) wasn't (and still isn't) much into the roughin' it in the great outdoors, so we would spend the week out there with her sister's family and my parents would come up on the weekend. It was heaven for us kids. We could go horseback riding (guided trail ride), swim in the swimming lake (there was only one designated for swimming...the rest were home to many alligators, and a pool with a sand bottom and a huge slide you rode a boogie board down. We were free to roam through the wooded trails on our own just as long as we checked in every hour or so. Looking back as an adult, the appeal seems a bit less. There was the occasional problem with a gator making its way to the pool, and you better not leave you little doggie tied up outdoors at night, or he might become a snack, and we had to make sure to pack the clear nail polish since our romps through the woods guaranteed chiggers. But we all loved it none the less.
My favorite thing about this kids paradise for me was the Saturday night dance at the pavilion. At 12 (with a 13 year old cousin) I was old enough to go unsupervised (the pavilion was in sight of our campsite) and to watch over my 10 year old cousin and sister.
Of course at 12, I was in a very awkward phase. Just starting to notice boys. I had grown really tall, but hadn't filled out with any curves yet, and I was growing out my hair so it was pretty shaggy looking.
Even then, I had the hots for a boy in a cowboy hat and sat giggling with my cousin over all the cute boys and avoiding eye contact with all of them on the off chance they might have looked my way. Then, these two boys that were there together came and asked my cousin and I to dance.
It was a country song, so a 2 step was in order. However, this boy was not doing the steps right. Little did I know there are several variations of the 2-step. And of course being the tallest among a group of girl cousins who danced together because there was no other options, I was used to leading - I still sometimes have an issue with this. I spent the rest of the night disappointed that my dance (I believe my first with a boy) did not turn out as well as I would have hoped.
The rest of the trip of course was awesome and filled with all the outdoor fun that I thrived on. When I got home, I called my one of my other cousins, LJ (dad's side of the family) and filled her in on my trip and my ill fated dance.
LJ: Holy Crap...Was they guy you danced with named Clint?
ME: Ummm...yeah, how did you know that?
LJ: I just talked to him. He's my 2nd cousin. He said you couldn't dance.
Now, before you start freaking out, because cousins...gross! We are not a part of the same family trees, just 2 tress that met more than once. You see...my dad's brother married Clint's grandmother's sister, making their children cousins to both of us. Complicated I know, and I get grief about it all the time.
The you don't know how to 2-step thing continued for the next nine years over the phone and was solved once and for all the next time we met face to face.
But I'll save that story for another day!
This photo was taken a few years before that camping trip, but it is the only one I have of the four of us girls that went to the dance. Can you tell which one is me?
And just for fun...the family 20 years later...there were 3 more additions and one who didn't make it for the photo.
I know, I've been gone for a bit. Life kinda got hectic with work, family and other issues. So much was going on, I just didn't know where to start.
I have an idea now. I may or may not go back and cover my stresses from the last month (or more) when I come to terms with it a bit more, but for now, I'm going to tread on more stable ground.
You see, my anniversary is coming up. Just 2 weeks from today. So, between now and then, I will share our story with you. I will try to include some old school pictures spanning our relationship from the beginning. Check back soon. This should be entertaining!
I am a wife and a mother just trying to stay sane in the crazy world of our lives. My goal in life tends to be getting my house clean and keeping it that way for more than 2 days. But when you're never home who has time to clean?