Our Story: The One About Dating Me For Real

Every once in a while Kevin brings up a certain topic in regards to my blog. It goes something like this:

You still haven’t posted our wedding pictures.

When are you going to post about our wedding?

If you want, you could post about our wedding.

or my favorite…when I’m like “I haven’t blogged all week and I have no recipes photographed! Gahhhh!”

Well…you could post about…our wedding.

(Please know that I’m smiling)

The truth is. I wasn’t ready to write about our wedding yet, because it seemed like there was so much story pre-wedding that I still needed to share. But…here are some wedding pictures to go along with the post. You can thank Kevin for that.

photo: Zaitography

I wrote kind of a quick summary, a catch up of sorts, An Update on Life (I also wrote about our dog. Come Meet Bailey.) But I haven’t really told you the story of how we got together. And actually, I wasn’t totally sure how I wanted to do this.

Shame on me for waiting so long to write all about us because now it feels like there is so much story to tell and I don’t even know where to start. (I didn’t want to detail everything in real time because it is out of my comfort zone to write about something so personal, and have the person I’m writing about read it, and oh my gosh what if I jinx things?!?)

When I look back at all the months, and now years, that we’ve known each other, and I try to think about what I should share or what things are relevant…it feels like there are a million little details that I never want to forget.

I don’t ever want to forget the early days of our friendship and all the things that make me smile so much when I look back on them, so I decided that I’d chronicle some aspects of our story here. In light of it being Valentine’s Day I wanted to start with a story about Valentine’s Day 2016.

I told the kids about part of this story the other day because they asked me about how we started dating. We joked a bit about a specific quote in this story and the kids had some good fun with their imitations of said quote. Maybe a little bit too much fun because Kevin teased me that I was a “betrayer!” for telling them. So, I asked him first if it was ok to share this. I wanted to make sure, since it is something of a personal story, that it was actually ok to tell the world all of this.

He said ok, but please don’t make me out to be a jerk. I told him I wouldn’t, because he isn’t a jerk, and that I love this story. I love us and thinking about this memory really makes me smile. The part of the story at the end? It is in my top 10 happy memories of all time.

So, here we go.  The story of Valentine’s Day 2016, or The One About Dating Me For Real.

(p.s. I’m kind of nervous because Kevin hasn’t read this yet.)

KatieKevinWedding3

photo: Zaitography

I’m going to start with some serious truths here.

I learned very quickly after meeting Kevin that he pretty much had it all:

Thoughtful and kind – check.

Fun to be around – check.

Great with kids – check.

Works hard – check.

Knows how to apologize – check.

Great conversationalist – check.

Sense of humor – check.

Likes learning about what I do for work – check.

Attractive – triple check.

He was and is a real man. I think any woman knows what I mean when I say this. Being a member of the male species, does not make you a man. There is a big, big difference between a boy, a guy, and a MAN. 

Kevin and I met a couple of times before we actually started to get to know each other, but both times were only in passing, and then months and months would go by. Sometime I’ll write about our various pre-knowing each other meetings.

When Kevin and I first started to get to know each other he had been single for a bit already and I was still going through my extremely long divorce. That first six months that I knew Kevin was especially brutal for me.

Valentine’s Day was a particularly hard time for me during this period of life. It was right around Valentine’s Day several years ago that I learned I most certainly was going to become one of those 50% statistics in regards to my first marriage. It left a really bad taste in my mouth about the holiday.

Being the amazing guy and loyal friend that Kevin is, he was good about offering his support or making plans right around this time so I’d be able to keep my mind off of things I’d rather not have creeping into my thoughts.

I loved spending time with him.  We had such a good time together (during many dinners out trying and talking about new food, sunny, boating afternoons, dog walks, and even just evenings watching tv together because we enjoyed each other’s company). I was happy being around him. Plus, our kids liked being together.

And so before I knew it, without even trying to, I had broken the #1 rule for single ladies: I fell for my single neighbor. I knew we were just friends, in fact I came to realize that he was actually one of my very best friends.

But all that good stuff I said he had (and still has!)….I mean, come on! How can you not like that?

We were both casually dating others through various dating services, but serious with no one. When he said he had plans or was going out but didn’t elaborate, I knew it meant a date. I hated hearing that. Yet, I, too, was going on the dates. And although I was enjoying adult company and conversation, none of those dates were Kevin.

So…last year Valentine’s Day weekend, Kevin made plans for us because I needed a distraction from all things the month of February. We went to the flea market. It was a super nice day so it was great to be outside. We ate total garbage food like sausage on a stick and had a good time just walking around and talking.

I wasn’t thinking at all about the fact that it was February or the next day was Valentine’s Day, or even that I was a single woman trying to navigate this really weird world of dating as a divorced mom.

photo: Zaitography

After our trip to the flea market, we headed back to our street (remember, lived across the street from each other)and Kevin tells me that he got me something. Then hands me a big, red HEART shaped box, full of HEART shaped chocolates, each with a printed LOVE MESSAGE underneath from the manufacturer.

And I’m thinking IS THIS GUY FOR REAL????? 

In his defense, he didn’t think about the heart shape and he told me last night that he didn’t even realize that the box contained all the love messages. But – JUST FRIENDS. Remember?

I took the box, thanked him, and went home. I removed all of the chocolate. Stuffed half of in my face almost instantly. Threw the heart shaped box and accompanying printed love message nonsense in the trash immediately. 

Obviously, I had fallen for him. I knew it. And I think he knew it. I was peeved at this love themed gift from someone who was just my friend.

The next day I confronted him about these conflicting messages. He said he was just trying to do something nice since he knew it was a hard day for me and that no one else would.

And I’m like “Oh really? What about this and this and this…” and listed every nice, boyfriend-ish thing he had ever done.

I topped it off with “you know, everyone actually thinks we’re a couple…and it is because of how YOU act.” (I know, really mature).

Seriously, if you asked me, he was such a good friend and so thoughtful that there were times that it seemed like he was a boyfriend. Then I had to smack myself awake.

Honestly, we had a big fight. I left basically asking him to leave me alone. I told him that I needed some space, or else, and that I needed time to sort through things and figure out how to just be friends…or if we could be just friends…because THIS (motioning between the two of us) was way too complicated and hard for me.

photo: Zaitography

Fast forward through a few weeks. I’m keeping my distance, which is harder than you might think when you live across the street from each other and your kids play together. Kevin, God bless him!, must not have understood what I meant when I said that I needed space. His texts and phone calls and what-are-you-up-to’s were met with mostly radio silence from me. And when I did talk to him, I was all about trying to remind him that “I need space” because I’m trying to let.it.go. and p.s. I wish I could tell you that I’m not having much luck.

March 3 (I remember this because it was the day before Logan’s birthday) I got a “what are you up to?” And I gave him a knee jerk reaction, mouthful of a text in response.

Unless you’re planning to invite me to do something, please do not ask me what I am up to because I don’t have plans and the polite thing for me to do is to ask you what you are up to in response, and I really do not want to hear what you are up to because oh by the way I’d rather be spending time with you anyway. (Take. A. Freakin’. Breath. Katie.)

It was like 30 minutes and no response. And I’m like, oh crap what did I do?

Then, I hear a knock on the door. It’s Kevin. After asking if he could come in, I said ok. He tells me to sit down because “I have something to say.” (This is the one liner the kids were cracking up at. I’m sure you can imagine 4 kids attempting to imitate this scene from our past).

I’m thinking who is this guy to come to my house and tell ME to sit down on MY couch? I’m angry because it is all I can do to not be sad at this whole thing. I think I thought that there was about to be some sort of a not-so-pleasant conversation.

Then he says what I seriously had been dying to hear for the last year and a half….

“I want to date you for real. Like, tell our kids and hold your hand in front of our neighbors date you.”

He proceeds to ramble on and on for nearly a hour. I’m sitting there the whole time will my arms crossed. Half scowling at him and half crying. Not sure if I want to smile or not.

Finally, he takes a breath and is like:

“what do you think…?”

and I’m like “Are you kidding me? Is this some sort of a joke?”

and he says “No, it isn’t a joke.”

It’s like a freakin’ romantic comedy, right?

I don’t remember what I said exactly, obviously something along the lines of “ok,” since here we are. I think I had a few choice words for him as well about “what you put me through” and maybe a little bit of name calling. Remember how I’m really mature?

He apologized, because that’s what he does. And honestly it is the best thing ever to be with a man who knows how to apologize when he’s wronged you. (Also, I suck at apologizing. With every received apology it is like a little bit of my brain and a little bit of my heart are figuring out how to be an apologizer).

We hugged it out.

I happy cried it out.

And after that we went to dinner where I ate on autopilot because I was in such a daze that this was actually happening, half  convinced that I was going to wake up at any moment and this would be the most cruel dream my brain could have conjured.

photo: Zaitography

Because this was the moment I had been waiting and hoping for. The moment that inside my heart I just knew someday would come but at the same time I could never see how it would. The thing that I never stopped hoping for. The thing that the more I got to know Kevin, the more I wanted it.

I wanted a chance at FOR REAL.

When I thought of my future I couldn’t picture it with anyone else. Neither could I picture anyone else being stepdad to my kids or any other step kids than the ones that I ended up with.

It’s the thing that when I’m discouraged and losing hope over something, I remind myself that this great thing I never stopped hoping for actually came true, even though honestly it seemed like it never would.

FOR REAL happened.

Let me tell you, for real is pretty much the best!

We are here. Somehow 6 months have already gone by in the blink of an eye and it seems like this has always been our life.

This life of ours is so good.

Even when it is hard because we’re building a family together, or busy because Kevin is traveling a ton, or we’re tired because we stayed up too late so we could have time together after getting 4 kids to bed, or because the house seems like it is always a mess, or because the dog is tracking dirt everywhere because our backyard isn’t in yet, or because Kevin has to commute such a distance, or because we have to be in 3 places at once with various children, or because it feels like there are never enough hours in the day…or because life just happens sometimes.

Even then, this life of ours is SO GOOD.

And it has only been 6 months. I can’t wait for more!

Thank you for dating me FOR REAL.