I stumbled across the Love and Marriage Series at Lindsey's blog A Dollop of My Life. Lindsey is teaming up with five other bloggers for a month-long series of posts and linkups about relationships. Hmm... seems relevant to this blog. Let's do this thing! Who's ready for a love story?
I've mentioned many, many times on this blog what a big part of my life my involvement with 4-H is. I bleed green and white. Well, in a roundabout way, I might not have ever met Mr. Q if not for 4-H! I worked at the 4-H camp I'd attended as a kid when I was in college. My second summer working there was a crazy summer - one of my coworkers dubbed it "the summer of love" because so many couples were forming. For me, it was like a weird switch had flipped and all of a sudden boys liked me. I wish I knew what it was, but I had three guys flirting with me at the beginning of the summer. Totally unprecedented.
Anyway, it was also the summer of one of my best friends' weddings. After all the wedding craziness, my BFF B and I needed a night out on the town, and our hair and makeup were already done, so off we went. While we were downtown, we ran into one of my coworkers from camp. Who introduced us to her best friends, one of whom was Mr. Q! We hit it off pretty much instantly, grabbed a booth and spent most of the night talking about everything from music to faith to football. Except for football teams, we were on the same page! From that moment on, I pretty much forgot about those other guys - Mr. Q and I went on dates around the lake area on my nights off from camp, and at the end of that July he asked me to be his girlfriend.
Mr. Q got sucked back into college life! Even though he attended our rival, Virginia Tech, he sure did fit in at UVa. I was a resident adviser that year and also very involved in a Christian fellowship on grounds; Mr. Q became beloved by my fellow RAs, brothers and sisters in the fellowship, and even by my church family. Mr. Q spent many a weekend at Mr. Jefferson's University with me. He was constantly pushing me to do things that were outside of my comfort zone, like sing karaoke in front of all of his friends. Since we had very similar musical tastes, one of our favorite things to do was go to concerts together.
Our relationship progressed at a faster pace than most because I was also dealing with the most serious thing that had ever happened to me: my father was terminally ill. I'd gone into counseling when my dad's kidneys failed, because I knew what was coming eventually. When it came, it wasn't what I expected - my father's death was caused by a brain tumor that my parents didn't tell me much about because my dad wanted me to stay in school. Going back to school in January to finish my senior year was difficult, and I don't know how I would have survived that year without Mr. Q. We'd only been together for about six months at that point but it was clear that he was in it for better or worse. He was there for moral support and was my rock through my year of graduate school as well.
I will be honest that I got a little impatient with Mr. Q while it seemed like all of our friends were getting married and we were still just dating. He joked about having a "five year plan," which drove me crazy because I felt like I was READY! During my first two years of teaching we sometimes went whole weeks without seeing each other - I'd taken a job in his hometown, but that meant an hour commute for me each morning and afternoon, and with lesson planning and other responsibilities I was maxed out. It got easier as time went by, but sometimes I'm still giving 100% to my job - further proof that Mr. Q is amazing because he knows and understands how important being a good teacher is to me.
Mr. Q proposed in December 2010 - my third year of teaching middle school English. He'd had a clear idea of what he wanted to accomplish to feel "ready" to get married, and the final building block was the new job he'd gotten at a furnishing and home decor company in town. I'd really started to worry about the toll working as an irrigation specialist on a golf course was taking on his health, and he knew it. His job search took a while, but I am so glad that he found his current job because it's a perfect fit for him- even though customer service is stressful, he is incredibly patient and his clients adore him.
Part of our preparation for marriage was premarital counseling with our minister, who did not pull any punches when it came to asking difficult questions. I think that counseling was a good experience for us because it reminded us that when it comes to the most important things in life, we aren't alone - we have our families, our communities, and our friends to support us, pray for us, and model good relationships. One of the things from counseling that I still try to practice every single day is thanking Mr. Q for doing little things he would have done anyway, like taking out the trash or cleaning the snow off my car. It reminds me how thankful I am to have a teammate in life. I also loved the prayer our minister shared with us - he said that when he and his wife have obstacles in their marriage, he prays, "Lord, please help my wife's husband."
You already know the rest of the story - we were married on July 9, 2011 and have been living in Mr. Q's hometown and building our lives together. This man loves me, and he is my world.