Emcee & Me

After all of that heaviness, I was looking forward to the next time I got to see Owen. I waited a week and a half before making the 5 hour drive once again. I met up with my best friends. We head to get the best shaved ice margaritas while the men are at work. Owen took the whold day off and works to make sure that each couple has their hotel room, and to ensure us girls have a room to get ready in. He’s “The Voice of the Thunder” so he has to head to rehearsal before the rest of us even need to be ready. He’s extra bummed because the other boys got delayed at work-he takes two shots with me and Barbie. He seems a little grumpy but he surprises me with a beautiful arrangement of peonies in our room.

HLM, Barbie, and I are lucky enough that BadAss Hairstylist flew done to help us with our hair and makeup. She’s been one of our best friends for years and has all of the being-a-girl talent that we lack. I recently died my hair white-blonde and picked out a sleek ice blue gown with a sharp racerback in the front and back too. She develops this wavy tucked braid and beautiful big eyelashes and I look like Elsa from Frozen and Khaleesi from Game of Thrones. I feel elegant and stylish and uniquely beautiful. Barbie and I walk down the hall to pick up Owen and Ken and their room is filled with 8 guys getting ready in their dress blues. Owen is sitting down putting his shoes on, catches a glimpse of me, and his mouth drops into a big O before grinning.

I love being on his arm. I love dressing up. We float downstairs and join the crowds. Owen is charming and funny and I can tel that everyone loves him. They’re eager to say hi and introduce their dates and he’s excited to introduce me. We make our way down to the ballroom and get in the receiving line. Owen is nervous when we are about to shake all of the fancy leaders’ hands and their wives/partners. He tells me that it’s polite to saya quick greeting but move on quickly. I start to do that, but the one head guy apologizes for having to steal my date away for the ceremony but I make a joke about not expecting anything less. Then he tells me that because of the inconvenience to me that “Lt Pedersen is ordered to dance any dance you want” and we go back and forth naming different ones- waltz, two step, break dance, etc. He’s very friendly and I am sure to compliment his wife’s gown and we discuss that for a minute. I chat with each successive couple for quite a few minutes and by the time we’re done, there is no other soldier and date in front of us. Whoops! Did I talk too long? Will he be upset? Instead, I catch Owen staring at me and grinning. We find our assigned seats and he looks at me immediately saying “you are so perfect. I wouldn’t want to be here with anyone else. Man. You are perfect.”

The rest of the night was just perfect. Owen stands up at the front, being the perfect emcee. Normally, I get second hand embarrassed for people, but Owen is smart and capable and I don’t think twice about him standing up in front of everyone. We eat the decent food an dance the whole time to the not as awesome band and take pictures with our friends. We get Whataburger with Kar and Jason and I almost fall asleep at the table. We’re exhausted and head straight to sleep.

The next day we get up to drive to East Texas. My sweet nephew was having his second birthday-it was Wild West themed. Owen digs in his closet to find cowboy boots to match the theme. We pull up onto their property and immediately have my sweet submissive dog get in a fight with the ranch dog, my 9 year old niece bounds up to hug us, and then Owen locks his keys in the car. He is gentle in his reaction, not freaking out or making a big deal- just accepting it. He ends up calling USAA and they come unlock his car-seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We take photobooth pictures and eat barbeque and spend time with my family. Eventually, the other guests start to clear out. We decide to take a ride around the 53 acres on the four wheeler. I hop on to drive first and we zoom over the rough ground, making our way to the back corner. The wheat like grass is long and soft and waving in the small breeze. The sky is huge and bright blue and there are well groomed, peaceful ranches on all sides of us. I park the four wheeler and turn around on the seat. He’s wearing his Stetson and I duck under it to kiss him. I feel like I’m holding my breathe and my mind is going a mile a minute. I don’t say anything out loud and neither does he. Owen looks at me sweetly, puts his Stetson on my head and says “Barbie was wrong last night. Whoever wears my Stetson doesn’t necessarily wear the pants. You put your Stetson on the woman who has your heart.” I pause. Is he? Will he? Right now? Where are those three words? This man. Tellmetellmetellme.

It’s pure silence.

I sigh in my head and think “well, he’s not ready I guess”
He says “Hannah. I love you”

It stops my heart. And my racing mind. “I love you too” races out of my mouth.

“I love you. I’m in love with you. I love everything about you.” he whispers in between kisses.

This man. “Finally”, I say in my head.
I think.
I may have said it out loud.


I Already Know

Our drive up to meet his parents and some of his siblings is rough. Right before we got in our separate cars he had been super impatient. He had been impatient all weekend. Owen was stressed that his friends weren’t doing anything fun. He wanted everyone to get moving. Instead of helping people along and being kind and generous with his behaviors, he would charge ahead, leaving other people to carry all of the things. Frustration without helpful actions. I was tired of it. I hadn’t said anything all weekend, but now that we were alone, I snapped.

His whole demeanor changed. I automatically knew that I had cut deep. I apologized for snapping but the damage was done. He said he was fine and got in his car.

Twenty minutes in to the drive, he calls me.

“I’m not okay”- O

“I know”- LD

“You are 100 percent right. If I’m going to be impatient, I could also be helpful. You’re right. However, you could have told me this when we were hanging out with Big Sexy and HLM or with BFF and BFF’s Wife. Literally, any other time than right before I take someone home to meet my family for the first time. I’ve been looking forward to this. And now I have to figure out how to get over this so my parents don’t notice that something is wrong. Gah, Le Distraire. Any other time.”- O

He’s right. I could have continued to be patient. Shit. He is crushed because apparently he’s nervous. He’s denied it this whole time. But I know he is. Especially now. Mister Chill Fun Party Guy is actually Stressed Out Planner Control Guy.

“I’m truly sorry Owen. I know what this means to you. I wasn’t planning my timing. I made a mistake and let it just come out. I was frustrated and exhausted from this weekend and I messed up. I’m not perfect. I can’t always plan everything. And I’m sorry”-O

We go back and forth a few more times with him reiterating how important this day was. Like I don’t know that. Like I haven’t been a saint of a girlfriend with a smile and open arms for all of his crazy. I’M FUCKING EXHAUSTED. And also sad. Is there anything worse than hurting someone you care about? We talk like this until he’s good and fine. I’ve apologized 5 different ways and he feels good. Me? I’m crying. I’m so tired. Is this what a relationship is? I’ve forgotten how much work they can be. Does he not want me to meet his family now? I would hate that.

“I’m so sorry Owen. We’re about to hit the split in the highway where I could go left to my sister’s…I have been so excited to meet your family. And I was super happy and excited to show you off to my family. I wouldn’t want this moment to feel obligatory to you. If you want, I can go to my sisters?”- LD

“Le Distraire. No. Stop. I don’t ever want you to ask something like that ever again. I am so proud of you and happy that you’re the person I’m taking home. It’s ridiculous that you think so little of us and how committed I am to you that you would question that. I’m bringing you home and that’s it. I said what I needed to say and heard what I needed to hear and I’m okay now. Are you okay?”

I whiff out a little huff. I’m okay. We hang up. I attempt to de puff my red cried out face.

We get there, and I’m immediately greeted by 2 of his 4 brothers. They hug and look thrilled to see him. Immediately, I love seeing him relax. I walk in to a kitchen full of his family. His mom hands me a blended margarita in a “dog lover’s” glass. It’s loud and goofy and diverse and relaxed and obnoxious and everything I thought it would be.

I jump from person to person, especially the ones that married into the family. It’s always good to win those ones over. His mom is quick to ask me lots of questions and stick close. Owen pours himself too much whiskey in his drinks. They all drink a little too much. You can see where he gets it. His stepdad observes me from afar. He doesn’t ask me much. His fully biological brother turns out to be my favorite. He’s sweet and you can tell that his and Owen have a special bond. Owen sits outside with some of his family and they ask if my family is religious. He tells them about our mission trips in the Philippines when I was younger. I get nervous that they’re asking him about this. And hoping that he is gracious and kind about it and doesn’t secretly berate it with him. Later, I joke that he was “talking shit about me outside earlier”. He responds with “oh no no. Only good things” and smiles. It makes me feel better. That night its just his parents, his sweet brother, and me left. We eat leftovers and watch a movie.

We climb in to the same bed that night (I still can’t with this. I don’t care if its a religious thing or not, it still feels very weird to do this at someone’s parents house). I can tell he’s relaxed and feels better. I do too. It’s nice to see how much his family loves each other. We wake up next to each other and he’s just staring at me. We don’t talk. Just holding each other close and kissing and touching and its all very quiet and intimate and pressed together. I’m thinking about how overwhelmed I feel with learning so much about him. About how different our backgrounds are. About how we handle stress and old friendships and deep family connections. And I’m fascinated and scared by how close I still feel to him. I know he’s in love with me. I know I’m in love with him. I’ve been saving myself for a long time. I thought about letting that go with the last guy I dated. But I waited. That morning, we were close. He held me tight and told me how stunning I am. Smart. Wonderful. Beautiful. That he was crazy about me. But he wanted it to be perfect. I did too. I knew that. I also knew it felt like the loveliest feeling to desire someone and also to be in love with them. He holds me back, staring at me with his big brown eyes. He gapes his mouth a few times like he’s going to speak. He doesn’t. I ask him what’s wrong? Is he mad at me? He laughs and whispers he’s the furthest thing from mad. But he’ll tell me later.

Okay, darling. But I already know.

I love you too.

Making (Tentative & Bold) Plans

Alright, so now that I got that out of the way. We actually agree. On lots of things. But we’re both terrified. He’s scared he’s going to have to change. And I’m scared I’m not going to have control .

It’s laughable. A relationship without change, growth, adaptation, compromise, giving in…?

We’re hilarious really.

He’s nervous I won’t like his wild friends. I’m nervous he’s going to get plastered and embarrass me. Reality? I actually really enjoy going out. I haven’t had someone to do that with in a long time. Good drinks, fun people, dancing, music? I love it all. And, I’ve never actually heard of him drinking. Since we met, I’ve been the over-drinker. He’s stayed in most nights playing video games. And he got us a separate hotel room from his friends so that I would feel comfortable.

He over-explains his family. I get nervous that they’re heathens. Reality? They’re probably insanely lovely. I’m going to show them how funny, smart, and kind I find him. They’ll like us together most of the time, and sometimes, they’ll be confused because he’ll seem different. But, that is literally all relationships. When two people join, they make their own life together. Their own rules, traditions, rhythms. It’s okay. These people love him. And I lo…like him. We’ll get along.

I hate the distance part. He hates the distance part. Reality? We’ve each done our own thing for a long time. It’s actually not that far away. And if we stay together, being apart is completely part of that. More reality? We’re probably not that great at understanding each other on it so far. We REALLY like each other. But he’s hesitant to admit his feelings (see the scared of changing part) until I meet his friends and family. And I’m scared of being in a relationship (see the loss of control fear) and not being able to predict the outcome of all things. More reality? We’re still good to each other. We’re balancing it. We’re planning weekends: Memorial Weekend with his bff & his wife, and then a cookout with his family, then a ball in June, and then a whole week together. We’re flying in to Boston so I can show him what my life was there. Then traveling up the coast and “staying in bed and breakfasts and watching the sunrise on the coast!” (totallllllly wants a wild life…) of New Hampshire and Maine until we watch his friends get married.

We suck at this. Or maybe we’re normal.

Truly, I’m excited to find out.

This guy. He drives me nuts.

My Concerns With Love

Things I’m Worried About

He believes in God but doesn’t know what that means for him.
Uh, nope. Been there, done that. It’s one of my very few deal breakers. I dated someone previously who wasn’t open to it at all. I hated not going to church with someone. I hated that he didn’t/couldn’t try to see why it was so important to me. If you can’t love God/know God, how can you love and know His daughter? I base my entire life off of the bible and God’s promises and directions. I told him as much.
Responds with: Well, I’d still like to try. I hear that you’re wanting someone that sees at least the same shade of blue. Could I come see you in (your hometown) and go to church with you?

Well, ok.

He parties a lot. Drunk eyes, forgetting that he sent snapchats, partying partying. Still calls it “partying”. Who does that at his age? Show restraint and caring for your body and also for others around you. For other peoples’ perceptions. For your safety. For respect. Seriously, so many reasons.
I don’t laugh when he is giggling and telling me that part of his weekend. I ignore the behavior and respond positively to the other good parts.
Responds with: telling me all of the nice things he said about me to his friends and them saying how much they’d like to meet me and would I want to go camping with them all. In two months.

That’s it. Those are my concerns.

Oh yea, and he thinks I’m going to change with.
My response: Hell yeah. Love changes people. Welcome to life, friend.

My Dating Life Is Under Arrest

The Second One was an alcoholic. 6 months after I broke up with him, he has coffee with me. He originally asked me to get a drink but then texted me the next morning to say coffee instead. He bikes up to the shop. The Second One looks sheepish and handsome which is not unusual. We toss a few biting barbs as our way of saying hello-the wounds are still fresh from each other and an easy target in which to pour some salt. 

Then he tells me about his second DUI he just got. 

No wonder we’re getting coffee. 

He had been “hanging out with his friend Richard” earlier he says with a slight wink in his voice, hinting that hanging out may or may not have included clothes being worn. They were drinking all morning and TSO thought he could still drive to work his shift as a barista. In front of the store there are about 6 places in a row for parallel parking. He whips around the corner and plows the sides of all 6 cars. 

He wants sympathy and acceptance. He has God for that. I just feel sad. 

Fast forward about two years. I’ve moved back to my town. I’m swiping away for distraction and entertainment and good ol’ Texas boys. There’s a cop that seems very upright and quiet and has really deep brown eyes. He’s adamant that he should get to know me. We spend a few dates together talking about music and such. He seems a little…slow…but sometimes you just need someone around to make out with. And boy does Cop fill that bill. We have great chemistry. He’s very tempting. He also works nights and is a bad texter, and his family dynamics seem strange, and he doesn’t really have any true friends, and wait-is that racist/sexist/bigoted shit coming out of his mouth? He keeps trying to nail me down and make it official. I dip and dodge and eventually sort of agree. One week later I never hear from again. After he begged, y’all. Makes no sense. 

The best part though? It turns out Cop was heading to a trial of a guy he arrested 1.5 years ago for a second DUI. Turns out that guy was TSO. TSO was suing Cop for a technicality. I dated the guy who arrested my ex. My ex sued a new guy I dated in order to be able to leave the state to move in with his new boyfriend in NYC. 

Dear Lord, why am I even trying? 

The Best Laid Plans

I’ve been known to make plans. I’ve been known to make plans for my plans. However, moving across the country has changed that whole concept. The idea of my perfectly made plan: move, love job, find best career, make tons of friends, be whoever I want, never be sad or wanting- that plan? Failed. Drastically. It turns out that I need to update my plans. There’s a good chance I need to go back to school; that I may need to move again. This breaks my heart and embarrasses me and bruises my ego, which is much bigger than I ever realized. I think I’ve almost completely accepted it as fact though. I amended my plans and made a new pathway.

I go online to my dating sites. I’ve casually chatted with a few men. None that I’m terribly interested in. I go to deactivate. Because what is the point if I may be leaving in a few months? Why make an effort to go on dates when I could just watch 10 straight hours of The Food Network every Saturday? No bra and delicious cuddles with my puppy? Sign me up for the single waiting life

A few days later, there’s a message in my Facebook inbox. It’s from a man. An online man. “Hey LeDistraire, it’s Mr.Kennedy from online! How’s it going? I figured I’d take some time to try to find you on Facebook for the heck of it, looks like it worked lol! Might be easier to communicate this way than having to log in every time to their site, plus their messenger doesn’t work that well on my phone. not sure if you caught my message from a little while ago but I really enjoyed talking with you for a lot of reasons, and would love to meet up sometime soon, if you’re interested. Maybe we could grab coffee or something? Or we could drive to eat/get a drink somewhere so you can get out of the city for a bit 🙂 just thought I’d check in and see if you wanted to meet in person. anyway, looking forward to hearing from ya! big game for Denver this week!!” I’m thoroughly surprised. He seems nice enough. I’m flattered and not worried as I might be with other guys. He seems innocent. Mr. Kennedy uses far too many emojis and exclamation points to be intimidating. They also tend to annoy me. I decide to humor him and go on a quick coffee date.

We meet up a few days later for coffee on Saturday morning. He kindly chooses a place in my area of town, which I definitely notice and appreciate. I’m not expecting much and truly just hoping that his voice doesn’t annoy me. Not knowing if someone sounds like Peewee Herman or Morgan Freeman might be my least favorite part about online dating. However, I walk in and he’s so incredibly normal that I immediately go for a hug. And he sticks out his hand to be shook. Well, I’ve never been shot down like that before. Let’s get this over with – I think. And then, he’s even more normal than i expected. Tall, dark, handsome at times and awkward at others. A smarty pants that went to a good school in DC, works in finance, and likes to write and listen to music. His voice is normal, loves his family, asks thoughtful questions, and constantly compliments me. Who is this man? He’s a southern gentleman doing a New England impersonation.

So my new plan of keeping my head down, doing my job, and not meeting anyone. It changed. Again. Mr. Kennedy (for that’s what he looks like: part handsome, part gangly, gentle, intense, intelligent, and awkward) seems determined to know me. He isn’t allowing me to live an invisible life up here across the country from my friends and family.

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”- Robert Burns