I felt like I needed to record this somewhere before I forget it completely. I love the spontaneity of moments like this. They're unplanned, unprecedented, and so raw, real, sweet and sincere that you can't help but hope to carry with you the feelings you felt that night for the rest of your life. I'd like to think this is one of those moments we'll never forget, but by the time we reach our 10th, 20th, and 50th anniversaries I know there will be so many more memories of firsts flooding my mind that this one could likely be lost in the shuffle. So it's now here for your reading
pain pleasure. Enjoy!
I'd love to hear other "firsts" too! Truly. I live for the sap : )
I’m in such a happy place coming out of this nonstop Conference weekend! We’ve been busy, busy with fun, friends, family, and scores of spiritual highs—it’s been wonderful! But I’m saving that update for a later date when I can do it justice. I’m too close to comatose tonight to even go there.
One thing I meant to post on before any of our Conference craziness was a sweet little story from our past. And while this makes no sense to anyone reading, to get there I’m going to start in the present. You’ll catch on I promise. J
One of my closest friends is in love. And I love it! She’s happier than I’ve ever seen her, a bit overwhelmed, and totally in denial about where it might lead. It’s so cute.
I'd sent a friendly reminder one morning last week to let this friend know that "if and when the first 'I love you' came" she was required by friend law to let me know. She laughed...assured me that IF that ever did come I would be the first to hear about it...then called the next night to apologize for making me the second (I guess our other BFF/roommate beat me to it...now that I live with a boy I'm a bit further from "the loop." I promptly forgave her. Anyone can see past her poker face).
I couldn't help but smile as she relayed the story. I asked if she'd known he loved her...if she'd seen it coming. She said no, absolutely not, not any time soon. But then I asked if she'd known she loved him too. And the answer...yes. absolutely yes.
This discussion led to a reminiscent moment of a middle-of-the-night phone call I'd made to her in early June of last year.
A certain boy had just told me he loved me.
He loved me.
And in that same excruciatingly happy moment where I heard those three-little-words-that-mean-so-much come from his lips, panic set in (though I cleverly disguised it as surprise).
Could I really be in love?
And if was, what did it all mean?
How could I possibly know the difference between a
love of my life?
Did I need to know?
I hoped not.
Because I didn't have the slightest clue.
So naturally I called my best little buddy (who, at this stage in life, was just as clueless as I was) to help me puzzle my way through it.
Rewind to the start of that night. I'd been dating a Mr. Parker DeMille since March and could not be happier with life. Everything he said made me smile. Everything he did made me laugh. And every new thing I learned about him made me wonder how someone so perfect could possibly want to be with someone so. far. from it.
That night we settled on visiting Salt Lake for a date night with Chris & MiKell. I remember being late (of course) and feeling so flustered about it all because I'd hoped to make such a great impression on the brother whose opinion seemed to mean so much to Parker.
I can't say mission accomplished with that one, but I do know that they made the night seem just seamless to me. Chris made me laugh, sweet MiKell made me feel like the most interesting and important person in the room (and still does...she's amazing at that), and between the easy conversation and collective agreement that Will Ferrell's Land of the Lost didn't merit a screen at the dollar theater (let alone the Gateway Megaplex) I decided I'd add family to the list of things I really liked (maybe even loved) about Parker.
As we said goodbye to MiKell & Chris we tried to brainstorm what we could do to stretch our time together (with Parker living in Richfield I savored every moment where I could actually be with him...every reminder that this voice on the other end of the phone was a real, living, breathing person that could hug me, kiss me, and make the whole world disappear when he held me in his arms).
Keep in mind...this was long before we knew really anything about Salt Lake or had even the slightest idea we'd be living here, together, someday. So we settled on visiting places we did know...and if you know anything about Parker, you won't be surprised at our first stop—I Street.
We wandered around the bike jumps. I admired Parker's playground and imagined his fearless flights from one landing to the next. He admired me jumping from one to the next in my cute polka-dot sundress. And before we could cover ourselves completely in weeds and dust we parked it on the curb to sit and admire the stars.
As I reaffirmed my belief of the puzzle-perfect fit of a girl's head in the slope of a boy's shoulder and watched the city lights sparkle below, I felt so peaceful. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.
But before long the wind chill uprooted us and had us searching for sanctuary from its icy grip. With a mediocre redbox and borrowed laptop in hand (thank you Mike), we settled into the back seat of the Sonata.
About 3/4 of the way through another flop of a movie I asked Parker if I could kill it. He lay nearly unconscious from boredom and sleep deprivation and I had to will myself not to scream the next time I heard some James Bond/Jason Bourne prototype plotting to steal another car with his emo girlfriend and her phony foreign accent.
To quell my rising contempt and salvage the remainder of our nearly perfect night, Parker quickly killed the power lighting the Transporter 3 screen and kissed me.
We'd discovered over the past months that I had a habit of giggling whenever we kissed (I'm ashamed to admit it, but I really did). At first it had Parker worried. When I'd try to stifle my laughter he initially thought he'd kissed me funny, needed gum, had lost his gum, bit my lip, etc. etc. After quite a few nights of his pulling back with a quizzical look and his classic "What...?", I broke down and told him, "It just means I'm happy. I promise."
You know how some people cry when they're feeling so much that they need an outlet for it? Or scream on roller coasters because they need a release from all the adrenaline coursing through their veins? Well, when I'm happy, I laugh myself silly. And Parker made (and still makes) me very happy.
But tonight we seemed to have switched roles. As his lips left mine I heard a noise. I kissed him again to ensure it hadn't been a trick of the senses when I heard it...a giggle.
I pulled away.
"You're laughing. What did I do?"
Parker: "Nothing. Now come back here."
"No. Tell me what I did."
Parker: "It's not so fun being on that end of things, is it?"
(I kiss him again. He laughs.)
"I'm not kissing you again until you tell me."
Parker: "Well I'm not telling you. You'll have to guess."
(Ok...I think...I'll play your games.)
"Is it because you really think I'm backseat Chelsey?" (Parker's roommate had dated a girl who frequented backseats of cars for NCMO's and had been appropriately nicknamed "backseat Al" by the boys. When I showed Parker the best way to position the laptop on the console he'd teased that I seemed experienced (an unfair and inaccurate assumption on his end). So I inherited the title for the night.)
Parker: (grinning) "No."
"Is it because I'm kissing you too much?" (I decided to pull from my new persona since I had no real guesses.)
Parker: (frowning now) "No way."
"Is it because you're...happy???"
Parker: (smiling again) "I think it's a little more than that..."
(I panic. I know where this is going and I'm not sure I'm ready to go there.)
(after a couple more deliberately off-base guesses) "Well then, I give up. I guess I'll never know."
(silence...more silence...racking my brain to try and find any other way to break it before he builds the resolve and confidence to just come out and say it...then slight panic as he starts to speak)
Parker: "It's just that...I think I'm falling in love with you."
(thinking to self...SAY SOMETHING. SAY ANYTHING. But I'm lost for words. so I kiss him again to buy myself time. and the whole while I'm thinking, "I haven't said it back. Do I say back? CAN I say it back? I absolutely CANNOT be like Emily on Friends and break his heart like she broke Ross's by saying "thank you." Why am I thinking about Friends? Oh GOSH! I just always thought I'd be SO much better prepared for this moment...).
I pull away and say something silly about having to try so hard not to say "I love you" to him on the phone before saying goodbye because it's such a habit. Then I kiss him again, realize what a pathetic answer I just gave, pull away, look him square in the eyes and say...
"I meant...I love you too."
Followed by more kissing, more laughing, and my teasing that he's likely changed his mind now that he's discovered I'm backseat Chelsey.
He stops laughing. Looks at me for a second and says, "Chels...I loved you long before you were backseat Chelsey...and I don't think that is ever going to change."
By the time we run back to my car, kiss in a storm with hail stones the size of pebbles, and say our last goodbye before he heads home to Richfield, my resolve is breaking. I promised myself I wouldn't be that girl. I wouldn't run off to college and fall in love and get married and pop out little chicklits like the classic BYU co-ed. I had BIG plans for myself...none of which involved getting serious with someone anytime soon.
so could I really be in love?
I spent the whole night replaying the scene in my mind realizing I could. And I was. And I am. I loved, am loving, and will always love Parker DeMille. And no matter how much I tried to be logical and smart about it all, my reasoning mind had no power to persuade my affective heart to see my feelings as anything short of love. The kind that's real. The kind that lasts. The kind I'd hoped to find my whole life and now had.
To reconcile this war of the mind and heart I convinced myself it was OK to love Parker. Falling in love didn't mean I'd immediately consigned myself to marriage. For all I knew Parker could be the first of many loves. My attempts to justify my becoming that girl were so feeble and unconvincing I'm surprised my mind surrendered so quickly. But it did. And little by little my heart continued to weaken its defenses until one day, a boy on one knee said those four-little-words-that-mean-so-much and I said the one that ended my mind's resistance of reasoning forever..."yes."