The Messy Mom linked my blog here. So I decided to share how I met my husband today. I prayed for him too, but nothing too specific. But this story reminds me of those first days and helps me pray better.
“Would things be different if you caught the train instead of missing it. How much would your life change if you were 10 minutes early instead of 10 minutes late.”
Gwenyth Paltrow and Gwenyth Paltrow find out in the movie Sliding Doors when the two parallel but alternate realities take place after following what would happen had she caught that train and what would happen if she missed it. Interestingly, the alternate realities based on two different outcomes of one moment in one day end up in the same ultimate destiny. The paths to get there are different; one with success one with seeming failures but both leading to the same outcome.
I often imagine what might have been different had I made different decisions at each crossroad of my life. Or imagine how even in the seeming unimportant daily decisions the entire course of my life may have been rerouted. The butterfly effect of life. I think that was a movie too.
In 1988 I moved from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where I had spent the six years after high school trying to find my way, back to Reston, Virginia where my mother and siblings lived. What I found while I lived on Cape Cad was that I had a penchant for fun but had a hard time being responsible. I wandered in the dark, directionless and drunk for about 3 years. I had moved there with the hopes of attending college, I think. In my senior year of high school, 1982, my father invited me to come back to my childhood home. I was willing but had a boyfriend. The boyfriend decided to come with me. That didn’t last long. He went back to Virginia after a few months.
I was a mess. For about 3 years I did nothing but chase the next high and the next boy. I did enroll in the local community college and took classes on and off but really didn’t have a thought as to what I wanted to pursue. After being arrested for drunk driving and by God’s grace, coming to the hard realization that I could not handle alcohol, I cleaned my self up and started trying to find my way, again.
I instead found a boyfriend and ended up pregnant nine months after getting sober. Another nine months and I was a mother. I kept my baby. He was and is a joy and kept me sober. His father was not interested in being involved. Thankfully that changed over the years but that is a story for another time. I still had trouble finding direction, though I had new purpose as a mother.
My mother offered to let us come live with her while I finished school. Looking back it seemed my parents were having a little battle over me. My father cried when I left. He had no family on Cape Cod. I sometimes wish I had made a go of it on the Cape.
Looking back on my life it’s easy to get caught up in the should haves and would haves. I see all the endless possibilities that might have been. This stirs in me a regret that bubbles up to the surface of my life and spills over as discontent for what my life is now. It’s destructive but I indulge it still. I don’t have the forsight of knowing for sure, like the viewers of Sliding Doors, that the outcome would be the same.
I did move back to Virginia. In September of 1988 my son was 2 years old. I planned to find a job and then apply to George Mason University.
I first applied for a job at the Olive Garden about 20 minutes from my mothers in Tyson’s Corner. I was hired but my first day there didn’t go well and I decided not to go back. I received a call for an interview at a restaurant in the next town over. It was a sole proprietorship, not a chain restaurant. It was in a historical building and had a nice menu and homey atmosphere. I didn’t intend to become a bartender. I was still fairly newly sober and didn’t want to tempt fate. But that is what the owner hired me as.
I remember going to the interview and seeing a yellow Volkswagen beetle in the parking lot. I liked beetles and always wanted one. I wondered who it belonged to.
(I searched high and low for a picture of that beetle. I think we still have parts of it in the garage.)
I started in September of 1988 and enjoyed the work. I got to know the regulars. There were the lunch time guys and the dinner crowd, and then the after dinner crowd. Some of the after dinner crowd included the servers and cooks from Rick Walker’s Scoreboard, the sports restaurant next door. The owner of the yellow beetle was a fry cook. He’d come over with the gang and order a beer then when my bar closed we’d all go play darts.
Wayne, the fry cook, owner of the yellow beetle, eventually asked me out for a real date. He knew I had a son and invited him too. Well kind of a real date, we had pizza at Pizza Hut and then went to buy him a new car stereo and Radio Shack.
One of our first get to know each other conversations included talking about my mistakes of the past and how I wish I could change things. I asked him if he ever wished he’d done things differently. He said something to the effect of “Why bother thinking about that? It’s the past, I can’t do anything about it.”
Yeah that’s the guy for me, one to keep me grounded.
I’ll continue the story another day but that is how I first met my husband.