This will be my last in the tribute series for a while. There are other people who no doubt deserve a tribute, like all my sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws, who have had to put up with me for the last 10+ years. However, I feel the need to take another break for a while and my intention was to end this with one of the most important people in my life.
Thirteen years ago today, Eric and I sat at Tang’s Chinese Restaurant in Grayslake, Illinois. We had returned the previous Sunday from a four-day cross country ski trip and it was the night for the monthly meeting of the Bicycle Club of Lake County. At the time, I thought we met there because he actually liked the restaurant, but I think it was because it was on the way to the meeting for both of us. It is not a restaurant that I would actually recommend for their food, unless you want to feel the residual magic from our encounter there. I have no idea what we discussed except for one thing: We talked about the cross country trip and that a spark seemed to have been struck between the two of us. And he told me that he wanted to “pursue a relationship” with me. That night, after the bicycle club meeting, we exchanged a first kiss, or two, or possibly more. Yowza! On March 3, 1998, which was 372 days after we first decided to pursue a relationship, he proposed to me in front of the Kilauea Light House on the island of Kuai, Hawaii. He didn’t have a ring, but he did quote the following scripture: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:29,30) We were married on August 29, 1998, six months later.
Eric is an answer to a specific prayer that I prayed to God roughly two weeks before that fateful cross country ski trip. I told God that I would be willing to exchange my extensive, highly detailed list of things I wanted in a husband if He would only provide me a godly man. Eric is a godly man, which does not mean that he is perfect. However, he will apologize to me for his part in an argument or if he has said or done something wrong. He is also very quick to forgive me, even after some of my ugliest moments, which he has witnessed many times. He forgives little things and big things and forgets them. He encourages me to keep trying when I fail, and to try new things. He never has put me down and doesn’t allow me to put myself down. He listens as well as any man I know. He is the only one outside of my family that has demonstrated unconditional love. He is also a hopeless goofball. His most recent example of humor is faking a heart attack every time we pass by a restaurant called “Organ Stop Pizza”. If you don’t get the humor, it is probably a good thing. His humor does tend toward word play and puns, but he will totally degrade himself with pseudo-melodrama in order to get me and the kids laughing. He keeps me from being too serious and defuses serious situations with humor. He is a gift from God and living proof that God loves me and not only wants what is best for me but knows what is best for me.