I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Major struggle, major accomplishments

It's Sunday morning again, and I'm sitting in my bed with Smart Guy beginning to stir as it's a little later than usual when I start this post. I read all my blogs and even received a wonderful award from TechnoBabe for this blog. I'm hoping she will be okay with me linking it to my other blog, since this one is reserved (in my mind) for more weighty subjects.

When we left last week, I had described my experience of beginning to skydive, and having met Smart Guy through the internet. Several people commented that they were looking forward to reading about the romance that came from that. I'll use the description Smart Guy used: when we began to meet in person, it was not so much an encounter as a collision. It is no exaggeration to say that if we had met in the usual way, at a party, or even at the Drop Zone, we would never have gotten together. It's because, even though we loved each other's minds, our bodies were really a problem: I reminded him of his mother, who he didn't have fond memories of, and I was dismayed by the, well, old-man vibes he gave off.

You see, he had stopped skydiving on a regular basis several years before (unbeknownst to me on the internet) and had let himself get out of shape while working in a job he hated. When the love of my life stepped off the plane, with my heart pounding as we would meet for the first time, he walked right by me and I tried to look around him to see someone who didn't exist. When we finally looked into each other's eyes, we had to look twice or three times to recognize the person we were wanting to see.

And then I made the mistake of trying to attack this gentle soul in the car, thinking that with a little push (maybe a big push), he would be just like any other man and would want to get hot and heavy right away. This was exactly the WRONG approach to Smart Guy. He is private and intellectual and did not appreciate being overpowered. By the time he left a few days later, we had made some tentative steps toward liking each other, but I was not able to reconcile our intense desire to know each other with the slow progress (to me at least) that we had made in two days.

Obviously, this was the beginning of a tough patch in our relationship. The next weekend I flew to San Francisco and onto his turf. I remember he met me at the airplane with a bouquet of flowers and I was deeply touched. I knew him much better after that weekend encounter, because I could see who he was so much better by seeing how he lived. When I opened the cupboard in his kitchen, a single plate and glass were all that were in that pristine (and very clean) area, while in MY overpacked cupboard, I knew he must have been appalled at the disorder that spilled out of it.

Even with that inauspicious beginning, we decided after a few more trips back and forth that someone would need to move. Since he hated his job and I loved mine, he would move to Boulder. He considers our marriage beginning on the day he walked into his boss's office and gave notice, and when I would take him onto my insurance coverage: January 27, 1993.

Our first months together were both tough and hopeful. He found a place to live and we began to see a counselor, who helped us through a period of difficult misunderstandings. I think the biggest and most important thing is we talked and talked, and little by little we saw in the other person the potential life mate we originally thought we had met through our words. It was because I could not imagine my life without him that he and I eventually did get married (to me at least, marriage certificate, and all that) on May 5, 1994.

Because I was an active skydiver and we talked endlessly about it, eventually Smart Guy began to skydive again, and he had gotten his own gear by the time we got married, because it was in freefall. Here's a picture of our wedding portrait, which was taken by our best man. Smart Guy already had made thousands of skydives, many of them with his first wife, Clarice, and I had been jealous of her until we were able to have our own memories of freefall together. This one is very special: we passed the "baton of commitment" between us, and he is holding it in his left hand. That's Loveland, Colorado, and I-25 below us (click to enlarge).

This post is getting very long, and I haven't yet talked about how Smart Guy became my teacher in order for me to gain the skills necessary to become an instructor. I think I'll have to make that my goal for next time. Thanks for joining me on this journey.


CiCi said...

I am liking you both more and more. I do understand exactly what you said. And your way of laying out the adventure in truth and without discouragement is great. When hubby and I met in person after meeting on the internet and talking on the phone and emailing many many hours, we both said later that if we had met in person first we would not have been attracted to each other and would not even found the basic friendship that started our relationship. Maybe there is a clue here to finding deep rock solid relationships before the first face to face meeting. Your wedding photo in the air is an inspiration to so many of us. I am enjoying hearing your story!!

Whitney Lee said...

What a commitment. I would imagine that most people would have walked away after realizing that reality didn't quite gel with what they had pictured. I happen to believe that more relationships would last if people would take the time to learn how to communicate before things got rough. It sounds like ya'll took care of that early on.

I absolutely love the unique and personal wedding. What a beautiful testament to the uniqueness of you both.

Norma Jean said...

This just proves that physical attraction is NOT the most important thing in a relationship. I am a firm believer that the ability to be best friends is way more important. If you can talk and communicate throughout your marriage, you will be much closer. That kind of relationship is so much more satisfying.

gayle said...

Wow how exciting!! You two belong together!!

Jo said...

What a beautiful post...! It is true, isn't it that we can fall in love with a person's mind, and their physical body is just the package they are in. But unfortunately we put so much emphasis on what the package looks like.

I am SO glad you guys weathered your differences and are happy now. Wow!

Linda Collison said...

... May you live happily ever after!

(Funny how you can jump out of airplanes with people but never know the important stories of their lives...)

Leave a Legacy said...

I'm loving this love story!

Far Side of Fifty said...

DJan, What a story..I agree talk, talk and talk..and be best friends first..I did laugh out loud thinking of you accosting Smart Guy in the car! :)

Tiff said...

Oh, now I'm glad that I didn't read this blog right away, I get to see the next chapter right now instead of waiting a week! I can't wait to see what the next chapter brings!

Unknown said...

That was the best couples photo I have ever seen. I know what I will be reading these next few days!

TexWisGirl said...

a message of hope here. :)

Jackie said...

Here it is 2013, and I am just now learning about how you two met.
What a beautiful blog, my friend.
The love and commitment between the two of you is awe inspiring.
Hugs and love to you both...