Thursday, July 19, 2007

Part 1 of an Incredible Story of Faith, Rebellion, and Falling in Love

Next week is my 16th wedding anniversary. In honor of the occasion, I am going to start the long and drawn out story of:

How I Met My Husband

Let me just reiterate, in case you didn’t realize, I am an Incurable Romantic. I believe in destiny, in soulmates, in love at first sight. I will now give the cynics a chance to gag and leave the room…

To tell about how I met my husband requires me to look back several years before I actually met my husband. There were several factors involved in bringing us together. The first was a request I made to God (we talk a lot). When I was 15 or 16, I was your typical awkward teen, very self-conscious and a bit boy crazy in my shy, withdrawn, “no one’s ever going to love me” way. One day I was sitting in my room and I asked God to please pick out the man I would spend the rest of my life with. I trusted His judgment, I didn’t care how long it would take as long as he brought us together. My only requirement was that I wanted him to be an actor (yes, I wasn’t too shallow). I then went on with my teenage life and entered my first crush. The word crush is extremely appropriate, because it aptly describes putting your heart on your sleeve, only to have it pounded into the ground by a sledgehammer when the feelings aren’t returned. I entered a period of depression that I will not dwell on here except to apologize to my parents for the h--- I put them through.

It was my original request that buoyed me past that first crush. I reasoned that it didn’t happen because obviously that boy was never going to get into acting. When I graduated high school without ever having a date, I always returned to that thought.

After high school, I took a year off from school. Dad made it clear that he didn’t approve, but I was sick of school at this point and didn’t want to rush back into a world of homework and tests. It was during this time that I learned to juggle three balls. It was also during this time that I found out about the Starlight Foundation and started volunteering at their city office. The Starlight Foundation (are they still around?) granted wishes to children with chronic and terminal illnesses, which set it apart from your typical wish charity. I was too young to grant wishes, so I worked in the office and helped at their annual fundraiser dinner.

The September following my year off, I started college. I bought my first set of clubs that autumn, and beat myself silly teaching myself to juggle them. I LOVED college. I wondered why elementary school couldn’t be set up the same way. It took some time for me to get used to the idea that I could take any class I wanted, provided it didn’t have a pre-requisite. I was very happy at this point in my life. By the second semester I was hanging out with drama students, even though I wasn’t in the acting program. I still hadn’t met “the one” and I could count on one hand the number of dates I had.

The June after my first year of college, there was a juggling and unicycling festival at Central Park. Now here is an interesting twist of fate. I could have met my future husband at this festival! We were both there! But instead I hung around the devil stick workshop area and tried to learn this skill (which eludes me to this day). The guy who ran the workshop, Alex, told me about the Carmine Street Jugglers, a juggling club that met on Thursday nights in the West Village in Manhattan. I was in love with juggling by now. The idea of being around all these fun people, learning to do all these interesting things. I wanted to go.

The only thing was transportation. All through high school I relied on my parents, especially my mom, to drive me there. The subway scared me, and I didn’t know that area of the city, so I was afraid of getting lost. I think my mother was also afraid of having me take a train downtown. She turned me off from the idea numerous times, telling me she would drive me down “sometime.” Summer Thursdays started slipping away.

The next significant event was a sad one, but it was very pivotal. My cousin died in a car accident. My younger cousin. My very popular younger cousin. I was 19 at the time, he was still in high school. His car had plowed into a tree. I remember being dumbstruck by the amount of cars in the funeral procession. He was so loved. Morbidly, I started to imagine my own funeral. I didn’t think anyone other than family would notice my passing. This compelled me to go to the juggling club again. I was desperate to break out of my sheltered existence. I called for subway directions to the club. When my mother started putting me off that Thursday, we had a big argument and I took off for the train station. With the amount of adrenaline flowing through me, I wasn’t scared of anything.

1 comment:

appleleaf said...

I can't wait to read the continuation of this story and your clear answer to that prayer. You remind me what agonies we can go through as teenagers.
Your comic strip arrived intact and unbended today. I love it. Thanks to both you and Marina for your work. I also love the bumper sticker.
BTW, I think I forgot to tell you that I enjoyed watching your juggling display online.
This comment has got a few "I love its" and "I enjoyed its" hasn't it? And I was in a bit of a low mood yesterday. Maybe your blog is an answer to the blues.
Paula

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