Today is a special day. It’s the day that I decided to take a chance.

Many years ago, I met a Norwegian boy and he made it clear, he liked me. I had just ended a bad relationship, so was hesitant to get back in the saddle, so to speak. But after some time, the Norwegian asked me to give him a grain of a chance to try to make me happy. And on Feb. 10, 1998 I figured, why not? I mean, somebody has to be the rebound guy. Why not him?

Shortly after we started dating in 1998.

Shortly after we started dating in 1998.

Fast forward two years, through many laughs, road trips and new cities and I was working in Kansas City while the Norwegian was in grad school at Iowa State. We’d been doing the long distance relationship thing for almost two years and he was coming over to celebrate our February 10 anniversary.

He asked me to find a place where we could enjoy a nice view overlooking the city. Now I don’t know how many of you have been to Kansas City, but as you can imagine there’s no mountains, peaks or really a single respectable skyscraper. But I booked reservations at a restaurant atop a tall building and planned for us to talk at a park called Quality Hill. It was in a roughish neighborhood, but it was on a bluff, overlooking the Kansas and Missouri River. It was as good as I could get.

I was jumping through hoops to prepare this date because I was thinking this would be the perfect moment for him to propose. We’d talked before about the possibility of marriage, but no concrete plans had been set. I didn’t even know if he had a ring, but it just felt that this evening should be the one.

I did not say anything to him about this February 10 being the “Proposal Date.” That’s largely because I was never one of those girls who dreamed about growing up and being married. No way. My mom always said: Once you get married and have kids, your life is OVER! And lawd knows I didn’t want that. 

But I did want to be with this Norwegian. So we went to dinner, and I waited patiently, expecting the ring to come out between one of the courses, or at least on the dessert plate like I’d seen in the movies. Alas, the ring never came. We decided to go to the park and talk. I’m freezing my tail off because, duh, it’s February in Kansas City and I was in my 20s and trying to look cute, not warm. I was shivering uncontrollably in his arms when he prodded me to get back into the car to warm up.

I remember, through chattering teeth insisting I was fine. By now, I was really wanting that damn ring, “Propose to me already damnit!” my inside voice screamed.

Soon commonsense took over, and I walked back to the heated car. We got settled in our seats and he begins to tell me how his dad proposed to his mom in a car and that my father had done the same to my mother, so he wanted to propose to me in the car. He began a sweet speech that I won’t get into here, but clearly, I said “yes.”

Fast-forward 15 years, through many laughs, tears, arguments, kids, jobs, friends, and here we are. Me and that Norwegian. I’m glad I gave him that grain of a chance. We’re not always happy, but we’re always us and that’s more than good enough for me.

Jeg elsker deg, J.


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A Valentine’s Tale: Do you know what today is? — 4 Comments

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