I was in 6th grade when I first saw him. he frightened me because my pesky brother told me he would be very very short, and when he came to the door (it was a middle school church event, and we were knocking on doors) he was HUGE and I ran away. He wasn't really that huge, but he was up a step from me and he was already tall for an 8th grader.
I was always aware of him, from then on I think, even though I had other boyfriends and a major crush on Michael Greller who knew not of my existence (except, of course, for my pesky brother (again) who told him one time, right in front of me. traumatic for an 8th grader, Joel. thanks.). but even while I cheered for #4 (pathetic, I still remember) I was always aware of him.
Eventually I ended up in high school with him and wondered if I'd marry him some day. we both lived very separate lives for a few months, but eventually, since many of my friends from church were his close friends, we started hanging out in group settings, hanging out at the Huismans', playing sand volleyball at Vet's park, hot tubbing at the DenHartogs', the usual "good kids" high school stuff. :)
There were times I wondered if he might like me, and other times I wondered if he noticed me at all.
At one point, the summer after my freshman year, when I was 15 years old, we had a date set up. We had not communicated even once about it (hilarious now), but our friend had all the details worked out. that date attempt failed, however, when his grandpa died and he left for like a month or something, and when he got back I left for a family vacation. and, um, when I got back from vacation he had a girlfriend. (give him a break, he was a normal 17 year old boy...)
On my 16th birthday I was with him. me and him and two other friends, swimming in the pit at Carnes. he still had 'said girlfriend' so it wasn't like I was flirting. I was just noticing how good he looked in his swimming suit and wondering if someday I'd marry him, that's all. 100% innocent, I promise.
and then that same weekend we went to have a campout at the lakes. a whole bunch of us, maybe like 20? it was so fun except that the girlfriend was there when she was supposed to be at college but whatever. I didn't notice. ;) that was also his birthday weekend so his parents threw a little ice cream party for him when we got back, and I gave him the only card i could find at my house which was full of trains and cars and airplanes and had some cheesy little boy message on it. but I thought maybe he'll keep this forever and some day we can give the same card to our son. :)
soon after that, when he and the college girl had broken up, I thought maybe it was my chance. I remember being at a high school dance (the band dance maybe? although I feel like i remember it in the gym, not the lunchroom). anyway, I was dancing with this guy(who shall remain nameless, to protect his innocence and his feelings for the fact that I did NOT want to be dancing with him), when I spotted him with another girl. I totally saw their connection and probably left the school in tears and shouting "I HATE YOU STEVE HYDEEN AND I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU EVER AGAIN!" ok maybe not because I wasn't THAT dramatic, but I DID decide to be done having a crush on him. i was done. ;)
I went to homecoming and on quite a few other dates with another guy (many of them group dates with steve, not that I was noticing...) and it was good for me to have a break from the drama of a teenage girl's heart.
now, if you want to blame someone for what happened next, you can blame Gail Marincovich. I will love her forever and always.
see, it was right during the fall high school production of Oliver, and Steve was Faggin and I was on hair and makeup crew. Gail (the director) gave me the responsibility of "graying" Faggin's beard. (never mind the fact that she and my mom were good friends and my mom probably paid her to give me that job.....juuuuuust kidding.....) Gail and Rusty had also planned a trip to DesMoines to see Les Mis for the following weekend and offered to chaperone any high schoolers that wanted to go, and Steve and I and a bunch of our friends signed up. and, well, steve also happened to break up with his girlfriend that weekend. I was in the band room after the football game when I heard. not that I remember or anything, or that it mattered to me at all. ;)
the stars were aligned.
at some point when I was graying his beard for the production that night, knowing that we'd be on a trip together that following weekend (with like 10 other people too), I knew I had to be fair and break up with the guy I was dating. It was mean horrible and I still feel guilty about it, except for the fact that we're friends now (it took a while) and both happily married to the loves of our lives. :) and it would have been meaner to NOT do that, since I knew I wanted to marry Steve Hydeen. the whole world knew I wanted to marry Steve Hydeen.
so anyway, the following weekend we were in a van on the way to DesMoines talking about eye color or something equally gag-worthy, all for an excuse to gaze into each other's eyes. and the rest is history. :) actually, it took awhile for us to finally become official.
we had a long talk on the way home from Jantina's where we watched My Best Friend's Wedding, and he whisper-sang in my ear "the way you look tonight" during the scene on the boat (i almost died). anyway, the talk on the way home was about Brandon's cousin who liked this girl and I thought, hey, maybe this will lead to a conversation about US and WHAT WE ARE. but no, he went on and on about Brandon's cousin and never once talked about us. until, of course, we got to my driveway and he explained that brandon's cousin didnt' exist, and it was him, and he liked this girl, and what should he do? and it was so cute and I was almost past my curfew and so I told him to 'go for it' and hopped out of the car. I went in the house and downstairs to my mom and dad's room, where I announced (to my dad, who had recently told me that steve should either "shit or get off the pot") that steve did, in fact, shit. and it felt really weird to say shit to my dad when I was 16 years old. but I was a giddy mess.
First kiss was valentines day weekend on the night of Winter Ball. it was the sweetest set up where he made me supper and spilled sparkling duck on his mom's new carpet (sorry Carla!). it was too foggy for stars outside so he stuck glow in the dark stars on his mom and dad's living room ceiling so he could dance under the stars with me. and that's where he kissed me. We argue to this day about who stuck whose tongue in whose mouth, but I guess we felt the connection and went with it. :) now I think 16 year olds have no business with their tongue in anybody else's mouth, which is a sure sign I'm getting old. :) but yes, our first kiss was a doozie. :)
soon all our friends began to hate us because we always wanted to be together, but when you wait that long and he's finally yours, nothing else really matters. i'm just glad I actually married him or it would be really sad to make my friends hate me for no good reason.
We had a short little break up after he went to college and I was like THIS SUCKS and he was like PROM SUCKS. just kidding he never said that and was a real trooper going to prom TWICE as a college kid. but that little two week break confirmed that I never wanted another day of my life without him in it.
our college years were probably the hardest years of our whole life together. I came into college with a boyfriend so it was kind of assumed that I didn't need girlfriends. which was sorta true (I've never been a huge girl-friend person because I've been so close to my sisters) except for the fact that my boyfriend was a theater major and had ZERO time to ever do ANYTHING except memorize lines and be on light crew til 4am and other stuff that was very much not a part of my life. he left in the summers to go on DME tours and it was just really hard. they say marriage is hard work, but man, I thought college was way harder.
after my sophomore year (like, RIGHT AFTER) I got my wisdom teeth out. it was his graduation weekend, and he was finally done with college. He came to my house the day after and found me with my huge puffy cheeks and sweaty workout clothes in front of the tv doing Arms and Abs of Steel. You can see how well that worked out for me.
He wanted to go on a picnic, so after driving around the WHOLE town of OC, we finally found one park that they were done mowing! (it was Tulip Festival weekend and the whole city was in "clean up" mode.) we parked over by kinderspeelland, set out a blanket by the shelter house, and had a little picnic while I sucked down food instead of chewing it with my sore mouth. I noticed a police officer just sitting in the parking lot, and thought to myself, ha! that guy totally thinks he's going to witness a proposal here. Little does he know that MY man plans picnics on a regular basis and that's probably not what's going to happen here! He wouldn't do that to me with my PUFFY CHEEKS and sweaty clothes!
soon after that though, steve was playing me a song on his guitar (also not the first time that happened, he's a romantic...) and next thing I knew he was down on one knee (or UP on one knee I guess) asking me to be his wife.
brains are very fast and I thought a lot of things in that one millisecond "how could you! my cheeks!" "that cop was right!" "my fingernails look horrible!" "it's my dream come true!" and a bazillion more. but the only one that came out of my mouth was "yes! of course!" and then I cried. it was really perfect because I thought for sure I would know when he was going to do it. I thought he'd go all out and the whole date I would know and just wait for it to happen. but he chose to just be US, doing something we often did, and it was perfect.
our wedding day was perfect. filled with friends and family and the presence of God. I really felt it. it rained and thundered during our vows, and then the skies cleared, and we had the best dance party EVER in my parents' back yard. I crack up now at the decorations, the dresses, the style of it all, but then it was perfect. there was no pinterest to compare it to, no digital pictures to put on facebook, nothing fancy, just a dream come true. sometimes I think I should get a do-over and plan a wedding with all the cool stuff people do nowadays. :) but I wouldn't change a thing about the day I married him.
our wedding night was perfect, after I finally got all the bobby pins out of my hair. we went home to our teeny little apartment because we just wanted to be HOME, even if it was only for a few hours before we flew out for honeymoon. it was sweet and romantic and perfect.
but let me just say, to all those 16 year olds who are tempted to do more than put their tongue in someone else mouth, don't bother. :) out of pure love and respect for my husband, I have to say that if it had not been our wedding night it would not have been worth it. am I allowed to say that? here's the thing GIRLS, your bodies are a big huge freaking puzzle that will take YEARS for your husband to figure out. and if the moment doesn't have the emotion of it being your wedding night and waiting your whole life (however long that is) for this very moment to be one with your husband, then there's a good chance that you'll just find yourself saying "what the heck? for real?" it just takes a while to get it all figured out, so don't waste it on some dumb experience in someone's basement or wherever it's happening these days.
because someday it will be something really special.
We honeymooned in Charleston SC where it was approximately 700 degrees every single day but we loved it. I wanted to rip my fake fingernails off because they are really bad for scratching itchy legs (and if you know me, you know i always have itchy legs) and i also had the worlds WORST bladder infection. I got home and called my mom and said, "um, mom? do you get bladder infections from having sex?" and she said "Oh honeyyyyyyy, I should have told you. " and I said "YES YOU SHOULD HAVE!" there are a few other things I wish I had known but whatever. and so now you all know that. should I delete that whole paragraph????
anyway.....since the day we got married, life has given us so many ups and downs and ridiculous "highs" and a few too many "glad we don't have hidden cameras here" moments.
we've lived in OC, Spain, Council Bluffs, Bellevue, and Omaha. We've been through births and deaths and everything in between. We've been the best parents in the whole entire world and the worst parents in the whole entire world. I don't need to write the rest out, since most of it is on facebook or this blog anyway. but the last ten years have been a ride.
this man, the same man as the KID I was crushing on, is mine forever.
You all have no idea what he sees every day. he sees me at my most selfish. my crabbiest, whiniest, neediest. He watches as he gets better and better looking, and I get softer and saggier and wrinklier. :) He knows I'm a lot of work but he keeps on trying. He knows I need his time, his touch, his presence. he has a bazillion things on his plate at all times and still finds a way to meet my needs.
There are times when I look back and think about how I didn't really even know that boy I had a crush on. and there are other times when I look back and think he's the SAME now has he was then, only he's MINE.
It's hard to talk about the little things that bother you so they don't become big things. It's hard to know when to say no and protect your family time. it's hard to watch someone else's dreams come true, sometimes at the cost of your own. lots of things are HARD in marriage.
but one thing is for sure. it's EASY to spend the whole morning thinking about and writing our story when i should be doing a million other things.
and it's EASY to love him. for ten years and forever.