I’ve always been a big fan of stories. Especially the kind with a happy ending. Especially the love story kind. I enjoyed fairy tales growing up and of course, I loved Disney movies. The princess always found her prince.
One of the things that I love most about fairy tales is that, while they often have a happy ending, it’s not always happy the whole way through. The characters have to go through something tough first or there’s a difficult journey to complete. And just when you think the happy ending is the actual end of the story, it’s not. Enter the sequel. Complete with new challenges to overcome and their once happy ending threatened in some way. Some people criticize fairy tales because they are unrealistic and give people false hope. Or, because they teach young women that their life doesn’t have meaning until they meet their Prince Charming. I get it. But for me, fairy tales are stories of hope and overcoming.
Like many a young “princess”, I totally romanticized the idea of my prince showing up someday. And if you read my last post Rejoicing with Those Who Rejoice: When It Hurts, you know that for me, someday felt like a long time coming. My pre-true-love story was full of frogs pretending to be princes and princes that just didn’t turn out to be my prince. (The glass slipper didn’t fit. It was meant for someone else.) The plot twisted and turned. But, in the end, I did get my happy ending. The happy ending that turned out to be just the beginning. It went something like this…
Once upon a time, there was a young, single, school teacher. She enjoyed her life. It was full of things she loved. Music and singing, teaching, reading and writing, friends and family, Husker football, and Jesus. There was so much love and joy. But, there was also loneliness sometimes. And the disappointment that only frogs can bring. A longing for her true love and a family of her own. She wanted her happy ending.
One night, she went to church for choir practice. Her friend, Tiff, inquired of her love life and asked if she minded getting set up. Yes, she did mind actually. She hated blind dates. But, despite her aversion to blind dates, something prompted her to say it was ok.
On November 29, 2012, she sat in her car at an Amigos restaurant in the Highlands, eating tacos and crying on the phone to her friend, Cortney. She didn’t want to go on this blind date. She’d been bit by a frog recently and she was scared of relationships. Plus, blind dates are awkward. Like a good fairy godmother, her friend Cortney listened sympathetically but then told her she had to go anyway. Cortney always offered a shoulder to cry on but never let her get away with feeling sorry for herself. Plus, a good friend never lets a friend sabotage her own potential happy ending.
And so, she drove to her friend, Tiff’s house and prepared to meet her date who was also a school teacher and was a friend of Tiff’s husband. When she met him, it was the end of “No Shave November”. He had a full beard! She hated beards. But, she couldn’t help but notice his eyes (the only facial feature noticeable apart from the beard.) Something about his eyes seemed gentle, full of kindness. It’s hard for her to explain. After an enjoyable game night with friends, he asked for her number in the driveway on the way to their cars. His eyes were the reason she said yes.
Our princess did not cooperate immediately. Between the beard and PTFS (post traumatic frog syndrome), the princess was playing it pretty safe. But after several dates and many phone conversations, she started to slowly open up to the idea that she had maybe found her prince. The two became inseparable and began cooking supper together almost every night after school. Once our princess realized what a good man he was, she fell pretty fast.
On May 31, 2013 her prince took her out with friends to Hu Hot and to play Bingo. Meanwhile, back at his house, both sets of parents and her sister and brother-in-law were carefully following his written instructions for setting up the house for a proposal. They put the candles where an X marked the spot on his hand-drawn map and set out a dozen red roses. They set a scrapbook the prince had made on the coffee table next to the roses and went downstairs to wait.
They had to wait a long time because, back at Superior Place Bingo, the princess was convinced she was going to win at blackout. She didn’t but she had fun trying. When they got back to his house at the end of the night, she went inside to collect her things before going home. The house was dark but candles were flickering all over the living room. The prince led her over to the coffee table, showed her the scrapbook and as she flipped through the pages, the princess started to shake and kept asking ridiculous questions like “Who did all of this?” On the last page was the ring.
The prince got on one knee and said things the princess doesn’t seem to remember. Apparently, the princess said yes to his proposal (she was experiencing an out of body experience and can’t recall the details), because after that, the prince led her downstairs to their families waiting in the basement to celebrate. The princess was so excited that her dream came true and that she had finally found her prince, she cried happy tears in the car on the way home and couldn’t sleep at all that night. They began making plans the very next day.
Our princess married her prince on October 12, 2013 at a little country church in Stockham, NE. The leaves were turning gold, the weather was beautiful, and the Huskers beat Purdue. As our princess walked down the aisle to her prince, she felt like she was in a dream. She was so grateful that sometimes dreams really do come true.
That evening, they celebrated at the town hall in Giltner and danced the whole night. When the clock struck midnight, the princess was glad that the spell was not broken and her fairy tale was not over. Her life with her prince had only just begun.
Dear Stu aka. “My Prince”
I know you’ll probably read this and roll your eyes at its sappiness. But 3 years ago today, my dreams really did come true. We’ve built a life together, started a family together, and made a home together. Fairy tales aren’t real life and happily ever after isn’t happy every single moment. We’ve had a few tough times and life is like that. More will come. The good news is we know the Author of our story. And while it isn’t exactly what I would have written for myself, I wouldn’t edit it. The Author knows best and I trust Him with the pen. Thank you for an amazing 3 years! I can’t wait to read the rest.