I made peace with it, being the single girl with a million books and a million and a half more experiences. Really, I did. I figured I’d have to if I wanted to finish doctor school and come out alive on the other end. I moved from city to city, virtually broke, and in pursuit of learning all I could from everyone I could. I only ever regretted a spare few moments (usually those moments included a representative from student loan services), but the rest was an adventure, and I did it all on my own. When it was all said and done, I ended up moving back home, craving a slower pace and the company of my dog and my little house. I settled into the quiet, country practice of psychology, with my faithful Rosie Jane and slept like a baby. I was finding contentment of sorts and was wanting for nothing. My beloved six urged me to move to a bigger city because “you’ll find someone there,” “you need a life,” etc., etc. “Don’t die alone with a million cats.” Regarding the proverbial needing to be around people to have a life: been there, done that, not into it. From here on out I had a solid plan to sit back and wait on the Lord. So as they would kindly badger (Ray did not kindly badger but my sisters did), I would just smile and nod at the inside joke that had been running for years between me and God. Just wait, dear girl. Just wait.
Well I waited. And for another year or so I worked on my practice, spent a lot of time with my nieces and nephews, got reintegrated into my hometown, and continued to wait. Then, on a balmy Wednesday afternoon in October I had two cancellations, which was surely divine intervention because I never have cancellations. I decided to call up the OG, my Grandmother, and treat her to lunch. We decided on soup and BLT’s and there was only one place in Montello, WI. that made both things to perfection. So I called ahead to order. Charlotte, one of the co-owners of Rendezvous was putting together my bill as I arrived, and before I was five steps in the door she said, “Have you talked to your dad?” Oh yikes. About what? I asked with a sideways glance. “Well, this is all his idea, but we have someone we want you to go to dinner with.”
Ugh. So this is NOT the first time I’ve been “set up” with gentlemen of a certain age by the concerned adults in my life. Not by a long shot. My uncle, bless his heart, set me up with an Amish guy. He was nice. Then he tried to set me up with a 22 year-old and I shut that down before it could happen. My aunt set me up with ne’er-do-well chef who couldn’t actually cook. My Grandma encouraged Catholic Match, which led to some nice dates, but no love connections. So I humored Charlotte and her husband John, and asked, okay, who? (Really just wanting to run out of there with my starving Grandmother’s BLT.) “Well our son, Mathias!” Mathias? The son I babysat? The kid I went to Catholic school with but hadn’t really spoken to, since…well, 7th grade? “Yes! But just go out for dinner with him so you’re dad gives it a rest.” Okay, Charlotte, will do. And I leave with the soup and sandwiches. I proceed to tell my beloved Grandmother this story and she sits across the table from me with an amused, ever-knowing smile on her face. “You never know what the Lord has in store for you, but can’t you find your own dates?”
So that night, I’m visiting with my dad, and say, Mathias? Really? He IMMEDIATELY tries to blame this whole thing on Charlotte, and I smile to myself about these two meddling parents trying to throw the other one under the bus. “Well, Bug, he’d be perfect for you!” Whatever. So would Chris Hemsworth. I’m on my way home that night and was struck by lightning. I decide to message this kid I went to Catholic school with ages ago, totally out of the blue, totally out of character thinking, “I’ll show them. And I’LL FIND MY OWN DATES!”
I message Mathias on Facebook and pose that we prank out meddling parents, and he’s immediately game. He called me within a couple minutes of my message. He was accosted by my Dad, too, so he totally felt my pain. We planned to prank them real good and fake an engagement around Thanksgiving. We talked and laughed for about an hour, and he shared that he was never so horrified in his life than when I, the “beautiful upper-classman” babysat him and his siblings. I proceeded to do their laundry because I was a bonafide Cinderella back then and he said, “And there you were, picking up my brother’s and my dad’s underwear and I said please stop! Oh my God stop!” He later said he didn’t want to go to school the next week because of this laundry ordeal. I thought nothing of it, except, that they were probably his underwear, too. ANYWAY. The next night, we talked for another hour. The next night, a couple hours. I was with my Grandma again that weekend and leaked our evil plan, and she looked at me again, a little longer this time, and with that knowing grin she said, “Joke’s gonna be on you, girl.” I said, yeah, yeah.
By the end of the week we were planning our first “fake date.” All the while, texting all day and talking all night, about everything under the sun including our diabolical plan. Our first “fake date” was to be in a month, but by the end of the week we decided to meet earlier (the following weekend). I made him dinner at my house and we decided that maybe we needed another fake date, just to be sure we were on the right track. After our second date, we started thinking, maybe it’d be really mean and evil to prank our meddling parents, so maybe let’s date for real but not tell anybody. Keeping a secret in my family, is akin to needing witness protection-level security in order to keep said secret, so that lasted about another week and by Halloween he had been re-introduced to most of the fam as, “you remember Mathias, we went to school together back in the day.”
From there, we spent as much time as we could together. He traveled a lot and I worked evenings following a full day to try to build up my practice. But the spare moments were ours. We laughed a lot, talked a lot, me more than I ever have in my life. I noticed that I wasn’t doing what I normally do, second guessing everything, or planning my next move (escape), or creating problems that weren’t there. I just…was…with him. I just…am…with him. I feel present, but excited about what’s next. More than I’ve ever been. Is he perfect? NOPE. Am I perfect? DOUBLE NOPE. But we match, in such a way that I was given more insight into my inside joke with God. He had tailor made someone for me, and I just had to wait for the right time to see him. He was there along. My knight in shining plaid button-downs.
So here we are, on the evening of my 35th birthday, basking in all the love I received today from close friends, long-lost friends, co-workers, family and more, and I get to write about something I’ve dreamed of but let my heart forget about for a while. Last night, we went for our walk along Lake Winnebago and we stopped for a slow dance in one of the gazebos in the park (yep, ladies, he’s that guy). He got down on one knee, pulled out a ring, and said, “Savannah Whitemarsh, will you be my wife?” No fuss, just a simple question, and after only 6 months of dating I knew (had long known) that I indeed wanted to be this guy’s wife. So I said yes.
The moral of the story is, God’s timing is perfect (so are His inside jokes), and the gifts He has in store for us are better and more surprising than even someone with the wildest imagination can fashion. Wedding invitations forthcoming. Oh, and Grandma approves.