But by June, they were engaged.
(Wait, what?? Even as I write that, I question it!)
How did that even happen?
I'll back up a bit, to November or December of 2015. B21 (or B20, as he was then) and I were having one of those cautious conversations about life and his future. I was fishing for information about a new girl he was interested in--who didn't sound like daughter-in-law material--and as he tried to avoid telling me more, I said, "If you don't want to tell me about her, then believe me, she's not the right girl. When you meet the right girl, you'll feel like you can't wait for me to meet her!"
Fast-forward to February and another conversation about his future. We had been discussing steps toward college, a job change, maybe even a move...and he says, "Well, but now there is this girl." Soon, he brings her by.
Let me preface that story by saying that B21 has had a tendency, over the years, to play knight in shining armor to young ladies who needed rescuing. We usually saw red flags in a first meeting. To our surprise and delight, this gal (oh dear, I don't have a pseudonym yet!), struck us at once as superbly healthy. She was confident, poised, open, friendly and NICE. She seemed totally comfortable with us and with herself. What's more, B21 was different in her presence. He was relaxed and light-hearted. He was enjoying being with us, with her. He was in no hurry to rush off with her.
After they left, we all agreed she was a keeper. Chicklet astutely observed, "I really like her; and I really like B21 when he's with her!"
That night, I waited up for him so I could tell him how much I approved. Later, he said that was a turning point for him. He began taking her to meet all the significant people in his life. It was just as I'd predicted: He couldn't wait to introduce her to everyone he cared about!
Everyone gave him green lights to move forward.
Interestingly, in a way she was in need of rescuing. I remember when B21 told us with trepidation, before we met her, that she was only 17, and she had a son, not quite 2. He was surprised when each of us, separately, instead of cautioning him against getting serious with her, told him that although it would add some challenges, we didn't think it was an insurmountable problem. In fact, we thought it said good things about her courage, her convictions and her maturity.
He said he liked her from the start--they were both employed at Starbucks, though not at the same store--and when he heard that she had a child, he thought, "Wow, it's going to take a special guy to come along and step into that situation." As he got to know her, he remembers thinking, "Why can't I be that guy?"
Given her youth, it's ironic that he was most attracted to her maturity! He was also strongly impressed by what a good mother she was. B21 has always loved kids and looked forward to being a father, and it was important to him to marry someone who also wanted a family and would be a good mom. He loved how she didn't take herself too seriously and frequently laughed at herself; he was also thrilled that she could cook, and she was organized. "She's a lot like you, Mom," he said, and I nearly cried.
He was done with casual dating, and he told her he was only interested in a serious relationship. She wasn't eager for him to form a relationship with her son unless he was going to be around permanently. He told her he was going to follow the Lord and that was the most important thing in his life. She said that was the path she was traveling too, and she was eager to journey with him.
As parents, we all thought that though they were young, they were mature, and they were well-suited to each other. They had an easy, complementary relationship, and they slipped into co-parenting as if they'd been doing it for years.
With all that settled, the only question, really, was timing! They lived about 45 minutes apart, on opposite sides of Kenosha county. Between driving to see each other, to go to work, and to drop off and pick up her son (who she shares in a joint custody arrangement), they were spending so much in gas and time that neither could afford, especially with both of them planning to start college in the fall: How could they add wedding planning on top of that, if they aimed for the following summer? It seemed their grades would be most likely to suffer.
Perhaps they should just get married first? We felt it made the most sense. Afraid we were not objective, I asked a psychologist friend, who knew them both, if there were any reasons to consider having them wait longer to get married: She said absolutely not! So, with that reassurance, and with Blondechick and Jedi Knight planning an August wedding, October sounded about right. After their June 4 engagement, they had a little over four months to plan--plenty of time. :)
But first, in mid-June, she had to graduate! For her last two years of high school, she completed her coursework though eAchieve Academy, the same virtual school that B21 and his younger brother had attended several years before.
|She said she would have dressed up more if she had seen it coming. She was totally taken by surprise!|
|He proposed atop a Kenosha landmark on an unusually foggy evening.|
May was a big month for the three of them too, as they all had milestone birthdays. He turned 21, she turned 18, and their little boy turned 2.
Running out of room for the rest of the story...but they are married now. (I will do a post of wedding pictures soon!) They're cozy in their own apartment. They bring their laundry over to our house, and we watch our step-grandson occasionally when their work schedules overlap--so we see them quite frequently! They attend Light of Christ on Sundays too.
We couldn't be more thankful to God for our new daughter-in-law!