Friday, December 07, 2012

Catholic Love Story #10 Nick & Kinsi

Buckle up.  Here is an amazing love story under Our Lady's blue mantle. Kinsi @ deserves a visit. Her blog is as hilarious, sweet and poignant as her story.

Nick and I have been together for 4.5 years.

We’ve been married since December 12th, 2009.

(Hooray, Our Lady of Guadalupe!)

Growing up, I was always skeptical of dating.  I was just happy being me, on my own.  Even in middle school, girls were rushing to nab a boyfriend.  At 12, I told my father, “Why would I want to date anybody? I’m still figuring out who I am.  I don’t have time to figure out who somebody else, too.”  He probably let out the biggest sigh of his life that day.

I grew up with brothers (and only brothers) and was more comfortable joshing around with the boys than giggling and hair-braiding with the girls.  I had my solid group of female friends, mind you- I just didn’t like the fuss of female social order.  In high school, I was admittedly flirtatious.  I had a short-lived (and perfectly innocent) relationship early on.  I decided afterward that my 12-year-old proclamation to my father was good enough to live by for a couple more years.  Then, I met him: the guy I thought I’d be with forever.

We began dating at the end of my junior year of high school.  We dated for three years.  We had our ups and our downs, though we hardly took our downs seriously.  We were both “good kids” yet we hardly led each other anywhere good.  We learned from one another, but mostly because we made plenty of mistakes.  When he decided to leave the relationship in favor of pursuing the seminary, neither of us handled the breakup very gracefully.  A year passed: a year full of moping and spontaneous sobbing before he invited me out to lunch and told me so poignantly, “We are never getting back together.”  I wonder if T. Swift was eaves dropping.

It was exactly what I needed to hear; a shot to the arm.  I left that restaurant feeling 100% better, in an instant.  The relief of not carrying him around anymore was tremendous.  So tremendous, that I was nearly positive there’d be no need to date anybody for the next five years or so.  I suddenly loved being single once more.  I’d returned to my early teen philosophy: ‘tis best to be alone and free.

At the end of that week, spring break began.  I was Service Co-Chair for the Catholic Student Union at my university.  The Service Chair had coordinated an alternative spring break trip to Alabama; building with the Fuller Center for Housing.  The day came for all of us (8 gals and 3 guys) to pile into our cars and drive from north Florida to our destination, but we were running late.  My job as Co-Chair was to tie up all of those loose ends, and unfortunately there were many due to poor planning.  The Chair took all of our volunteers to her apartment to watch a movie, while I ran around- furious.  Hours past our estimated time of departure and we finally began packing up to leave.  No one could move fast enough to appease me.  I was too concerned about the fact that we had folks waiting for us in another state.  I grabbed bags and tossed them haphazardly into trunks to move everything along.  As my friends finally took their seats and buckled in, I noticed the occupants of one car were still lollygagging: the men.  Well, one man in particular: Nick.

I only spoke with Nick once before that day... actually, it about one year prior, when I lost my campaign to be Historian for the Catholic Student Union.  My speech started off with a less-than-stellar joke, but one guy out in the crowd gave a big “WOO!” and shook his fists in the air.  No sarcasm involved; just a genuine smile and a cow-print baseball cap in the third “row” of carpet squares.  Later that evening, after my loss, I mingled and crossed paths with Nick. 

“I liked your joke,” he told me.

I grimaced.  “Yeah, you were the only one.” 

There was no way that I would’ve won Historian: my boyfriend had just broken up with me, and he was a shoe-in for his position on running night.  Since he was a year older and thereby prioritized for leadership, it seemed to me like the community would automatically nil me from the running.  “She’s ineligible: emotionally unstable and incapable of working in close contact with him.”  Service Co-Chair was a sort of mercy offering that was extended to me so that I wouldn’t feel quite so crushed, and I accepted.

So a year later, there I was; nagging co-eds to load up so that we could hit the road, and the only obstacle in my way was Nick.

“LET’S SHAKE AND BAKE!” he yelled.

As much as I like Talladega Nights, I was in no mood.  “Or, how about you shut the he#! up and get in the car?” Mind you, this was the second time I’d ever spoken with him.

“Geez,” he huffed, ducking into the passenger seat and closing the door. 

A few hours later, we arrived at our home-away-from-home for the week: a high school gym.  During the days, we’d work with strangers from all over on three different houses.  Nick somehow ended up shirking the other two gentlemen and working on the same house as I.  Why he wanted to work side-by-side with a turd like me is still a mystery.  In spite of my lousy first second impression, Nick was drawn to me and I to him.  Over the course of the week, we found lots of opportunities to talk.  We worked out together in the evenings.  I gave him a bag of candy under the guise of I-don’t-want-to-eat-it.  He showed me how to cut with a band saw, and suffered innumerable hammer blows to his fingers due to my faulty craftsmanship.  I gave him advice on how to “stay regular”- because that’s what I do.  We found out that we both thought King of the Hill is hilarious.  He had a mustache, and I actually started to believe that it was cute.  He walked around shirt-free at every opportunity.  One of the girls called him out, and he brushed it off as comfortable.  He later admitted that he was trying to show off.   

I almost goofed it all up during our last day of work by flirting with a guy from another group.  As a sanguine personality, I liked to poke fun and tease (read: flirt).  I sat with this guy at lunch instead of sitting with Nick and my friends.  (Boo, I know.)  This is when Nick knew that he was serious about me, because he was not pleased.  He let it slide, though.  He knew that we weren’t committed to one another in any capacity yet, and that what’s-his-name would be gone in less than 24 hours.  That evening, everyone in our group gathered in the gym basement to play board games and just have some good old-fashioned fun.  Well, it would’ve been fun- except Nick and I couldn’t stop laughing at each other’s jokes.  One after the other, we would quip about something- something that no one else appeared to think was funny- and then cry and kick and clap our hands and guffaw until it hurt.  Several of our friends were quite annoyed, as the clamor became too much to play over. 

The next morning, I knew that I was going to be with Nick.  I already knew that we were going to be friends for a long, long time.  This was the moment: I’d lent my nail kit (clippers, tweezers, etc.) to another one of the guys at the beginning of the week.  I needed it back before we packed up and left.  Nick was nearby, and we caught each others’ eyes. 

“Hey- would you go get my nail kit from Joe?”

“Yeah, sure.”

And he was off.  Romantic, eh? One of our mutual friends, Michele, turned from her suitcase and looked over at me.  She raised one eyebrow, and I knew I was caught. 

The evening that we got back from our service trip, a guy friend of mine invited me to come along with him to Adoration, and then make a Wal-Mart run for kicks.  It didn’t really matter if his motives were purely platonic; I didn’t want to go.  I didn’t want to make Nick jealous.  I wanted him to know that I was saying no to other opportunities in favor of him.  Besides, Nick had invited me to come along to a monster truck show the next day- something I’d never seen.  It was so bizarre that I couldn’t resist.  Two other friends came along, but when we found that there was only room in the stands for us to sit separated in pairs, Nick and I were on the same wavelength: we ditched our buds and sat together, hooting and hollering the whole time.  I got my first-ever sunburn that day.

After a couple days, I got some sort of stomach bug.  Nick worked hand-over-foot to check in on me, bring me bottles of ginger ale, and chauffer me when necessary.  After a week or so, he’d caught the bug (no, we hadn’t smooched yet).  It was my turn to take care of him.  I came over for video game marathons, and brought him kefir or coloring pages just for kicks.  We still laughed and had a tremendous amount of fun even when one of us wasn’t feeling well.

Nick really pursued me.  He started coming to more Catholic Student Union events, because I was a part of them.  He insisted on sitting next to me in Mass and Adoration.  He made the initial moves: asking if we could spend more time together, then asking if we could go on a date, then if he could hold my hand.  We often joke that I said “I love you,” first though.

We were out eating dinner, and he simply made a joke: something silly.  In that moment, our minds met and I laughed aloud, tears running down my face. After I stifled my hee-hawing, I leaned over the table.  “I REALLY like you.”

In July, I went to World Youth Day in Australia.  Nick must’ve missed me pretty badly those few days that I road-tripped from the east to the west coast for my flight out of Los Angeles.  Per the advice of the priest who later married us, he bought a ticket last-minute to L.A., and met me at the airport to see me off.  He then flew to New Zealand to enjoy some international fun with me and the other pilgrims for a week.  We’d only been dating for four months, but my host family and others asked excitedly if we were going to get married.  They were charmed by our goofiness, I suppose.

Yet a lot of people didn’t seem to understand our attraction to one another.  On the outside, we probably didn’t look very serious: we laughed too much, teased each other constantly, and wasted a lot of snacks in spontaneous food fights.  He was a minimalist kind of guy and I was the textbook collector.  He loved going to bed early, and I was a night owl.  He was a true melancholic- disinterested in social gatherings, while I wanted to accept every invitation extended to me.  He liked to work with his hands, and I liked to work with words and concepts.  But, my parents very much approved, and he got along better with my special-needs brother than any other guy I’d known.  I felt more comfortable with him than anyone I’d known- flaws and all.

Near the end of October, I was walking on campus.  As I passed by my freshman dorm, a thought crept into my head: the coming Saturday, Nov 1st , would be an excellent day for a proposal.  Nick was asking some pretty serious questions lately. 

Friday was Halloween, and we dressed as Rob and Big for CSU’s annual Halloween Party.  Afterward, Nick asked if I’d like to go to Adoration- but only after changing, of course.  I agreed, suspicious.  Upon arriving at the chapel, we found that there was a prayer vigil in progress for the upcoming election.  It was crowded and even a little loud, so Nick suggested we go into the main sanctuary and look over the readings for the day.  By this point, it was past midnight and now All Saints Day.  We read aloud in the dark, creaky sanctuary.  We sat in silence for some time.  We prayed together.  Then, he gave me the “You ready?” look.  I stood up to leave, walked towards the door, but by the halfway point I could feel that Nick wasn’t following me anymore.  I turned around and he was kneeling directly in front of the altar. 

What has two thumbs and totally called that? This girl.

It was precious.  He had a speech ready (though he says he can’t remember if he said any of it).  I remember that he said he wanted to become a Saint with me.  He presented me with a ring, which he’d designed and had crafted especially for me.

By the way, the ring was in the shape of the Sacred Heart.  The flame was the wedding band.  I know, I know- amazing.

We dated for seven months before our engagement: a straight-to-video relationship by today’s standards.  We decided on a 13-month engagement for the sake of keeping my senior year in college sane.  The engagement period had its hills and valleys, and it’s a story all on its own.

Now, our married story is being written.  It is full of twists and turns, surprises of all kinds, and we never know what’s going to happen next.  I wish I could tell you all about it.  I wish I didn’t seem to remember every detail, because boy is it hard to whittle our story down to the “major” events.  Love is in the details, as they say, and every day we add more and more of them to the story. 

Pray for us on our anniversary through the intercession of Our Lady.  She was very generous to share her feast day with us ;-)  


Anabelle Hazard said...

Kinsi thank you for sharing your story here. I totally LOLed at the nail kit. And your wedding ring IS amazing. Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary I'm sure Our Lady of Guadalupe has special blessings in store.

Claire @ If You Want to Be Happy, Be said...

Having a little swoon over this story! Every blessing for your marriage together! :)