I've been a tomboy most of my life. As a child, most of my friends were boys. Girls did boring stuff like play with Barbies. Boys did fun stuff like climb trees and play with cars. I spent my teenage years as "one of the guys". I could fix cars and ride motorcycles. Many girls hated me during those years, because I was with the guys more than them. Little did they know, that while they were going on dates, I very rarely was on a real date, because the guys never thought of me that way. They just had me hang out with them like any of the other guys.
When I finally got around to dating in my late teen's and early 20's, I turned into a loser magnet. If there was a bad guy out there to date, I found them. I don't know how my mother managed to survive those years! During those years, I found out I can't have children. Then I got in a really bad relationship that proved to be dangerous to my survival. To get in the last word, I took my boyfriends motorcycle and parked in the motorcycle parking lot at a police station, put pictures of my bruised body in an envelope with a letter saying this bike belonged to a woman beater. I packed my bags and disappeared. I moved to Pillager, MN and for a while lived with my grandparents at their lake place. I transferred from my waitress job at Perkins to the Brainerd Perkins and I started my life over. I ended up working 3 jobs at one time, and drinking way too much. And my pattern of choosing bad boys continued.
I made some really good friends amongst my customers and co-workers at Perkins. One of them was Cynthia. For the first time in my life, I really felt bonded to a female friend. She was so cool. I idolized her. She was beautiful with the most amazing eyes. She had her own style of dressing and she was such a free spirit. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind or tell anyone the truth. At that time in my life, the truth was what I needed to hear. She helped me come out of my shell and find myself. She made me feel like I was a good person.
One nice thing about my relationship with Cynthia is that we had total opposite taste in men, so there was never any competition between us over guys. We were never attracted to the same ones. I remember telling her about this dream that I had been having over and over. It was about this guy, and he made me very happy. He made me feel safe. He made me feel loved. In my dream, I ended up spending my life with him. Cynthia used to call him my "Fantasy Man" and she'd laugh and tell me I should look for a real man.
One night, Cynthia and I were having coffee at Perkins. We'd been out socializing and it was very late - more like early in the morning! I looked across the restaurant and almost had a heart attack! I became very excited and I told Cynthia that my Fantasy Man was there! There was a guy sitting a few booths down that looked just like the man in my dreams. She turned around and looked, and was appalled! She said "Oh yuck, that is Mark! I dated him once and went to a Charley Daniels concert. He kisses like a fish and all he can talk about is cars." I knew right then and there that if Cynthia didn't like him, he might be a match for me!
I told my friend, Brian, about Mark. Brian ended up getting a job where Mark works. On March 14, 1984 Brian and Mark came into Perkins for coffee when they got off work. When I was done working, Brian invited me to join them. We all talked for a while and then Brian went home. Mark and I sat there drinking coffee and talking until 6 a.m. We have been together ever since. I knew, he was the one for me.
Mark liked all the things I liked, motorcycles, hotrods, and racing. He had a dark side, a sadness you could see in his eyes. A distrust for anything that smacked of love. I learned he was married for the first time as a teenager. They had a beautiful little girl that died from SIDS. They divorced and Mark married again. This time to a lady who had 2 children. Mark and her had a daughter. He came home from work one day and his wife and kids were gone. He wife left him for another man. He made it very clear to me that he never wanted kids again and he would never marry again. People change the day you get married and he was never going through it again.
I was "safe" because I couldn't have kids. I told him I didn't care what the doctors said I told Mark I firmly believed that if I ever got my life together and ended up with the right man, God would give me 1 child. It would be a boy and he'd have blond hair, blue eyes, and freckles. In 1985, God blessed Mark and I with that boy. And yes, he had blond hair and blue eyes - the freckles didn't come until later. Our son is our only child. And I'm grateful for him everyday.
Mark held on to his idea of never marrying again. We lived together, we were happy together, and most people assumed we were married. After a few years, it started to make me very sad that we weren't married. One day, we were watching TV and they showed these people going through the drive-thru chapel on motorcycles getting married in Las Vegas. I bust out laughing! I told Mark if we ever get married, that is what we should do, it was so "us". He thought it was funny too.
Fast forward to 2004. Mark and I had now been together for 20 years. In October, Mark got us a very nice suite at a hotel with a big jacuzzi in the room. It was my birthday gift. It was so relaxing! We were sitting on the couch watching TV and I looked at him and noticed a tear rolling down his cheek. He was staring at me. All of a sudden, he took my hand and told me he needed to ask me something. He then asked me the oddest question........ He asked me if I'd go through the drive-thru with him. I was confused and my mind raced. Drive-thru? He doesn't like McDonald's, we don't use the drive-thru cleaners and we didn't have any prescriptions that could be picked up at the drive-thru pharmacy. Drive-thru? He just sat there and stared at me. OMG! A light went off in my head and I began to cry. "That Drive-thru?" I said. "YES, that Drive-thru!" he said. He was asking me to marry him!!!!! He told me to pick the date and we'd go to Vegas and get married.
Well, after waiting 20 years to be his wife, I wasn't going to wait around and give him time to change his mind! I knew there was an NHRA National Event drag race at the end of them month in Vegas, so I picked going there then. That way, we could go to the races on our honeymoon. We were married Oct. 26, 2004. It's kind of cool, because I celebrate 2 anniversaries every year. March 14, the anniversary of our 1st day together and Oct., 26, our wedding anniversary. At 21 years together, it was 1 year anniversary. Makes it very easy to keep track of the years. I have to let you in on a little secret, Mark remembers our wedding anniversary every year... well sort of. He has it in his head we married on the 27th. So he always wishes me Happy Anniversary on the 27th. I just let him remember it that way, at least he remembers! It's kinda funny, and I'm hoping all of you keep my secret!
In many ways, the way we got married was sad for family and friends. They couldn't be with us to share our special day. Mark hates being the center of attention, so I asked everyone not to through us a reception or party when we came home. I didn't want to start out with him going through something he didn't like. I know everyone was with us in spirit and I know everyone was happy for us.
Mark was right about people changing the day they get married. He has changed. He treats me even more like a queen than he did before we got married. He still kisses me everyday. He still has a glow in his eyes when he looks at me. He just seems like his love grows and changes everyday. I am happy. I feel loved.
If I ever lecture you and tell you that anything worth having is worth waiting for, I speak the truth. I waited 20 long years and ended up with the man of my dreams!