There’s this somewhat cheesy quote from my old favorite show that I’ve always loved:
Some people are settling down.
Some people are just settling…
And some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.
Everyone settles at some point. I’ve settled for countless bad hairstyles, several infested apartments, and a couple of not-so-nice guys. One day I woke up, called a new stylist, wrote the big first-last-security check, and cried my eyes out at the end of yet another failed relationship. And I thank God everyday that I chose this path, the one less traveled, the one I was always supposed to be on, the one that led me to The One.
Our memories differ a bit on where and when, but meeting Stacey Harper Rachdorf is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’ll leave out the gory details my Dad doesn’t want to read about, but I will say one time – he is so hot! I pray our child gets his looks!
He walked into my bar in the summer of 2007, and caught my eye for several gawking moments. How could such a good looking local have escaped my man meat radar for so long? He ordered a couple drinks – Stoli Blueberry, soda water, pineapple juice - chatted briefly, and left. A few days later, Jack on the rocks, chat, goodbye. My coworker and I dubbed him “Eye Candy” with lack of an actual name.
Later that month, after a morning of mimosas at Bailiwicks, my girlfriend Emma and I showed up at the bar I worked at to collect our tips from the previous night. Eye Candy was having lunch, and my mimosa-induced confidence approached him with smile, “Hey, do you want to go to a party?”
“Yeah!” Like, no hesitation. Gave me butterflies like I can’t describe to this day.
“By the way, what’s your name?”
A few friends gathered around a pool – lounge, drink, swim, repeat. I squeezed my chubby bunny butt into a cute bikini and prayed Stacey wouldn’t judge. We BBQ’d all day, and after just the right amount of cocktails, I happily accepted Stacey’s request for a one-on-one dip later into the evening. We both agree – electricity and water can be a good thing.
We drove down the coast together just a few weeks later – my 22 year old mind convinced that Florida was the place for me – and even though our new friendship had me feeling a comfort I hadn’t felt in a very long time, there was a constant stream of butterflies in my tummy, an excitement I won’t ever forget or debase. We talked about everything, even the boring stuff had me catching my breath, and the fluttering in my stomach turned into something more important than a crush.
Needless to say, Florida didn’t work out. I came home, tail between legs, but not empty handed. Stacey had come to visit me several times during my 8-week stint in the Southeast, and lucky for me, he held my hand during another drive along the coast in late October. Despite everything else going on in my life at that time, I felt like I’d done something very right to win this man’s interest.
Eventually, after two years of the single life, I opened my eyes and my heart to the man of my life.
We’ve kept each other on our toes, for sure. Regardless - three years, an apartment, a puppy, some big ups-and-downs, lots of laughter, love, support, and a bun in my oven later, Stacey still gives me butterflies. If he pops into the restaurant I work at unexpectedly, my stomach flips. His smile, his laugh, his massages! – he knows how to make me tick, yet he can’t help the way he makes me feel.
As mushy as this all sounds, it gets better: Our doctor tells us that in a few short weeks, our little Kangaroo will be giving me butterflies – the swish-swish-swish of her little limbs will be felt in my lower abdomen. When I think of our baby – part me, part him – fluttering around in my belly, it all makes perfect sense. It’s no surprise the first belly-tug I will feel will remind me of Stacey – he has given me butterflies since the day we met, and that’s not soon to change. It’s the couple we are, the parents we will become – in love, best friends, and ready to conquer the next beautiful challenge.