September 9, 1995 was a Saturday. Back then, country dancing was popular, and I often went on Fridays, but never Saturdays because it was too hard to wake up bright and early and get 3 kids under the age of 5 to church by 9 a.m. You see, back in 1994 I'd been divorced and had lots of baggage in the form of very cute, wonderful, challenging children.
I dated a lot after my divorce. Some were just in it for fun, other wanted a relationship, but they weren't the right ones. There was one guy that I met and spent the entire evening getting to know each other, asked me out for the next weekend, but as soon as he found out I had 3 kids he didn't call again. He found me about a month later dancing at the same place and apologized, saying that kids scared him. I reassured him that they scared me too! ;) Most guys my own age just weren't very excited to become daddy to 3 kids. Sometimes they thought they were, but after I watched them carefully and prayed about them, I would realize that they weren't up to helping to raise my Joshua, the oldest of the kidlets. Josh was a challenge and liked to push boundaries. A lot. Most men would have lost their patience with him, so it was my job to make sure that he had a step-dad who loved me, that I loved, and that would be good with him and the other kids. Add to that that I was deeply scarred from a bad marriage and divorce; I told everyone that it would take an act of God for me to get married again. ;)
Anyway, back to September 9th..... throughout the day that day, I got the feeling I should go dancing. "I don't want to," was my response to that feeling. All day long. Until 9:30 that night. At 9:30, after hearing that thought all day long, I thought, "Fine! I'll go," but I wasn't excited about it. I just wanted to get it over with. I called a friend and she agreed to watch my kids, and I set out.
As I was walking down the sidewalk to the door, I heard someone knock on the window, so when I got in the building, I checked where the knock was coming from - the DJ's place - and went over there. The DJ just said, "Save a dance for me for later!" Okay, then, I sure will - and I realized the night was going to be better than I thought.
I walked through the crowd, but in my peripherals I see a guy who looks to be about 18 watching me. Crap! I don't have time. God sent me here for something, and obviously it wasn't an 18 year old boy. I saw him heading toward me, so I ask a guy who looks a few years older than me to dance. "I would, but I don't think my wife would like it!" was his response. Okey dokey then... and here he came.
A guy with short, preppy style hair, a warm smile, and the youngest face in the room - yep, the 18 year old - is right next to me and asks me to dance. Okay, what the heck.
As we 2 step, he has a smile that lights up his whole face. He comments that he hasn't seen me here before. I reply that I only go on Fridays - then I see a way to get through this really quick - because it's hard for me to get up and get to church on time, since I have church at 9. He nods and says that he understands, it's hard for him too. "No, you don't understand," I say, "I have 3 little kids to get up and get ready too." His smile freezes and he misses the beat for a little while. After half a lap around the room, he regains his composure and says that he is the oldest of 12, so really, he does understand. At some point I find out he's 24 and for whatever reason, he isn't scared away by the thought of my having kids.
He'd asked me out for a date, and I agreed, but I hadn't given him my phone number yet... then a drawing for the cowboy boots came and I won! (though I never claimed the boots because I was in the middle of something much bigger than that!) The DJ not only called out my name, but my phone number. "Well, I have your number now," Steve laughed.
We danced exclusively all night, except for the moments when we sat and talked. I found out things that made me nervous: like he came from a happy family and didn't seem like a psychopath, even if he was still talking to me after I tell him I have three kids.... Nothing scared me more than the thought that "This might be the one..." Oy vey.
I went home and called my friend, Sherry. After telling her about him, she said, "He's lying. No one's home life can be that perfect," LOL :) But it was, as was confirmed later.
Mid-week, he still hadn't called me. At first I was surprised - other guys had called a lot, and usually I was sick of them a few days after I met them - but then my surprised turned to sadness, and sadness to anger/frustration. My internal dialogue was telling me that he'd thought over the three kids and had decided against it. I was thinking of the last guy who stood me up....
So I called him. The gist of the conversation went something like, "So, are we still on for Saturday?" I asked in a tone that probably make the hair on the back of his neck stand straight up. "Uh, yeah, of course. It's not 'til Saturday, right?" Poor guy. :)
So on Saturday the 16th, he picked me up in his Suzuki Swift. We double dated with his roommate and his date, who was a very sweet girl who went to church with Steve. He kept making comments about me being the most beautiful girl in the room, and I felt badly for the other girl, who was his friend and was very pretty. She took it in stride and was happy that Steve was so happy. I think Steve was oblivious that he might be hurting the other girl's feelings as he tried to flatter me :) We walked the mall before the movie started. We went to see "Legacy" at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It was a beautiful building, but I don't remember the movie much, I just remember seeing Steve in my peripheral vision, often as he was looking at me. I wasn't sure what to think of this guy who seemed too good to be true....
We spend most of our time together throughout the rest of September, and that scared me. I told him that I thought we should slow things down a bit - maybe see other people. He seemed sad, but said okay. I started missing him a few hours later and called him; his roommate said he'd gone shopping "with Erin and some French girl". Boy was I jealous! But I remembered that it was my choice, so I just waited for him to call me back. A few days later, I went visiting teaching and talked to my companion about Steve and our relationship. She told me that she thought I made a bad choice when I slowed things down, and that I should call him and work things out. I don't remember how everything went down, but I remember realizing that I needed to figure out what I really thought about this guy; I didn't believe in playing with people's hearts, so I didn't want to get in a relationship with him again just because I missed him, and then decide he wasn't "The One". So I prayed. The feeling I got was surprising. Every other time I'd liked a guy and prayed about him, I'd remember all of my concerns about him and me in a relationship, so when I felt strongly that this guy really was The One, I was surprised, happy, and scared all at the same time.
Okay, so you have to realize that honesty is almost a vice with me. My own mother even told me that I'm too honest. Anyway, I told him that I'd prayed about him and told him that I felt really good about us being in a relationship. He must have felt it too, because we started dating exclusively and by October 20th we were engaged.
The engagement story needs to be told too. :)
So, on the morning of October 20th, Steve had flown to Denver for the company that he worked for. He got back in town at around 3, I believe. Well, I really wanted to go to the zoo with the kids, and I figured that since he'd gotten off work early, that would be a perfect day to go. What I didn't know until much later is that he had a migraine. What I did know at the time was that the kids were rambunctious and Steve seemed out of sorts. I also knew that he had a ring box in his jacket pocket...
We went to the zoo. We got back to my house from the zoo. We put the kids to bed, like we always did - he and I would sit in the hallway between the kids' rooms and sing to them. I had done it alone until he came along. No wonder I fell in love with him so quickly! :) - and then we sat on the couch. And I waited. Time passed. It was time for him to go home, so I walked him to the door. I knew he had the ring box...but he hadn't asked me. Finally - because I am not patient at all, and because I am the opposite of quiet and meek - I bit out, "I know that you've had the ring box in your pocket all day. You don't *have* to marry me, you know." And right then he pulled it out and asked, "Melody, will you marry me?" I said (in a quieter voice), "You aren't on one knee." So he got on one knee and asked again, "Melody, will you marry me?" All of the fear and worry and doubt came into my head. I realized that I wasn't prepared for this question at all.... I sat down hard on the coffee table behind me, covered my mouth, and said, "Oh my hell!" then "Yes." Not quite the sweet answer I'm sure he'd expected :) (but he sure has gotten to tease me a lot over it through the years :))
The next day, Josh was so excited to hear that we were engaged. He'd been asking me to "buy him a new daddy" for over a year.... He looked at Steve and smiled big and said, "Hi Dad". I told him that he couldn't call him Dad until after we were married. So on the day of our wedding, when we walked out of the temple, he did the same thing: big smile and "Hi Dad" :) And truly, that little boy could not have asked for a better dad.
And all of these years later, I still know that I couldn't have asked for a better husband. He is exactly what I need, and I thank the Lord every day for sending him into my life.