I told Chuck I would marry him, and I meant it…but there were still a few things I needed to clarify.
Oh man, this was awkward. Really awkward. How was I even going to say it? We hadn’t even kissed yet.
“Chuck,” I said nervously. “There’s something I need to tell you.”
This conversation probably wouldn’t have been awkward at all if we had been dating. But we hadn’t been. In less than a week we had gone from friends to engaged. Things were moving fast (in the some ways…he still hadn’t kissed me!)
“What do you need to tell me?”
“Well…ahem…I’m not going to use any birth control” I blurted. Hoping if I said it fast enough we could just move on.
“Oh-Kay. Um….why not?”
“Well my mom had a stroke from taking the pill and besides I don’t like the idea of taking all those hormones and messing with my body and diaphragms are bad for your cervix and I won’t do an IUD because they don’t always prevent conception and I don’t want the hormones from something like a Norplant but there is something called Natural Family Planning where a woman charts her cycle and the couple only…um…has sex during her not fertile time did you know a woman is only fertile two or three days a month?” I was trying to get it out all at once. Here I was talking to my former Teen Missions leader about my cycle and birth control…
“Okay.” was his answer. Really, was there any other answer? Just as I had never considered he was going to propose to me on his visit, I am pretty sure he never considered how many days a month a woman might be fertile. I am sure he was caught just as off guard by my sudden talk of family planning as I was of his proposal.
“But doesn’t that mean that you would constantly be having babies?”
“No! Breastfeeds works as natural birth control. As long as you are completely breastfeeding, it is very unlikely you will get pregnant. I plan to breastfeed my babies too. That’s not all. I also am going to have home births and homeschool my children. Are you okay with that?“
“Ah…okay. What do you mean ‘home birth’?”
What can I say? I was a very well-read nineteen year old.
And so our conversation went, for the three long hours on the drive back to my home.
With the news that Chuck and I were engaged, suddenly everyone wanted to have us over…we had dinner with my oldest brother, Neale, his wife and his toddler daughter. Next we went out for pizza with my other brother, David and his wife, June. We drove together in David and June’s car. The newlywed couple in the front seats and the newly engaged couple in the back. We pulled into parking lot of the pizza place and David and June stopped to smooch before leaving the car.
Chuck, suddenly sensing his chance for a little romance, leaned over and attempted to kiss me. Our first kiss? In the backseat of my brother’s car? With my brother in it.
Playfully I leaned over to open the door and “escape” but I was still buckled in. I moved my hand to unlatch the buckle, but Chuck beat me to and wouldn’t let me unlatch it. Trapped, he seized his moment and kissed me.
And it wasn’t a chaste peck on the cheek either, I’ll tell you that.
Once I escaped, we headed inside to eat pizza while David and June pummeled us with questions. Chuck would only be in Alaska for a few more days. We had to: pick out rings, set a date, decide on a location, choose colors. The list was positively endless. Wedding plan we did…and perhaps a little bit more kissing.
Parting in the airport was excruciating. In less than a week we had: become engaged, shared our first kiss and planned a wedding. Now we were saying goodbye. Saying goodbye way too soon. A huge chunk of my beating heart went with Chuck as he boarded that plane…I felt utterly lost as I drove home that night. I had school and my nanny job to keep me busy, but felt as though I were walking around with only half my heart. I had many, many wedding details to attend to. Our wedding was just barely five months away! I had already bought plane tickets to British Columbia, Canada so I could go and meet Chuck’s family over my spring break.
A few days after Chuck went home I received a box in the mail. I ran down to my room so I could open it right away. What I saw inside made me gasp in horror…