How did you know that he was the “one?”
I love this question. And I love my answer even more. I knew he was the one when he nursed me though a less than pleasant surgery before we were engaged. That’s love. The messy. The painful. The times when you can’t sit, so you make a pallet in the living room floor and don’t move for days. That’s what it means to walk beside each other for better and for worse. That was how we spent New Year’s Day of 1998.
And after the winter break, when healing had commenced, I went back to Kentucky. School was underway, white stuff was falling from the sky and all was right in the world of long distance romance. As Valentine’s Day approached, I was reminded of the fact that just a year prior, I did not know this person that had become a fixture of hope and clarity in my life. It seemed strange to think about, but so much had transpired in a year. We had learned to fight for each other. We had fallen in love with each others families. I could see that this was far more than anything I could have imagined. This is what people talked about when they spoke of a relationship that was worth the hard work. It was.
Call it sentimentality or naive bull headed Taurus behavior, but on February 14th, I took things into my own hands. This story sets the tone for so many things in our relationship, so I fall on the sword of embarrassing truth in its telling. I am a great planner, I just suck at subtlety. By February 14th, I missed Lucas. The thought of staying in KY for another year to finish my degree was looming. My health was declining again after surgery and I wanted to be back with my people and my Houston doctors. So I took matters into my own hands.
Lucas: Hey babe, happy Valentine’s Day.
Lacy: To you, too. I don’t want to finish my degree. I want to come home.
Lacy: I want to come back to Texas. And I don’t want to be in Houston.
Lacy: I want to be in College Station with you.
Lucas: (who is newly 21 and a JUNIOR in college) ***silence***
Lacy: And If I am going to be in College Station, I want us to be married.
Lacy: Can you make that happen?
Lucas: Are you being serious?
Lacy: Yes. Like this summer. Let’s get married.
Lucas: Well, should I just call your dad and tell him that you told me to marry you?
I think he thought I was kidding. I was not. Not at all.
My health continued to hamper my semester. By mid March, I was 30 pounds lighter than when I arrived in Kentucky and the doctor there told me that all signs were pointing to Crohn’s Disease. I freaked. I didn’t want to do this by myself, I couldn’t focus on school and I missed my people. With the support of my professors. I came home to Texas at Spring Break. In some ways, I felt like a failure. In others, I was so relieved to be home.
We set our wedding date for August 22nd. I don’t mess around, and my dad was happy to follow along with any plans that meant I was off his payroll. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that Lucas Hilbrich was the most stable thing to happen in my life in, well, ever. Just six weeks before we married, I had to have another surgery. He was there again. Showing off with all of his capable self. I knew that we could do anything together.
Our wedding day was one of the most celebratory, joyous days ever. We had our people. We had some cake. If you don’t know our parents, you are missing out. My father wrote a warranty on me that he read at our rehearsal dinner. Let’s just say the paragraph of overuse by the owner had me hiding under the table in embarrassment. My father-in-law wore a tux.
That simple act was a gift, but the love and pride and blessing that we were offered that day would carry us on the days when things were not rosy and easy and fun. Our parents have been married collectively for almost 90 years and both of them have given us the foundation that marriage is good. So, so good. Notice I didn’t say easy.
But on August 22, 1998, all was right in the world. We were young and broke and idealistic and in love and ready to take on all the things. Hang on friends, we have 20 years of adventures ahead and few of the coming days are as clear cut as the phone call that I made on 2.14.98.