Six short months ago, I walked into Bo Lings restaurant at Zona Rosa in Kansas City, and I walked out knowing I wanted to spend the rest of my life with the lady I’d just met.
My first impressions of Nicole were that she was strong, independent, and smart, while also being sensitive, kind, and compassionate. I formed opinions of what I thought her priorities were – her faith, her daughter, her career, and her friends and family – in that order. And I was so attracted to her that I thought I might literally faint and for the first time in my entire life I wanted to kiss.
I can honestly say my impressions that first night were accurate, albeit incomplete. She truly is the strong, independent, sensitive, and compassionate lady I thought she was. I think I also had her priorities nailed (which I completely agree with). And the attraction has gotten stronger with every passing day – something I truly didn’t think was possible considering the ridiculous chemistry I felt on the very first date. I think my friend Jim’s comment about his wife Christen said it perfectly… “I wake up every morning hoping that I’ll find her next to me, and then I thank God she still is.” Completely says it all.
After 6 months, I know so much more the quality person that I’ve found in Nicole. Her intuition is keen. Her empathy for the less fortunate and the sick is so heartfelt I often feel like a selfish heel. Her insight into the human condition has opened my eyes up to all that I’ve been missing, both by choice and by default. Her love for our daughter is such an intense, pure, unshakeable love, I literally find myself welling up with involuntary tears when I see them snuggle and sleep (as they are… right this second).
All of the things she sees as her own weaknesses I see as positives – things that are integral to who she is. She would say she’s moody. But I disagree. I see her compassion and her empathy tugging at her heart and she genuinely feels the pain and hurt of others. When she has a patient that’s sick or dying, she is right there grieving along with the family, caring for that person like it’s her own blood. When she sees a sick or hungry child on the news, it breaks her heart. She doesn’t look away or change the channel like most of us do… she tries to help. She couldn’t be that type of amazing person without being able to feel along with people. That’s not moody, that’s beautiful.
She has entrusted me with herself and with her (our) daughter, and she firmly believes that I will be the strong, positive husband and father she and Amber deserve. That faith is truly inspiring to me. On the days when I feel like I’m failing as a husband, she takes my hand and reminds me that she doesn’t expect me to be perfect and that we have the rest of our lives to figure this out. When I feel like I’m failing as a father to Amber, she reminds me that there is no manual for raising a child. Only loving them and doing the best job possible given what we know at the time. And when I’m doing things well, the sparkle in her eyes and in Amber’s eyes are the best prize a human being could ever win.
The weight of her trust and faith in me isn’t a burden at all. It is the ultimate vote of confidence.
God knew that Nicole and I would find each other and fall in love. He knew what life experiences, tragedies, and triumphs would prepare us to be perfectly suited to be together. Her strengths bolster my weaknesses. My strengths bolster hers. And we see eye to eye on the big stuff. That’s huge. We talk things out like adults. Sure, we get frustrated with each other sometimes, that’s just life. But we don’t let it linger.
I know that half a year isn’t a long time. We’ve been reminded by many the speed at which we’ve taken things. But there’s simply no substitute for being right where you’re supposed to be with exactly who you’re supposed to be with.
It’s a God thing.
I love you, Nicole.