Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nine years ago today....

....Iain and I went on our very first date. 
It was a blind date. We were set up by friends and had been talking on the phone for a few weeks before our schedules allowed for an in-person meeting.  The phone conversations were so much fun before we met (and after too.) They became fairly regular and came precisely at 8:50pm each night.  I had evening commitments with my youth ministry job and would get so tickled to come home to that dependable call. (I should have recognized the foreshadowing of what it would be like to be married to an engineer.)  He played it so cool -- but I could tell he was excited to talk to me too. 

The night of our big date, I happened to be house-sitting for one of our matchmaker friends, Belinda.  The doorbell rang and I casually sauntered to the door to greet him.  Cute.  Shorter than I imagined, but cute. I do remember he was wearing black boots.  Deep in the August heat and he wore boots.  I later found out that it gave him a little extra height. Ha.

I expected there to be awkwardness.  There wasn't.  It was like seeing an old friend who I'd really missed.  We chit-chatted for a bit and then made our way to his car.  Nice car. Clean too! And best of all he opened my car door....every single time I got in.  My friends all said that wouldn't last.  They were wrong.  He opened my door for me every time for nine years. He was a gentleman, indeed ~ as well as a gentle man.

He took me to eat at Italian Villa, which was a lovely upscale, cozy restaurant. And Italian!  How could he go wrong taking a Tartamella to an Italian restaurant.  Smart man.  When we walked into the restaurant, the Maitre D greeted me with, "Hey Maria!"  It was one of my former students.  I introduced him to Iain as he brought us to our table and lit our candle.  "Your waiter will be with you in a moment."

As the waiter made his way to our table he made eye contact with me. Once again, "Hey Maria!"  This guy was a family friend with whom I went to grade school.  After we chatted and placed our orders, Iain looked at me and said, "Are you running for mayor or something?" 

"Yeah. I kinda know a lot of people."  Little did he know just how many. I think the 500+ people at our wedding might have clued him in.  But he knew a lot of folks too.  And strangely we knew a lot of the same people - who once they saw us together invariably would say, "Why didn't WE think of setting y'all up! Y'all are the perfect match."  We were.  But that truth unfolded with time.

After our lovely dinner and great conversation, he asked if I'd like to go for a walk at the Civic Center.  We strolled along the boardwalk as the sun set and continued our wonderful conversations.  Getting to know him was effortless, delightful and exciting.  He took me back to the house where I was sitting, gave me a great hug and made a date for the next Monday, which was Labor Day.  After that, there was no turning back.  He won my heart.  He still has it.

* * * * * * * * * * *
And ANOTHER anniversary today has to do with our sweet daughter.  Today is the 3rd anniversary of Gianna's Baptism.  What a memorable day THAT was!!!  Iain's parents came in to meet Gianna and celebrate her baptism and arrived just in time to hear that there was a Hurricane Warning for SW Louisiana.  Yep.  That was Hurricane Gustave.  We didn't know what to do about the Christening plans since there was an evacuation plan in place and the storm was schedule to hit in two days.  Iain was being summoned to work later that afternoon to get locked in the plant and thank heavens he managed to schedule his parents flight out the next morning.

We went on with the baptism as planned and it was just surprisingly well attended. Three priests and about 40 people came to bless this long awaited baby. It was a beautiful and special ceremony that we felt so blessed to enjoy (even though we were exhausted from staying up the night before as we packed to evacuate a newborn, her momma and their dog.)  Things have never unfolded simply for our family.  EVER! 

Leaving Iain behind that day was one of the most mournful days of my marriage.  I was scared to death to drive to Arkansas by myself with my 8 week old and not know if I'd have a house or husband to come home to.  I sobbed as I drove all the way to Shreveport that night. It was the first time we were separated as a family during a time of crisis. Those feelings are very familiar to me now.

Happy Baptism Day, sweet Gianna! Mommy AND Daddy love you more than you will know.
Can you see her dimpled smile in the picture!
Joy of Jesus!


  1. Love, love, love this story, Maria! Those memories, and Iain, will be with you forever, and I bet Gianna will love hearing it one day!

    I too remember Gustave, yuck! Austyn was two weeks old. You are right, evacuating with a newbie is hard work! We no more than pulled into the parking lot in Hot Springs than Bryan's boss called and told him to come back to work.

    Love you! And Miss Gianna :)

  2. Thank you for sharing your stories! Don't stop, please. David and I keep talking about how your stories (especially at the wake) showed us (and every married person) that you TRULY felt gifted by Iain's love- not entitled. What a wake up call to all of us. We are a gift to one another and not entitled to a single day more than TODAY. Love you.

  3. I LOVED reading that story Maria! Thanks so much for sharing. It left me in tears...some sadness, but mostly gratefulness that you were both able to love and know each other and share such a wonderfully blessed life.

    And I remember well Ms. Gianna's baptism! What a wonderful day that was...I was so happy that Nate and I could be a part of it!

    Thinking of you and G...today and everyday! Tell her that I have her airplane all ready!!!

  4. Maria, Thank you so much for being you and speaking about your life with your wonderful family. I can honestly say Tanya and I were truly blessed to have been a small part of it.
    Iain is a brother to me and my heart has an empty spot in it without him. But, your words and my memories will always keep him with us. You and Gianna will always be a part of our lives and we love you both so much! Always know we are here and reading every word you write :)

  5. I too lost a close family member at the beginning of August. Your description of the surrealness of life is very apt & graphic. I will be supporting you all in prayer!


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