Love on a Mission {Part 11}

posted in: Love on a Mission, Travel | 28

Love on a Mission: 3 Countries, 2 People, 1 Marriage

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…

——–

To be continued…Part XII

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28 Responses

  1. I am really glad you ended up happy, but I can’t help but find aspects of this story very sad. I think it was inconsiderate and questionable of Chuck to spring marriage on you the way he did, without you having hardly any time to get to know him or even a chance to spend much time thinking the decision over. And you were only 18! Why the rush? I would want more than that for my daughter (or for myself for that matter). I mean no disrespect and of course your relationship with chuck ended up well, but I’m sorry, I just don’t find this story romantic at all.

    • The younger you are, the more time you have to spend together! No disrespect for you either, but what is romantic to some isn’t for others.

      • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

        I agree with this! I LOVE that we were young and got to spend our prime years (20’s) together. Never, for a single day, have I regretted getting married so young. Chuck and I had a chance to establish our lives and homes and adulthood together. This is why it didn’t bother us when Ben and Adalia married young. I totally get that not everyone is ready at that age. In both our case and Ben and Adalia, the guys were well-established in careers, and that certainly helps. It is hard to imagine Judah (18) married…but he is busy attending university and has no plans for marriage any time soon.

    • Agreed! Also, asking those “important” questions (such as views on family planning) before getting into a serious relationship can save much heartache in the future.

      I am so very happy it worked out in this case, though!

      • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

        Well, had he seriously objected to any of those things, we would have talked it through, slowed things down or perhaps not married at all. The thing is, we had been writing almost daily letters for five MONTHS. We had covered our hopes and dreams and goals and what we wanted our futures and our families to look like. That conversation was just covering the nitty-gritty. Does that make sense?

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Well, I’m not writing it because I think it’s romantic…I’m writing because I thinks its funny and my kids want to hear the story of how we met and fell in love. As far as “not having much time to think it over” he certainly didn’t give me a time limit! I am 100% positive that if I would have told him it was too soon or I was unsure, he would have let the matter drop. And we’ve had 20 years of happy marriage, so no complaints there! I was actually 19 (I probably mentioned somewhere in there that I was 18 when we met) not that it matters. I already knew what I wanted in a man and in marriage, so when Chuck came along, he fit the bill perfectly.

      • Fair enough. At the end of the day what matters is that you were and are happy, and clearly you are. Different strokes for different folks!

  2. I think this is a wonderful story: you should slow down and make more of the scenes–make us see and feel more of you flailing around getting out all that information about birth control. And maybe reflecting on it. I never knew diaphragms were bad for your cervix! I knew the pill is terrible, never took it, and it occurs to me you might write quite an opinion piece on bad forms of contraception. There are great courses at Creative Nonfiction and elsewhere . . . . you might look them up. I think you’d enjoy one of their courses.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      That is a great suggestion and I’ll work on that. The hardest part of writing all of this is that it happened 20 years ago! So it is hard to remember all of the detail and nuance.

  3. Argh! You keep leaving me hanging!

  4. Ohmygosh I wish there was video of this conversation! Although I’m pretty sure you’re very glad there isn’t.

    You must have been an incredibly mature 18 year old to have all of this ready to talk with him about so quickly. I really give you credit. Probably why you guys have been happy for all this time, you say what you’re thinking rather than holding things in. Too many women do that. I was guilty of it when I was young. Not so much anymore. ; )

    I am just loving your story, and the wonderful way you have of making me feel like I’m watching a movie. You’re a gifted writer, that’s for sure.

    And…another cliff hanger??? How could you! I have a few guesses about what is in that box. None of which I’m sure are correct…..

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      I was 19 by the time he proposed, but yes, I had done extensive reading on: birth, pregnancy, homeschooling, parenting, child development…It was just all stuff that interested me. Back when I was 19 I said *everything* that I was thinking. I have most definitely mellowed out over the years. I was no shrinking violet and I have toned down my sarcasm and snark as well. You’re welcome 😉

  5. My husband and I both knew from the start that contraception was a “never” for us. We did suffer some delusions about fertility though, which we now find amusing. Like that one friend, who had to “try” for 6 months each time she got pregnant, and if she didn’t really “try”, she wouldn’t…we were going to be like that. And breastfeeding was going to naturally space our kids two or three years apart. The reality is, we seem to get pregnant when trying very hard NOT to, and breastfeeding makes me infertile for a whopping 5-ish weeks. Ahh, if only I could to back to that innocence…
    I’m enjoying your story very much!

    • I have some serious fertility jealousy going on. I had the opposite delusions. “I know when I’m ovulating, we should be able to get pregnant the first month we try!” I didn’t realize the “it only takes one time” type of learning in school is just not reality for average couples! haaaha.

      • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

        Yes…we’ve often joked that we have fertility issues, not infertility issues. We haven’t gotten there in the story, but TWICE I have gotten pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding 3 month old babies!

        • I’ve done that once myself. 🙂

          Rose, I think that fertility in its natural state (as in, unaltered by chemicals) can be a challenge either way. Also, it seems it’s kind of like hair…you know, how you want your straight hair to curl, and your friend who has beautiful ringlets irons them out every morning…we can never be happy with our bodies.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Yes…all that breastfeeding as birth control? COMPLETE LIES. For me anyway. It works brilliantly for my sister-in-law. She has never gotten pregnant when breastfeeding…even when she was breastfeeding a two year old. But hey, that’s what all the books said…why would I question it?

  6. I am Loving reading your story. Your writing is wonderful and you leave me wanting to read more ever time. I get so excited every time I see you’ve written a new chapter. thank you for sharing your life with us.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thanks so much! I’m trying to update every week. I’mo obviously not quite making that goal, but I am moving ahead.

  7. Thanks for sharing! It’s actually been nice to get the story in bits, I’m not tempted to skim read to find out what happens. 😉 My brother got married a couple of months ago, and it was very very fast. They didn’t really have an engagement period, it went from friends who talked about spiritual things on a deep level, to deciding they both loved the other and could marry the other, to married… all in a few months. Something I realized through their experience, culturally we associate speed with that sort of relationship negatively. I can understand why, there are many horror stories out there. But I also have now watched a couple of friends and brother walk a road where God Himself had it on a fast pace. Not hormones, not impatience. It’s made me realize God has all different stories planned for people, sometimes it’s hard to follow His plan (whether fast, slow, or in between) when it doesn’t tick all the cultural norm boxes.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      And what people don’t realize is, our two months with Teen Missions, we got to know each other very well. We got to see everyone on the team at their best and at their worst. You can’t keep up a facade 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 2 months. We saw each other: sick, tired, grumpy, happy, victorious and discouraged. We saw how the other handled happy times as well as adversity. We each saw how the other interacted with others who were happy or in pain. And the best part is, since our interest in each other started at the very end of the summer, we were not trying to impress each other. Unlike if you were dating, or flirting with someone at church or work and you could be at your best during those times…We were who we were…and both of us could see that.

  8. Just curious given your stated beliefs about birth control, did you prevent pregnancy between Tucker and Apollo, or have you since Apollo was born? Or did you just get lucky that you havent ended up with another baby?

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Well, I probably won’t get into it in the story, but we never did end up using natural family planning. We just let the babies come as they came. After Avi and Tucker we decided we all needed a break, so yes we prevented. Then we decided it would be fun to have just one more, and that’s Apollo 🙂

  9. Myra Morris

    I love your story. No one can understand the TMI culture unless you’ve been there. You learn alot about other people but you kearn a lit about yourself too.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      That is so true, Myra! And I wouldn’t change any of it…well, maybe a few things 😉

  10. sunshine

    I absolutely LOVE this story and eagerly anticipate what’s next! I agree that it IS romantic in the best way. Sure, it would have been more “fun” to tease out the romance and enjoy weeks, months or years of pure torture while waiting to commit and get married. I know this because that’s what we did…waited years because we thought we needed to wait until graduation. In hindsight, we wish we had just gotten married right away. Great for you that you did!

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thank you! I have absolutely not regrets about marrying young.

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