In Love | Friday Wine Night -personal

In the 41 years that I’ve been lucky enough to be around to tell my life stories, I’ve never had such a roller coaster adventure (besides parenthood!), since I first started online dating just over 4 years ago. I relived a few of these interesting life highlights in my “Getting to date 23” blog posts, but I am not sure I reiterated quite enough just how grateful I am for the 23rd date! That of course, was my husband, Aaron.

We “met” via E-Harmony in January 2012. The system that particular site uses has you screen your potential date through closed ended, then open ended questions, which leads to offering up open chats. As a mother, and a woman skeptical in general about what I was seeing online, this seemed perfectly acceptable and safe to me! I remember the first picture of Aaron to pop up in my daily feed. he had THE biggest smile ever!!!! Atop his head was a little beanie, he had this little beard, and he looked adorable! I was happy when we started communicating, though he said a couple of things I still tease him about! It seemed though that he was blowing me off! I am all for meaningful conversations and getting to know you, but relationships can’t be deepened online, we had to meet. I finally decided I’d say something about this, being the straightforward woman I am. I said he seemed far too busy and I was interested spending quality time with someone. I assumed this would chase him away for my being too bold, instead he immediately asked me out for Saturday. By this point in my social life I was down to a coffee, a glass of wine, or a hot cocoa type date. Chat, sip and run was how named them in my head. Aaron however insisted we were going ice-skating. I reluctantly agreed, fearing making a fool of myself, and the fact that I couldn’t just bolt if I wanted to!

My fears diminished when a few hours into the date and one sore fall later we were having the best time. Neither of us wanted it to end. We decided to go have some sushi. We got there, it was closed. I was going to leave, and he had to be in D.C. later that evening, but again we decided, “let’s go somewhere else”. We chased down the next nearest sushi place. Alas, closed again. Was this fate? A sign? I knew of one near my home, but out of his way, and he happily said he could go! CLOSED. by now it seemed obvious that the sushi gods were against us spending more time together. We were about to part when we looked up and laughed. Agreeing on Mexican food instead. This time, success. It was open. We talked and laughed and talked and laughed and it was the longest date of my life, in time, but the quickest in terms of the blink of an eye cliche. We had to part. Thankfully he friend requested me on Facebook and after 3 days of making him wait so I could preserve some cool points, we became Facebook friends and he posted a steam of sweet things on my timeline, and his own.

We went on a couple more dates, and talked in between those. I was searching for the “does he like me” signs: a hand hold, a hug, a flirty comment. Nothing. Hmm. I should make sure he knew I liked him, but that if he was friend zoning me, the dates had to end! On Valentines day of 2012, I was at lunch with my daughters, and a waiter wanted my number. I declined. So he kept our bill to the amusement of the girls. I had a date with Aaron later, and wanted it to take a turn towards actual dating…but hadn’t fessed up to my kids that I was seeing someone. Well, POTENTIALLY. I didn’t let them into my dating stories till that point (with one exception), but I had to break this rule when my youngest wrote down all of my personal information on a napkin (pretty much everything from height and what she thought I weighed, to email address and physical address!), so I explained about Aaron. The revelation was met with curiosity and excitement. They asked what the plans were: horror movie and dinner. They are like me, and understand that horror movie is romantic in the un-obvious ways, and would be less crowded than the latest Nicholas Sparks film also showing.

Tonight I was seeing for sure if Aaron had romantically inclinations and intent towards where we were headed. I put on nice lipstick (make him think about kissing), a nice shirt ( a date like shirt, not a church shirt ) and sprayed my GOOD perfume. I was set.

The date as usual was fun, it was playful, it was FRIENDLY. I HAD to be just a friend to him, even though it was Valentine’s day. There was still hope. The movie would surely intake some snuggles, or a hand holding opportunity. And did it? Nope. Once I THOUGH i saw him try to reach for me, and hesitate. Then reach again, only to grab popcorn. It was truly lovely popcorn but HELLO, here I was giving all of the most ladylike indications that I was dateable, kissable, and interested. My head was becoming stubborn and defiant and I was telling myself that it was ok. I could be his friend and that this was the LAST “date” he would be getting. I almost saw my own head shake back and forth and a mental finger wave like a Tyler Perry character.

Outside, ah. God painted a pretty winter and magic night. Snow was softly falling. The cinema was in a pretty lamppost and twinkle light lit patio area that looked like a scene from Bridget Jones diary. God was setting the tone for a romantic good-bye. Could Aaron be so oblivious?! (I know, Im a girl).  Well, here we were. End of the date. Its been 2 months of build up and 4 lengthy dates that had been promising, if platonic. He leans in, I pause dramatically and look up, and I am presented with a hug. And a one armed hug at that. I was dismayed. I was annoyed. I was sad. I was incredulous!

I walk away. He says good night.  I keep walking. All the while telling myself it was ok, it wasn’t me, it just wasn’t meant to be. I look back. I don’t know why I did. I am however glad I did. Because he was standing there in the snow looking at me. Whatever came over me next was what I can only describe as Kate Winslet did in The Holiday,a s gumption. I walked. No, I marched over to him, and looked at him and said “Sorry, but I have to”. And I kissed the boy. The girl went for it. I made the first move that I told myself Id never do. It was a mere half a second before his arms went around me and he kissed me back, and right then I knew there was NO way we were just friends! It was THE.Best. Kiss. Ever.

He looked so happy, that big smile shining under the lights, and he said he was glad I did it, because he had been too nervous and didn’t want to spoil it!!! I now know him well enough to know that even my most blatant statements still don’t, to him, seem as obvious as they are to me. But in that moment, it was alright. There was a connection. there was a spark with the Nicholas. There was, well, magic.

Needless to say it only got better. One year later exactly, (minus one day) 2/13/13, we were at our church having a very small intimate exchange of vows with some very important witnesses, and in October of 2013, we celebrated a wedding with family and friends. The one with cake the dress the dancing the fun. I get to celebrate BOTh days. Our anniversary, today. And our wed-iversary, in October. With a Valentine’s day thrown in there too.

And, we still kiss under that lamp every single time we pass it by.

Happy 3rd Anniversary Aaron!!!!

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Photo courtesy of Tiffany Joyce Photography

Friday Wine Night: What’s my name again?

My Friday wine night posts are meant to be a way to open up about me personally. Something that I in all honesty have not been very good at. The typical girly thoughts of judgement, over sharing, fallout, and general “what will people think of me” fears have halted ALOT of what Ive wanted to say! In fact I’ve pulled posts down! However for this new year, I want to finally take my journey in a new direction. I am old enough FINALLY to understand who I am and what I want. I am the first to admit there is always going to be room for growth, but at least I am owning who I am.

Who am I? Well, thats a long complicated story, and something that for most people usually starts with a name. My mum died when I was very young, and we (my sister and I) lived with her when she passed. She had divorced my father. She was actually engaged to someone else. Getting ready to have a new name herself. I was born with a very simple and plain, in MY opinion, name. My name was Debbie Smith. A Basic name if ever there was a name! I apologize to ALL of the Debbie Smith’s that are in the world! Im sure you are all lovely and beautiful and unique, but for me, the plain-ness of my name went further. I wasn’t the cutest child. I didn’t have the typical happy home. My dad actually changed his own name for personal reasons, and ours along with it. So I didn’t get to really connect with Smith, or the “new” name. When I married my ex husband, I naturally took his name. Again, it wasn’t really MY name but I WAS married. When that marriage ended after 13 years, I though diligently about what to do. I had daughters, and one day they too would marry and their name would be different. The name my dad changed it to legally wasn’t mine (found this out doing background checks for a US visa!) so who was I going to be? On my birth certificate the Debbie and the Smith were completed with my middle name, and my mother’s maiden name. I looked at her name. I could be connected to her still. Laughlan. I liked it.  So, I officially and with all of the paperwork with one small adjustment. I changed the spelling to Laughlin. With an “I”. For ME. It was MINE.  I started my new single mother life, and indeed my business, under my new name. When I married my new husband,  and this sweet man learned all about me, he completely understood why I wanted to hold on to this new me. Why I hyphenated my name, in order to show respect for my marriage. To make life a lot simpler for the dreams I want to do, I am keeping the Debbie Laughlin business, and on social media, dropping the hyphen. Its long, its hard to look up, and I want to be accessible. if the unimaginable happens and I get to write my book (my dream!), that too will be under Debbie Laughlin. My wedding ring, my certificate of marriage, all of our personal bills and household ALL contain my married name (and I LOVE LOVE love my husband and being his wife!), but going forth, all social media and search engines will say just the Laughlin. Im opening up about this because I lost myself before, in relationships. Now that Ive found me again, and more importantly, now that I am APPRECIATED just for being ME, I want to revel in that name too. This photo below is me, with my Dad, who is also a photographer. He is a writer, a poet, and very creative. I certainly get my love of these things from him. Just, now, only our names are different. 11908237_10153252578119132_1484945146_n