After feeling much like an 7th grade girl again, with bad teeth, huge glasses and one too many freckles- not to mention that I just gave a grown man a note that I checked “YES” I will be your girlfriend on, I wasn’t sure what to do next. Really, the ball was back in his court. I had done what needed to be done. Now he needed to come scoop me up and take me away on a white horse or something and be the most perfect guy ever and treat me like a queen and- hello? I scanned the room, it was the end of the service, people were leaving, no Jason in sight.
Okay, so I was getting too caught up in extremely unrealistic romance land. I gave myself a proverbial slap in the face and became my independent self again. He probably snuck off to his office to read what had I marked in privacy. I was content with life. I went back to my dorm, gathered somethings to take to the art studio and continued my work on paintings for class and for my senior show. He called me later while I was still in the studio and we laughed about the awkwardness and everything was right with the world. I hung out with him again that evening, there was so much to learn about each other and so little silence between the two of us. Especially if he had anything to do with it. (Remember, I’ve since broken him of his extreme fear of silences in conversation.) One of his roommates came in the living room and said, “Congratulations!” “Dude, she’s not pregnant!” Jason said back. Fortunately that wouldn’t happen for 3 more years.
The news was spreading, but apparently not far enough, because all of a sudden two new prospects came my way. People! I was single for the better part of two and a half years. Where were you all!? Within a weeks time, my uncle had called to set me up with a semi-pro hockey player. One of my family friends was approached at church by a guy who wondered if she could tell him about me and if I was single. I was flattered, but that stuff doesn’t happen to me. I’m the odd, artsy red headed girl who should probably end up on “What Not To Wear” someday, I make a lot of crazy lists, and who needs to remember to wear her retainers. I told Jason about my news. I thought it was funny.
“Well aren’t you curious? At least about the hockey player?” “No, I’m happy where I am.” I told him. “Well I’m curious!” “Well than you can date him!” I laughed. I had made my decision to be exclusive with Jason. And that was that. I wanted to see where it went and I had a there was something different about him than the other guys I had known. When God leads you someplace, or to someone, you listen. Sometimes there’s no time to ask a lot of questions. No matter if people think you’re crazy or not.
October and November came and went. We knew that we wanted to be together in a more permanent way. It was crazy, yes. We had been technically together only 2 months a a week or so. In early October we had our first fight and our first kiss in the same evening. Some people don’t fight. That’s great. But we disagree here and there. We have miscommunications, we get annoyed with each other, we don’t always like each other. We both knew, though, (and still do!) it’s gonna take a heck of a lot more than that to ever separate us. Like death, and stuff like that. We were becoming best friends (get your barf bags out, I know) and it was becoming clear that when you’re in love with your best friend, you do something about it. He had told me he was in love with me. I had no idea how my mind and heart had felt so differently 3 months earlier, but it was different, and I could see a real future with Jason Scott Barnhart.
I had gone to Virginia with him over Thanksgiving and met his family, and I was nervous. I was thrilled that they accepted me so quickly and were extremely kind to me. Jason and I had many chances to talk about our future on this trip. Yes, it was insane and fast but he told me that if I was feeling the same way, I would have a ring by graduation. Panic attack. In a good way. Is there a good way to have a panic attack!? I don’t know, but maybe because I envisioned a wedding and a split second later my dad killing Jason for even thinking about me. Thankfully, Jason knew my parents enough to know that my dad would really feel respected by a young man who came to ask him for his first daughter’s hand in marriage. But I just kept envisioning an ambulance rushing to the scene of their meeting and blood. Lots of blood.
Okay, so I exaggerate. My dad is a dad who cares about his women. His mom, his wife, his three girls. Hurt them and be hurt. He’s a great dad! I can understand the nervousness that one, say a certain Jason Barnhart, would feel when asking for such a thing as to marry Big Mike’s first born daughter. Jason had a lot going for him besides the short amount of time he had dated me factor. He was a youth pastor in our church=point! He wasn’t asking because he got me pregnant=point! He graduated college and was getting his masters=point! He didn’t do drugs=point! He didn’t have a motorcycle that he didn’t not wear a helmet with=2 points! He loved Steve Martin=point! He looked people in the eyes and gave firm handshakes=3 points!
I had no idea when he was thinking of proposing to me, I just knew that I was okay with him proposing sometime! I did know when Jason set up lunch with my dad to have a “chat” with him. It was the end of November and he had emailed my dad about meeting him for lunch at Sorella’s on Claremont to talk, his treat. My dad replied back, “No.”
Scroll, scroll, scroll….
“Unless you let me pay.” Oh, dad, always the funny man. It did make Jason nervous for a second. But I think my dad was nervous too, in a way.
The day came and I prayed. I could have sworn I heard sirens coming from Claremont Avenue…What was playing inside the restaurant was my boyfriend and my father having normal conversation about work, etc. until finally my dad, (who was actually prepared to say no in all seriousness), said to Jason, “So I think I know what we’re here to talk about, but why don’t you tell me.” So Jason began. And my dad asked him questions. Why do you want to marry Allison? What do you love about her? What can you do for her? The ringer. I felt loved. 🙂 And as my dad sat there and listening to Barney share what he loved about me, he heard a song come on Sorella’s speakers. A song, that he told us later, softened him up completely to feel like God was telling him, “Mike, it’s okay. You can let her go.”
Or something like that. Pretty much the song was the sign my dad finally needed to give Jason the green light. If you’ve ever seen Father of the Bride, which my dad wants us to watch with him every Father’s Day, (that, and The Little Mermaid) Steve Tyrell does a cover of The Way You Look Tonight, that plays during the reception scene of the movie when Steve Martin is looking around the party and waiting to get a dance with his daughter, Annie, and to say goodbye to her before she leaves on her honeymoon. The song couldn’t of had better timing that particular afternoon in Sorella’s. He stopped Jason and said, “Welcome to the family.” Jason was relieved. “Now, my only suggestion is to have a short engagement- but date for a long time, you know, just take your time…”
Jason jumped in, “I was thinking about asking her in two weeks…”