Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Know

When I was a child I answered every question with, "I don't know," immediately followed by the answer. For example, "Emmy, how old are you?"

"I don't know three."

"Emmy, do you like doggies?"

"I don't know yes."

"Emmy, what is opportunity cost?"

"I don't know, well, Dad, it's the idea that when you do one thing you lose out on doing another thing at the same time..."

And so on. I think perhaps my patent answer wasn't just an idiosyncrasy, a child’s mental lisp. I think perhaps it was the deep recognition that I just don't know everything.

When we lived in Ohio, I didn’t know that I would someday look back at my many, many fights with Stacy Reese over who would be named “Crystal” when we played house and think, “Why why why did I adore that name so much?” I didn’t know that “Breakfast” was not pronounced “Breckless” or that “Fievel” wasn’t “Bible.” I thought that life’s peak came at age 19 and that marriage was rare for those poor old maids past age 23. When my dad magically changed my necklace into a ring, I didn’t know that he had been hiding the ring behind his back the whole time. I didn’t know that he couldn’t actually pull his own thumb off and then put it back on.

When we moved to Oklahoma when I was six, I didn’t know that the outside thermometer could actually get up to 119 degrees. I didn’t know that storms could be terrifying and captivating at the same. I thought that Tommy Blohm, my elementary school flame, was the love of my life. I didn’t know that I would miraculously avoid having to enter any sort of science fair in every school I ever attended. I didn’t know that mouthwash was kind of a dumb thing to ask for as a ninth birthday gift.

When I moved to Kentucky in the summer after fourth grade, I didn’t know that I would eventually call it my home. I thought that I would live there for four years and then move on to the next place and the next phase of my life. I didn’t know how truly horrible I would look in bangs, or that middle school would be a lonely time for me. I didn’t know that my youth group friends would someday become more like family. I thought that I would leave town for college and never look back.

But most of all, I didn’t know that when I moved to Kentucky I would meet a host of neighborhood kids and that a few of them would become lifelong friends. When we played hockey in the street and football in the side yard, I didn’t know that one of them in particular would come to be so special to me. I sometimes sat next to him at youth group, across from him at lunch in high school, and in front of him in graphic arts class, but I didn’t really know him, and he didn’t really know me. I couldn’t anticipate that groups of our mutual friends would merge and that we would spend at least five nights a week together as a group during my senior year of high school.

When I left the state for college, I didn’t know that we would continue to keep in touch; in fact, I thought we would just drift apart. I was surprised that when I went home on breaks, his was the first house I wanted to stop by and visit. I didn’t know that he and a few others would return those visits, coming up to see my friends and me once a year at school. When I returned to Kentucky after college, I thought I would only stay for a month, and even when I recognized my feelings for him I thought, “Nah. It’ll never work, and I’ll lose my friend in the process."

Two and a half years later, I didn’t know that his visit to my office was a bit different that day. I said, “Hooray! Your classes are over for the semester!” and when he responded, “I can’t take it anymore,” I thought he was talking about school. When he said that he couldn’t go another semester, another week, another day, another minute, I still thought he was talking about school. And when he knelt down next to me at my desk, I didn’t know that his next move would make my heart thump and my hands shake. He offered me the ring and asked the legendary question, and even though I had imagined that scene a million times in my head since the days of Crystal and Stacy Reese, I was unprepared for the torrent of emotion that would accompany it.

But as I looked at him in disbelief, as my eyes darted back and forth from the ring to his expectant face, as I nodded my head slowly at first and then fast, as I squeaked out a yes, I knew that it was the right answer.

I knew.

I knew.

I knew.

I know.


audra.marie said...


(those are giggles of glee, plus happy clapping, of course)

i absolutely love you!

Anonymous said...

golly. i'm so pregnant. this morning i puked. now i'm crying. the latter is your fault...or maybe HIS fault.

This is Lori, not Mark.

Mary Brooks said...

i'm not pregnant. i did not puke this morning. but i did just tear up. extremely happy for you two.
love you!

Anonymous said...

WHOO-HOO!!!!! yey- i can't wait to see the pictures and hear the details-