Our Relationship: a Tickle Fight and a Maybe

It all started with a maybe.

And a tickle fight.

That just about sums up how my relationship with my husband started.

Our Relationship - The Beginning

You see, we knew each other in high school but I was in a different relationship during my high school years. Some of my evenings would be spent at his house with the guys playing video games and Magic the Gathering, eating pizza, staying up late. It was a great friendship. I enjoyed the times at his place and the nerd atmosphere which was lacking at school and home.

Our relationship - Not afraid of dirt

My high school relationship was going great and my future husband sadly got little notice from me other than as a friend. But one day, my relationship just… ended. It was mutual but it still sucked. It was around that time my husband started hitting on me, not that I realized it. I’m really bad at taking hints. (My husband would LOVE to emphasize that point!)

View from our favorite place

Since it was my victory lap, I was in less classes than usual and had lots of free time. My future husband was actually in his first year of college at this point and so he had some time of his own. So we hung out even more with the guys. I started hanging out with them more and more, and not just on the late nights but day outings as well. Until one day, our communal best friend Brian couldn’t make it to a planned video game night. I was alone with my future husband but still as oblivious as ever.

Our Relationship - Moving On OutThe night started as usual. Some gaming, some laughter, some food. After a while we were getting quite competitive in a game, Forza in fact, and started sabotaging each other. You know, throwing pillows at the controller, blocking the others view, pushing the other around trying to mess up their controls. And we ended up tickling each other in an attempt to win.

Our relationship - Volunteering at 7am

But, close contact like that with all the associated laughter, tend to make you reflect on how close you actually are to someone. So he chose that time to say “Do you think you and I could…” I was caught a bit off guard, I mean, I was not planning on starting a relationship just months before heading away to university. So I replied with “Maybe.

Our relationship - PaintballingYup, the last thing anyone wants to hear. It is probably even worse than a no since the person has literally no idea what is going through your mind! But that is all I gave him.

His reaction…

He kissed me.

He won that tickle fight. With a tender kiss and an evening of laughter, he won me over.

So that is it. That is how my relationship with my husband started. With a tickle fight and a maybe.

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How did your relationship start? Did you commit fully or give a maybe to start things off? I’d love to hear other people experiences but no matter what,

I am glad that this story…is mine ours!

A letter to myself

A common school-age activities is writing a letter to one’s future self. An interesting activity. When writing you question if you will ever actually see the letter again, if it will mean anything to you in the future, and whether your grade will be good enough (if the activity is marked).

A letter to younger self

I wrote such a letter back in 2002 and want to share it with you, as well as my response to the letter. Note, the pictures are from my elementary school days except the family photo, I wanted to keep everything within the age range of the original letter.

Dear Emily Marie,

June, 21, 2002

I’m doing well in school this year. My teacher is Mr. B. I’m in grade five. There is 2 ½ more days of school. My favorite subject is language, because I love to read and write. My least favorite subject is math. Yuck! I can’t wait until summer.

I’ve been enjoying taking my brother to the park. We have been getting along great. I’m going to take him to the park again.

Lately I’ve been hanging out with Jessica, Caitlyn, Denise and Hillary in school. Out of school I hang with my family.

I have a few questions for you. They are: How are you? How’s your family?

Sincerely Emily

P.S. I heard about your grand dad. I feel sorry for you.

Writing letters to yourself

Dear little me,

Wow, I still write in the same blocky style as you! I like it. Easy to read. But I can see that you got bored after writing slowly for a whole 30 seconds. I do the same. Then it’s time for more random styles like the second half of your letter.

A letter to future myself

Holy cow, my favorite subjects is an interesting topic because just this year my jobs changed all that! It is true, I still love reading and writing and I thought whatever career I took would involve those things. But I also learned that I like how math can be used, there is just so much it can do! I worked both a math job and a reading/writing based job and the math one was my favorite by a long shot! So sorry little me…but the math is here to stay!

How interesting, I literally wrote about our little brother and his autism just last week. Thanks for writing about taking him to the park, I know how important that is to you! It was always so difficult to connect with him when we were kids. He would get confused by something I did and I would be confused by his negative response. Quality time with him was hard to come by, and I am so grateful you captured this time in your letter.

A letter to myself - quirky

As for friends, well I am glad you mentioned them too. These are the outcast group I would hang out with in elementary school but unfortunately I do not have contact with many of them anymore. Just Cait. I hope they all still keep their quirks, I know Cait rocks hers!

Now onto your questions. I am doing very well. I am nearly done school (thank gosh!) and have just cleared up some health problems (and no, not bronchitis little me, you got rid of that problem years ago). As for my family, well it has changed a lot since your letter. Mom and dad split up a while ago now. That was hard. But dad met a nice woman and now I have a step-family in the mix with lots of extra brothers and sisters (even a baby niece!). As for mom, she and gran are living it up in a nice new house but don’t worry, they have our little brother and some kitties to keep them company! A shock for you is that I moved away from the family, all the way to Ottawa. But that is a topic for another day.

A letter to myself - family is a constant

P.S. Losing papa (grand dad) was hard for you, but unfortunately we also lost grandpa several years after that. Both gramma and grannie are still here though and I will be sure to talk to them soon to remind them how much we love them! Plus, mom found her birth parents so there is technically another set of grandparents which you probably couldn’t imagine at your young age!

Thanks for the letter little Emily and I wish future Emily all the best!

Dear younger self

 

My brother is my hero

I have a memory of a young damsel in distress being saved by prince charming, or rather, my dorky self being rescued by my younger brother.

Brother and I with teletubbies as children

Every winter, my siblings and I would make a kind of tobogganing course in our yard. One year, we made an especially slick hill in the front yard right beside the driveway, great idea…or not. My brother and I were tobogganing away on this hill and it was my turn. But instead of sliding to the yard, the slickness sent me straight onto the driveway. I slid in such a way that my toboggan got stuck and I couldn’t get out!

Me Snowshoeing

As if on cue, dad pulled into the driveway with his little hatchback literally the second I got stuck. I thought I was going to get hit by the car!

But little brother to the rescue! While at the top of the hill he reached down, grabbed the top of the toboggan, and pushed it until I dislodged. I was able to scramble away before the car got close and I was super relieved. In my journal the next day, and at school for several years, I called my brother my hero for that very act of moving that toboggan. It seems a little silly looking back now, but I still thank my brother for it, and it is a memory we will always share because in that moment his actions meant everything!

Drawing from brother to me

So that’s a cute little story, a childhood reflection, but there some things I want to clarify. One, my little brother has autism. Two, my little brother (now quite tall!) is still my hero just for different reasons.

A drawing of my brother, by meSo my brother has autism. This can mean different things for different people but for him it comes down to:

  • Uneasiness or confusion in social situations
  • Sensory issues (his hugs are vise grips)
  • Certain types of communication difficulties
  • And some subtler things that are common with autism

Unfortunately, since autism is a classified as a developmental disability, some people look down on my brother, or don’t expect him to succeed. And this leads to why he is still my hero and that is because he defies all the negative expectations people apply to him based on his disability.

 

When my brother started high school, the administration said to aim for the OSSC or Ontario Secondary School Certificate rather than the full Diploma. What the OSSC would mean is fewer class requirements, no community service requirement, and no literacy test requirement. This didn’t sit well with him or the family. So, he made sure graduate with a Diploma and no less when he walked out of that school this year.

The high school also suggested that he stay in the school until age 25. My brother DID NOT like that option. He didn’t enjoy school as it was. He would rather be working on something outdoorsy or hands-on. Or helping family and friends Being in school until 25 would rob him of those freedoms. (He made it out by 18).

Mechanic - Brown 2

Via Geri-Jean Blanchard (FreeImages.com)

Some people question his ability to go to college and while he is not there yet, he plans to go to college to become a mechanic. He spends a lot of time tinkering with the family vehicles and is even working in a dealership autoshop to get some real experience.

Speaking of vehicles, mom was unsure about letting him work on her car, especially alone. But late one night her car needed a rushed headlight change, and dear brother was the only one available to fix it, so she let him. And low and behold the headlights were fixed in no time and when she double checked the work at the shop, they said all was done right!

So thanks to my little (yet not so little) brother for saving my life on that cold winter day so many years ago, for being my hero growing up, and continuing to be my hero today by proving you can do whatever you want to even with autism (no matter what other people may say).

To learn more about Autism, I suggest visiting AutismOntario.ca. Once upon a time I did some workshops there specifically designed for siblings of autistic people. They helped me understand what my brother goes through on a regular basis and helped me figure out my place in the family.

 

The Hustler

When I was 19, I moved 6 hours away from home to attend university in Canada’ Capital City: Ottawa. I was pretty excited for a challenging academic life but was concerned about the university social life.

Me in Ottawa

You see, growing up I was always an outcast. Never got along with the popular girls, didn’t do too well with sports, and was intimidated by the smart kids. So I hung out with a rag tag group of friends from elementary school all the way to high school graduation.

I was afraid university would be much of the same. More popular kids snubbing me. More jocks running past my attempt at a jog and laughing. And even more smart kids, but this time with a larger vocabulary. Plus, this is university. This is the age where drinking skyrockets, right? I do not drink. Not even a little. Sure I tried a couple drinks to see if I liked them but no, anyways the side effects are not worth it. So what would I do in a new city, with no friends, and an intimidating atmosphere that I wanted no part of?

Outcast_FreeImage

Well, I told myself that I would never find the university equivalent of the rag tag group I had back home without putting myself out there. I mean, outcasts are not known for finding each other unless someone makes a move. So, I signed up for the Frosh Kit and started going to orientation events and activities.

Frosh week

It was hard at first. Talking to people felt like making cold calls because I didn’t know where to start. I met a few people at the regular events but still could not connect with anyone the way I hoped to. I was holding back and would not do. I had to showcase who I really was and in a way that got the attention of people. That way people who like whatever quirky show I put on could show themselves and maybe start a new rag tag group for my university life.

And my plan was to dance.

Dancing In Red - FreeImages

Up there, that photo, that is NOT me: I do not dance or I shouldn’t, depending on how you look at it. But my big idea to sniff out outcasts was to dance at the biggest Frosh event of the week: the all-first years clubbing event. Basically a huge cabin is turned into a club for a night, complete with food, bar, DJ, and dance floor.

I part of the first group to arrive and the party started off slow. Most people went to the bar first (to beat the line-ups) and stood around drinking. Someone had to start the party, so I enacted my plan.

I started to hustle.

I learned a simplified version of the 1970s hustle in high school drama class. It was a warm up and ice breaker exercise. So I used it for a similar purpose at the Frosh event. I started the hustle in the middle of the dance floor and told two people to follow my lead. Once they had the steps down pat we started gaining attention. Eyes turned towards us and slowly people followed along. Soon we had over 100 people dancing the hustle. Definitely different than the usual bump and grind you see at clubs.

Dance_FreeImages

Gradually the hustle died off but not before some people came to me wanting to know where I learned the dance, why I did it, et cetera. These were the folks I spent time getting to know better. They were interested in the quirkiness I showed and wanted to learn more. And so my university group began.

This experience is now something I will never forget. So I encourage you, if you ever feel alone or of out of place – whether it be because you are starting fresh in university or there is some other change in your life – put yourself out there. Show your personality! People who share your taste of life will find you and a new community or rag tag group can begin.

Have you had a similar experience? In university or otherwise? Tell us about it in the comments!

Who is this woman?

Who is this blogger? A question I always ask myself when doing some late night blogosphere browsing. A quick trip to the about page and a couple of lifestyle posts later and I usually have an idea. You see, it is important to me to find what I have in common with a blogger and I think many readers want the same. So I want to start with a grand introduction to who I really am. I want to readers to find ways to connect with me.

That's Me!

How to learn about me in three easy steps

Step 1: Go the about page and give that a read.

Step 2: Read the rest of this post for a more in depth view.

Step 3: Check back on Thursdays for more stories about my life.

So without further ado…

 

What is your family and career status?

I am actually in a common law relationship with my husband and we have no children (and no immediate plans for any). Since we are still quite young (both 23) we have time to decide whether any children will join our little family of 2. So while I may love touring mom blogs, I am not a mommy blogger myself.

As for career, I am one semester away from finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Development (in December 2014 I will have graduated). While in school I also worked a mix of part-time and co-op/intern jobs. Thankfully there are talks about my current co-op job becoming permanent after graduation. As for what I do, I am a data analyst/statistician for an employer that shall remain unnamed for now.

What are your views on faith?

A collection of religious items

I grew up in a Roman Catholic family BUT view myself as an agnostic. I prefer to keep myself open to all possibilities and love the beauty that accompanies the faith I see in others every day. I also choose to learn about other religions and faiths because I feel it is important to understand the views of others.

With that said, within my blogging there will likely be no specifically faith based posts and I will typically avoid using overtly religious language such as “I am blessed…” or “Thank the Lord.” It just is not something I feel reflects me though it certainly is not something I am against.

Are you an urbanite or a country girl?

Currently living in a more urban area but I avoid city life. I probably fit in more with the suburban side of things. But when I need to relax I head to the country or at least head into nature, I never lost my love of the wild when I moved from cottage country to the city.

Flats or Heels? Pants or Skirt?

Cute black flats

Flats…better yet, running shoes. I dislike heels and only wear them when I feel it has some benefit (like no other shoe in my closet works with an outfit). I would rather be in the most comfortable pair of shoes I own regardless of fashion.

Pants. I do like to wear dresses on occasion but I never truly feel comfortable in them. To put it simply, I am not exactly a fashionista. While I do enjoy the art that is fashion, I prefer to wear clothes that function well in all scenarios, not that look pretty.

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Are there questions you would like to ask me? I am always willing to answer reader questions. Just use social media with the hashtag #apopofFAQ or send me an email.