How do you know when the one is the one? I imagine that this answer is different for everyone, as we're all unique, and what one person finds appealing in a partner, another person might not. That being said, I knew very early on that Mr. Champagne was the one.
We were in high school when we became friends, and I was in 12th grade and he was graduated when we stated dating. The process of moving from friends to dating was painfully slow. In fact, for many months I was unsure if we were actually dating, as he'd never actually "asked me out". He maneuvered us into our first date by telling me that he and his friends were going to a movie and asked me along. I went, but it was just him. He said that the guys had something come up and couldn't make it, and I took his excuse at face value, when in reality, he hadn't asked the guys to come at all. We watched Tuxedo with Jackie Chan, that came out in 2002. Again, I still didn't know for certain that we were dating, until the spring of 2003.
I digress. I believe that most people can agree that the "little things" are paramount to making a relationship work. But there are also moments--big moments--that can shape who you are, not only as an individual, but as a couple, as well. There are also world-tilting moments that force you to look at something/someone in a different way.
Growing up, I'd heard the idiom "watch how a man treats his mother, because that's how he'll treat you one day", and I took it to heart. So, naturally, I observed, and what I saw was a man that valued his home life, loved his large, close-knit family, and showed that he cared. I saw him interact intelligently with family of all ages and make people laugh, and I knew that he'd make a wonderful conversationalist.
As strange as it is, kids would gravitate towards him whenever we were out in public. They'd come up to him and say "Hi", and he'd say "Hi" back, and make a goofy face. He had a good heart, I noted. These were the little things. The small gestures, the kindness, openness, and conciliatory gestures that filled his days, the drive to pursue the career he wanted, thoughtfulness, and a grand sense of humour... They were (and still are) some of the many things that I love about him. But in my teens, how was I to know whether or not this was the man I was meant to marry, or merely my first love?
There were two major lightbulb moments that told me that Mr. Champagne was the one. They might seem small to you, but to me these were big moments, ones that made me realize how truly unique Mr. Champagne is, and how fortunate I am that he chose me to be his.
The fist, was when I got heat exhaustion (we were both 18 at the time) and he spent the day refreshing my cold compress and washing out my bucket. It was a day-long job that I know wasn't pleasant. We stayed up all night that night, playing cards in the bathroom while I sat next to the toilet. His lack of squeamishness, and his genuine desire to help me get better and keep me company while I was at my worst were most certainly enough for me to know that this man was for keeps.
The second, was when we had a babysitting job together and he seemed to fit the role of caregiver so naturally. He played with the kids, made them dinner, played games with them, and even had no problem changing diapers and helping get them ready for bed. He was a full part of the process without complaint. That's when I knew that he was the kind of man that I wanted fathering my children.
And I was right. He took to the role of father like a fish to water. He's helpful, kind, generous, goofy, caring, and affectionate. Our kids (and I) look forward to seeing him every day. I feel lucky to have found him.
Award winning historical romance author, Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing, wife, and stay-at-home mom of four. Chocoholic, nerd, & bath bomb enthusiast.