A quickly written post to capture raw memories of the day . . .
Today, I got up at 5am, showered, left home shortly after 6, had my two sisters to the orthodontist-carpool-rendezvous point before 7 (our orthodontist is an hour away, so the families involved take turns driving), and then I went to meet The Dash at Chick-fil-A for breakfast at 7:20 ❤
Recently, due to lack of chaperone availability, our courtship’s ongoing principles have allowed for us to be out in public places without my siblings, as long as I keep in good touch with my parents, which is something of a new dynamic . . . Let’s just say this was the best chicken biscuit date anyone ever had 😉
We both had breakfast as we woke up together (I was groggy!); he showed me some of his mobile development project on my phone, we talked about how our morning had gone thus far, and then we stepped back out into the beautiful November sunshine and returned to our cars. Yes, I was following him to campus because I had time to kill, which meant I could sneak into his classes for the first time ever . . .
Software Engineering was at 8am. We scurried up three flights of stairs (I always take stairs two at a time, possibly due to combined impatience and a sense of fun . . . this makes The Dash laugh, but this time we had to do it together) because traffic had made us a little late. We arrived at the right hallway and it clearly dawned on me that I was about to walk into a college class for the first time ever, without the professor knowing I was coming; so I lagged behind The Dash’s quick footsteps with some trepidation.
“Just play it cool,” he instructed me.
“Do you want me to wait outside the room?”
“No, just come in! It’s fine!”
I put my eyes on the floor and followed him with the loyal obedience that comes from sheer love. The professor was engrossed, and The Dash and I sat down in the second row, and I got a free class without a problem.
I loved it! Not that I’m at all fluent with the syntax of things–most of it was over my head–but I got little bits of it here and there. Plus, I’d heard about this professor from The Dash and so was delighted to see his personality in person! He loves what he does. There weren’t too many students, so the atmosphere was laid-back and fairly quiet, and I loved the experience of listening to the lecture and the students’ occasional questions/interjections, and absorbing that this was and had been a sliver of The Dash’s reality for these past semesters. To step inside his world for a morning was such a gift to me!
Class wrapped up just after 9; now we really had to run, because the next was across campus and The Dash has a ten-minute window. We moved our cars and I was forced to reluctantly inch into one of the only free visitor parking places on that side of campus. (I hate parking. It is the bane of my existence.) It was not a job well done, which would be proved to me later. We half-ran towards the gym, The Dash carrying his shoes (this class was Social Dance, from which I’ve vicariously learned so much!).
I perched on the bleacher and watched The Dash and his classmates learn a sequence of steps for the tango, plus a cha-cha review. Of course, he was the best dancer there, but it was no surprise to me. The instructor was very kind to let me sit in and watch!
We returned to our cars, I narrowly pulled out of my dreadful parking job, and we both began driving towards a nearby Perpetual Adoration chapel, hoping for a few minutes of prayer together before I had to pick up my sisters again. That’s when I saw it; the dreaded slip of paper tucked under my windshield wipers, fluttering in the wind . . .
We got to the chapel and I stepped out of the car. “What is that?” I moaned to The Dash, gesturing in despair. He squinted, searched, pulled it out.
“Are you serious?” he says in that perfectly mastered tone of, My girlfriend never does anything wrong! But yes, it was a $15 parking citation 😦 He bundled it into his pocket, said he would take it to the office, and that I shouldn’t worry about it. Being that we only had about five minutes to spare, we hurried into the chapel and I put it from my mind for the moment.
Beautiful silence. The Presence of Our Lord. Inestimable treasures in five short minutes.
We walked back out again, and with The Dash so gallantly leading the way for me again (I’ve never driven in that part of town, and while I had written down some form of directions, he’s just awesome and selfless that way, as well as being committed to always driving the most efficient route . . . which I hadn’t written down . . .), we drove to where my sisters were waiting to be picked up.
At that point, when he and I and I were saying goodbye, the sky was appropriately overcast and ominous, and I reluctantly approached the topic of the citation again. I’ve never gotten a citation in my life and, due to my ignorance on the matter, was fretting about insurance impact, possible stress or trouble for my parent’s (it’s their car) . . . The Dash was reassuring and said he would find out more about it, and it certainly wasn’t that I didn’t trust him, but I just felt so bad about the whole thing and that I’d made it happen when my parents had let me use their car. Feminine emotions can blow things somewhat out of proportion (ahem) and I, for one, have a tendency to take things like this too much to heart behind my brave-ish face . . .
I drove the girls home through a mournful downpour of rain and, ridiculously, I was blinking away tears the whole time, not really from frustration or even embarrassment as much as anxiety and regret. We three Donellan girls arrived back to our homestead and piled upstairs, back to our welcoming family . . . my sisters described their ortho appointments while I nervously waited for an opportunity to bring the citation up . . . that opportunity not being immediately forthcoming, I finally followed Dad back to the master bedroom, tried telling him that I got a citation, and after I got out the wobbly initial explanation of my awful parking job, I started crying like a fourteen-year-old (well, really, a twenty-two-year-old who’s just gotten her first citation) and telling him I was sorry.
However, all this did was give my sweet father a burst of paternal joy, and he laughed and hugged me and told me I was being silly and that there was nothing more serious about it than the fact that I was out $15. Hugs from Dad cannot be replaced or outgrown ❤
The above picture was taken by my brother (who somehow is ingenious at locating and using my phone) while I lay tiredly but contentedly on Mom and Dad’s bed, after having cried my eyes out for two minutes over my first citation, and feeling much more rational and calm about the whole business.
All in all, it’s been a wonderful day. Spending time with The Dash is worth all the parking citations in the world ❤