So it’s mine and Dane’s dating anniversary on Saturday. F-O-U-R-T-E-E-N years. When I mentioned it to him a couple days ago and asked what we were gonna do, he rolled his eyes and said “what the frig, nothing. I think its lame. I don’t ever wanna celebrate that anniversary, I think it’s stupid.” I know guys, I know… no need to tell me how lucky of a gal I am. Found me a prince charming I tell ya! In my defence, we don’t celebrate our wedding anniversary either. And he also thinks birthdays shouldn’t be a thing after you turn 10. So can you really blame me for wanting to celebrate 14 flipping years with this dude? I think I deserve a medal for putting up with him this long. I know I’m making him out to look like an ogre, but that’s only because he is. But I love him. While I might be dreading when we’re 80 and sitting on our front porch and he’s waving his cane at the neighbourhood kids and yelling profanities to get off his lawn he so meticulously waters, fertilizes, mows, whispers “I love you” to (he’s obsessed with perfect lawns and he’s a perfectionist), I’m still looking forward to the rest of this life with him. My grump. So here’s the story of how Dane Redel was the boy of my dreams (we lived in Whitecourt, it wasn’t hard to be a girls dream guy, it was slim pick ins’ people!) and how we ended up together.
We met in grade 8. He claims it was math class I walked into, I swear it was social. Point is, I didn’t even notice Dane. NOPE. I saw this other guy and I blushed because I thought he was cute. I’m pretty sure this kid had facial hair already at 13, and he had a chain around his neck… and a ski jump hair do, so I was smitten. But he was kind of an ass and he smoked, so I was over it pretty quick. Then I noticed this other kid. He was tall and had messy hair and was wearing velcro sandals (he may kill me). He was wearing sweat pants and a blue Hawaiian button up shirt. But it was cool cuz he wore a white tee under it and left a few buttons undone. You know, cool. And his smell. I swear I can still smell him. Adidas cologne. He was confident and cocky, he was smart, he was witty, even his smile was cocky, his teeth were straight, he was good at pretty much every sport, he was athletic, he was a jock, he was perfect in my 13 year old eyes. Only downfall was his name was Bob, so I moved unto the next best thing… Dane Redel. KIDDING. It was Dane. I don’t know any one named Bob. So this kid Dane….
Turns out he was a jerk. No, seriously. He was. We basically had no interaction all of grade 8. I was invisible to him. Then grade 9 came along, and he was still a jerk. He teased me. He would say the rudest things to me. He would steal my notes between my friend Megan and me. He would steal my pencil case (to be fair… what 13 year old has a pencil case? Me). He would steal my gum. He even made me cry a couple times. That’s kinda how the whole year went. Everyone knew I liked him. Even good Ol’ Mr. Northcott, who bless his little heart even tried to set me up with him. (Mr. Northcott was like 5’3, chubby cheeks, thick moustache and and even thicker newfie accent). We were in English class one day and we had to pick partners for this project. So Mr. Northcott goes “Wellll, maybe I’ll set Claudia up to be partners with Dannnneee.” His friend AJ pipes up “Dane has a girlfriend!” THANKS AJ. I DIDN’T ALREADY KNOW THAT. You guys, this might be funny now, but it was traumatizing. To be a 14 year old, going through the awkward weird looking phase (sometimes I wonder if I ever grew out of this phase?) and have your crush tease you mercilessly, and now your teacher? I feel like there should be laws against this. Anyways, Dane and me were not partners.
Know what else might be just as traumatizing? Once in the summer between grade 9 going into grade 10, I was working at Dairy Queen (which should give you an idea of how embarrassing this story is going to go), and in walks Dane and a friend (shoutout to Cam). The two jocks of our grade. They ordered milk shakes while I was on cash, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never looked that red in my life. (Dane got blueberry, and yes I LITERALLY remember). I’m cringing while I write this, but me and this other kid that were working BOTH wanted to get the milkshakes. And we fought over who got to hand it to them. Me, because I wanted talk to Dane, and the other kid because he was a couple years younger and wanted to get in with the “cool” older jocks. Legit. So embarrassing.
Then grade 10 started. We were “friends” but not really. I say not really because I was terrified of him. He intimidated me. I was always nervous around him. But every once in awhile we would talk. He “dated” other girls (the word seems silly when you’re referencing it to 15 year olds, sorry). I pretended not to care. He would flirt with me, I would flirt back. That was it. Then the summer of us going into grade 11, for whatever reason, we kinda became friends without the quotation marks. We met at the river a couple of times. He held my hand going up against the current. We floated back down in our shoes and clothes. I think we even talked on the phone a couple of times. He met my parents.
Grade 11 starts and we keep talking. I remember I walked with him to pick up his parents car from the shop once and he drove me home. That day, when he dropped me off he turned towards me and asked “can I take you out for lunch tomorrow?” We went to Dairy Queen the next day. (I mean, I paid for myself and AJ came along, but it was kind of like a first date, haha). It’s been 14 years, my memories are fuzzy, but On November 25th, 2013, Dane had basketball practice. Which he went to. But he made a detour to my house first. We were hanging out and 10 mins before he had to leave he asked if I had a pen. So I gave him one. He took my hand, and in the palm of it he wrote “will you be my girl?” That was 14 years ago.
In fourteen years we’ve never been “on and off.” We’ve never broken up. We’ve never taken a “break.” Its been 14 years of togetherness. Girls have this notion that it’s so romantic, and “oh man, you’re so lucky you found a guy like Dane.” NO. Luck has nothing to do with it. You know what does? Work. And hard work. I’ve never quit or given up on him, and neither has he. But I think what makes us work is that I’ve never wanted to. I’ve never wanted to throw in the towel. Even if I said “I’m done, I give up,” I was never done. I never wanted to be done. Have we ever considered divorce? No, not even once, not even a little bit. Sometimes I think I might have loved Dane before we even started dating. And I mean that honestly. I remember my friend once had us write down our “wishes” and put them in a film canister and bury it. My “wish” was to date Dane. Even after 14 years, 7 of which have been married, I still love him, even more than at first. I want to hug him all the time. I want to be around him all the time. I wanna go on adventures with him for the rest of my life. He’s someone I admire. I look up to him. I aspire to have more of his traits. He’s my husband, he’s my rock, he’s my headache a lot of the time, but man oh man, he’s also my everything.
I give Dane a hard time because he’s so straight forward and not lovey dovey, but that’s just him. He don’t beat around the bush. He’s my strength when I’ve needed him to be. But sometimes, I’ll be jabbering away about the most pointless thing and he’ll tell me I’m cute, and my knees just about give out. Or he’ll bring home flowers from the grocery store when I’ve sent him out for eggs. And every night, without fail, he puts his hand on my leg and squeezes it before he turns over and says goodnight. He always kisses me goodbye before he leaves in the morning. He loves me a lot. Which is a weird thing to say about yourself, but it’s true. Dane loves me and I know this because he shows me everyday. He lets me feel it everyday. And I hope that he knows how much I truly love him, and how thankful I am for the last 14 years. They have shaped me into who I am today, and I cannot wait to spend another 14 years with the kid who would steal my pencil case, but also the kid who held my hand that day at the river in the freezing water. I’ve never been more in love with you than I am today Dane Redel. Thank you for loving me.
14 reason why I love Dane:
1). He has the best work ethic of anyone I know
2). He’s smart. Like he can talk to you about politics, the physics of why that thing is doing that other thing, economics, and about Lord of the Rings. Pretty much anything.
3). He is curious about everything. He wants to know why and how, and to just know.
4). He is a clean freak, which benefits me.
5). He can cook, which doesn’t benefit me because it annoys me that he’s better.
6). He’s hot. Nuff said.
7). He’s super talented and handy and basically can do anything around the house.
8). He lets me be the little spoon even though he hates cuddling.
9). He loves adventure.
10). His laugh is infectious and I love it.
11). His hands are always beat up and dried out from working, but I love them.
12). He’s loyal till the end.
13). He thinks I’m funny
14). He loves his little family and would fight ninjas or orcs off for us. And he loves Olive and she loves him. And I love them.