I’ve been hinting and hinting and hinting again over the last year (or two?) that I was going to type up our infertility (fertility!) story but I’ve never had a chance to sit, think, and put it all into words. I started writing it out one day several months ago while I was sitting in the peace and quiet of Eucharistic adoration but since then, peace and quiet have evaded me (hmm, wonder why?); giggles, screaming, whining, gibberish, and toddler talk taking their place. Fine. I can write to background noise, right? In college I would’ve told you no, but it looks like somebody’s going to have to do some adapting.
Anyway, all three kids are sawing logs at this moment (guh-lorious!) and so there’s no better time than the present. I’m going to share our infertility story, but I’m going to do you one more and go back to the beginning – when Anthony met Sheena. If I’m going to type up a story I might as well type up the whoooole thing, right?…’cause nothing’s more interesting than reading about someone else’s life when you’re just trying to live yours. Skip it if you will, read it if you want to. :)
. . .
So, the year was 2004, Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, fall semester. I was a senior and had just lost my dad the May before. The summer before this semester was a period of great growth for me. I was fresh out of an unhealthy relationship; one to which I clung to keep all of the problems going on in my family at bay. I thought I needed someone to hold on to. Another human being. A boyfriend. How wrong I was. As you can imagine, I was distraught when that relationship ended. My world came crashing down at the loss of my father and now this. I felt like I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. I was the oldest in my family so I had “to be the strong one”. Also during this time, my relationship with my mom was akin to walking on broken glass and my two sisters and I moved out of our home and in with our Aunt who lived a half hour away. Nothing was concrete anymore. Nothing.
Anyway, so that I don’t backtrack too far, the summer was a rough one but a great one in that I realized that the only one I needed was God. No one else. Just Him. I knew that but I never unfortunately had it sink in until then. I gave everything to Him that summer – my joys, my pain, my loneliness, everything. Little did I know that only after I handed my life over that He would hand me another life – Anthony. I had heard “don’t go looking for him, let him find you, let God bring him to you” in college over and over about that crazy thing called true love, and girls, if you’re searching for your one true love (your earthly love, that is), stop it because it is true, God will bring him to you!
So there he was. Anthony Tobin. Some freshman, probably immature but really easy on the eyes. However, I’d NEVER date anybody younger than me so, yeah, moving on. Ha! He was friends with my roommate, Nicki, and that’s the closest relation to me that I thought he’d ever be. But then he said “hi” to me once in passing and I got those butterflies in my stomach that one gets when excitement hits. They lasted a few seconds and I was back to the same conclusion that I’d never allow myself to like or date anybody younger than me. It just didn’t make one ounce of sense. College life moved on, studying, sleeping, eating, hanging, repeat. I ran into Anthony a few more times in passing and we exchanged polite “hi’s” and then something crazy happened. I started to be really interested in him. I was drawn to him. I found myself going out of my way sometimes just to run into him. There was this one crazy time when we were both up at the fields where intramural flag football games were going on. I was the spectator, he was the pre-gamer. Needing to get back to my dorm room for whatever reason, I found myself re-routing myself so that I’d go allllllthewayyy around the field just to pass him. I’ll never forget it. He was wearing his black Under Armour garb under some black gym shorts and we smiled at each other and said “hey!”
[At a college formal dance…circa 2005?]
Fast forward a couple of weeks as I was heading up the stairs to my digs when I walked past him and my roommate Nicki chatting on a couch in the dorm lobby. I said hi to them both but kept walking until I heard “Hey Sheena…” in a voice I only knew to be his. Not breathing I turned around and answered, “yeah?” “You wanna go with me on AMDG’s date night?”, spoken in that bold accent of a New Yorker. (Side note: AMDG is a household at Franciscan which is similar to a fraternity but not at all.) I told him I would but I can’t even remember how I said it or what happened in the next five minutes because I was on cloud 909.
[Hiking to the The Wave in Arizona – Spring 2006]
Plans were made and we went on that date night together but we ended up going separate from the household group. He picked me up in his (and now our) good friend Dan’s old Toyota wearing a blue and white striped button-down that he still wears. We ate at an Italian restaurant in our college town and then headed to a casino in West Virginia where we gambled away 40 bucks. It was so fun and I was giddy the whole time. During the weeks following, we saw a good amount of each other. We’d meet up to go grab dinner or lunch at the caf and we went on lots of walks around campus, spending tons of time just talking. I loved it. I loved that we didn’t rush into anything but that we just spent our time getting to know each other. Obviously, we were both wondering what the future held for “us” and I spent a lot of time thinking and praying for clarity. The more I got to know him, the more I didn’t care about our almost-three-year age difference. (Actually, one day during that time I clearly remembered learning about average life spans of men and women in second grade and how that of a man is 73 and of a women is 76. It’s probably changed since my second-grade years but either way, it’s like it all clicked to me in that flashback moment…of course it makes sense to date somebody younger than me so that we’ll die together! After that, I could’ve cared less.) The tough things to think about were how we would make it work since I was graduating and moving home or the fact that he was going to Austria to study during the fall semester.
[Circa sometime in 2006 – pre-engagement]
So, one night during one of our frequent walks we were headed up a hill towards my dorm, Kolbe/Clare, and passing the big steel cross on campus when it got awkwardly quiet (something that was rare) and after a minute Anthony goes “so, what’s up with us?” I’m over here thinking, “did he really just say ‘what’s up with us?’” Yes, he did. I guess when you’re a New Yorker, being blunt is just natural. After a stifled laugh (because the guy was serious), I managed an “I don’t know (this is so awkward…what the heck do I say…disguise giggle as *cough*), what do you think?”…lame-o answer to a pin-pointed question. A little chat about whether we should really pursue this boyfriend/girlfriend thing ensued and by the end we were ‘official’. The day was December 1, 2004.