Finding the One

By Diane Stark

Finding the One

I pulled back the cheese on my pizza and sighed in disgust. Mushrooms, onions, green peppers, you name it, this pizza had it. “I hate picking this junk off my pizza every time,” I told my parents.

They looked at me and shrugged. “Sorry, Honey, but everyone else in the family likes supreme pizza. Majority rules, Hon.”

And that’s when my 12-year-old self made an important decision. “When I get married, I’m going to choose someone who only likes sausage and pepperoni on their pizza. I refuse to spend the rest of my life picking out these nasty mushrooms.”

My parents exchanged a smirk. “Any other qualifications for your future husband?”

I thought for a minute. “Yes. You know how I hate my name, and I wish my name was Julia? Well, when I get married and have a baby girl, I am going to name her Julia, and any guy I marry has to like that name too.”

My mom nodded. “Well, when the time comes, I’m sure you’ll add some other things to the list.”

I’m sure Mom was thinking my guy should have intelligence and integrity. I was probably thinking that he must like dogs and enjoy eating Skittles.

I’d love to tell you that I added Mom’s qualifications to my list, but I just wasn’t that smart back then. At 19, I met my future ex-husband at the clothing store where I worked. He asked me out, and I accepted. And on that first date, I asked him what he liked on his pizza. When he said, “Just meat, no veggies,” I figured he’d passed Test #1.

“And if this works out and we get married someday, and we have a baby and it’s a girl, I am naming her Julia,” I said. “If that’s not OK with you, then I don’t think we should go out again.”

He blinked twice and said, “Julia is a nice name.”

My qualifications had been met. Three years later, he proposed, and I said yes. But mutual like of pepperoni pizza and a little girl’s name do not always result in a happy marriage.

Ten years in, he wanted out. (We did make a Julia – and a boy named Jordan – during our years together though.)

I was a 32-year-old single mom, and thankfully, I’d learned a few things in the last decade. When I started dating again, my list of qualifications was significantly more substantive. Gone were my concerns about mushrooms on pizza and, well, I already had my Julia.

I needed a man who would love my kids as though they were his own. I also desperately wanted one more baby, so I needed someone who was on board with that. He needed to share my belief in God and have a great sense of humor. And yes, Mom’s intelligence and integrity finally made the list as well.

I met Eric on the dating website eHarmony in February of 2007. Our first phone conversation lasted four hours. At the end of it, I knew Eric was the one for me. We professed our love before we even met in person, and when he proposed two months later, I knew saying yes would be the best decision I ever made.

During our very brief engagement, Eric and I lived about 150 miles apart. One Monday in May, five weeks before our wedding, I got a call from Julia’s daycare center. “We found a tick on Julia,” they said.

My kids and I had spent the weekend at Eric’s house. He lived on 78 acres, much of it wooded. There was no question where Julia had picked up the parasite.

I freaked out. Eric and I had already decided that I would move down there as soon as the school year ended, but now, I had questions.

Did I really want to move to a place where parasites lived? I imagined myself doing daily tick checks on the kids, and the thought turned my stomach. I decided I couldn’t do it.

I called Eric in tears and told him I was having doubts about marrying him.

“About me?” He asked.

“No, I’m positive about you. It’s the tick thing,” I said.

He actually laughed. “Sweetheart, they have ticks where you live too. Stop being silly, and marry me.”

But I still wasn’t sure. The thought of a blood-sucking bug on my kid was so repulsive that I nearly had a panic attack.

But then something else gave me a panic attack. Two days later, I saw a news report that there was a blizzard in Eric’s area. He was on a business trip and had a flight scheduled that day. I called his cell phone, but he didn’t answer. And I panicked. The love of my life was on a plane during a snow storm.

Two hours later, he called me. He was fine, and by then, I’d made a decision. Not marrying someone because there are icky bugs where they live is just as silly as marrying someone because they like a certain kind of pizza. I’d been there, done that, and I wasn’t 19 anymore.

In my heart, I knew I’d never find anyone more perfect for me than Eric, and throwing that away over a bug – even a nasty blood-sucking bug – would be the biggest mistake of my life.

Eric and I got married in June of 2007, and I’ve never regretted it for a minute. The past eight years have been the happiest of my life. Eric is everything I’ve ever wanted in a husband and more. He is practically perfect, with two small exceptions.

Eric works too much.

And he likes mushrooms on his pizza, a fact I didn’t even know until after the wedding.

But life at our house is good. It’s full of love and laughter, despite the occasional parasite and undesirable fungi on my pizza.

Eric’s the one, and I’m glad I finally grew up enough to realize it.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave your mark with style

Comment in style

Stand out from the crowd and add some flare beside your comment.
Get your free Gravatar today!

Make it personal

avatar versus gravatar Close