I love reading how two people come together, it is such a miracle that any of us ever find someone, that I thought I would write it all out. Keep in mind, our story is not a new one, Mr. Claus and I have been married for over 20 years.
Our daughter, Reese's, loves to hear this story, so here goes. . .
Well, first of all we didn't meet at the North Pole, like a lot of you may think. Our story is from a long time ago. Mrs. Claus was married to someone else and living in Newburgh, New York. Mrs. Claus and her first husband were both unfaithful in their marriage before moving to New York. Actually, we were trying to fix a broken marriage and well, neither of us were very good at fixing things.
A few months after we moved to New York state, I started babysitting some of the other kids on our block. My husband was in the Army, and we lived in Army housing, so there were a lot of kids. Babysitting was an easy job, I guess. I already had Lollipop and Tootsie, my daughters so they had kids to play with. I was satisfied with babysitting, actually thought about giving it up and just being a mom. Maybe going back to school to get a degree or something. This was when my friend, Caroline, told me about a job I could get pretty easy working at a rent-to-own store. I told her, "I'm not even looking for a job," and she told me that it would be so easy. So I went to an interview and practically got the job on the spot. (This is the part I give God credit for, because these kinds of things can only be accomplished by God. Seriously, how can someone who is not in the job market, suddenly get a job that puts her in the path of life-changing events? That's God.)
Meanwhile, in Texarkana Mr. Claus was going through some life changing moments of his own. Santa was divorced, and was moving his software company from Magnolia, Arkansas to their new offices in Texarkana. He was busy trying to install telephones and network cables and dealing with the everyday problems of business. He was also about to be changed by God.
This is Broadway in Newburg, NY where we met.So the way we met. . . My friend, Caroline, was typing "flirty" messages to "this guy" on the computer. Keep in mind this was the late 1980's so there was no internet. It was all done via a dial-up modem and a software program that allowed you to "chat" with each other. Anyway, in the middle of this "chatting" session she had to leave the terminal to wait on a customer, so I took over typing and well, I don't remember what I typed, but hey "this guy" in the home office didn't know it wasn't Caroline . . . and well, it WAS just a joke.
Santa invited me out to have a drink after work. He told me that he usually ended up going back to his hotel with nothing to do and he really just wanted someone to talk to, for a while. I told myself, it's just a drink, and a conversation it's no big deal. Once we got there I told him that I was married, which he didn't know. We talked for a long time. I realized then this guy is a really good listener, not to mention that he looks pretty cute in those acid-washed jeans. . . remember this was a LONG time ago. LOL!
So, the next night he invited me out again . . . just to talk, again. I told him I can't, because my babysitter was really upset with me being late and I can't do that to her again. (Which was the truth.) He offered to pay for my babysitter to stay late, because he really enjoyed talking to me. So I agree as long as he was serious about the offer for my babysitter AND with the stipulation that it was just to talk.
We talk again for a long time. He told me about his ex-wife and the software company and living in Texas. I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince him that I was happily married. Well, the evening came to an end, and we both got in our cars to leave . . . I started my car and then I thought, "Oh, crap! My babysitter, I forgot to get the money." So I got out and went back over to his car and pecked on the window. "Were you serious about the money for my babysitter?" I asked. He said, "Yeah, sorry I forgot." He pulls out the $20.00 and this is where the stories differ. He says, I kissed him and I say he wanted me to kiss him, but regardless, we kissed.
Then I got in my car and proceeded to beat myself up . . . all the way home. "You are a married person." "Hello!?!?!" "Do you not know what that means, no kissing other guys?" "Kind of one of the rules. . . stupid girl!" "You are really dumb, for real."
I don't know how much time passed, after Santa went back to Texas and I stayed still in New York. My marriage was getting worse by the day, and then my husband went on a training trip to Alabama. I was miserable, so I called Mr. Claus just to see if he even remembered who I was, and to talk to him again. He called me back and said, "Of course I remember you." :) (YAY!)
All the time line of all these events is very blurry, but while my husband was gone, Mr. Claus and I spent hours and hours on the phone. In order to keep the phone calls from showing up on my phone bill, I would call Santa and let it ring once and then hang up. (What kind of system was this? Crazy, that's what.) Then I would spend the next 5 minutes telling myself that he isn't there, he won't call, he has a life, he can't call if he doesn't hear it ring once. Then, relief. . . the phone rings.
We talked sometimes until 2:00 a.m. about anything, about nothing . . .about everything! I finally tell him that we have to stop, that this won't work. I have to try to work things out with my husband. He tells me that if I ever need anything, that he is there for me. I felt myself falling in love with "this guy".
My husband comes home and I truly try to work things out, have a fresh outlook a new incentive to make it work . . . but we have another huge fight. I really saw this as God's answer to my endless prayer that I could have a way out of this situation . . .I called Santa and told him that I don't know when, or where or even how, but I am leaving my husband. Santa offered to buy 3 plane tickets for me and the girls and fly us anywhere we wanted to go. He says, "You don't have to be with me, but you need to be out of that situation."
This, of course, makes me love him more. How could you not love someone who is being so giving and self-less, right? I remember calling my sister and she was telling me that it is wrong to get a divorce and wrong to leave my husband. I was sitting on the floor telling her, "THIS is one of the good guys, and if I don't do this I am going to regret it for the rest of my life."
So I finally got up enough courage to do this, I was in a bad relationship and I was scared to leave. I was scared of my husband. I picked up my last check from work, I picked up my children from the babysitter, I went home to scoop out their two bottom drawers, which I had prearranged with the few things I wanted to take with me. But I froze.
In the parking garage, I thought I saw my husband inside our apartment. I freaked out. I just left and drove. . . just drove. Okay, now I was on the bridge to Newark, NJ headed to the airport. I was going to fly out in the morning and I spent my last pay check on a hotel room by the airport. I was so scared. I was scared my husband is going to come after me, I was scared for what I will find when I get off the airplane. I was scared for my children. But I was more scared of staying in an abusive marriage, so I called Mr. Claus and told him, "I'm in the hotel and I will see him tomorrow."
I parked our car in short term parking, knowing that I was not going to come back to get it. (I later mailed the car keys back to my husband.) I have told L and T that we were going to Disney World and that's why we had to leave early. So they were excited. On my flight to Dallas, Texas, they asked me when we were going to see Mickey Mouse, and a fine southern lady on the plane, leans over to me in a thick southern drawl, pats my leg and said, "Sweetie you know this plane goes to Dallas?" I say, "Yes, ma'am." LOL!
Well, I got to Dallas, and Santa was waiting for us . . . he looked so good. In my memory, he didn't have on the knight in shining armor uniform, but he looked good to me. We had nothing. We had what was in T's diaper bag and that's it. Santa took us shopping and we got some things to wear and started the newest chapter of our life.
A lot of things happened after that day, but that was a great day! A super-fabulous-can't-believe-God-loves-me-THIS-much-it's-a-miracle kind of day.
I would like to say that we lived happily ever after, but this is MY story and not a fairy tale. I took the girls to stay with their grandparents and my husband took them to New York, filed for emergency custody and I lost them in a custody battle. Mr. Claus quit his job 2 weeks after I moved in with him, and then we moved to Bolivar , Missouri. . . . so THIS was not my idea of happily ever after.
We were married 9 months later. All the things that happened, that hurt so badly, you know. . . .divorce hurt, losing my children hurt, starting a new life hurt, being so scared of the unknown . . . and all the great things, the things that made me feel like flying . . . falling in love, freedom from fear, new family, new everything, . . . .all these things and so much more led me to this wonderful life . . .like Christmas every day. The longer I am able to share my life with Mr. Claus the more examples I see, where God has been involved. More and more times where the ONLY way these things would happen is because of God, and I thank Him every day.
This is our story so far, and the rest is still unwritten. . . .
Mr. and Mrs. Claus