Friday, June 22, 2012

For those curious faces

I'm asked a lot of the same questions when I talk to people.

People who don't know me ask me about Kameron.

People who know me ask about Kameron.

People who know Kameron ask me about Kameron.

He's a popular topic of conversation.

But the questions aren't usually about how he's doing or where he's serving, sometimes, but not usually.
For people who don't know me, know me, or know Kameron the most popular question is,

"Are you waiting for him?"
and in second place,

"Are you going to get married?"

I hate to answer these questions, but I also know that most people can't help but to ask them.

For people who know me and/or know Kameron, the most common question always follows the same  preemptive statement,

"No offense, but did Kameron go on a mission because of you?"

I come here to answer these questions today. I'm going to try my hardest not to delve into unnecessary and uninteresting detail. It's a problem I often run into, thinking that if I explain absolutely every detail I can think of it might really be as clear to you as it is to me, but I digress. 
There's one thing you need to know about me to understand, and maybe even after reading this you still won't understand, I don't know. I don't really have as much control over that as I might like to.

Here's the thing, a large majority of my life was spent fearing, hating, or indifferent to boys. Kameron has been my first and only boyfriend, my first and only kiss. It's not to say that I haven't liked or had a crush on other boys before Kameron, I'm pretty normal in that respect. But it wasn't until Kameron that I cared if my crush went unnoticed, or whether or not any relationship came of it. From the very beginning there was something that was very different about my relationship with Kam. It started in the most awkward of ways. In my junior year of high school (and Kam's senior year) he transferred into my Environmental Science class midyear. The first day of the new semester Mr. Heward introduced him to the rest of the class, I hadn't noticed him until that moment, but then I really took notice. I thought he was cute, and there was something familiar about his face. That day we were to start a lab project. As everyone stood and walked to the lab tables I noticed that Kameron, alone, had remained seated, staring down at his desk. I walked over and tapped his shoulder, asked him if he wanted to join me. He nodded silently, still looking at his desk. The rest of the year went on much the same way, he rarely spoke, mostly shrugging his shoulders and nodding yes and no. He probably said ten different words to me the whole semester. He wore dark colors everyday, and while he never looked exactly sullen, there was just something sad around his eyes. His lack of words made it evident to me that he was just patiently coasting through each project, waiting for school to end at the close of the period.
He sat maybe a foot from me every other day from January to May and I never actually got to know him. I took his kurt, one word answers to any question I asked as an indication of his opinion of me. Alas, on yearbook day I watched him as he weaved his way in and out of the crowds until he stood in front of me, yearbook in his outstretched hand. It was something of a shock when he asked me to sign it, he didn't seem the kind of person who might chase down just anyone on yearbook day. I signed and asked him to sign mine in return. As soon as his back was turned I opened it up to see what he'd written. He wrote that he was glad I was his friend, that science class had been fun and that we should get together sometime. I couldn't do much but stare at it for minutes at a time.

Soon after his graduation, Kameron left to spend the summer in Texas with his father, as he did every summer. A few days before he actually left, he struck up a conversation with me via facebook chat. I was intrigued. This boy who had hardly spoken to me, to anyone in class, all semester was now my friend? He asked me question after question about myself, and it was strange to me that even just reading the words he typed, I could tell he really wanted to know the answers. Only a few weeks later, after chatting this way for a few hours everyday, we were talking and joking like we'd been friends all along. We spent the entire summer this way, getting to know each other more and more and truly finding a friend in the other. Soon enough, August arrived and with August came Kameron's return home. We were both a little nervous. We had tentative plans to hang out when he got back. The night before he would get on a plane to come home he asked me, "Do you think it'll be awkward when we actually see each other?"
I could only answer that I really hoped it wouldn't be.

The day he came home I rode with his mother, sister and two of his friends to pick him up from the airport. No awkwardness. He was quiet, as always, but he looked at me and said hello like my best friend. From that point on we were friends, we hung out at least once a week, going on walks, sitting on my couch or my front porch. At first I did the vast majority of the talking, but as time passed he began contributing more and more. It wasn't until February, when I left to San Diego for a week on choir tour that he began calling me each night. The night I got home from tour, on Valentine's day, he drove to my house  led me out to his car where he presented me with a giant heart-shaped box full of my favorite candy and a letter. He asked if he could hug me, I let him and then he went home. He continued to call me everyday when he got home from work. I was already in love with him, no question. It wasn't until about mid April that we decided on being a couple, just before Prom (he'd asked me to go with him in January).

Waiting for Kam is the only thing that makes sense to me. He's my best friend, he has always been there for me, he's seen me at my worst and loves me anyway. Just thinking of him brings me comfort. No one outside my family has ever meant more to me than Kameron does. I would love it if we got married someday, but we'll deal with that when we get to that point, no use worrying about it right now.

Now to answer the sticky question, did Kam go on a mission because of me. I know I was an influence in his decision to go, but I was not the sole cause for this decision. I think that when people ask me this question what they really mean to say is did Kameron go for me, as though I'd issued some kind of ultimatum. And that couldn't be further from the truth. Although from the very beginning of our friendship I made it clear that I intended to marry a returned missionary, I never forced it on him. No one had expected him to go, so he hadn't made an effort. He was also afraid, if he went he would be the first missionary in his family. He had no idea what to expect, he'd never had any family he could talk to about it. With help from my dad, and older brother as well as from Kam's home teacher he became more and more comfortable with the idea of it, and began to realize the importance of it. He'd made his decision, he wanted to go. He completed and sent his mission papers to the bishop, the bishop sent them to the stake president and they stayed there for the following eight months. The stake president was concerned, more and more boys had returned early from their missions due to problems with anxiety and depression. They would come home and not go back out. This is where Kameron's medical history caused a snag. In the past he had struggled with depression on and off of medication. Kameron hadn't been on medication for a very long time. He hated the way it made him feel, like his mind was swimming, like he was half asleep, so he stopped taking it and continued to struggle. The stake president asked Kameron to see a therapist (who was a member from Kam's stake). After eight months of visits, building mental strength as well as trust in the Lord, Kam was given the go-ahead. Kameron received his call to the South Carolina, Columbia mission exactly one month before he would report to the Provo MTC. He's been out nearly seven months and he loves his mission.

Kameron may not have seemed or looked like someone who might serve a mission, but it was his choice alone. He gained a testimony of missionary work and realized how important it was for him to answer the call given by the prophet to all able young men.

He's my very best friend and I'll continue to support him for the next year and a half. He's doing what the Lord has asked of him and I couldn't be happier that he wants to be there and is loving the people, his companions and the Elders and Sisters that surround him. We both know why he's out there, and while I miss him, I know that his absence from my life for two short years is worth more than I can imagine to the people he teaches. I will be the happiest girl in the world when he comes home, but until then I pray for him, his companions and the people of South Carolina. 


Katie Bell said...

Good story Ruth. :) How you feel about Kameron is how I feel about Rob, funny how that happens, huh? You're cool and I'm glad we're blog friends.

Katie Fairchild said...

Holy cow, didn't think I was going to tear up, but wow, most definitely did. I love you and Kam, together. Just knowing him before you and after you, you really do make him so much happier. He's always been one of the sweetest, most thoughtful, people I know but I never really felt like he was happy during high school, so it seriously makes my day/month/year knowing he's found that through his mission and always being around you :)

Kelsey said...

i love this. so, so much.

lalavcott said...

I'm jealous you only have a year and a half left ;). Has it gone quickly? I felt like these last few weeks have been in light speed. I am wondering when it will start to feel like a long wait. Hmm. We'll see. I loved this post, I have always been curious about your relationship! Nice to know. (in a totally blog stalker type way).

Lys said...

Oh Ruth, you are amazing. And I only know Kameron through your blog photos/words, but he sounds awesome as well! You two are cute.

I really admire the way you are in your waiting for Kameron. You have a quiet strength about it that very few manage to find. Still trying to find that myself, really. But I look up to you lots, and I thought you should know. Love you Ruth!

Emily Romney Dawe said...

I love your story. It reminds me a lot of my own. My husband and I met in high school and at the time he had no intentions of going on a mission, though he knew I wanted to marry an RM and we spoke many times about it. He would also be the first to complete a mission in his family. His grandparents on both sides were converts and his father and an uncle both went and came home early because of fear and anxiety. My husband also suffered with anxiety. Eventually on his own he made the decision to go, though it was a hard and terrifying one. About 1.5 years after we started dating he left to Boston Massachusetts Spanish speaking for 2 years. We came to know each other in a different way through our letters. I dated people while he was gone but never stopped loving him. It became very clear to me as he neared the end of his mission that we were going to be married. Although I would never trade those two years, I would never want to repeat them. 5 months after he returned home we were sealed in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple for time and all eternity. I've never been happier and truly love being married to my very best friend. I'm so excited for the journey you have ahead of you. Seeing him for the first time will be so surreal. I cannot wait for you! :)