Dating in Columbus: A Series: Episode 19: Wrong Box Under the Christmas Tree

Let’s go a little way back in time in my life… a long time ago, I lived in Springfield… a cute, small town 40 minutes outside of Columbus.

Springfield was a bubble. When I say it was a bubble… it truly was. My school was a K-8 building and it’s the same place my parents went to school and a place everyone knew everyone.

I didn’t know color, I didn’t know poverty, I didn’t know divorce, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I knew good people, kind souls, the love of family (27 family members within 2 miles of my house) my family were my friends and my friends were family.

I learned sewing from one of my mom’s friends and her daughters were two of the nicest people I have known. There was 4-H, it was Girl Scouts, Spy Swim Team, Lakewood Swim Club, Overbrook Swim Club and the ability to grow up with a whistle blown to come home…. Not the traditional whistle but my mom’s amazing Whistle like my grandpa that let you know it was time for dinner.

Possum Woods … my favorite older neighbors who treated my brother and I better than one set of my grandparents. My really good friend Justin who will always be one of my absolute favorite people in this world…. To The neighborhood we moved to – Aberfelda where tons of kids and friends played in the woods and built forts… fortunate, blessed, and loved.

Fast forward a bit to out of high school… During this time in my life we attended a particular church and met a boy through church – 6 years older to be exact and looking back – Lord Farquaad of sorts… When I think back to my life and dating Lord Farquaad – you might be like… what on earth? Yes, Lord Farquaad from Shrek and in my family – that is his name … and it stuck –

So.. I am 5’8 and prefer taller guys – in this case, set aside my own preference for a much shorter guy…. Mistake 1. Then combined with living an hour away – Mistake 2. And let’s throw this in … my parents were not fans – Mistake 3 and of course my two best friends were like ….. Noooooo

So what did I see in this Lord Farquaad?

I saw an engineer, a smart internet savvy guy who studied at a Big 10 school who had similar beliefs, similar childhood, similar friend group – what I didn’t see … we will get to that… was I in love? Will get there too…

Lord Farquaad and I dated after high school and had known each other for a long time… he was studying away at a Big 10 School out of State and on his way to life .. slightly ahead of me in the school game… I stayed closer to home and he was finishing up. After his graduation, he moved to Columbus and I was working in Springfield and he routinely came back Saturday nights to Springfield and stayed at his parents, went to church Sunday and returned to Columbus following church…

One of my really good friends (Reagan) played tennis with me on a mixed doubles league and his girlfriend and Lord Farquaad would watch the countless hours of us battling it out the tennis courts… college tennis and rec league since we both played in college at the same place, went to church together and played tennis…

I know what you are thinking… what about that dude? Well… the truth is… I always liked him… Reagan was 2 years older, played at a neighboring high school, went to church with me, played tennis in college together, and I took a lot of classes during high school – 27 credit hours and was able to graduate with Reagan … (so 2 years out of high school with my Bachelor’s degree)

Okay, I lose my thoughts but it’s important to know all the details… so Reagan was in a couple of my classes but didn’t really know I existed until I did. Tennis – love – love right?

Not exactly.. we became friends, like the kind who can sit and say nothing but knows what I am thinking… to be honest I was calm near him and during high school this guy was just dreamy … he had a reputation of an amazing tennis player and looked like Pete Sampras

Later joining the college tennis team and really focused on staying on track with graduation – I spent some time with one of the girl’s brothers who was a good looking older guy who helped out with the team – he was a doppelgänger of Zach from Saved by the Bell .. you might wonder why Zach is important and he was a cool guy and shy…

So .. doppelgänger Zach and I never went out officially – spent time together but nothing official; Reagan asked me out around this same time and I went. I can tell you it was to see Meet Joe Black and dinner following. On this date, I wanted it to be magical and it was everything but magical.

I realized that the vision of him was better than me dating him and we were really good friends… to this day – we talk pretty often. How lucky am I that you get what you think you want and it turns out better in friendship and lasts longer than our marriages?

So… Reagan knew Zach and Reagan knew Lord Farquaad. Lord Farquaad was shorter than me – like in voice and in my remembrance of him… no he didn’t die but I will get why he is a forgotten entity to my life. Reagan asked a few times – why are you dating him? He doesn’t like tennis, he isn’t athletic, he doesn’t like boating or skiing; yeah he travels but it isn’t sustainable for long term happiness… oh Reagan – so so wise…

The 20s are like my 40s now… a time of figuring things out…. I laugh because when I was at Cedarville, they said the good women get a MRS degree when they graduate … and have conquered the 3 C to be a good wife… cook, clean, conceive.

I can laugh now but truly – this may be why my marriages didn’t work out… I went against the grain of accepting anything like that (no disrespect to anyone who adheres do that – I just prefer to do things on my terms) less than and would rather be by myself than to lose myself. Not exactly what I would choose – to be on my own – I choose to wait for someone who will just accept me as me.

Reagan and I had that one date and remained really good friends… Lord Farquaad and I dated after that … and after 11 months together – here is where it got interesting…

Let’s get to flag number 1 – my friend Sarah was getting married in Fort Myers Beach and Lord Farquaad and I were invited; he declined due to work commitments – looking back … really? I went down to the wedding and had a great time!

At the time, it was plausible… when I came home – he stopped over and I clicked his trunk button to grab my bag I forgot the week before when we went hiking and when I popped the trunk… I saw bags with airline tags. Remember I just got back from Fort Myers and these tags said FLL for Fort Lauderdale.

I wasn’t sure what to make of it and at this point in my life I was a lot quieter and less confrontational – so I waited to see if he would say he had to leave town or what not… this was December 22 …and I asked a few questions but he wasn’t budging on any details of a trip or flight… yet the bag tag had the date of December 21 just like when I arrived back to Cbus…

He went back to Columbus for work and was coming down Christmas Eve with his parents and would stop by my house at some point in the evening.. Fast forward….

it is now Christmas Eve and one of my favorite movies is on – The Sound of Music… and the tree is lit and it beautiful with snow outside… Lord Farquaad is not over yet and I am wondering what is taking so long – his parents live 3 miles away and it’s been all day.. I called him and messaged and nothing back… around 11 pm he comes over and apologizes for being so late and we open presents…

Presents are a big deal to me… let me say – I don’t care how much something costs – I want thought and intention… experiences are my favorite gifts…

I open the first box and they were ugly shoes – I am a shoe girl… adidas, on cloud, ASICS, I have my tribe of shoes… and these were a huge fail. Not the gift but the thought…if you have known me for years… really?

Time to open box 2 – diamond pierced earrings… my ears are not pierced at this time in my life….

I. Just. Sat. There.

And for a minute thought I was PUNKED. I realized that the distance, the 11 pm on Christmas Eve…. There was someone else… so I said…. Wrong box?

He sat there and said he was in love. They met at Big 10 School and she had been dating him off and on after we had been dating almost a year … so wow… forgot to mention that small detail…

So many thoughts.. so many emotions… and I stood up … didn’t yell.. didn’t cry… just walked to the front door and opened it…

Lord Farquaad left. Christmas Day came and of course everyone is asking where Farquaad is and what time he is coming over and so on… and I just stopped and said “he has a girlfriend” and it was like a scene out of a movie… absolute silence and no words… about an hour later … I went upstairs to my bedroom and had a good cry. I didn’t need anyone to see it… I just needed to let it go… being in a small town – it was a matter of time and everyone would know my business..

Lord Farquaad was with the new girlfriend for New Years Eve. It was a horrific New Years Eve with that taste in my mouth of bitterness… and my family always went out New Years Eve and as a family we were together at Chi Chi’s (don’t laugh too hard – it was a thing in 1999 and 2000 era) and in walks Lord Farquaad and new girlfriend… and I was horrified and sick… interestingly enough … the unkind me was thinking… if you are gonna cheat – at least let it be with someone hotter …

Reagan was there with his family because who doesn’t love Chi Chi’s on New Year’s Eve – and texted me – you got this. He watched everything and knew what transpired.. his life was not a bed of roses either – and through the years – have been there for each other.

Grateful for that moment as it changed my perspective – Lord Farquaad married that girl. And while I always wish people well on their journey – this is one where any bad karma – I am okay with. Reagan married his girlfriend .. and stayed together a long time…

I think back to my life and remember that things that didn’t work out .. really did work out… from that moment in my life… the wheel started spinning and decided that I would get a Ph.D., make it to 7 continents, and visit 100 countries before I die…

Well .. Lord Farquaad – you made me a better version of me… a strong female with the ability to stand on her own, know it’s okay to cry, know that the journey and the destination are equally important, and am visiting my 7th continent and am hovering at 96 countries – and am 42…

So thank you for being you – I wouldn’t trade my life for anything! ❤️

And I have yet another good story…

Song: Shrek

Next Episode: What?? You hang out at the library to do what??


A travel, home, & lifestyle blog written by Heidi Stevenson. Follow along for affordable ways to travel, sophisticated and savvy style, expensive looks for less for the home, and everyday style



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  1. 2.9.23
    Bev said:

    You should write a book!! Seriously…❤️