Valentine’s Day 2015. I am Christian. I am cougar. I am woman, hear me roar.
In1964, I was a nice Christian girl. I always excelled in school. So why did I drop out of high school and get married when I was barely 16? And, no, I wasn’t pregnant.
Several teen couples in our church got married that year. By the time I realized there was no fairy tale ending, no happily-ever-after, I had brought five children into this world. When most girls my age were doing homework, I was having babies, cleaning and cooking, and doing laundry. I stayed in church – actively involved in church, he didn’t. I pasted a smile on my face and pretended things weren’t what they were. I was dying – both figuratively and literally. I have scars on my wrist to prove it.
Sometimes our prison becomes our comfort zone. It’s what we know; what we’re familiar with. We know how to function within the parameters of our prison. Freedom frightens us because it’s unfamiliar. I wanted to be free, but I couldn’t leave. I fasted and prayed for something to happen. Restoration. Release. God could restore and rebuild but only if my husband chose the help God offered.
He chose to leave in 1986 after twenty two years. I blossomed. I healed. I had five beautiful children and grandchildren. There many people within and without the church who loved and nurtured me and my children.
I wanted to experience a Christian marriage. I wanted to be loved and cherished. I wanted to fall in love. I was thirty-eight and I’d never been in love. I prayed. I headed up our singles’ group at church where there were plenty of women my age but not men. Houston, we have a problem.
Jeff joined our singles’ group. He was younger. We quickly became good friends. But, hey, I had several younger guy friends in the group I hung out with. It was never romantic. Cougar? If it was a term to describe an older woman with a younger man back then, I’d never heard it. If I had heard of it, I wasn’t interested.
Grrrrrowl! Don’t call me cougar. It suggests stalking prey. That’s not me. So….while I watched Jeff and plotted how to make a move. Nope! It wasn’t like that. When I got married in September 1964, Jeff wouldn’t be born until two months later in November. He’s seven months older than my firstborn. But we did date. Off and on. For almost four years
Marriage? It wasn’t happening. He had little kids. I had raised mine. I had visions of being cast aside later when it truly hit Jeff what all our age difference entailed. Rejection and hurt? No thanks. Been there, done that.
Love doesn’t know age. In October 2014, we celebrated our twentieth anniversary. We are still in love. We respect and appreciate each other. I have some grandchildren older than his children. He became a father-in-law to two of my sons-in-law who are older than him.
It has been an adventure. Lots of hilarious situations have happened. Someday I’ll finish my book How Can A harmless Housecat Be A Cougar? You can read all about it then.