Natasha – That August, we went back to the Dysingers farm for a visit. Paul and my parents had had several conversations leading up to it. (My parents’ love and respect for Paul had significantly deepened and they felt comfortable allowing him to pursue my heart more intently.)

I had been chronically cautious and persistently ambivalent – pondering on occasions whether I was becoming “too emotionally attached to him” prematurely and should “back off”. My parents encouraged me that it was not so. So Paul took me on a picnic to the dock one afternoon. We ate in the shade of a weeping willow and talked for a while, and when we were done he said he wanted to number the reasons why he liked me and asked me how many I wanted to hear.  I told him five. He said 5 wasn’t enough and he would tell me seven instead. So he told me the seven reasons and ended by telling me that he loved me, for the first time. Then finished by adding some more reasons.

It took my breath away and in fact I gave a little jump when he said it, which quite delighted him afterwards. 🙂 In the months that followed Paul showed himself to be a prince and more in his ability to win over the slow-to-trust heart of a most cautious girl.

(And p.s., for all those of you out there who think the fact that I was surprised by every big juncture in our relationship is a demonstration of gullibility… I must justify myself just a bit here. Paul always is so calm and relaxed before every significant event that I can never tell by his demeanor that it is coming. So my surprise really is legitimate!)