Friday, March 13, 2009

Rather long and rather mushy...but hey, it's my anniversary, and I'll do as I please!

WARNING: Reading this blog might cause squishiness overload. It contains high amounts of romantic gushing, cutesiness, and long-windedness. Do not read this blog if you have conditions such as Anticoupleitis or an aversion to verbal PDA. This blog may cause reactions such as extensive “ahhhing,” a desire to pinch a short girl’s cheeks and tell her she and her fiancé are precious, or an intense desire to vomit from all the excessive romanticism.

(So yeah. This is how P and I got together. I said a VERY LONG TIME AGO that I would someday explain how we got together, but somehow I never got around to it. But since today is our three-year anniversary, I figured now was as good a time as any. So…enjoy!...I guess…)

I didn’t date in high school. Not at all. There were a couple of guys who expressed half-hearted interest in me, and there were some guys that I found kind of cute, but nothing really came of anything. As I got older, I pretty much made my plan. I would graduate from high school and then college with degrees in art and theater, then work in LA or Florida as a storyboard artist, and then when I was thirty I would start adopting kids.

Well, it was late October/early November of 2004 and I was seventeen years old. My family had moved to Nashville just a few months earlier, two weeks before my senior year of high school started. Some of my friends at Lipscomb invited me to their church’s Halloween party, so I dressed up as a psychotic cheerleader and went alone.

Kat and I were riding on the hayride when all of sudden two guys dressed in black came tearing out of the darkness and ran at us. One particularly enterprising would-be vampire actually leaped on the hayride. I screamed bloody murder…

…but I was the only person who did. Everyone else was completely nonplussed. Apparently I’m just easily spooked. After the hayride, Kat introduced me to my attackers. It was some guy named Patrick and his best friend Michael.

I saw Patrick around occasionally- I saw his youth group production of A Rose in Falcon City (he played a crazy old man) and he saw my school productions of Night Watch, The Music Man, and the one-act night. Every time we would chat, but we could never remember each other’s names.

In the fall of 2005, I started college. In an effort to make friends, I headed to the informational meeting for the freshman social club, but found myself holding a tee-shirt in a corner, because the girls who were going to come ditched me. Luckily, I ran into Patrick, who was also holding a tee-shirt and looking lost. We hung out for the rest of the meeting, and that’s when I realized that he was kind of cute.

One day in my first week or so of classes, my friend Emily and I were eating lunch after Honors Intro to Communications when she said that there was a guy in her next class named Patrick that she thought would be a good match for me. When I admitted that I already had a little bit of a crush on him, she made it her mission to set us up. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after lunch we would walk towards her class and strike up a conversation with Patrick.

My crush on him grew by leaps and bounds. He was cute, he was funny, he was geeky…he was perfect, except for one little thing.

He didn’t know I liked him.

With my lack of experience, I couldn’t flirt to save my life. I kept trying to show him I liked him, but he didn’t notice at all. But I was fairly certain he was at least semi-interested in me, especially on the day we started talking about 40 minutes before our next class, talked through our class, and two hours later he hugged me goodbye. And not just a friendly little side hug. Oh, no. This was a full-on, his-scruff-touched-my-cheek hug. I was giddy.

But in October of my first semester of college, I applied for the Disney College Program on a whim. I thought it sounded kind of nifty, and it couldn’t hurt to apply- my parents would probably say no. To my eternal surprise, not only was I accepted for a Spring 2006 internship in Operations, but my parents gave their blessing. I got more and more excited about working in the Happiest Place on Earth, but then I realized what that meant for my hopes of a relationship with Patrick.

I could tell him, “Hey, just so you know, I really like you and I think you’re awesome. But now that I’ve confessed my raging crush, I’m leaving for six months.” But how unfair would that be to him?

So I decided not to say anything to him. Instead, I wrote a blog on Myspace (since that was how I used to roll) and laid it all out. I basically said that there was a guy that I liked, but I wasn’t going to say anything. If it was God’s plan that we would end up together, then we would.

He commented on the blog, saying that he hoped things would work out between me and this guy, because I was a really sweet girl and deserved someone awesome, and if things did work out, he would have to meet him and make sure he was good enough for me. Needless to say, I was flipping frustrated.

Although I knew I couldn’t pursue anything romantically inclined with him, I figured it couldn’t hurt if we kept up being friends. I went out on a major limb and asked him if he would write to me while I was in Orlando. He not only said yes, but we exchanged phone numbers.

I headed down to Florida and started my internship. We talked a lot- sometimes on the phone, but mostly by text and the internet. It was nice, but still a little bit frustrating.

I turned nineteen during my internship, and he sent me a little birthday present. He took screenshots of my favorite anime series and turned them into a comic, with all the characters talking about my birthday, and wrote notes all around the margins of all five pages of the letter. (He also spelled my name wrong the entire time.) I was absolutely thrilled. It was my first birthday present from a boy.

About a month later, on March 13, we were texting back and forth during the morning. I was working Extra Magic Hours that night, so I didn’t need to get into work until six. It was a normal fun conversation when he sent me a message that said “I’m listening to a song that’s making me think of someone.”

I asked what song. He said it was “Savin’ Me” by Nickelback.

I asked who it was, but only if he wanted to tell me (and secretly hoping it was me).

And he said it was.

And that is how we started dating. He never asked me out on a date, he never asked me to be his girlfriend, we barely even said we liked each other. It just sort of happened. It turns out that he didn’t realize that he liked me until he read my Myspace blog, and he somehow just knew I was talking about him, even though I didn’t mention any details about the guy, not even where I knew him from. He also entertained the notion of asking me out on a date before I left for Orlando, but didn’t for the same reasons I didn’t ask him.

We dated by text and phone call for the next two months. While a lot of people looked rather askance at our unorthodox relationship, we were happy. It was working for us. We talked on the phone every night…well, it was more like we were on the phone with each other every night. Plus we texted all the time, much to the despair of my cell phone bill.

My internship ended on May 19. My family and I spent all day and most of the night of the 20th driving home, but on the morning of the 21st I was at church, preparing to see my boyfriend for the first time in six months…and it was the first time we would see each other in person as boyfriend and girlfriend. I was so scared I would walk up to the wrong person. Luckily, I recognized him right away. Our eyes met…we walked towards each other…and my friend Emily leaped in between us to tell me hello. Nevertheless, we had our sweet but awkward hello, and he gave me a cute plushie. We sat together through Sunday school and church, awkwardly holding hands. After service he pulled me aside and told me he loved me. I instantly said it back. It turns out we had both realized while I was gone that we were in love, but we had the same thought to wait until we could say it in person.

After church we went to his mother’s friend’s wedding, which is where I met his mother (although he forgot to introduce me, so I thought it was some random woman addressing me by name). And then after the wedding we went to a mutual friend’s graduation party. We were sitting in the corner of the living room with our arms around each other, and he kissed me on the temple…then the forehead…then the cheek…then the chin…I was so eager and frustrated that I kept tilting my head up, trying to convey that is was okay to kiss me on the lips. He finally did. It was our first kiss, and my first kiss ever. And it was actually pretty awesome.

After the graduation party, we went somewhere else (I can’t remember where) and then back to church for Sunday night service. That was the second time he kissed me, and I pulled away kind of quickly, not because I didn’t want it, but because all I could think of was “He just kissed me in front of God and everybody!”. And then he took me home. It was the longest day ever, but it was one of the best, because not only did we realize we were totally in love, but also that we each realized separately that we knew we would get married.

That first summer was long, hot, stressful, and wonderful. He was working at American Eagle, and I was taking summer classes, but he would spend pretty much every afternoon on campus with me. We also plunged headlong into drama- his sister and his best friend didn’t like me, his best friend was having girlfriend issues, then his sister and his best friend had some drama together. Plus, on our third date I discovered the hard way just how rough it can be to live without a colon. P doesn’t have one, and he got dehydrated at the Renaissance Festival. But even with all that, we knew that we were meant to be together. On September 19, just six months after we started dating, we decided to get betrothed.

This opened a huge can of worms. We knew what it meant. To us, betrothal meant that we knew we wanted to get married, but we wanted to spend time growing closer to each other and to God before getting formally engaged. This was also a step that we wanted to tell only our close family and friends. But remember how I mentioned P’s best friend’s crazy girlfriend? Yeah, she told everyone we were engaged, and somehow the news started spreading. It wasn’t a good time. But still, P and I stuck together. We truly were lucky. We learned how to work as a team, and how to communicate with each other. It was also really important to us that we were supported by our friends and family. His family loved me, and my family loved him, and our friends were all very supportive of our relationship.

He asked my parents (and my little sister) for permission to marry me, and they gave it (reluctantly on my father’s part, but that’s because I’m the firstborn). Then P took my two best friends with him to pick out the perfect engagement ring. And although he’s not very good at keeping secrets, he was determined to make my proposal as secretive as possible. He told me that proposing and giving an engagement ring is the greatest gift a guy can give to the girl he loves, and wanted to make it as special as it could be. I knew he was going to propose, but I didn’t know when. I thought it would be Valentine’s Day (which was also my 20th birthday), but no proposal. I thought it would be our one-year anniversary, but still no proposal. I just kept waiting.

On April 19, 2007, I was working on the world’s worst production of Into the Woods. I signed on to be the assistant director, since the director was an old family friend, but I quickly added choreographer, last-minute costume maker, makeup artist, cast member wrangler, and actress to my list of titles. It was the last night of the show, and after the curtain call the whole cast went out into the lobby to greet people as they left. P came storming over with a massive bouquet of roses. I was ecstatic. I started to tell him how I excited I was that he got me flowers for being in a show, but he started talking out first.

“Okay,” he blurted out. “The red roses are for true love, and the white roses are for pure love, and twenty-four roses is how many hours I think of you, and red and white together mean unity.”

It wasn’t until he said “unity” that I realized he was proposing. Two thoughts popped into my mind- one, that I promised P that I would let him get the whole question out before saying yes, and two, that that I was wearing a purple satin prom dress from Goodwill, a curled powdered wig, and Marie Antoinette-style makeup (since I was playing Lucinda, one of the ugly stepsisters). P got down on one knee, pulled a black velvet box out of his blazer pocket, and proposed. And I said yes.

It turns out that not only were my parents and his whole family there, but also two of my best friends. The only person who wasn’t there was my little sister, because it was the opening night of her school’s production of Brigadoon…and everyone forgot to tell her I was getting engaged. She was just as surprised as I was!

P and I knew from the start that there was no way we could get married until at least one of us was out of school. We also knew that we wanted to get married on March 13, our anniversary. So we set the day for March 13, 2010…about three years after we got engaged. It was a long wait, but we were (mostly) ready for it.

The past three years have been a little crazy. I spent most of my junior year sick (first shingles, then mono). He changed his major from general science to physics. I dealt with lots of drama with the people I was living with at school. He spent the better part of a year without a car or a job. And both of us got frustrated with how long the engagement is.

Today marks three years together, with one more year until our wedding. Honestly, we feel like we’re already married (except for the fact that we don’t have sex and we don’t live together, but you know…close enough). He’s the only guy I’ve ever dated, and we jumped into our engagement headlong after only a short time together, but these past two years have brought us even closer together, and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were made for each other. We still have one more year to go, but I think we’re going to make it!

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