We met, very quickly, over Thanksgiving weekend in 1985 at my neighbor's house. He was uninterested. We met again at the start of my freshmen year and his senior year, September 1986. It was in the hallway after school. I was with a girl he had dated briefly, but his eyes were on me. He shocked the hell out of me by kissing my neck! I was intrigued. We flirted, passed notes, and eventually, although he had a tumultuous relationship with a sophomore, he asked me out on a date on a Friday night. We had a great time and kissed at the end. I was smitten. He said he'd call me. I waited ALL weekend by the phone that lay dormant. When I saw him at school on Monday he told me he was staying with his girlfriend but "can we be friends?" "Yes," I told him, but thought that was the big kiss off. True to his word he called often and we talked, like friends. We talked and talked and a friendship grew... stronger and stronger. By Christmas I was interested in another senior from a different school who wooed me. I still was friends with him, but I had a lovely diversion. Once work began on the Spring musical in January and we were both involved in the production our time was once again spent more closely together. By the end of that month he told me he loved me. Really and truly in love with me. Yet, he was still dating the other girl. By February I issued an ultimatum, her or me. He was late to school on the deadline day. I thought he'd chickened out. He showed up and broke up with her. She was rather devastated. I was relieved. We spent a most romantic Valentine's Day that solidified our relationship
He went away to college in Virginia and my parents moved to their 'dream house' in another town. We were separated. He gave me an engagement ring, a gold band, for my 15th birthday in August in front of my family. He told them he considered us engaged but thought I should date so we could one day be together and I wouldn't question what might have been. He was generous. My parents couldn't argue. They respected his odd proposal that allowed my freedom.
I was determined to shorten my time in high school and to bridge the gap between us. I took a summer school session to get my Junior year of English under my belt and was able to graduate at the end of my Junior year. I dated during those two years, but never found anyone I loved as much as him. I was accepted to a school forty minutes away from him in Virginia. He struggled in school. My first year in Virginia he spent back home in New Jersey because of low grades. We still stayed connected. At the end of my freshmen year of college I talked my parents into letting me live off campus in a lovely apartment... with him. They were nervous to let me live alone, so they welcomed the protection of the man they knew loved me and I loved in return. Finally we would be together.
We lived together starting in 1990. We hit bumps, struggled, and had the time of our lives, too. He still struggled in school but I excelled. He began working in a local McDonald's since school was no longer a viable option for him. I began my teaching career upon graduation. In November 1992 he had a minor accident at work one Sunday morning that resulted in a trip to the emergency room. He asked the staff to "call my fiance". They did, but because we were NOT married they could tell me nothing! He was, fortunately, just fine and all was well. That afternoon when he was safely home we decided to elope. Why wait? We lived together, we loved each other, time to tie the knot officially. I called my father and asked him if getting married would be complicated financially or any other way. He replied, "Kid, do you love him?" "Yes," I replied. "Then that's all that matters." Great advice, Dad.
We set a date, bought a ring, ordered some flowers, and I bought a $50 white dress at the local J.C. Penny's. We called each a friend to stand up with us. Everything was set when I started to cry one night. I wanted my family to witness our nuptials. He did, too. We invited them!
The years were good to us, but not without stresses, bumpy times, or sadness. We moved back to New Jersey in 1994, he enrolled in school, had a hell of a time in 1997 which led to a new beginning. Finally, in 2001 as he graduated with his first degree and bought a race car, we decided to start a family. We were blessed with a child in August 2002. Another child followed in 2006 and finally our last in 2009 created a complete family for us.
We are not "perfect", but the one thing we've always had is a passionate love for one another. Our road has been fraught with detours, road blocks, accidents, and traffic, but we always find our way back to each other. We find that we can accomplish more and find the greatest happiness together. We are far more powerful and successful as a team.
Happy Anniversary to the man I've loved since 1986. Happy Anniversary to the man I married 18 years ago today. I love you always and forever.
Thank you for joining me on a Sunday to read our whole story in the abridged version!
See you back here tomorrow for a whole new week of blogs!