I’ll be honest, I’m not the most sentimental person. My memory is terrible and I don’t remember special dates, nor do I find it extremely important. BUT, I do remember the night I met my husband. It’s probably because meeting him would changed the course of my life. So, I dedicate this post to my incredible, selfless, supportive, sexy, loving, thoughtful, handsome husband:
I never considered myself as a person who struggled making friends. Then again, I had never moved from everything and everyone I had ever known. I was 18 years old and moved from Mesa, Arizona to Tacoma, Washington not knowing a soul other than my parents. It was another Tuesday night of my mom and dad strongly encouraging me to get out of the house. “You should try the local Institute class,” they urged. I suspected they thoughtfully planned this conversation. I had met a couple of friendly, good-looking guys the Sunday before. So, I decided to throw my parents a bone, “Okay, I’ll give it a try.”
I pulled up to the LDS Institute building. My heart was beating out of excitement, fear, and anxiety. I walked into the bustling of young adults all eager to mingle and supposedly study the scriptures, but let’s be honest, it was about the socializing. I was happy to see the familiar faces of the two guys I had met at church, Ryan and Brian. We exchanged pleasantries, then they led me into the classroom. They kindly invited me to sit with them while introducing me to their friend, Mark. He was wearing a red quarter-zip, mock-neck sweater and oval, silver frame glasses. For a moment, his beautiful, blue eyes pierced mine. Our connection was immediate; unlike anything I had experienced and yet to experience again. Unbeknownst to us at the time, our love story began that night.
My friendship bloomed with these guys quickly. In our spare time, our group of friends did everything together. We spent late nights at a bleak, dank bowling alley smelling of old, greasy bar food, where every surface was sticky. I can’t help but giggle about it now, because you couldn’t pay me to go back there. Oh, the things we do for connection and friendship when we’re younger. With our countless adventures together, Mark and I remained friends, nothing more. He was dating a young lady, named Erica, who was a good friend of mine. Personally, I hated dating, so I was entirely comfortable in the group setting we established. As I reminisce, I’m glad nothing romantic began with Mark. The timing wasn’t right.
Mark was also preparing to leave on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when we met. Due to a few rebellious years, he was leaving at the age of 22. I’ve always loved and admired his decision to go, because he could have easily succumbed to thinking the time had already passed. Erica stopped writing him a few months into his mission. I remember her telling me like it was yesterday. I couldn’t wrap my mind around someone breaking up with him. “But, he’s so wonderful,” I thought to myself. Mark and I continued writing each other while he was gone. In the meantime, I reconnected with a former boyfriend from Arizona. It was a long-distance relationship, which was a great excuse for me not to date. While, I loved the idea of marrying him, the constant pit in my stomach told me something wasn’t right.
A few months later, Mark was due home from his mission. It was April of 2004, when I pulled up to his parent’s home. I had similar feelings from the first night we met of excitement and anxiety. I realized at that moment how much I had missed my dear friend. As I turned the corner and saw him, I felt the familiarity of our immediate connection, but it was different. Our eyes locked as they did the first time we met, he said, “Wow,” and jumped up and hugged me. Wow didn’t come close to describing that moment. Later, when I left, I got in my car and was taken aback from the instant attraction and romantic feelings I had towards him. They came out of nowhere and hit me stronger than I ever expected. I was embarrassed for my feelings, because they seemed irrational. I thought, “We are friends. I haven’t seen him in two years. What is happening?”
A long couple of weeks later of being tormented by my feelings, on a crisp May evening, we celebrated our friend’s birthday. We arrived at a park that resided next to the Puget Sound to play tag in the dark. The air smelled of fish and anticipation. Does anticipation have a smell? Sure, it does. After an evening of running, sweating, falling and grass stains on our jeans, we went to our friend Brian’s house to watch a movie. I don’t recall the movie, because I didn’t care about it. I just wanted to spend as much time with Mark as possible. We casually, yet intentionally, sat next to each other. Our shoulders touched, though we tried not to be obvious in our yearning to be near one another. The insignificant movie ended, and it was time for everyone to head home. Mark walked me to my car and coolly asked, “Hey, do you have plans for this Friday?” I was kind of surprised and answered undoubtedly, “Well, I’m sure I’ll spend it with you guys, as usual.” He smiled my favorite coy smile, rustled the dirt drive way with his foot as he said, “I was thinking maybe just you and I could hang out.” Oh. I’m an idiot. I responded with the biggest smile, but also trying to remain collected, “I would like that.” Our relationship blossomed from that moment on. There weren’t any pits in my stomach. Everything felt right in the world when I was with him. We dated for a whole month before we were engaged and then, married 3 months after that.
Patience does not come naturally to me. I, and dare I say others, would consider me to be a control freak, which doesn’t go hand in hand with patience. Although, it’s not my strongest quality, I have come to learn practicing it brings the sweetest, most life changing blessings. One of these blessings occurred the night I met my husband. While it took years for us to realize, that’s the night our love story began, and everything still feels right in the world when I am with him.