Thursday, August 31, 2006

15 Years Ago Today...

Gather 'round, kids...listen to a little story.

It's August 31, 1991 and a fresh faced, wide-eyed, just turned 18-year old girl wakes up in her very own waterbed (ha ha) at home. She blinks her eyes, rubs her face, stretches big and sits up, instantly filled with nervous energy as she recalls what today is...

...the day she leaves for college.

That was me. I'm the girl. And I was fresh-faced -- I looked like I was all of 12 years old. Big ponytail with a red and white polka dotted scrunchy (that I made MYSELF) holding it back. I don't remember that -- I have pictures.

After breakfast, my boyfriend (high school sweetheart) came over to tell me goodbye. We decided that the best thing for us to do was be apart while I was away and together if we felt like it when I came back for my first fall break. (He was a year younger than I was and still in high school.) I remember that he made me a beaded necklace and wrote me a letter. Both of them made me cry.

My parents and I piled into the car with all of my stuff and drove the hour and a half north to my college. We pulled up in front of my dorm -- and I started to panic a little bit inside. A huge part of me was more excited than I thought I would be -- and another part of me was more scared that I thought I'd be.

We all hop out and as my dad puts the tailgate up on the Jeep, a *very* cute guy comes over and introduces himself. His name was Chris and he was here to help me move all of my stuff in. I go inside, open up my room, and as he brings the first load of stuff in, mentions that he happens to live in the room directly below me, so he hopes I'm quiet and don't wear loud shoes. I tell him that unfortunately, no one has ever described me as quiet and I pretty much lived in flip flops at that point, so he was probably out of luck. We just laughed right from the start and I felt like I'd already made my first friend.

As we went back and forth and back and forth (and back and forth some more -- I had a LOT of crap) from the dorm to the car, we kept talking. Turns out he is a year older than I am and went to a rival high school. Also turns out that he happens to be very good friends with a friend of mine -- she and I played club volleyball together, but she went to his high school and was also starting at the same college that day. (She lived on the other side of campus though.)

The interesting thing is -- he had a girlfriend and even though I didn't *have* a boyfriend -- I was still pretty emotionally attached at that point. There was a "hey, he's really cute" thing in my head, but as I said before -- it was more like instant friendship.

After he finished moving me into my room, he said to come visit him whenever I wanted to and to let him know if he could do anything for me. (This was his 2nd year in this dorm.) I thanked him and promised I'd come look him up if I needed help. He said goodbye to my parents and we went about the rest of the day.

**Fast forward 15 years with me**

August 31, exhausted but very happy 30-something woman wakes up this morning to an alarm clock going off for the 3rd time. It's not her alarm clock, so she finally gently nudges the snoring man next to her in bed and politely (well, semi-politely perhaps) asks him to please turn it off. The snoring man finally awakens when a precious baby girl in the next room begins to stir and the baggy-eyed woman goes to settle her down. As he sits up to get out of bed and meet the day ahead of him, the man looks over his shoulder and says "15 years ago today..." to his wife.

The girl is me. The guy is Chris.

The sleepy Mommy is me. The snoring Daddy is Chris.

Can you believe it? 15 years ago today, I met the man of my dreams as he was carrying in my scrunchies, tampons, and slouch socks. The man I would come to one day call "Cabana Boy" walked into my life and it was pretty darn uneventful at the time.

He claims that he chose me from the line of cars because of my cute hair and "beautiful" eyes. I personally think it's because we parked pretty near the door, but again, that's just my take on it.

Amazing. Simply amazing. We met in 1991, didn't date until 1999, didn't marry until 2002, and here we are today.

Be nice to people around you, my friends. You never know how the person holding the door open for you at the bank will impact your life in the future. The person waiting next to you at the school bus stop when you're 15 might still be your friend when you are twice, and even three times as old. That waitress you work with at your meaningless Applebee's job might actually become a lifelong friend. The *very* cute boy who helps schlep your crap into your dorm room might turn out to be your very own Prince Charming. (Too bad he still WEARS those same shoes, and I'm NOT kidding.)

15 years ago today, I met my very best friend in the whole, wide world. The road to him was long, winding and full of potholes and idiots. I would do it all again in a heartbeat to end up in the same place, and I feel confident that he would, too. He's pretty much the best thing that ever happened to me because none of the other blessings in my life would be possible without his love. I'm so thankful for him and for our marriage -- CLEARLY it was built upon friendship.

One thing though...

CRAP, does this make me feel OLD. Old and loved, but still old.

I love you, Cabana Boy. You mow a darn fine lawn.


Shiona said...

Omg., twinny you made me tear up. That is so sweet, Congrats on 15 years with your sweetie!!

Renee said...

This was SUCH a great story. You are definitely a very gifted writer. You know how to tug at the heartstrings, that's for sure! And what an inspirational story...I love that you guys knew each other in college, then found your way back to each other!

Jamie said...

Aww, lovey and mushy stuff. Love it! Congrats on the 15 years!