Today my DH and I celebrate six years of wedded bliss. Seems like the perfect opportunity to inject some nostalgia and record for posterity how we met, dated, and became Mr. and Mrs. DH. (The good news is that once I hit one year of blogging in September, I'll have run through all these "anniversary" posts. Are you excited?)
When we were in the second grade, DH's parents moved the family from San Diego back to Michigan, where they fortuitously landed less than a mile from my family's house. It wasn't until fifth grade that DH really caught my eye, though, when we were in Mrs. H's class together. Must have been his huge mop of curly hair, I couldn't really say now.
Seventh grade was really the foundation of our budding relationship. Separately, we had each wanted to play the saxophone -- along with half of our bandmates -- and had been convinced by the band director that the clarinet was equally as sexy an instrument. (Okay, perhaps she didn't phrase it quite like that.) Anyway, the disappointment turned out to be a blessing, as our romance grew over notes passed on sheet music. All written by me and my best friend M, of course. This was also the time I was allowed to get my own phone line at home. Remember, it was before the age of cell phones, and my parents wanted to keep the main line clear of all my early teen chatter. Poor DH became the main entertainment for me and M, who would call him and talk about God knows what. That changed the day DH and I admitted, via pointing to yearbook pictures, that we "liked" each other.
After that admission, all phone calls and sheet music note passing ceased. I suppose neither one of us were quite sure what to do next. But he still had a place in my adolescent heart. In fact, in 8th grade, our English teacher had us write notes to ourselves as we entered high school, which she kept and mailed out to us at graduation four years later. Imagine my delight upon receiving the letter to read about my crush on DH, then my boyfriend of nearly two years. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Back to the summer following 10th grade. I went on the first date of my life with a boy named J. We were at McDonald's (long and unimportant story involving an Arch Deluxe sandwich that explains why that particular restaurant) when who should walk in but DH and his friends. The group came over and we all exchanged greetings. DH actually gave me a high five when he said hello. When I got home from the date, I immediately called my best friend C (yes, new best friend) to spill the details of our fast food excursion. When I mentioned seeing DH there, she asked, "Do you still have a crush on him?" I responded, "Yeah... he's one of those guys you always have a crush on but never get to date." One of the many times I've been wrong (see mention of credit card payment in previous post), but surely the luckiest.
Obviously my relationship with J was not a love match. Come the beginning of our junior year, I was unattached. I remember sitting in Spanish class and overhearing DH talk to one of his friends from the football team. The friend was asking DH why he was always the designated driver when the team was drinking. "I don't know," DH shrugged. "I just don't want to drink." It hit me at that moment that DH really was still the sweet, good person that I had always had a crush on. (Had his first beer at 21, right, sweetie? *ahem*) When I was relaying the story to my best friend C after school that day, she convinced me to call him. And by convinced, I mean she dialed his number, handed me the telephone, ran out of my bedroom, and slammed the door.
When he came to the phone, I stammered some stupid question about the school parking lot and when football practice started. It was a brief and lame call. But it gave me some confidence, so I called him again later that week. "Maybe we could go to a movie sometime," I suggested. "Well, when would we go?" was his response. Now what happened next is an area of contention between me and DH. The way I remember it, we decided to see a movie the following Saturday. I had a cross country meet that morning, then I would call him and we would get together. He remembers it differently -- that I would call him, but we didn't necessarily have plans to do anything that day. Which I discovered after the meet when his mom informed me that he was at a college football game.
Adding insult to injury, it was the University of Michigan football game.
A Spartan to the core, he hates the University of Michigan.
I was really disappointed, of course, thinking I had been stood up. I instead drove my brother to the driving range so he could hit some golf balls, and then spent the evening with my friends from cross country. Doing something insanely fun like "sporking" the yard of someone on the boys' team, no doubt.
On Sunday night, my phone rang. It was DH. He immediately launched into normal conversation, no mention of our missed date the previous day. I responded to him in a brief and perfunctory manner, not wanting to make the same mistake twice. Until the magic question.
"Do you want to go to the homecoming dance with me on Saturday?"
To a sixteen year old girl who had never been to a school dance, much less with her crush, it was like being offered the Holy Grail. It didn't matter that we were less than a week before the event and I had no dress. I had hit the jackpot. "Yes!" I squealed.
I spent the entire week on another planet, eagerly anticipating our first date. After two unsuccessful trips to the mall after school on Monday and Tuesday, my mom called me in sick to school on Wednesday so we could spend some serious time searching for a dress, shoes, and accessories. It was my own private "Pretty Woman." Well, except the whole prostitute part.
We had a great time at the homecoming dance, and rarely spent a weekend apart after that for the rest of our high school career. (Insert montage of happy couple moments here.) Then came college, four years of me in Chicago and him in East Lansing. While it was really tough to be apart, it also gave us time to grow up independently and realize that what we had was truly worth saving. He proposed the summer before our senior year, and one month after my graduation, on July 26, 2002, we were together again -- this time forever.
Five years ago, we were at a friend's Indian wedding ceremony. One of the traditional blessings is that the couple will have 100 years together. I made some comment to DH about how that sounded a bit long to me. (Come on, who wants to be 122?) He feigned insult and insisted that he's up for that challenge.
In that case, here's to 94 more fabulous years.
Breaking Good by Madeline Ash
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