When I was a child, I swooned over the love stories that I read and saw in books and films. Anne and Gilbert of Anne of Green Gables. Jo and Laurie from Little Women (because they should have always been the couple.) Female teenager and male teenager from Beethoven II.
As I grew older, the love stories that I sought out blessedly became more mature. Wuthering Heights. Ten Things I Hate about You. Romance novels. Pride and Prejudice. Music videos (does anyone else remember sitting down to watch countdowns?).
Then I met my husband, and I was (very) pleased to discover that falling in love was even better than anything that I had read or seen before.
I met my husband, Daniel, at the end of 2003. We had a couple of exchanges when out with our groups of friends which were very notable to me and absolutely forgettable to him.
At the beginning of 2004, I started trying to converse with him in parties, seeking him out in his fraternity house room since he did not typically venture into the dance party. I sat on one of his couches and tried to ignore the large pile of beer cans which were thrown into the corner of a room for the purpose of making a “beer fort.”
I brought out my best conversation, surprisingly not daunted when on one occasion my future-husband answered my dazzling question with a one-word response and turned back around to talk to his friend.
I stayed in his room too late on at least one visit, hoping that he would offer to walk me across campus. He did not get the hint and I left alone, wondering what I was doing.
To be brief: I did a lot of sitting in his room.
Now that I’m typing this, I’m kind of surprised by my crush’s resilience.
I wasn't exactly assertive in the romantic department, and I also had a keen imagination which allowed me to entertain crushes on people quite quickly. I could have given up and no one--except my best friends, who were subject to detailed analyses of my interactions with Daniel--would have been the wiser.
But there was (and is) something special about him. He was handsome and enjoyable to talk to, and I just liked being around him.
So I did what any responsible, mature young woman would do. I asked a friend (my Big Sis in my sorority) to ask him to go to a sorority crush with me.
She called me shortly thereafter to say that he had said yes.
See? This does sound like an auspicious beginning to a true-love match.
The crush’s theme was Greek toga, so I bought Daniel a swath of Cubs fabric and a fifth of Captain Morgan’s. I bought myself a luminous white fabric dotted with gold stars. My best friends helped me dress and then delivered me to his room where we took pictures before meeting up with his friends to drink libations.
I remember what it felt like dancing with him in the Warehouse and watching him re-adjust the shoulder of his toga. It was the first time I had really danced with a man—besides the awkward side-to-side sway at high school dances—and according to what a couple of people told me, it was the first time they had seen Daniel dance. He paid me lovely compliments and I got the butterflies. Those romantic, happy butterflies.
Shakespeare said that "the course of true love never did run smooth."
Well. When you’re as awkward as I am, that turns out to be the case. Daniel and I had a great time at crush and a great time at our St. Patrick’s date later, but I persisted in awkwardly telling our mutual friends that I didn’t think he liked me. I also persisted in doing cutely (that's debatable) awkward things like not seeking him out at parties unless I had someone go with me.
In the culminating moment of my awkward streak, there was the moment when, depending on whom you ask, I respectfully asked Daniel if we were dating/I cornered Daniel in the stairwell and made him call me his girlfriend.
But we liked each other. And luckily for me/us, I went to college with phenomenal people, and they are the reason that my husband and I coupled up. I’m forever grateful to a long list of people who liked both of us enough to ignore our eccentricities. We had a serious village of matchmakers.
After my Dad died that summer, Daniel was there for me in the solid way that I needed. No cards or lengthy speeches, but just a quiet presence and strength that was enough.
The night that we first said we loved each other that fall, I knew that something was different. He kept holding my hand up and looking at it, as if I was special and even my hand was deserving of that kind of attention.
Daniel and I married in 2009, and we brought our son, Samuel, into the world in June of 2015. And I love him even more now. It turns out that there’s something incredibly beautiful about experiencing the mundane with someone: making coffee for each other, walking in the park, giving the other a back rub. There’s also something wondrous about experiencing the bigger moments together too. My son’s birth and everything he’s done since. My postpartum anxiety and depression. The moves. The losses. The job changes.
We have a very strong relationship, but there have been moments when things have gotten more complicated. But I’m so grateful for the relationship I have with my best friend and the fact that we can laugh at things that happen in our lives and things that have happened over the course of the thirteen years we’ve been together.
Like our disagreement about whether or not we were friends before we started dating.
I’ll let you guess which side of the disagreement this chronic romantic falls on ;).
My romance novel, Finally You, is currently available for $.99 in ebook format on Amazon (until April 5, 2017). While the plot isn’t based on my relationship with Daniel, that has given me my greatest inspiration for writing about people who fall in love.
If you’d like to share your love story on this blog, let me know. I’d love to celebrate your story and share some happiness.