Our Love Story
I married the love of my life after two months of dating.
I've mentioned it, and even drawn it, but I've never written about my love story in great detail here on Living My Someday. Seeing as how we're celebrating our 10-year anniversary this month, now seems as good a time as any.
I was 21 years old when I met Eli. At that time, I'd never kissed anyone, never dated, never had a steady boyfriend. Those experiences just never happened for me. It was frustrating, and yes, tears were shed, but my faith kept me from spiraling into despair. Sure, I could have thrown myself at the nearest healthy young male(s), but I knew my fragile heart couldn't embrace that lifestyle. If someone was going to see me naked and flawed, it'd better mean something to both of us. In the meantime, I went to college, worked part-time, and surrounded myself with loved ones.
Eli and I attended the same school growing up, but we never knew each other. Our parents and older siblings were friends, and stayed in touch even after everyone had graduated. For that reason, my family was always invited to holiday parties and other social gatherings that his parents hosted. I'd notice him around, but I rarely said anything other than hello. Honestly, I felt like he was out of my league. He was quiet, but still managed to exude an easy confidence. My jumble of nerves and I weren't quite sure what to make of that level of self-assurance, so we kept our distance.
In the spring of 2003, we received another invitation from Eli's parents. This time, they were celebrating the birth of their newest grandson with an open house. I didn't really want to go, but I knew resistance was futile. On the drive over, my mom casually mentioned that Eli might be there and that I might want to talk to him because what harm could there be in just talking? He seemed like a nice boy, she said, maybe he could be a friend. Her words were greeted with an eye-roll and unintelligible mumbling, but the closer we got to their house, the quicker my heart beat.
We parked and walked into the house, cooed over the baby, offered our congratulations to the new parents, and proceeded to exchange pleasantries with the hosts, thanking them for inviting us, etc. We then made our way to the hors d'oeuvres and attempted to find a place to sit and enjoy them.
Not long after I'd eaten, my mother once again casually suggested I find Eli and say a few words. Normally, I'd have just said no, but on this particular day, I dutifully rose and searched for his tall, lanky frame in the crowd. I figured he'd reject me and the whole thing would be over before it began. Done deal.
I didn't see him inside so I walked out to the backyard patio, where I found him playing catch with his nephew. I was too shy to say anything right away, so I sat down on one of the Adirondack chairs and watched. I'm pretty sure I was shaking with nervousness at this point. His perceptive nephew could tell something in the air had shifted because he made a hasty exit, thus freeing Eli to occupy the seat nearest me.
We had one of those conversations that required absolutely no effort, connecting in a way I'd never experienced. By the time we got around to sharing the fact that we were both single, I was completely flummoxed by my feelings. I didn't understand how I could feel this strongly about another person so quickly.
We made a date for the next night, which was Easter Sunday. We'd planned to meet for coffee, but since it was a holiday, nothing was open. Instead, we sat outside and talked for a couple hours. I was a little nervous, but as the night wore on, I felt comfortable and...safe.
We would've made plans for another date, but Eli had to get back to San Diego, where he lived. We exchanged email addresses and cell phone numbers, promising to keep in touch.
I was not a risk-taker. Not only did I look before I leapt, but I fretted, fussed, and freaked out before I even thought about maybe dipping a toe in. I was afraid of everything, and I was fairly certain nothing but heartbreak would be waiting for me in San Diego, but I had to be brave at least once. After a week or so of emails and phone calls, I needed to see him. With shaky fingers and naive recklessness, I sent him a message asking if I could visit him in California. Much to my surprise, he accepted my request.
May 17, 2003: My first trip to see E.
That trip confirmed what every cell in my body had been telling me from that afternoon on his parents' back porch.
This was love.
From then on, we were almost inseparable. Our flexible schedules allowed us to see each other almost every weekend, but even that was not enough.
One morning, over a quick breakfast before I caught a plane back to Phoenix, Eli asked me to marry him. At first, I said there was no way we could do that! What would our parents say?!
But somewhere over the desert, thousands of miles above land, I realized what I had to do. In a matter of weeks, this man had established that he understood me better than people I'd known for decades. After all the years of waiting, it was time to trust myself enough to say yes to life.
I called him the moment the plane landed.
June 19, 2003: Our wedding (elopement) So blissed out I didn't even take my seatbelt off.
Ten years and two kids later, he's still my best friend, still the one who sees me just as I am, imperfections and all. There is no one else I'd rather spend eternity with. He is my proof that God exists.