On this day, fourteen years ago, I married my soul mate. Handsome guy, huh? I definitely think so. And boy, do we look so young there.
Anyway, on to the story...
Fourteen and a half years ago, on October 16, 2001, I received an email. Someone had responded to my personal profile on Yahoo. I was a single mom at the time, I spent all my time at work or with my kids, and I definitely didn't have time to go out and meet people. so I figured what the hell. However, I posted the profile and then didn't think anything of it.
Until I get this message from this guy. I didn't know him, but he gave me a link to his profile, which had a picture of him. Keep in mind, my profile did not have a picture of me. I thought he was handsome, so I decided to message him back. That started an email conversation that lasted for about two weeks. At that point, I gave him my phone number. And for the next two weeks, we talked on the phone every single night for hours and hours. We talked about all the things that we had in common, which was a lot. We both loved the same broad range of music, we both spent most of our time working... For those two weeks, I think we learned so much. I still never gave him a picture of me.
And then, on November 17, 2001 - one month after that first email - he asked me out.
I was terrified. Absolutely scared out of my mind to meet someone on the Internet. I mean, seriously, bad things happened to people who did that. Like the girl in the horror movie who always goes in search of the noise...that kind of stuff. What if he was a serial killer? Or something equally as horrible? Or what if the picture he sent wasn't really his picture? What if he had a third eyeball or something?
Anyway, I relented and agreed to go out with him if he picked me up at my parent's house. I definitely was not going to let him know where I lived until I had the chance to meet him in person and make my own assumptions. So, I dropped my two little kids off at my mom and dad's, then waited for him to show up. He arrived on time, looking very nice in his khaki pants and maroon polo and he greeted my parents - seriously, what guy wants to meet the parents on the first date? I was twenty-five at the time, not sixteen. It worked out fine and he took me to see Monster's Inc. at our local movie theater. Not quite the best first date to get to know someone, but it worked for us. And he was a gentleman, taking me home afterward and kissing me on my doorstep before hopping in his truck and heading out.
I was smitten.
For the two weeks after that, we spent as much time together as we could, but I was still leery of letting him meet my kids - Tyler and Taylor were 8 and 5 at the time. So, on the weekends, I had my parents babysit while he and I went out on dates. And then came the day when my parents couldn't babysit and he asked if I wanted to go do something. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what he would say if I mentioned my kids would have to come along... so I blurted it out. And this amazing, incredible man said he'd be glad to meet my kids and he took us to the park. My kids thought he was the greatest thing ever. My daughter treated him like a jungle gym and he didn't have an issue with it.
For the next two months, we spent all of our extra time together. I was head over heels in love with this crazy wonderful man.
And then, on January 18, 2002, he took me to a Dallas Stars hockey game.
This amazing man bought great seats and took me to my first-ever professional hockey game to see my beloved Dallas Stars. We drove up to Dallas, stayed in a hotel and the night of the game, he intended to ask me to marry him. Or so I found out the next night. Unfortunately, the night of the game, I got a migraine that was so horrific, we left the game, went back to the hotel room and I immediately went to sleep.
But he made up for it the next night by taking me to dinner, then into downtown Dallas where he got down on one knee and made me cry. I, of course, said yes.
And then, after conversing with our families, we decided to set the date for April 20th, 2002.
That day came quickly.
That morning, I woke up at my mother's house with excitement fizzing in my veins. It was my wedding day. Getting ready took precedent over everything, including eating, but food didn't matter. Getting married did. Getting married to the most amazing man in the world was all I could think about. Well, that and whether or not he was hiding a violent past, or maybe a kid or two. Yes, I was thinking those things because this man... he was too good to be true.
For the entire week before the wedding, I worked myself into a frenzy. I was freaked out thinking of the worst possible scenarios. This guy opened my car door, he held my hand whenever possible, he bought me dinner, he wanted to spend time with me, he loved my kids, he loved me... surely there was something wrong with him. Guys like him didn't really exist, right?
So, with my nerves eating away at me, I convinced myself that he was simply a good guy. Although, I still couldn't wrap my head around the fact that he was mine, but that was for another day. I had to accept that he was, and I'm happy to say, he wasn't hiding anything from me. He was and is simply a good man.
While my matron of honor (my very best friend Carrie) got herself ready, along with my daughter, I managed to get myself presentable.
Well, technically, this was all happening after my freak out the night before when I decided I wasn't happy with my wedding dress. Carrie and I ran out to David's Bridal and actually found the most amazing dress. I remember I wasn't happy with my hair either, but I managed to make do because I couldn't buy more of that.
HOWEVER... I was almost late for the wedding. I'm pretty sure there was relief on Colt's face when I walked in the door of the Williamson County Courthouse (in Georgetown, Texas). He will tell you today that he did not think I was going to show up. He had my kid with him, I'm not sure why he thought that.
The ceremony was short and sweet, exactly the way we both wanted. Well, technically, we wanted to get married in Vegas, but because our families were opposed to the idea, we settled for a Justice of the Peace ceremony, followed by an incredible reception.
This man has been with me through so much. He has stood by my side when we found out our youngest child was hearing impaired and I felt so guilty as though I did something to cause that, he stood by me through all of the ups and downs with my career, he was there when I decided we needed to complete our degrees, and when my depression has been at it's worst. In fact, he has stood by my side through everything. When I told him I wanted to publish a book, he smiled at me and said, "Go for it." When I told him that my first book was actually selling, he cheered along with me. When I told him that I wanted to quit my job and write full time...well, he had a harder time with this because we were both doing so well in our careers, making good money. But, he eventually told me to do it. And when I begged him to quit working and help me do this, he again hesitated, but finally gave in to my way of thinking.
The moral of the story is, I wouldn't be here without him. I owe him all of my success. This incredible, wonderful, handsome, funny man doesn't have a selfish bone in his body. Every single thing he does is for me, our children and our dogs. I only hope he knows how much he means to me.
He is the very reason I can write about happily ever after... because he gave me mine.
Here's to many, many, many more years together, Steven.
I love you with my whole heart!