Photo by Anne Schmidt
Today is my second wedding anniversary with my husband, David. So I thought I'd take a minute to talk about him, our story, and what two years means to me.
Photo by Anne Schmidt
David and I met my sophomore year of high school, which I think was 2004 ( that seems like a really long time ago all of a sudden! ). We were both on the Civil Rights Team and had a few mutual friends. David is the kind of person whose personality fills the room. He can captivate an audience and make a room full of people laugh. I have always admired him for that and think it's a kind of magic power.
Let's just get it out there: I was smitten from the moment we met. However, at the time, he was dating someone else. This worked out in the end because ultimately I don't think things would have worked out that well if we had dated in high school. For one thing, it gave us the chance to be friends and build a great relationship. Over the years I discovered that David wasn't just the funny persona I had come to know but also a true friend. I confided in him about personal struggles and he really listened and wanted to help. I could tell that he really cared and he made me feel important. Over the years, he's only continued to show me how important I am to him, whether it's a text during a busy day or going all out for my birthday.
David is a year older than me ( or really a year and a half ) but we stayed friends even while he started college and I was in high school -- something I really wasn't sure would happen. I thought, maybe, he'd have too many other things on his plate and our friendship would fade, but he made sure that never happened. In fact, he and one of our best friends visited me in college, 6 hours away from them, during the spring of my freshman year.
Just before their visit, David and his girlfriend broke up, leaving us in a place we'd never been before--friends and both single. We grew even closer over the few days they visited and then I came home on my break the following week. We realized that not only was there something there but the timing was right too. We spent a long time talking about how we were risking a great friendship but that if things worked out we'd be getting a great life together. Even then, when we had been dating for just a few days, we hinted at wanting this to be the real thing and thinking that it could be. The same week we had our first kiss, David met most of my family, but he still wasn't deterred. He's pretty unflappable, that one.
Of course, at the end of that week, I had to drive the 6 hours back to college. We had been together for a week but then were long distance for months before the summer started and we could be together for more than a few days at a time. People have a lot of opinions about long distance relationships but I'll just say this: Being together long distance was better than not being together at all. In a lot of ways, it helped us: We had our own lives, we learned to communicate better, we learned to balance our relationship with our friendships and other activities, we had time to focus on our classes, and we learned the value of being present--when we were together we truly valued that and didn't take it for granted.
Over the next three years of college, we made it work. Every few weeks one of us would drive the 12 hours round trip to see the other. Our friends were great about coming with us or putting up with one of us crashing, and they could see how important our relationship was to us. When we graduated, we were happy to have a chance to start a life together, but it wasn't quite that simple.
It turns out that in 2011 not many people wanted to hire brand new graduates.. I applied to 17 schools before getting a call and, when I did, I wasn't sure if I should take an offer -- it was an hour away from where David was working at the time and I really wanted to be done with long distance. I had no idea if he could even find a job there if I got a job there.
In the end, he was the amazing, supportive partner I've come to know him as. He knew how excited I was that the school offered me a job and told me to take it. I did but it would be years before he could find a job in the same location. So, we spent almost two more years "long" distance--we'd shortened the distance by 5 hours but we were still not living together or even near each other. Much like being long distance in college, I think it worked out: In my first year of teaching I worked until 5 most nights then came home, made dinner, and pretty much went to bed. I think being short distance allowed me more time to get my feet wet in teaching and find a work-life balance. Even though he ended up getting the raw end of that deal--me picking where we lived and him continuing to travel a lot and not getting much attention since I was so focused on surviving my first year--he stayed patient and loyal through it all, always supporting me and cheering me on.
Finally in 2013, David and I moved in together. It had been a very long time coming and we were so happy to be able to start our lives together. After being apart for so long, it really made me appreciate us being able to be together, all the time. That December, David proposed in front of our high school where we first met. Obviously I said yes!
We had a long ( 18 month! ) engagement and were finally married in June of 2014. It really was one of the best days of my life -- I married my best friend and was surrounded by the love of all of my family and friends. There is no greater gift than all that love squeezed into one place.
Photo by Anne Schmidt
After all of the obstacles we had to overcome during the almost 5 years of long distance and our 7 year relationship, I ( super naively! ) thought that our first year of marriage wouldn't be as hard as everyone says -- after all, we had lived together, planned a wedding together, and dealt with long distance and other challenges-- but I was wrong. In February of 2015, seven months after we got married, David's father suddenly passed away. Being David's wife had never felt more important and at the same time I was trying to deal with the loss of someone who had become a father to me as well. I didn't know if we would ever feel like ourselves again, but as I said in Thoughts on Year 5, people are more resilient than we dare to believe. In a time when relationships were strained with stress and loss, David always made family a priority--whether it was phone call or finding a time to be together. I've gained two brothers, two sisters, three parents, and more family that have become friends than I could have hoped for--and that's in no small part because of David. He takes care of his family and he helps us all make each other a priority.
Even from the very beginning, I knew that if nothing else, no matter what happened in life, he could always make me laugh. One time in college, I was trying to find something to wear for a Halloween party and we couldn't find anything-- it had been hours. I was exhausted and frustrated and cranky and we sat on a bench in the middle of the mall and David pretended to be popcorn ( mainly by yelling pop and springing up ) and it was so unexpected and brazen that I just burst out laughing. He didn't care if he embarrassed himself-- he wanted to make me feel better. I don't often tell him, but I love that he's goofy and fun. It's endearing and it makes life fun, too.
There's so much more that's happened in the last 12 years of our lives knowing each other, the 8 years of being together, and the 2 years of marriage we've shared, but what's important is this: There's no one else I'd rather spend it with.
David is the type of person who is becoming rare in our society now: He is dependable, thoughtful, kind,
really smart, strong, brave, sincere, honest, and trustworthy. David is the kind of friend who will pick you up in the middle of the night when your car breaks down or bring you dinner because you're going through a hard time. It doesn't hurt that he can make just about anything from soufflé to beef bourguignon to waffles or that he's totally handsome, and I mean those blue eyes? Stop it.
Happy two years, my love! Hopefully you won't blush too much reading this!