Thursday, May 26, 2011

A May To Remember

Normally my blogs revolve around the common (if slightly mundane at times) world of the Stay At Home Mom. But today I had to share something likewise dear to my heart.

May is an important month in my life. It's an anniversary of sorts. Not one of the major ones that involve cakes, roses, or congratulations; but the quiet kind that can so often slip by unnoticed and unbothered with. It was in May of 1995 that I met Dan, the man destined to become my best friend and my husband. The man who puts up with my one million and two quirks, faults, and eccentricities with aplomb on a daily basis. Today's blog is a quick look back at that first meeting.

As I said, it was May. I was finishing up my sophomore year at CVCA and was getting ready to take on my first summer job: Kitchen Worker At Camp Carl. A requirement for any position at Camp was certification in CPR/First Aid, and our church was offering a day-long class with certification for those who still needed it. Like me.

I was expecting a long day. A loooonnnng day. But I knew some of my fellow Camp-mates, so I figured I wouldn't be lonely. That was enough for me.

Walking into the assigned room, I took a gander around and saw the usual mix of people tossed into a full-day-training course, along with the usual quietness that accompanies groups of people who, as of yet, did not know each other, but who would most likely leave at the end of the day laughing and having made scores of new acquaintances.

Scanning the room for a familiar face and an empty seat beside it, my eyes crossed paths with a tall fellow with sandy brown hair, and who had, (I kid you not), the happiest smile I'd ever seen. This guy's smile lit up his eyes and his whole face at the same time. I was momentarily struck by the force of that smile. I had no clue who he was, nor if I'd ever get a chance to actually meet him. But I was slapped with a feeling that there would be some connection between us.

I know what you're thinking. "C'mon. Seriously? You were, what?..16? You did not seriously think you were going to have a "Connection" with this guy. And what the heck does "Connection" mean, anyway? You were a kid. You had no idea what was going on."

And it's true, I was a kid. But it's true about the connection part. I'm not saying I heard the Wedding March when my eyes first met him, or anything. But it felt like I knew him. Like somehow we had already met. I liked that about him.

The day went on with the usual drudgery highlighted by momentary glimpses of funny moments. From time to time I found myself in this fella's group. From his name tag, I saw that his name was Dan. And I noticed that his smile was even brighter and kinder up close. I can't remember if we talked much, outside of working in a group, but I remember that feeling of importance being placed on him. I left that day unsure of how exactly our paths were going to mingle, but certain that they would in some way.

Come June, our work at Camp began in earnest. I was tucked away in the bowels and heat of the kitchen, while Dan was a counselor, spending his days with his kids. We didn't have much occasion to connect over the course of the summer, but strangely, we started to talk and get to know each other. Slowly. He was, it turned out, incredibly shy. And I'm not sure he knew what to do with this blond, flighty thing who was always on the peripheral. He was 19 at the time, heading into his sophomore year of college, and I was 17 and looking at my junior year in high school.

We became friends easily though, finding that for all our differences, we had a lot of thoughts and beliefs in common. And we enjoyed just being together. Hanging out with no expectations at all. It was nice.

By the end of the summer, we decided to try the dating thing. Let's give it a whirl, we thought. It was a tough decision since he would be going back to college in Pennsylvania that fall, while I would still be at home, 2 hours away. We decided that to be fair, we'd stay in contact and if at any time either one of us didn't like the distance, then we'd go back to being friends and drop the whole dating thing. Could we honestly have done that? I don't know. Maybe not. (I guess it's lucky we never had to deal with it).

Loonnnggg story slightly abbreviated, we sailed through that first year, seeing each other whenever we could, and wracking up monthly long distance bills of $200 dollars (since this was before the advent of decent long distance calling plans). The following fall, we were engaged. And in 1998 (after a year and a half long engagement) we were married.

And here I sit today, thinking back on the importance of that first meeting, and finding myself very grateful for it indeed. It seems so long ago; we were different people then. But that friendship, the one that we protected fiercely and were willing to fight for from the start, it's still ever present in our married life. I have the privilege of saying that I love my husband dearly, truly, deeply.

And I also really, really, really, really, really, really like him.

(A lot).

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