Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How We Met

Today, Shawn and I have been married 9 years.  I decided to commemorate it by hashing this LONG story out for all ye who do not care.  Linking up with Grace's 'How We Met', here goes:
I want to say that this story is like a perfect romance, or that it is mildly sweet, or shows me as a kind soul, at least.  Instead, I give you one of those horrible stars unaligned tales where you can just bash your head into your hand at the stupidity of the leads.  Additionally, it highlights my jerkiness.  So gear up for what I WISH was 'Ever After' but is really more like, 'As Good As It Gets'.  The ending though?  THAT is where it's at.  Even if I am Jack Nicholson.

So, Shawn and I met Freshmen Year of high school in Art 1.  What did he think of me, or me of him?  I don't think we did think of each other, in any way, at all.

BUUUT, that summer, before sophomore year, we did dance at a few CYO dances and kind of hit it off.  So, he asked me out on a real life date and I was real life excited - this was my first date.  We were not yet driving, so my sister and her friend took us to a movie while they went to a different movie.  Then they took us to a pool party where I very much dreaded the fact that lots of people had eyes on us all night and he was wanting to talk one on one and I was hoping to hang out with friends in a group.  Almost as awkward as my braces.  Almost.  Still, I liked Shawn and was excited about our date.

Shawn never called again and I didn't really dwell on it.  I went to homecoming with a guy I dated for about 2 months in there.

When Sweetheart (the notorious 'girl ask guy dance') rolled around, I thought I might ask Shawn.  I got some courage together and called him.  When I got on the phone I just cut to the chase and asked.  He said, and I quote, "I don't really want to."*  I was a bit upset.  I went on a ski trip that weekend and procured a different date.  I also wrote Shawn off internally, and externally, as I vocally let my friends know how I felt.

*I later got the back story on his 'no'.  Shawn told a mutual friend of ours that he kind of liked me after our date.  That friend knew both of us and said, "She's too bubbly for me."  That was it for Shawn, he just couldn't bear to get with someone who was viewed as - gasp - 'bubbly' by his peer.  He was 16 at the time, so I should have mercy on him.  I also found out his mom heard him turn me down and reamed him after he got off the phone with me.

Fast forward to Senior Year, we ran with the same friends but were not really close ourselves.  I was taking Ceramics and English with Shawn.  During the time he wasn't cutting out of Ceramics early to extend his free hour, Shawn made a chess set and followed me around.  He didn't do it obviously, but it was obvious to me, even though we usually hung out there in a group of about 4 friends.  I started to realize that he liked me.  It was just before the Sweetheart Dance and I knew he wanted to go with me.  I had a feeling that if I didn't ask him, he would break tradition and ask me.

I hadn't forgotten how he'd burned me 2 years earlier.  I had a plan on which I would awkwardly avoid asking and he would ask me and then I would turn him down with the exact words he'd said to me.  Seriously, there was a little bit of a vengeful streak in me.

So the day came:
Shawn:  Do you have a date for the dance?
Me: No.
Shawn: Me neither.  
Me:  (with a last minute inability to perform the vengeful act - mumbled)  Wanna go with me?. .
Shawn:  (way too enthusiastically)  Yeah!

It happened.  We went to the dance together.  We did the awkward zombie slow dancing and we watched a movie after at a friend's house (he held my hand and I was pretty thrilled).  Shawn clearly liked me.  He got me a gift for Valentine's day - a rose and a card - and at some point in there, we were officially dating.
Our first date if you don't count our Sophomore thing.  
As time went on, I wasn't sure I was that into him, and thought I might bring myself to break up with him eventually.

He was a good boyfriend...really good.  For my birthday, he bought me a Creed CD (please don't judge my 18-year-old-self's music taste too harshly, Creed was big then).  He told me to open it up so we could play it in the car.  After I peeled off the wrapper, I found two Creed concert tickets inside the packaging!  Shawn worked at a video game store and used the company sealer to re-wrap the CD with the tickets inside....so cool- and also generous as I'm pretty sure they were expensive tickets.

So I continued to date him feeling so insanely guilty that he was being so nice to me and I wasn't head over heels.  I had several friends go on and on about how great he was and just WISHED that I was really into him.  I was nice and everything, but I just knew that he deserved a lot more for all his efforts.

We went to Senior Prom together, which was a blast.  We went on tons of dates and all the time I thought, "It is going to be hard to break up with this guy since he is so nice."  Summer was coming, I was going off to nanny in Missouri.  College was coming, he would be at K-State, I would be at Emporia State, so I thought that we would naturally break up as we drifted apart.
Prom. Forehead jewelry filed under "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
God plays funny tricks on me and sometime at the beginning of summer, this mindset of mine changed.  About one week before I left to nanny in Missouri, I realized how really perfect Shawn was.  Not just with my brain, but with my heart.  (Cheesy, I know, but how else do I say that I REALLY started to like him too when I already liked him, ya know?)

So, now that I was head over heels, I left for six weeks in small town Missouri chasing kids with my bad cell phone coverage.  AIM was our best friend.  He also drove to visit me once and we went to World's of Fun with a mutual friend.
A visit home during my time off from Nanny-ing.
When we got back to Wichita, we were privileged to attend World Youth Day, but with different groups.  Several times on the trip, he found me.  I remember one time we were at a huge field for outdoor Mass the next day with the Pope.  I was asleep on the ground in the heat, and I felt Shawn nudging my head with his feet and woke up to see him standing in the grass.
I took this photo.  No zoom-but I did get on a friend's shoulders to get up high.
I was that close to JPII.  So amazing.
Crazy Aussies and their blow-up platupi.
Then we came home, packed for college, and started our own adventures.  I had so much fun Freshman year and so did he.
My roommate and I with our boyfriends during their ESU visit.
We both made great friends in college.  I was loving the freedom and excitement that comes with all classic college experiences.  I really ate up the independence and freedom, the trips, the planning for myself, and doing my own thing.
Notre Damne trip.

Rocky Mountain Trip to see a friend.
Of course, though, while I had friends, freedom, and fun, I didn't have Shawn with me all the time.  I'm embarrassed to say how even though I saw him about 2 weekends a month, at least, I cried when we would split to go our own ways.   'Now me' looks back on that with serious shame.  Clearly, I was a pansy.

We both spent the summer of our Freshmen year at home.  We spent almost every day together to the tune of "Wouldn't It Be Nice?".  So marriage came up in conversation, but we were 19 so I didn't know how soon Shawn thought that we should marry.  I wanted no fancy ring because I dislike wearing finger jewelry and hate spending big money on bling.  Shawn said he had plans to ask me to marry him, but it was not something I expected to happen immediately.  I figured that someday we would marry and I had no problem taking our time about it.
Chi Rho semiformal

I was still doing the college thing at Emporia while Shawn did his thing in Manhattan.  He had a Manhattan radio show that I listened to online each week.

One night, I had promised my friends I would go out with them after Shawn's radio show, but was planning to flake on them to focus on Math homework.  My friend Renee called and guilted me into going, saying Math homework could wait until later.  I gave in to some girl time out.

This is the fun part of the story, and I will let 19 year old me tell it like I did Livejournal style back in the day:

"Sunday night, I listened to Shawn's radio show online from 6-7pm...from my computer here. Then I got a call from some of my girlfriends, inviting me to go out with them. I accepted the invitation, and soon they had come to pick me up. We went to get drinks at Sonic. Then, since the weather was nice, Renee suggested we go to Peter Pan Park to take a walk. This was late in the evening. When we got to Peter Pan Park, the girls insisted I get out of the car. I was scared, because it was late and dark...and the park had a monument across the water that looked like a cemetery. Finally, they convinced me to get out of the car. I walked down this path covered in roses, rose petals, and candles, towards this stone kiosk lit in front of the water. Shawn stepped out, dressed like a prince, and handed me three roses. He said, "Hello Princess, would you like to dance?"
Then, "When You Wish Upon A Star" began to play. Then we danced. When the song was over he got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. Of, course, I said yes. I didn't cry, I was excited."

After the proposal.
As you can tell, my writing hasn't improved much since then.  But you get the drift.  It was one of those storybook elaborate proposals, tailored to a Disney girl with a flare for dramatics.

My friends, who had a hand in it from the beginning, took photos, and convinced us to celebrate at a bar and blow off Math homework for the night.  The professor liked me and now I knew I was too excited to do homework anyways, so I figured I could lean on the crutch of a new engagement and get by on a good reputation previously.  (Which worked, by the way.)

I came home to Wichita for the Spring Semester and Shawn left KSU as well.

As wedding planning progressed, I prayed to God that I was doing the right thing, and was not getting an answer I could hear.  Shawn, was fully confident that he was and was well aware of what God wanted for him.  I reasoned that while I wasn't getting an obvious response from God, Shawn was, and if he was called to be with me, then I couldn't be doing the wrong thing.

About one week before the wedding I second guessed myself, fearing commitment, or just the fact that I was so young.  I determined after a discussion with a mentor, that dating Shawn forever was not going to be an option, and I would have to take the next step eventually(if I wanted to keep him, and I did).  Later in the day, I was snacking on these silly 'morals for kids' fortune cookies my mom bought on sale, when I found a fortune that read, "If you do not take off the training wheels, you may never learn to ride the bike."  God was giving me the sign I had long waited for.  That tiny fortune is around here somewhere, it makes its appearance from time to time, but I cannot locate it just now.

So, on August 13th, 2004, 9 years ago today, through the grace of God, I made the best decision of my life and married one amazing husband.  He hasn't disappointed.

Came home one day to this on my coffee table.


  1. Sweet story! Chris and I are high school sweethearts, so I always get excited when a story starts with "We met in high school...". I always know something great it coming!
    Happy Anniversary!