I know it was just two days ago I told you the story of our first date, but November 18th is the most important date on the calendar for Matt and I. I wasn’t planning to elaborate beyond what I wrote Monday, but there was a comment asking for the rest of the story. So. November 18th. It was the date he first asked me out, the Monday after the Homecoming dance, when we were high school sophomores. It only lasted two months, but I was heartbroken when he ended it. I had it BAD, you guys. And I never got over it.
We spent the next two years as friends — best friends. Each of us dating other people and being INSANELY JEALOUS about it. We did sitcom writers proud, is what I’m saying. (There’s a reason they write romances that span several years and seasons to finally get the people together for good.)
Near the end of high school, and particularly during the summer that followed, things began to heat up a bit. We still weren’t technically together, but it was very clear there was much more there. We went off to separate schools — me to UF in Gainesville, him to Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
And, of course, that point — when it was as complicated as could be — we figured it out.
November 18, 1999. We’ve been discussing the possibility of dating again online (thank goodness for IM, or we NEVER would have worked this out, I’m convinced), but he says he can’t be sure until he SEES ME. Have you ever been faced with that kind of pressure? He comes to UF via GREYHOUND BUS (to get home for Thanksgiving), and my floormates and I go to the station to meet him. We walk the whole way back, making small talk, and pretty much I am experiencing the LEAST PATIENCE IN MY LIFE. Finally, after what feels like a year and a half, we get back to my dorm room, alone. He looks at me and just says yes, he loves me. He loves me.
November 18, 2000. The writers continue on their ploy to make things complicated. It’s been a year of a long distance relationship, and it’s wearing on us. We’re on a break. (NO SERIOUSLY. WE WERE ON A BREAK.) This is one of the darkest times in our relationship, but, yet again, we find our way back over Thanksgiving. He decides to leave Tech and move to Gainesville. It’s the only way it is going to work.
November 18, 2001. He proposes. I’ve never told him this, but I knew it was coming. I got in the shower to get ready for our night out, and there was something in the air. When I get out, he actually doesn’t even wait for me to GET DRESSED. I sit on his bed, wrapped in a towel, and he gets down on one knee. There is a ring … I never expected a ring.
November 18, 2002. We’re in our own apartment, our first place. It’s a little townhouse. We’re planning our wedding for the following June, after I’ve finished undergrad.
November 18, 2003. Married! Matt is finishing up undergrad, and I still don’t have a Real Job. (I work for his uncle’s online based company from home.) I apply to library school and for a job at the local public library as a page.
November 18, 2004. Matt is almost done with graduate school, applying for jobs all over the state. I’m in the second semester of my Master’s, incredibly happy to be working in a library. Of all our years together, 2004 is the one I look back on the most fondly. We’re both so busy with our own lives, but we still eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. We grocery shop together. We fall asleep each night watching Conan. Our time left in Gainesville is short, though. Everything is up in the air and about to change.
November 18, 2005. We are back in our home town. Matt has a good job. I’m in school full time. We’ve had a hard year (our hardest, to follow our best), and I’ve just gotten my wisdom teeth out. Over Thanksgiving (when we make all our decisions, it seems), we put the trials of the year behind us and decide we’re ready to start trying for a family.
November 18, 2006. We’re in our first house. We have 3-month-old Vio. I’m a SAHM. Vio has reflux. She’s not gaining weight. A tough time, to be sure, but Matt holds my hand and keeps me strong throughout.
November 18, 2007. For some reason, this is the one year that is fuzzy. Vio is 15 months old and AMAZING. I’m planning a trip to Seattle with friends — the first solo thing I’ve done, certainly since getting pregnant, possibly in a decade.
November 18, 2008. I am 8 months pregnant. We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl. Vio insists it’s a baby sister. We finally pick out names.
November 18, 2009. Today. It is nearly Roo’s first birthday. The girls are blowing raspberries and laughing. Life is good. Not easy, by any stretch, but we are blessed.
So that is where we started. This is where we ended up. From high school best friends to bumbling college freshmen pining away at separate schools to parents who still can’t find enough time together. Drifting apart, but always finding, fighting, our way back.
Here’s to half a dozen more decades like this one.