Happy Valentine’s Day friends! In honor of this day of love, I thought I would share our love story. (I know, I know, how lovey-dovey can I possibly get, right?) But I thought it was about time I told you all the whole story. Let’s start from the beginning.
Act 1 – The Meet
The spring of 2011 was a time of change for me. I had just decided not to return to the small Christian college I’d been attending for the past two years, I’d recently broken up with my first serious boyfriend, and I’d flown 2000 miles to spend the summer with my college best friend, A.
And that’s when I met Zach. I remember walking into the church A’s family attended and seeing him leaning up against the wall looking all brooding and dramatic in a blue dress shirt and jeans. And yes, I do remember the exact outfit he wore; don’t worry he remembers mine too.
If you ask Zach, he’ll tell you I fell in love with him right then and there but that’s not completely true. I will say though, the first words that came to my mind, after noting he was much cuter than his photos, were “Crap, I’m in trouble.”
That was in May and the next few months of summer passed without much solo interaction between us. We hung out in a group setting a few times but neither of us is very good at first impressions and we honestly didn’t get along very well those first few months. (To be completely truthful, I had watched way too much Anne of Green Gables as a kid and thought the best way to let a boy know you liked him was to break a slate over his head. Turns out that approach doesn’t work out quite as well in real life.)
Fast forward to fall, I had decided to stay in Montana for the foreseeable future to attend college and Zach had chosen to enlist in the army. The funny thing is we never officially started dating. We just started tolerating each other in a group setting and slowly grew to realize the hostility we felt toward each other was actually attraction we were both trying to deny.
Our first kiss was on a fair ride, which sounds romantic but was really more of a battle to keep ourselves from rapping our heads together. Because of course, we didn’t pick the calm ride. Nope, we chose our first time to lock lips on the ride that careens around at breakneck speed and should come with a warning label.
However, despite our rocky start, by September, we were pretty much inseparable and spent almost every spare moment together.
ACT 2- the Proposal
January of 2012 brought a second move for me–this time to Wisconsin. Zach was headed to basic in March and he drove to Milwaukee to visit me at the beginning of February.
I remember the events of February 8th like it was yesterday. Zach had been acting nervous since he’d arrived and I could tell something was on his mind that day. We had lunch at Applebee’s and went to see the Flying Red Tails at the movie theater in the evening.
After the movie, we decided it would be a good idea to head down to the beach. Mind you, this was Lake Michigan in the middle of February at around midnight. Sooo cold, you guys. Looking back now, I have no idea what we were thinking.
All bundled up for the cold, I remember walking down the beach looking at the moon and prattling on about something or other when Zach stopped me and turned me to face him. “So I wanted to ask you something” he hesitated.
Completely oblivious to everything but the cold I kept walking until he stopped me again. “I…I wanted to ask you something important.” He was so nervous, you guys!
Finally, it dawned on me what he was trying to say and I gasped when he got down on one knee in the sand. He took out the old high school ring he’d stashed in his pocket. “I know this isn’t as good as the real thing but…” I remember a hand flying up to my chest as I realized what the next words would be. “will you marry me?”
Suddenly I didn’t even feel the cold as I sobbed and pulled him in for a kiss. Obviously, I said yes.
Zach did go off to basic in March and we spent the next four months trading letters back and forth and living for the five minutes every month we got to talk on the phone.
Slowly the months passed and it was summer again.
ACT 3- The Wedding
Zach graduated basic training at the end of June and we planned our wedding for the 10 days of leave he had between basic and reporting to his duty station.
On July 3rd, 2012, Zach and I got married in a very small ceremony in his sister’s backyard with his father as our officiant.
It was so far from the wedding of my dreams but as the years have passed I’ve been able to look back on that day with many fond memories. I love being married to this man.
A week after the wedding, Zach headed to his new duty station and a month later at the end of August I joined him in Hawaii to officially start our lives together.
Our love story is definitely a whirlwind romance. Zach and I were both 21 when we said our I Do’s and even though there have been lots of ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade our story for anything in the world.
When I was a kid, I’d listen to country songs on the radio and wish for a love like in the movies.
Now, 6 years, 2 moves and 1 tiny bundle of joy later, I can’t imagine a love story any more perfect. Yes, we’ve had our storms and struggles but the hard times have made the good times sweeter and have only served to bring us closer together as a couple. Falling in love turned out to be the start of my greatest adventure and I’m looking forward to many more years of adventuring together to come.
IT’S YOUR TURN:
Love stories are my favorite so tell me yours!!! And Happy Valentine’s Day!