And with only 54 days left until the wedding, it occurs to me that this may be the last time we really celebrate this anniversary. I use the term "celebrate" pretty loosely, since neither one of us has ever really made a big deal about this anniversary. Tonight, I'm going to my aerobics class, just like I would on any normal Monday, and we probably won't even eat dinner together. But hey... we've been officially together for six years.
In 2009, I figure we'll be looking more toward celebrating our REAL anniversary... our first wedding anniversary.
And now for a stroll down memory lane...
Michael and I met on February 22, 2002 (as I like to say--2.22.02!) while we were both sophomores in college. It was a Friday night, and we were out at a bar with friends in our tiny college town. We both lived in a co-ed suite dorm. I lived in a suite on the second floor with seven of my girlfriends, and Michael lived in a suite downstairs, which he shared with three of his friends, and four random guys. We were actually right above/below each other. All we had to do was take the flight of stairs and it spit us out right in front of the door of each other's suites. Prior to us meeting, some of Michael's suitemates were friends with my suitemates. And as fate would have it, we would ultimately meet because of those mutual friends.
So, on this night, we all went out together. As we sat at Heenan's hanging out and enjoying several beers, our crowd got thinner and thinner. My friends got tired and wanted to go home. I was having fun, so I stayed out by myself with all of the guys. Eventually, Michael's friends decided to move on to another bar. This put me in a little bit of a predicament, because I was only 19 and had a bad fake ID. The bars I could get into were limited. At this point, Michael and I had been talking for a while and he offered to stay at Heenan's with me. Before the guys left for the other bar, we made plans to meet up with them again at the 18-and-over bar in an hour or so.
Michael and I (in October 2006, alumni weekend), standing on the street corner outside of the bar where we met.
Michael and I stayed together and talked. Honestly, I don't really remember the conversation. Not only had we had several drinks, but it just seems so long ago. And also, I had no way of knowing at that time that this was the guy I was going to marry a little more than six years later. So those initial conversations? They didn't seem so important. Nothing I had to stash away in my memory forever.
Needless to say, however, we hit it off really well. We found out we had a lot of things in common. Not only were we living in the same dorm, but we had a public speaking class together. We found out we were from the same hometown--only he had gone to a neighboring school district, so we never knew each other. We talked about our plans for living off campus for the next school year, and as it turned out, we were going to be living on the same street.
We spent the rest of the night together. We ended up going to meet up with the rest of the guys, stayed at the bars until close, and then walked back to campus together. Once back, we hung out in his room with his roommate. We listened to music, watched movies, talked, laughed, drank into the wee hours of the morning. At some point during all of this, when he had the opportunity and we were alone, he kissed me for the first time.
And I suppose, as they say it... the rest is history.
At a fiesta only a few weeks before graduation in May 2004.
We casually dated for the next several weeks. We went home for spring break sometime in March. During that week at home, we made plans to hang out a few times. I met his mom and little sister, and I'm pretty sure he met my mom. And it was at some point during that week... I remember leaving his parents' house late one night and thinking to myself that I knew this one was different. I felt about him the way I hadn't felt about anyone before. I remember being in my car, driving down his street and thinking to myself, "Oh my God. I think I might love him."
From the way I remember it, we fought a lot those first few months. Neither one of us had ever really been in a serious relationship, so we didn't really know how to act. Not only that, but we weren't really classifying ourselves as "in a relationship" yet. I think that frustrated me, only because we really were already in a relationship. I didn't understand why we wouldn't just take the next step and call it like it was.
On Thursday, April 25, it must have been around 8:00 p.m.--I remember my roommate and I were watching Friends. My mom instant messaged me and told me that my great-grandmother, whom my whole family was really close with, was not doing well. She was 96 years old, and was a total spitfire. Obviously death for everyone is inevitable, but it always seemed like whenever she had a problem, she bounced back. It's almost like I thought she would never actually die. About a week before, she had been moved into a hospice home. At that time, I didn't really know what a hospice was, or I probably would have been more prepared for it. I thought she had just gone to live at a home with around-the-clock care. I didn't know it meant she would likely be dying very soon.
I called my mom immediately and asked her if I should come home. She sounded emotional and said, "I don't know." I got off the phone and started crying. My suitemates all came to console me, and my roommate suggested that I should go home, and offered to come with me. It was a really nice thing for her to do. You see, the next day (Friday), FredFest was to begin. FredFest was the most fun weekend out of the entire year at our college. It was basically a drunk weekend, with concerts on campus--you started drinking on Friday morning and were pretty much drunk all through Sunday morning. Parties everywhere. Regular old college debauchery.
At the Candlelight Ball in July 2004.
Despite that, Lindsey offered to come home with me and so we packed up a few things and hit the highway. I think we ended up getting to my house after midnight. It was late. The next day, we woke up and we went to the hospice home to visit my great-grandmother. She was already in somewhat of a coma, and it was absolutely devastating to me. I said my goodbyes. My mom knew that the weekend at school was supposed to be fun for us, so she told us to go back to college. She said there wasn't anything left I could do at home, and that my grandmother would want me to have fun. Lindsey and I picked up and headed back to school. This whole time, I kept Michael posted by cell phone.
When we got back to school, it was clear everyone else had already had a number of hours of a headstart on us. Everyone was well into party mode. I went into Michael's suite right when we got back, and I remember he seemed really relieved and happy to see me. He knew I had had a really rough day. We were alone in his room and he sat me on his lap and we talked. And if I'm really remembering correctly, I think that was the first time the "love" word was used out loud.
Later that night, Lindsey and I had done a good job of catching up. Too good of a job, actually. We had a lot of fun in our suite, and then we caught a ride downtown to the bars. Once I got out, I took one look at everyone and all the bars around me and just started bawling crying. It had been such an emotional day, and now, with alcohol in me, it was even worse. I remember telling Lindsey that I just wanted to find Michael, and I wanted to go home. Somehow, we found him, and he didn't hesitate to leave all of the fun behind and take me back to the dorms.
The next morning, I received a voicemail message that my grandmother had died in the middle of the night.
We finished out the weekend trying to have a normal time and have fun. On Sunday night, the 28th, Michael and I discussed my plans to drive home the next day to attend the funeral services for my grandmother. He said he wanted to come with me. And then we confirmed what we both knew to be true--we were a couple, and we were now "official." That's how it came to be that April 28 is our anniversary.
Virginia Beach vacation in August 2004.
And here we are, six years later... and in 54 days, we will be married. :)
A few more pics to share from throughout the years. We didn't get a digital camera until 2004 (only a few months before we graduated), so I don't have any photos scanned to share from before that time.
Buffalo Bills game in October 2004.
My cousin's engagement party, April 2005.
Another Candlelight Ball. July 2005.
On a dolphin watch cruise in Virginia Beach, August 2005.
Parasailing (Virginia Beach), August 2005
Bills game, October 2006
New Year's Eve - December 31, 2006
Bar/restaurant in New York City, May 2007
Starting line, Five Boro Bike Tour (NYC), May 2007
Central Park (NYC), Five Boro Bike Tour, May 2007
About 20 miles down, 20 more to go (Five Boro Bike Tour), May 2007
A couple of days after becoming engaged, Outer Banks, North Carolina - June 2007
Ice cream shop in Outer Banks, North Carolina - June 2007
New Year's Eve - December 31, 2007