Today, July 6th is our 5th wedding anniversary. This is how we got here…..
Mike and I met on a blind date in December of 98. I was this close too not going thru with it. We were together all of a month when I knew he was the one. He knew it too, and it scared the crap out of me. Sometime around spring he told me that he was applying to graduate programs all over the country and if he were to leave he wanted me to come with him. I didn’t put too much thought into that at first, one of his choices was UW so in my head we would stay put and live happily ever after. Plus he was still a junior; I had plenty of time to convince him to stay in WA. Some of you know this part of the story. Mike did get accepted to UW, he even chose them. He came over that night and told me we were staying in Seattle. Fast-forward about 3 hours, we are home from our celebratory dinner and the phone rang. It was Mike’s father saying that UNC called and were begging him to reconsider; this is when the room started to spin. I already called Mom, we went out to dinner, we are NOT moving and especially not to the South. This was a Friday evening, the following Tuesday we were on a flight to North Carolina. Bottom line, UNC made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and he fell in love with the school right away.
He moved in with me right after graduation in May. In August (2000) we sold one of the two cars, packed up our things and our cat and hit the road. 5 days, 3000 miles. I held my breath and hoped like hell I wouldn’t regret this.
The first year in NC was the hardest of my life, I was physically ill I was so home sick. I had never been so alone, no family no friends and a boyfriend I followed who was so busy I rarely saw. Despite my constant daydreams of running away I didn’t want to leave him. It didn’t help that the first year we were DIRT broke, Dad told me a hundred years ago “love don’t pay the rent” well Dad you forgot to mention, neither do graduate students. I did survive, and so did Mike. While I was moping around he was working as hard as ever, and wasn’t all that happy himself. Even with all of that, we were still in love and made the time we did have together special, we still had date nights on occasion. I started getting antsy, I was ready to get married and god knew I could use a project. The end of this first school year started looking up, Mike got a job at the school of nursing that would last a few years which resolved the dinner from a box issue and was getting the hang of balancing his work and home and were finding ourselves settling in. A few short months later he did ask me to marry him. This was the single most exciting thing I had ever experienced. He is the best secret keeper, I didn’t have the slightest clue that it was coming, he shocked me, and it was one of the happiest memories of my life. Our engagement lasted 2 days shy of 1 year and that year was spent planning and dreaming. Mike was crazy busy again, trying to finish up his Masters before we left for the wedding (in WA) so he could relax and enjoy our honeymoon. I hardly noticed this time, as I was neck deep in all of the details.
By the time the string quartet fired up Cannon in D in July of 02′ we had been together 3.5 years, survived a cross-country move and a graduate degree. You would think this would have been a formality. It was anything but. Thanks to my Dad and Step Mom it was everything I had dreamt it would be, full of friends and family and breathtakingly beautiful. I wasn’t prepared for the emotion that would fill me that day. I was on top of the world, I was getting married (!) but I couldn’t have known what that would be like in advance. I can’t even put it into words but the act of saying “I do” was much more powerful than I had anticipated. It was the fullest day of my life. Our programs read, “Nothing is worth more than this day” which I choose myself but until that day its worth was unknown. Little did I know that this wasn’t “as much” as I could love him.
Life since our walk down the aisle has been typical, full of ups and downs. We returned to NC for 4 more years, Mike went back to school that fall and began a Ph.D. program and life was back to our version of normal. Times were hard on and off with Mike’s work load but we had made a home together and I had good job, made great friends and things were easier to handle this go-round. As his dissertation progressed we started talking about where to go next, and WHEN could we start talking babies already!
Last May, Mike donned the hooded gown and goofy cap in front of most of our immediate families who traveled far and wide for his day. We all watched as he walked across that stage and I bawled, I stood in that auditorium in my dress and 3 inch heels with our parents on either side and sang every word of that fight song clapping and banging on the seats with abandon, swollen with pride. “We” had done it, and I have never been as proud as I was that day. When it was over he was so humble when we were sharing stories over lunch and giggling calling him Doctor that I wanted to kick him. I still wish he could be as proud of himself as we all are. I protested the move and winced when he said he wanted to go back for his PhD. but damn it if I’m not a Tarheel now
Two days later we hit the road with Bruno and headed to Columbus for a week of exploring and house hunting. It sure was flat, but we really loved what was here. We found our house and had a really nice mostly relaxing week. A month after that we were on our Graduation Cruise (thanks again to Dad and Sue!). This vacation marked the start of the rest of our lives (again- that’s what we thought on our honeymoon too) we spent that week living it up! We bought art for our house; made plans for our future, and just soaked up every second we had together.
We moved to Columbus in September, is this our happily ever after? I doubt it, but I have learned over the past 8.5 years with him that happy is what we are, not a place you live, the place you’re going, or even the place you left behind. Happy is us, you take it with you and you adapt. I have also learned that your capacity to love is endless. Every happy day, every challenge, even a trip to the grocery store can bring a new connection and in turn deeper love for each other. It’s no surprise that now, as we await the arrival of our Nugget we are as close as ever, sharing in all of the details from the remote bouncing on my belly to choosing a paint color for his room and OMG can we pay for college. Life is good! Happy Anniversary Babe. I can’t wait to find what the next 5 have in store.