My first few posts on For the Burds will be introductory posts. They will feature our story so you can get to know us. And tonight, we start with my years of longing (for Chris). We may only have 5 years under our belts, but we have lived many lifetimes in those few years. And so it begins...
There was a thrill in the air. It was nearing the end of my first semester in college and my dorm floor was celebrating Christmas that night. To add to the thrill, our brother floor was joining us, in our dorm, for an ugly Christmas sweater party. Boys. On our floor. Swoon.
We went to a conservative Bible college in the midwest where one of the traditions was to pair a women's floor up with a men's floor to promote "community" (or romance...). This tradition is called "Bro Sis." Each Bro Sis would sit at the same tables for meals, plan activities together, and the men were always supposed to be available to escort a girl safely to and from campus if she needed it.
Back to our Christmas party. I found an epic Christmas vest at the thrift store that very day. I was pumped to be rocking it to our party. I came out of my room, turned the corner and was struck by the sight of an incredibly attractive man sitting on our couch. He was wearing an argyle sweater, jeans, was rocking a classy faux hawk and some awesome glasses. I knew he didn't belong to my brother floor and was wondering why the heck he was at our party. But then I realized I didn't care because he was just that good looking. Little did I know, I had just laid eyes on my husband.
Fast-forward three years. I longed for Chris that entire time. Neither of us were in a position to date each other. We both had a fair amount of growing up to do, but as we neared graduation, we realized we made pretty good friends! It just so happened that Chris's old roommate was now a married man with his own home. He and his wife would frequently ask us both over for dinner, and we always had ridiculous amounts of fun. So much so, that we formed a dinner club and would rotate between everyone's apartments once a month. But soon, we were meeting every other weekend. Then, every weekend. And during the week, Chris and I were often found together, eating cupcakes and drinking coffee at our favorite Starbucks. Or feasting on an amazing picnic dinner in the park while listening to a live orchestra. Or lounging on either one of our couches while we watched How I Met Your Mother.
It soon became obvious to me and to everyone else (besides Chris), that there was something between us. Chris and I never talked about it. We never approached the elephant in the room. We just kept going on dates while not actually dating. Our interactions were so familiar that when people met us, they wouldn't even assume we were dating, they'd jump right to the assumption of marriage!
Chris and I were inseparable come August of 2012. I was admittedly in love with him and equally tortured by the fact he wasn't making a move. I longed for every moment we could spend together only to spend the time we were apart in agony. I had made the decision that by a certain date, if Chris hadn't made a move, I would have to break things off. I was preparing to leave my new church home and my community. I was thinking of looking for a new place to live and a new job, just to get away from all things Chris.
Then, one night, Chris called to ask me over for dinner one night. This wasn't unusual, but I knew there was something about that night that was different. I called my parents in hysterics. My roommate's heart broke into pieces as she listened to me sob to my parents about how Chris was going to break up with me. I was convinced he was having me over for dinner to tell me he wanted nothing to do with me, that he wasn't interested, that there was no future for us.
Unbeknownst to me, my hysterics had my parents rolling with laughter. Their thinking was, "What guy invites a girl over for a home cooked dinner only to break up with her?"
My thinking was, "No guy has ever shown interest in me before, why would Chris?"
After I had cried my fair share of tears over the phone, I tried going to bed. That was a complete failure.
I spent the next day at work exhausted and more nervous than I've ever been in my life. I couldn't eat, and I was shaking from low blood sugar and nerves.
Finally, 5 o'clock rolled around and I walked the half-block to Chris's apartment. I went up to his place on the 28th floor overlooking the lake and the park and the city, expecting to smell some amazing food cooking, only to walk in the door and be greeted by Chris's two roommates.
I turned the corner to find Chris with a disappointed look on his face, "I guess we're going out for dinner."
That didn't bother me at all! We made our way to one of our favorite restaurants where we had a very quiet meal. Lots of awkward silences. Once the check came, Chris suggested a walk around the boardwalk of a pond in the park across the street. It was my absolute favorite place in the city where many special memories were made. I couldn't say no!
So we made our way to the boardwalk. It was a warm fall evening. Leaves crunching under our feet, birds tweeting and geese honking. We walked and walked, stopping at each little pier on the boardwalk to just stare off into the scenery.
It was dark by the time we reached the end of the boardwalk. Chris still hadn't said anything. I was in tears, breaking at the thought of having to leave him behind so that I could move on with my life. Fretting over leaving him but always loving him.
Then he stopped. In the middle of the pathway. He turned to me and said, "I have a question for you and I'm pretty sure you know what it is."
I froze. "Ok..."
And then he went on to say a lot of nice things that I don't remember. I'm sure I have them recorded in a journal somewhere. Regardless, I became a hot mess. He was telling me all the things he liked about me. He was asking me to date him. I'd never officially dated anyone before. No guy had ever wanted to get to know me like this. I was a goner.
Of course I said yes! I would have even said yes if he'd asked me to marry him that very night (though that would NOT have been wise. We desperately needed the time we dated to sort through some heavy baggage. But that's for the next post...)
Our fingers intertwined. I grasped his arm. I looked him in the eyes and told him he made years of dreams come true that night.
We somehow managed to keep our new development off Facebook for a few days. But our friends, church, and family knew immediately and were overjoyed with and for us.
Little did we know what the coming years would bring. And even if we did know, I'm certain I would not have changed a single moment. Because where we stand now is such a sweet, sweet place. The Lord has shown us some deep, dark valleys. He has so lovingly lead us through those valleys to mountaintops of such sweet grace and mercy, renewal and hope. There is much to be told in this space. It has been heart breaking, hysterical, sweet, and maddening. It is our story. And we welcome you to it.