Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, as you all know. And every blogger in the world is writing about lurrrrve and all that jazz. So, I'm gonna go ahead and jump right on that bandwagon, too. Why not.
I'm always talking about Dill and hinting at our courtship and such, but a few months ago, my friend Katie pointed out to me that I've never actually told our love story. What a shame! But I guess no time's better than the present. All those conversation hearts I've eaten over the past month shall be my inspiration.
Alright, here we go. Prepare to get butterflies. And maybe grab a snack because it's going to be long.
It was October 8, 2004. The Billboard Hot 100 song from that week was Destiny's Child, "Lose My Breath." Hopefully that factoid gives you a better sense of the setting for our love story. If you're young, you might be going, "Who the heck is Destiny's Child?" And if you're old, you're like, "Oh yeah, 'Bootylicious'!" Yup.
Anyway, I was a senior in high school and had celebrated my 17-and-a-half birthday the day before. I had just come out of a pretty rough break-up and was in no mood for guys (and definitely not high school guys). So you can imagine how hard I rolled my eyes when my good friend Brady randomly showed up at my house to take me on a double date with a guy friend of his he'd been wanting to set me up with. I was in my pajamas (100% certain), my hair was unfixed and going on a date was the LAST thing on my to-do list. But I like Brady and he's a persuasive guy ("It's just for fun! Plus, you'll feel better once you get out!"). So I put on some actual pants and we went to pick up this mystery guy and his date.
We showed up at Mystery Guy's house and Brady tells me this chap's name, etc. Turns out I'd heard of him before and had even seen his missionary plaque in the hallway at church. I racked my brain to recall if he was cute or not, but all I came up with was the ambiguous outline of a guy with black hair. Oh well, I didn't want a boyfriend, and he was probably super-ugly anyway.
And then, Dill opened his front door and I shoveled a huge piece of humble pie into my mouth.
You know how they say when you meet your One True Love your whole world slows down and you hear the serenade of tiny violins? Well, I didn't hear violins -- it was more like bow-chicka-wow-wow because he was incredibly handsome. Tall, dark, handsome. I mean it. And also, things actually went in fast-forward and I felt like I couldn't catch my breath (darn you, Destiny's Child!). And I immediately regretted not styling my hair that morning.
A few seconds later, Dill mentioned his date had bailed on him and he'd just have to be a third wheel.
Ohmygoshnoway. My heart jumped at this thought. Did Brady know this all along? Was it a set-up or a happy coincidence?
But wait -- I didn't want a boyfriend, remember? Boys are horrible, and mean, and make out with other girls behind your back! They can't be trusted! And they're cheap!
And then, I realized, this was a MAN. Not a boy.
The three of us ventured off to watch our high school alma mater slay another school at a football game, during which Brady (who must have sensed our chemistry) wandered off to go talk to some friends. In his absence, Dill and I chatted happily about our families, our hobbies, our jobs and just about everything else. We realized we enjoyed talking to one another. A lot. I noticed he had the prettiest gray-green eyes.
After the game, we headed to the movie theater to catch a showing of Friday Night Lights. If you're young, you're probably going, "Um, that's a TV show." And if you're old: "Oh yeah, that football movie starring country superstar Tim McGraw!" See what time does to you? You start to remember things that others don't because they were too busy eating their own scabs and watching Barney.
Once we got into the dark theater and sat by each other, I realized I liked this Dill guy. A lot. And I was single, darnit! And young! And OK, maybe I did want a boyfriend. Well, a man-friend.
So ... I grabbed his hand. And he let me. And well, we just held hands like that for the rest of the movie. And maybe I rested my head on his shoulder at one point. And just kept it there. (Scandal!)
Through all the lovey-dovey, though, I couldn't shake the realization that I was still in high school and he was a real-life adult who probably wanted nothing to do with me. But later that night, after Brady took me home, it hit me that this guy was totally right for me in every way and I couldn't let him go. Nor did I want to. It was more than a physical attraction -- we had established a real emotional connection and I trusted him. And for me, trust was so hard to come by those days.
And then he called me to take me out a few nights later, which basically sealed the deal.
So, we dated. For a whole year, a record in Mormon courtship lengths. It was awkward for both of us. Let me tell you, the "Chuck E. Cheese for date night" jokes never ceased to annoy us. But it was also right, and you know, I'm finding out that the right choices are often the hardest to make in life.
A year later, during our first semester at BYU, he proposed.
Of course, I accepted. No-brainer.
We got married two months after that.
Weren't we cute?
Oh and also, Valentine's Day 2005 marked our first real kiss. (It actually happened a few days before that, but we don't count that one because it was waaaaaaaay awkward.)
So that's why I like Valentine's Day. I get to spend it with a younger, more sane version of Tom Cruise with gorgeous gray-green eyes every year. For the rest of forever.