So many things jump into my head when I see, hear, write, type this word. Memories of first things...Birth days, first lessons, first dates, first kiss, first deployments, first time away from all family on a long trip (not just a few days, or a couple weeks at camp with my brothers just moments away), the first time I got a new trick, first steps, first tooth, first curl (yes, I was ecstatic for my daughter's first curl!)
Then there are the not so good ones that I remember vividly too. First heartbreak, first time I found out I trusted the wrong person, first miscarriage, first rumor spread about me, first threat to my life...I could go on, but I think everyone gets the idea.
I love new beginnings...even if they're scary, but I don't like closing the door to the past. I remember way too many things and can't seem to do the "forget" part of forgive and forget.
Today I'm going to talk about the first time I saw my husband and the beginning of our relationship.
I had been engaged to a marine, my best male friend at the time. Things weren't going well, we both knew it, but we didn't want to end it since we supported each other so much and we did love each other, just not in the way we should've in order to get married. I was at college in Monroe, MI and he was on a base in Yuma, AZ. We talked every day, he went out on dates with girls and encouraged me to do the same thing (but with guys, of course!) We were always honest with anyone we would go out with that we were engaged to be married, but we had an open relationship for multiple reasons. I had him call me a few times with a date that didn't believe him and I explained that it was true, he wasn't some dog.
One day I went down to The Cellar (our hangout at the college) to play some pool with a guy I was starting to get to know and kinda liked a lot already, but didn't want to rush things since there was one thing I didn't know if I could accept about him. While we were playing pool, two more guys started playing at the table next to us. They were both kinda dorky (okay...so...I'm attracted to a lot of different types of guys...shoot me! I'm not horribly picky!) but the shorter skinnyish one caught my eye. He would give me "pointers" on how to play or how I could've made my shot better, and I would do the same (except I semi kinda knew what I was talking about...my uncle is an awesome pool player and tried teaching me the right way to play! And I feel weird saying that since the guy I was playing with...yeah he married a pro player!)
I didn't think much about this guy after that until a couple days later when my best friend (at the time) invited me to meet her crush during a friendly outing after choir. I said "Sure!" and invited my friend Evan, who I was hardcore crushing on again at this point...long story...) and his friend to come with me. I get to the restaurant (Pete's Garage) and who do I see? The pool guys. I was introduced to Big Mike first (the tall, bigger guy) and then Sarah's crush, Josh (the one I was attracted to). I immediately make sure to stick with Evan and flirt like crazy with him to keep my mind off Josh and the fact that this is the guy that my best friend likes...so I just can't possibly like him too since she has dibs pretty much. Evan and I had a great night. We hadn't laughed and flirted like that in a LONG time and it felt nice to be so in sync with someone. Josh ended up fishing for answers to some of his questions about me, including if I were single or not. He kind of suspected I was since he had just seen me a few days before with someone else and now I was with this guy. I explained the situation to him about Nick and he kind of just accepted it.
The next day Sarah and I were going to go dancing at a club down in Ohio after I just finished dancing for 5 hours at the dance studio I took lessons and was a student teacher at. I found out right before picking her up she invited Josh. I tried getting out of going...but it didn't happen. I was the only one with a car and license. So I picked up Sarah, then we went to get Josh. I called my friend Jason and we went to his house. I told him what we were doing and his friends were like "Hey can we tag along too?" Of course I said yes! We all went down and I danced as much as possible with Jason. I told him what was going on and he basically tried laying claim to me with Josh, talking about how wonderful I was and how he was going to ask me to be his girlfriend and how he's liked me for quite awhile but the timing had never been quite right, but it finally was. We started dancing again then everyone left (including Josh) to get water. I stayed on the floor and saw Jason coming back...but then he stopped and right in front of me appeared Josh. He took my hand and led me to a different room where it was a little quieter, but not much. We sat down and listened to some music then he pulled me into him and started talking into my ear so I could hear. He was funny. I laughed and smiled a lot. He held my hand the whole time, then suddenly, he kissed me.
That exact moment I realized I was going to hurt my best friend but I was going to gain another best friend and life partner. I knew I wanted to marry him and spend the rest of my life with him...and I had only officially met him 2 days before. And almost 11 years later (almost 8 of those married!), he still makes me feel that way with every kiss, every hand hold, every look he thinks I don't notice. I am truly thankful for that beginning.
And my best friend, Sarah? We may not be BEST friends anymore, but she got over being mad at me in about 3 months when she realized how much of a jackass he really is to almost everyone. We still talk sometimes and I'm still happy and proud to call her my friend.