Last time we left off with the beginning of our long-distance relationship. I was gearing up for my junior year in high school, Andrew was starting his freshman year in college 700 miles away at Northwestern University (Go 'Cats!).
|The first time I ever got between Andrew and his best friend... Wish I had found this to add it to the last post!|
Once again, our relationship became one that survived mainly on Instant Messenger, where we discussed very nebulous future plans that involved moving to Delaware? Probably because of the no sales tax thing... At some point we stopped dancing around the issue and realized that we both kind of knew we were getting married some day. I made the mistake of referring to us as "unofficially engaged" and had an awkward conversation with my youth minister after my sister told him about that... But look at us now!
We talked on the phone every night starting at 10 pm (9 his time, when free nights started on his phone), usually until I fell asleep. I'm just now remembering the completely random places I used to sit to have these conversations...like in the dorm hallway or outside in one of the stairwells. Needless to say, I didn't have much of a social life freshman year. We wrote each other long letters (about... nothing? Mostly how much we loved each other. Gag.) and counted the days until we would see each other again (literally. I think I always had a ticker in my IM profile saying how many days left. Again, gag.). We also had secret AIM screen names that we would only use to talk to each other (I left this out because it's soooooooo awkward...). I was SO sad that he wouldn't be able to come home for the homecoming dance, but I only had to wait until Thanksgiving to see him again. Until his parents decided that they were going to visit relatives for Thanksgiving (in all fairness, his grandpa's wife was pretty much on her deathbed...).
Somehow or other, this meant he got to come home for homecoming? Because I asked my uncle for help after my parents declined to pay for a plane ticket.
|Our first reunion after that looooooong 2.5 months|
And I think that was when he broke the news to his parents that he was converting to Catholicism. They were NOT pleased (his mom told him that 99% of Catholics are going to hell). We got caught making out in the back seat of his car by the cops (Fully clothed. No parks after dark, friends!). And he went back to school until Christmas.
|We decided to dress up and go out for New Year's that year, and used a coupon to get our picture taken together at a JC Penney portrait studio. The woman looked at us holding hands and said, "So... Are you brother and sister?" Awkward.|
I went to visit him in the spring to see him received into the Church. Afterwards I asked him how his first confession was. He said, "I was supposed to go to confession BEFORE the vigil?" Ah, the joys of one of *those* Newman Centers...
|Ah yes, I had discovered a curling iron for my too-thick bangs. Not much of an improvement, nor is the flesh-colored dress... But look, he's got the shiny new Catholic glow!|
Needless to say, we went downtown the next day to go to confession and Easter Mass again. So... Not the best RCIA program?
And thus continued our lives, until the next summer, in which he worked fairly regular hours and I did summer school (not remedial, but because that's what you did at our high school if you wanted to do music all 4 years...). We spent every spare moment together again, I'm sure, and the next year went by essentially the same.
I was praying and trying to to discern where God wanted me in the future. My sister was at Notre Dame. Andrew was at Northwestern. I didn't have stellar grades, so I wasn't sure I'd get into either school... I applied to the typical Virginia state schools (UVA, JMU, W&M) and got into all of them, but Northwestern and Notre Dame BOTH wait listed me! I figured Northwestern just wasn't meant to be, but I REALLY wanted to go to Notre Dame (and my sister really wanted me to go there, too!). Music was kind of my thing, and Notre Dame is not so strong in that area, but I figured I'd just major in whatever and then marry Andrew once I graduated and stay home and have babies. So I started calling Notre Dame's admissions office, sending them letters, trying to convince them to let me in! I visited the admissions office in person when I went to visit my sister for spring break, and tearfully begged a woman to reconsider, because I KNEW I would go to Notre Dame if they would just let me in!
Meanwhile, I accepted a spot on the Northwestern School of Music's wait list too, because I figured it wouldn't hurt and maybe they'd let me in? But I wasn't sure I really wanted to major in music, because what's the point?
Then I had one of those life-changing experiences at All State Chorus, and KNEW that teaching music is what I needed to do with my life. I was all set to go to UVA and major in music, when Northwestern called and let me know that I had been accepted off the wait list! I was going to go to school with my future husband!
I was a little upset that Notre Dame hadn't worked out, but I was absolutely sure that I needed to major in music education, and Notre Dame didn't even have that as a major, so Northwestern was perfect! I gladly accepted, and got ready to head to Northwestern for college.
Awkwardly, a few days after I accepted, the woman from Notre Dame called and offered me a spot off their wait list. I felt horrible telling her that I had accepted Northwestern's offer, and she got really annoyed about how she had really tried hard to get me in and I'm pretty sure my kids are going to be blacklisted there forever... So, if you know anyone in admissions, let them know that if they had had my major, I totally would have gone there!
Two years of long distance was HARD. But we were finally going to be together!
|At least we got to go to MY prom together!|
|Look! I graduated!|
I'm going to go ahead and finish this up, because we've gotten through the exciting-ish parts...
College was not particularly memorable, as far as romance goes - our relationship continued to grow, but we had known early on that we were getting married, so there wasn't a whole lot of excitement or drama, just a contented companionship and an itching to graduate already so we could get married!
|Ah yes, I was that freshman girl who already had a junior boyfriend...|
|I had some REALLY good dorm style|
Andrew graduated in 2006 and moved back to Virginia, so we started another 2-year long-distance stint. Sigh. But he proposed soon after he graduated (DC, reflecting pool, sunset -- That's right, I'm just that awesome) and I anxiously started planning our wedding for 2008.
|Meanwhile, we tried to live it up at other weddings...|
Fast forward 2 years, I graduated on June 21...
We got married in Illinois on June 28...
Moved back to Virginia right after our honeymoon...
|Taking "selfies" before they were cool.|
Got pregnant in October, and had our first baby 2 weeks (two and a half weeks, thank you very much) after our first anniversary...
Had ANOTHER baby 18 months later...
And TWO more babies 21 months after THAT!
5 years of marriage, 6 years of dating, 4 kids, and all at the ripe old ages of 27 and 28. Whew!