An Amazingly Awkward Love Story, Part III

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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 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!


  1. NICE! Loved the pics. Got a chuckle out of 'that Newman center' : ) I think "those Newman centers' are similar to the marriage prep programs that don't include the short but NECESSARY reading of humanae vitae. I mean seriously it is 14 pages printed.

  2. I love the ending. Baby after baby after baby! :). I can't believe you dated so long while knowing you were going to get married eventually. That is cool that you were each others only loves and that you had that kind of patience to wait 6 years.

  3. So glad that you ended up at the same college, although so many years of long-distance must have been rough!

    We dated for five years, got married halfway through, got pregnant right after I graduated, and had a baby a month before my husband graduated. People thought (and still think) we're a little crazy!

    We may have also gotten caught by the cops in the same situation, ha!

  4. Oh man long dating and engagements are HARD! But yeah, you guys are like way older on paper after all those years together! Great love story :)

  5. You so should have gone to Notre Dame! As a side note, the hubby and I got married as juniors at Notre Dame, there was no way we were waiting until graduation (baby number 1 was due at graduation the next year) ;)

  6. Rosie got the idea of looooong engagements from her daddy and me. She imitates us in everything, because we're perfect. Right, Rosie?

  7. AS long as you turned down Notre Dame in your maiden name, I think your kids should be fine. I wouldn't worry about it too much! :)

  8. Oh I loved this Rosie! You guys are so cute too.

    I totally relate, my husband and I were high school sweethearts who never lived in the same city before getting married! We long distanced for so long it was so hard. Not as long as you though! Mostly because I didn't graduate university, shhh, but it was a long haul. We've been together 10 years, dated for only three, married almost 7, with five kids. So we're twinnsies in the married with crazy numbers of babies Rosie!

  9. Aww..this is a super sweet story...I'm impressed with your LONG and long-distance relationship. And, I loved all the pictures!

  10. Such a good story! I esp. love all the pictures, and Andrew's input!

  11. I loved your story!!! Isn't it great to get to the end of it and be like, "Wow, and now I'm married to this guy and have a family with him!" It's so crazy-wonderful!

  12. Great story, thank you for sharing and your husband for adding his perspective.

  13. Wow. For the last line.

    And you write so well!

  14. Just stumbled upon this. I love it. :) And yeah, for as much as you talk about how disgusted you are with the way you behaved when you were dating, you showed a remarkable level of maturity! Knowing that you didn't want to marry a non-Catholic, knowing that you didn't want to date someone you wouldn't marry, prepared to have kids quickly after marriage...and all in high school?! I was lucky to figure that out before our wedding day!

    P.S. Fuddruckers gone? So sad! Do those even still exist anywhere else anymore?

    1. Well a big part of that is probably the environment I was raised in - my mom and dad started dating when they were 19 and 17, respectively, got married at 23 and 21, and had their first child at 25 and 23 (after one loss). So it seemed like the norm to me!

      And seriously, of COURSE they had to tear down that Fuddruckers right before we moved 3 minutes away from it! I think there's one in Fairfax?

  15. This is so awesome. I am glad I took the time to read it all (but did you know the photos on this part don't show up?). Even though my now-husband and I were much older than you two when we started dating, our long-distance setup mirrors yours pretty well (incessant texting/online messaging, counting down the days, etc.) Thanks for sharing your sweet story. :)

    1. Ugh you're right about the photos - I copied and pasted them back in the day, which I didn't realize would mean they'd disappear after a few months...

  16. I don't usually comment on blogs, but I have to ask how Virginia Tech *the greatest VA state school ever* did not make it in to your typical colleges to apply to! :P
    But seriously what a wonderful testament to faith & God's will!

    1. Ha! Well, Tech didn't have any majors I was interested in, so it was a pretty easy decision ;) My little brother went there, though!


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