It was December of 1995. I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. My main goal was to graduate and get the hell out of my parent’s house. I was tired of their “lame” rules – as I referred to them time and time again in my diary. I knew my 18th birthday was right around the corner, and I saw the light at the end of a tunnel – freedom! I had already been accepted to Bowling Green State University as a freshman in fall of 1996.
Yet despite my yearning for freedom, I also knew that I had less than a year left with my parents, despite their constant nagging. So, when my mom begged me to attend a wedding with her on Dec. 2, 1995, I reluctantly agreed.
Earlier that Saturday, I clocked in at 7 a.m. for my eight-hour shift at the local Mickey D’s. The last thing I wanted to do when I arrived home was get ready to attend a wedding where I knew absolutely no one – except my mom.
Alas, I showered, put on my best “Amish-style dress” – picture plaid with a pure white collar and cuffs; black nylons; and black shoes. The style was finished off with a permed hairstyle and tons of hairspray.
After I finished getting ready, we drove to the church on the eastside of town.
And, there I sat, in a church pew, next to my mom, watching the bridal party march down the aisle.
In front of me I noticed a “boy” sitting between his parents wearing an olive green suit.
After the ceremony, I was standing in the vestibule, waiting for my mom to say her hellos to the new bride and groom and the “boy” walked out with this parents. The father introduced his son to a fellow guest, saying, “This is my son.” The two men shook hands. I put on my coat and walked outside.
Following the ceremony, my mom and I drove to our local K of C Hall where the reception would soon take place. We sat at a table with what I recall “children” but maybe it was just “young adults.” Either way, the conversation was sparse.
Eventually, one of the bridesmaids – who was a teacher’s aide where my mom worked – came over with the “boy.” I could see the fear and trepidation in his eyes. He didn’t want to be there. He didn’t want to meet me. The last thing he wanted to do was dance with me.
But he did.
At the end of the evening, he walked over to my table, knelt down and said, “It was really nice to meet you, but I have to go and get ready for my shift at work.”
I accepted his fare-thee-well and continued on with the night’s festivities.
A week later, we went on our first date. I knew he was a keeper when he ordered only mustard and pickles on his hamburger.
Almost five years later we were married.
People have often asked what has kept our relationship strong.
The truth is, I don’t really know.
Seth and I met when we were very young by today’s standards. I was only 17 and he was 20. I was just finishing high school and he was almost done with college. I had my entire life ahead of me and he was ready to find “true love.”
But instead of growing apart, we grew together.
Sure, there have been a few years of our almost 15 years of marriage that haven’t been stellar – the first year was the hardest for me because I didn’t know the first thing about being a wife. There wasn’t a handbook given to me when I said, “I do” on Aug. 19, 2000. Likewise, I know he didn’t receive a “Husband 101” book either.
But somehow, we made it work.
We still say “please” and “thank you” for the little things – a lunch packed; a dinner brought home; a bottle of wine cracked open; dishes washed without being asked.
We laugh all the time.
Our kids drive us equally CRAZY … but they also bring us JOY.
We have “date” nights once a week. Nothing crazy like in the “good old days” – now it’s putting the kids to bed early on a Saturday and watching a movie together or we play cards. Having a sitter has helped too – movies, casino, dinners out – when it can be just Seth and I are very important to our relationship as husband/wife. And, it has been worth every penny.
Now as the kids have gotten older, our lives are still as crazy and we both expect it to continue to be crazy, but as long as I have Seth by my side, I am confident we can handle any curve balls thrown our way.
So, to those who are newly dating; newlyweds; new parents; or veterans in the world of marriage … trust me when I say … ENJOY THE RIDE.