The Story of Us
When I was 18, I decided to quit my job at a photo shop and try to find something where I could be in charge. I came upon an advertisement for a job at a pet store where they needed a manager. The store was in the town that I lived in and I was super excited by how convenient that sounded. I set up an interview and was hopeful. On the morning of, I left early because thats what I always do on important days! I also needed gas. I got to the station and realized that someone had shoved tree branches in my gas tank:( There had been a lot of cars being vandalized in our neighborhood so I wasn't surprised, just stressed that I might not make it to my interview. I called and we rescheduled for the next day.
The next day I went in for my interview and didn't love the owners son. He gave me really weird vibes. He offered me the job though and I told him I'd think about it. I went home and gave it a good thinking through. I decided that I would give it a try and if it didn't work out, I'd quit and find something else. I called and informed the owners son. The day before I started he called and informed me that he was going to have me work at their larger store 20 minutes north of where I lived. He said that I was needed there and it was a better opportunity. I was really disappointed, but agreed to work at that location.
Almost immediately I hated the job. The employees were awful, the store was run down and I didn't care for how the business was run. I stuck it out to try and be helpful. One day the owner informed me that she would be sending her other son in to help me since I was severely short staffed. She told me to expect him not to be nice to me, since he was home visiting from college and she had given him the option of working with me or staying home with his Dad, who at the time was bedridden with cancer. He chose working. I was not excited, since I didn't care for his brother.
The next morning, St. Patricks Day, I was walking out of the back of the store and bumped into the owners son, literally. I was coming through the door as he was coming from the other direction. I looked up at him and apologized and he kind of just brushed me off. That was it for me! One look in his eyes and I was hooked. Seriously, that fast. I just knew! He on the other hand wouldn't give me the time of day. Over the next 15 minutes, I tried to make conversation. I tried everything but he could care less. He was kneeling on the ground pricing cans of cat food (romantic I know), when I decided to walk up to him and ask him about his school. He looked up at me and made eye contact for the 1st time. Thats when he told me (months later) that he knew.
From that moment on, we flirted like crazy. He showed off quite a bit and I was as giddy as I'd ever been in my life. On my lunch break, I called my Mom and told her that I had met the man I was gonna marry, to which she replied, "Oh Crap!" Later that day when talking, he asked me how old I was. When I told him 18, he didn't believe me, he made me show him my license. He was 26 and
took a second to think that through. He then asked me if I had plans the following evening after work. We agreed to go on a date the next day. Years later he told me that I was the 1st girl he had ever asked out. He had had girlfriends, but had never really asked any of them on a date.
The next day we worked together again. That night we decided to skip dinner and head to a bridge overlooking the ocean that I frequented a lot as a teen. We hung out talking till 4am. I finally drove him back to his car and went home, since I had to work early the next morning. The next day he had plans to go play cards with his entire family. Since he wanted to spend time with me, he asked if I wanted to join him. I agreed. So, yeah, I met his entire family on our 2nd date:) On the way to his aunts house we pulled over to talk, he basically poured his heart out to me about how he felt about me. When he was done I blurted out "I love you", to which he responded the same.
I probably should have pointed out to you guys earlier on in my story that we met when Chris was home from College on spring break! He lived in Colorado and I lived in California the entire time we dated! We spent the next 2 days together and when he had to go back to Colorado, I was crushed! We spent every lunch break and evening on the phone. We wrote each other letters. It went by so fast. He came back for a visit a month later. That short visit solidified my feelings for him. When he left this time, I was heartbroken. He called me right when he got home from the airport and suggested that I should come visit him. I convinced my mom to drive with me to Colorado.
During this time I still worked for Chris' family. I hated it. We had had some conflict with his brother who was my boss. He didn't approve of me dating his brother and let his feelings be known to all. I put up with a lot, for a long time, but I had reached a breaking point of being disrespected and put in my notice. Unfortunately we had another bad experience a couple days later and I quit on the spot. I had to respect myself and not worry about upsetting his family. A couple weeks later, at the end of May, my Mom and I drove to Colorado. We spent a couple days together hanging out and then we sent her off on an airplane home and I stayed with Chris.
It was so amazing to spend so much time together. He was still in school at this point, so I spent the day exploring Colorado and waiting for him to get home. I made him breakfast and packed his lunches. We spent every possible moment together and it was heaven. We had actually started talking about marriage after the 1st couple days of dating. We had even talked about getting married the following year in July. One day at the mall, he suggested I pick out a ring. We picked out a very sweet ring together and he purchased it. The store had to have it sized which took a couple days.
A couple days later he picked me up after school and we went to Estes Park to walk around and have dinner. I knew that was the day my ring would be ready so I was prepared for a proposal. That night while walking by the river, he officially asked me to marry him. It was June 2nd. Of course I said yes. A couple days later we drove back to California together to take me home and visit his Dad who wasn't doing well. The day we arrived his Dad was in such amazing spirits. He was so happy, that Chris was so happy. The next morning, he passed away. Chris stayed for the next week, for the funeral and to be with his Mom. It was a really hard time.
I took him to the airport June 17th for the last time and what would be our longest separation. He was to graduate at the beginning of August and needed to stay in Colorado to finish his internship. We talked everyday, but it was hard. August 3rd I hopped on a plane to be with my big guy. I'll never forget stepping off the plane and knowing that we would never have to be apart again. We spent the next couple days driving around Colorado loving each other. On August 7th we picked his Mom up from the airport so she could be there when he graduated the following day. She brought with her, one of her grandkids.
The day after his graduation we started the drive home. We drove the moving truck, while his mom and her grandson, drove his truck. On the way home we stopped in Bullhead city Arizona, where his mom owned a house. His brother and wife were there too, waiting to celebrate Chris' graduation. The day of August 11th, we had went out boating and were hanging out swimming in a cove. While floating around together I casually said, "We should go get married" to which he replied "are you serious?" to which I answered "of course". A couple minutes later he was climbing up a cliff to get cell service and was on the phone with the chamber of commerce to get the number of a wedding chapel. We had an appointment for 6pm, that night.
What unfolded next was pure drama with his family, who ultimately decided not to attend our wedding. Its funny because at the time, we didn't even care. We did have some additional drama getting to the chapel, but finally arrived. Me in the only dress I had brought on the trip and him in his graduation clothes. We had 2, 100 dollar bills that my parents had given him for his graduation and not another penny to our names. The man at the chapel didn't have change so we had to leave and go to a drugstore to get the change we needed for the $150.00 ceremony. The ceremony was short and sweet. Just the man that married us and the 2 of us. He had is secretary sign as witness before she left for the day, so for all I know, we might not even be legally be married...LOL.
|Our actual wedding outfits, moments before heading to the chapel.|
We were married! We had Chinese food for dinner and went back to his Moms house. I decided I should probably call my parents to tell them. HAHA. When they answered I said "guess what I just did?" to which my Mom replied "you better not have gotten married!" OOPS! I could tell that they were sad to have missed it, but they quickly concealed their feelings and told us how happy they were. At the time, I wasn't thinking of anyone but us. Now I see how hard that must have been for my parents. The next day Chris' family left and we stayed a couple more days by ourselves. I think I called him my husband a million times!
We started our drive home and wouldn't you know, our moving van broke down an hour into the drive. I always joke that we spent our honeymoon on the side of the road in Ludlow Arizona. If you've been there, you know its no fun. We ended up getting home at around 4am exhausted but happy. We lived with Chris' Mom for the 1st month while we waited for our rental home to become available. We actually started working together at Chris' families pet store and were pregnant within a couple weeks (thats another story).
The beginning of our relationship was so beautiful, but also really emotional and hard. No one was behind us (except my parents thank goodness) and the odds were stacked against us. We loved each other like crazy, but we also hurt each other in terrible ways, some of which wouldn't come to the surface for years. I know people always say that they wouldn't change a thing, but I actually would. We had some really, really hard times while figuring each other out. Its amazing we made it. We were 100% meant to be and nothing could break us during those early years. I followed my heart and he did the same and now we have 7 beautiful girls as a testament of our love.