Alex and I are celebrating our 1-year wedding anniversary this week! To celebrate blog-style, how about a week of posts sharing photos and anecdotes that tell the story of us?
This is kind of a big deal for me as a writer – to celebrate our anniversary in a big way. Alex and I were never the couple that got all twitterpated over celebrating the number of days, weeks, months, or even years that we had been dating. In fact, I don’t know that we ever had an official day that we began dating. It just sort of happened.
Alex and I met within the first few days of matriculating to the University of Virginia. We lived in the same dorm – he on the first floor, and I on the third. Ah, college. Days of discovery, new experiences, and realizing that the world is bigger than your hometown.
In those first few weeks, when freshies are desperate to make new friends and social connections that will define their college and professional experiences, our dorm Resident Advisors decided to help us along by inviting Alex’s hall and my hall to dinner on the Corner, followed by attendance at that beloved beginning-of-school tradition: the Tom DeLuca hypnotist show.
As he tells it, Alex introduced himself to me on the walk over to the restaurant. When I told him my name, he said it over and over to himself in his head so that he wouldn’t forget because he thought I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He watched me all during dinner and wanted to sit with me at the hypnotist show. I love to hear him tell this story now, but if he had fessed up to his fascination at the time, I probably would have been more than a little shy in getting to know him.
I, on the other hand, was too socially absorbed to want to devote my attention to Alex for the entire evening – there were at least a half dozen other guys to meet. And besides, at the time, I had a high school-sweetheart boyfriend!
But this outing proved a turning point in our relationship. As a result of our Resident Advisors’ conniving, I now had an excuse to wander downstairs in the dorm to say hello to the fellas I had just met. Friendships were formed, and Alex and I bonded. At the time, he was learning guitar (as many a wayward college student may do), and I enjoyed offering my musical critique. He was also taking the engineer’s favorite first-year class: technical writing for non-writers. At least one evening per week was spent with me neglecting my own studies to painstakingly read Alex’s essay drafts and offer my feedback in person. I remember him laughing at my comments, likely embarrassed with his errors, but pleased to be able to talk with me. And lest you think our relationship was founded purely on critique, our three favorite pastimes included playing Mario Kart on N64, playing tennis on the courts behind our dorm (I think I won…never? Alex was a good sport), and watching movies with friends.
And so Alex became a very good friend. We chatted for hours at a time. I was pleased that I could make someone laugh so readily, and I was humbled by how much interest Alex took in getting to know me, wanting to know what I think, and paying attention to the details in my stories. Despite all this, I’m ashamed to admit that – at the time – I arrogantly never considered him someone I would date.
But Alex was persistent. By springtime, I realized that he had always been there for me, I enjoyed spending time with him, and we had a lot in common. I had never learned to love someone by being friends first (despite this being my mom’s one and only piece of dating advice when I was in high school), but with Alex, this is how things evolved. I suddenly realized how much I trusted him and how it was he to whom I couldn’t wait to share every piece of life news. I was initially hesitant to give him my whole heart, but he was patient and kind, and our love grew and grew.
To kick things off, we watched that most romantic of all first-date movies, The Ring. Doesn’t that just scream true love?? Note to my future children: If you’re trying to give mommy and daddy a romantic gift to celebrate their anniversary by setting up a movie night in which they watch their first date movie, The Ring was not it.
We definitely had our share of ups and downs. College is full of twists and turns and stressors of multiple varieties. We saw each other at our best and at our worst. But it was those good and bad experiences that ultimately made our relationship stronger as we learned to respect the individuals that we both are and the ways that we complement each other as a couple.
Like any two people, we get annoyed with each other. But at the end of the day, I always want to be with Alex. I thrive in the comfort of him being there, and maybe that’s too easy to take for granted.
Stay tuned for more anniversary-themed posts this week, including: my attempt to re-create our wedding cake and highlights from our anniversary trip to Nashville.