Today marks the date when I have officially spent half of my life with the man I adore. On January 22, 1998, Brad asked me out and we've been together ever since.
I will be forever grateful for a certain friend who called us out after an afternoon of bowling. I believe the email started, "If you two wanted to go out on a date you could have just told me..." and went on from there. We thought she was ridiculous, and then we started thinking. Who would have know that five years later she would be standing with me at our wedding. Jamie, I will be forever grateful for your honesty and friendship. You started something magical.
I was 17 when we started dating, and I vividly remember being so annoyed by the situation. I had just decided to not date at all anymore until college and he royally messed up that plan. I remember talking to Mom about it and being reminded that just because we dated in high school didn't mean I was committing to a lifetime...
...but I did--we did. We dated long distance until we were married. The longest we had ever seen each other was ten days in a row--with his parents. Getting married at 22 was the best, stupidest thing we have ever done. It made no sense but it was absolutely right. We have grown up together in so many ways. All of the firsts--apartments, car purchases, being flat broke--we did that together. Between us, we have earned five degrees past high school together. We have seen each other receive awards, promotions, and children. We have seen each other with the flu, job loss, and trying to figure out who the hell we are now. We survived the earliest years of parenting when we were exhausted and clueless. The one thing we have always known, though, is we belong to each other.
One of my students asked me when I knew Brad was the one I would marry. It seems like a complicated question, but it isn't. I decided my senior year in March. Two months in. I knew. I still know.