Be warned – this is a very corny and picture-laden post. Though perhaps this post will show part of who I am. Through weight gain and loss, the graying of my hair, and the course of 8 years, these pictures show some of my happiest moments. I apologize for my pregnancy-induced hormonal sappiness. This is for you, Sweet Bear.
Sometime in early 2004, while sitting in my college freshman dorm room and chatting away on AOL instant messenger (the precursor to texting), I received a random chat room invitation from a complete stranger. Now, normally, I would hit decline and block whoever was trying to invite me. If y’all are at all familiar with AIM, you’ll know that there were quite a lot of *coughporncough* spam bots at the time.
But, for some reason, be it boredom or sheer curiosity, I hit accept. The screen name seemed normal enough, so why not? I entered the chat room and was relieved to see that it was full of seemingly normal people and that these people all seemed to know each other. “ASL?” someone asked.
Upon my reply, I was sent a private message from the same person who invited me to the chat room stating that he knew a regular who frequented that chat room who was also from Georgia and around my age. So he proceeded to introduce us. I began chatting with this new fellow and I found out he lived about 2 hours away from me. He was 17 and I was 19. We swapped webcam pics and I was definitely intrigued.
We chatted for months and got to know each other fairly well until one night I convinced him to talk on the phone. He was shy and hesitant at first but we ended up talking for hours that night and continued to talk every night until we finally decided to meet in person.
On July 10, 2004, I met the love of my life in person. I won’t say that our meeting was love at first sight, but I just knew in my gut the second I laid eyes on him that he was different. He was all gangly, nerdy, and awkward but I felt super comfortable with him and we hit it off. He asked me to be his girlfriend that very day.
We continued to date and, since I didn’t have a car at the time, he drove down to see me a few times each week in a car without AC. Oh, the mileage that boy put on his old beat-up Ford Taurus! We exchanged the L-word after a couple months.
Fast forward a couple years and we decided to move in together. Yes, the dreaded shacking up!
Fast forward a couple more years and he gave me one of the biggest surprises of my life. On May 28, 2008, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I can honestly say that I wasn’t expecting him to ask me any time soon. We were still so young. But, of course, I said yes! I had known for a long time that he was the one for me.
On April 10, 2010, we were married. Though pollen thickly covered every outside surface, the spring day was beautiful.
We went on a week-long cruise to the Caribbean for our honeymoon and had the best vacation of our lives.
And, we’ve continued to have so many adventures since.
I could go on and on about how lucky I am to have such a caring, affectionate, and stand-up guy for a husband but in just so many words, here goes…
My Sweet Bear,
We’ve come such a long, long way over these 8 years. We’ve grown so much and we’ve worked hard to get where we are today. We’ve had ups and downs and countless arguments, but here we are. We’re on the verge of welcoming our son into this world together. And, together, we will do our best to raise and care for him.
You’re my best friend, my confidant, my rock, my everything. You keep me going. I’m so proud of you and I’m honored to stand by your side. Be it fate or through some unknowing AIM chatter, we were brought together for a reason. I will do my best to remember that for the rest of my life.
These next few weeks and months will probably be a mix of absolute joy at having our son with us to absolute exhaustion at the endless diaper changes and lack of sleep. But, we’ll have each other. And, I can’t express how much just that simple knowledge helps me get through each and every day even now.
I love you.
*End of sappiness*