Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine Story

Happy Valentine's Day! This seems to be a fitting time to share my own love story, so here goes:
We met Memorial Day weekend of 2000, when we were both 18. I was the lifeguard at the small community pool where his family had just moved. His mom had already met me and encouraged him to go meet the lifeguard because "I think she's a Christian!" Dan walked toward the pool without any expectations, and apparently just then I walked out of the poolhouse, wearing a bathing suit of course, and he was suddenly more interested. His idea to get my attention was to set up a skateboard ramp right outside the pool gate. He spent the entire afternoon doing jumps and tricks on his roller blades, until I finally worked up the courage to talk to him! He came to see me at the pool almost every day that summer, and we officially started dating on August 1. He asked me out with a note that was tucked into his Bible! Then a few weeks later I left for college in D.C. We continued to date "long-distance" with nightly phone calls, and visits every other weekend, when he would make the 1-hour drive to see me. The next summer, he announced that he would join the Marine Corps. (That's another story for another post). So our long-distance relationship continued, with even greater distances that included the communication black-out of bootcamp, flights to and from his California duty station, and numerous letters and e-mails during deployments. The worst was when he was first sent to Iraq, and I spent the semester studying in Paris, France. The free deployment mail and sat phone calls don't apply to other countries, so it was a challenge just to send letters to each other! Of course during these years we had our ups and downs, including being broken up for more than a year after his first deployment because I thought he came back a changed, violent, unloving man. After 2 more deployments, we had worked things out and both adjusted better to military life. I told him that once he got stationed on the East Coast I could finally marry him! In 2006 he finally left California behind, and moved to Quantico, VA, only a few hours away from me and our families. He proposed on the Marine Corps birthday, November 10, and we were married on August 18, 2007. Life has been pretty dreamy ever since! These first few years of marriage have certainly been a whirlwind that included the birth of our 2 children, the move from Virginia to North Carolina, 1 deployment to Afghanistan, and me earning my Master's degree! But we have gone through it all together, and with my best friend by my side I am always happy, confident, and surrounded by love. I am so thankful that God brought us together, and we continue to pray every day that we can grow in friendship and love. Happy Valentine's Day to my wonderful man! :-)

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