I think when you wait so long for someone, you don’t want to wait a minute more to begin your life together.
At least, we didn’t.
Our paths to each other were not straight, but rather jagged and not without some hardships and tears while we learned what we needed in a life partner. But years went by and things gradually changed. I got smarter, valued myself more, and made better choices, and Tom continued to work hard and be the studly catch that he always was.
One day, nearly ten years after graduating from high school together, when I was working for a local radio station and setting up an event at his college, our paths crossed again. Tom walked by with some friends and then doubled back by himself. It went something like this:
“Um, hi.” Awkward pause. “It’s been awhile.”
“Wow, um, it has,” I managed, all breathless and red-faced.
“So, uh, you wanna hang out sometime with me and my friends?”
Smooth like butta.
But I had learned a few things in the years since we saw each other last, and I wanted something more. I wanted him, not to hang with his buds, or go on a double date – I wanted Tom. Plain and simple. I knew I had waited too long and given my heart away to the wrong people to begin a new relationship without all my cards on the table.
So, my heart pounded wildly, yes, yes, yes, but out squeaked, “No.”
“No, thanks, but it was wonderful to see you, and I’d like to see you again soon,” I said as I walked back to my table, cursing myself for just ruining a good thing – possibly the best thing.
It took me five or six times of asking Norah on a date before I got it right. It is something that we still joke about to this day. The first five attempts were me trying to take the easy route and have a buffer with some friends there. It got to the point, at least in my mind, that if I didn’t muster up the courage to ask her out without my friends involved, then I was going to lose her.
My successful attempt finally happened on a Sunday after church. Norah and I spotted each other while walking in and said a casual hello, but I froze. I then spent the next hour rehearsing my one and only line – my last attempt – “Do you want to go get some coffee?” Church ended and I still hadn’t said the words.
After blowing my last chance, my roommate and I decided to get some food. We were at a local deli ordering some subs when I noticed Norah and her friend enter the pizzeria in the same plaza. So, I called the pizzeria and ordered some food for pickup, and I headed that way, leaving the sub on the counter. We smiled at each other as I walked to the counter to pay for the pizza that I wasn’t going to eat. I knew that this was my moment. This was my moment to step out of my comfort zone and make it happen. She was gorgeous, intelligent, funny, and feisty, and I was holding a pizza.
To be honest, I have no idea what I said to her when she finally said yes, but I do remember feeling like I had won the lottery!
And just like that, we became us.
After a whirlwind ten months together, we were engaged.
Nine months after our engagement, we were married. We bought our house and began renovating it together, which you can read about here.
One day, three months into our first year of marriage, we got the news we wanted to hear: baby Jackson was on his way!
And a year after that, baby James joined our family.
Our sweet Isla, whose birth story you can read here, completed our family four years after that.
Nowadays, we’ve traded in our lazy weekends and long lunches for Little League and PB&Js. Our date nights involve recounting stories of funny things the kids did and early bedtimes because our giggling alarms dive bomb us all too early in the morning. It’s exactly as it was meant to be.