I want you to know that I love your daddy very much. He’s such a good man, and I’m so grateful to have found my forever best friend.
As you know, we met in college. He was an 18-year-old freshman; I was a 21-year-old junior. It was our first semester at our college (since I was a transfer student).
Because he didn’t really know anyone, he decided to make friends by rushing Kappa Sigma. As a pledge, you go to different events, and on October 23, the fraternity was going to the Thursday night midnight movie. I had decided to go with my best friend and roommate, Sara, and her boyfriend at the time, Will (who was also a Kappa Sigma pledge). Will, Sara and I sat toward the back of the theater and watched everyone pile in. All of a sudden, this 6-foot+ guy in a pullover fleece sweater and Kappa Sigma hat (his “uniform” for about a year… by choice) plopped down in the seat next to me. Before I knew it, we were making small talk. At one point, Will put his arm around Sara. Your daddy then put his arm around me, mocking Will’s gesture. It was bizarre, yet very normal. We watched the movie (Scary Movie 3) and made fun of it until the film burned up. We had this instantaneous chemistry that gave me butterflies. It’s hard to say that I knew in that moment that I’d marry him, but I felt like he was different.
|daddy, fall 2003.|
The night we met is strange to me now. Your daddy never had a girlfriend before me. He never kissed a girl or “made a move” on anyone before me. But the ease with which he interacted with me didn’t betray that. Daddy was smooth.
I don’t remember if we exchanged numbers, but I knew that I wanted to see him again. Of course, friends tend to meddle, and the following Sunday, Sara arranged a “movie date” at our apartment. The four of us watched “The Lion King”. We learned that we both LOVE Disney movies. We’re both movie nerds. We both have cynical, sarcastic senses of humor.
That next week was homecoming week. There was a long-standing tradition (which is now defunct) of fraternity men (and women) guarding the bonfire firewood (used for a homecoming rally later in the week). They would sit around and talk, and some nights, even camp out to “protect” it. Monday night, we ran in to each other there. Tuesday, I had to work, but Wednesday, (October 29) we both ended up talking by the fire. Another friend noticed we had been talking, and asked your daddy why he hadn’t asked me out yet. He said he was getting to it… and then turned around and asked me to be his girlfriend. Of course I said yes! We ended up camping out with about 30 people to “protect” the wood. That was the first time he held my hand. (It’s the little things, kiddo. You’ll learn that.)
|mommy and daddy, winter formal, 2003|
We had talked about marriage after being together for about a year, and we both knew it would eventually happen. On October 29, 2005, your daddy asked me to marry him. We had gone to visit Mimi and Papa that weekend. I think we went to lunch or saw a movie that afternoon. We came back home, and sat on the back porch. He told me how much he loved me, and how he couldn’t imagine life without me. He asked me to be his wife. It was such a beautiful moment, and I can still remember THAT moment. We kissed and hugged, and he slipped a beautiful ring on my finger.
|mommy and daddy, 2005.|
We spent the next 18 months feverishly planning our big day. We really took the time to enjoy our time as an engaged couple. We decided to get married in daddy’s church, and took marriage preparation classes. Those classes were very important to us. We were able to figure out what each of us expected out of our life together, from how we would budget to how many kids we’d like to have. We discussed our apprehensions and our hopes. I hope that if you choose to get married, you take the time to do this.
Our family and friends gathered together at the United Methodist Church May 26, 2007 to celebrate our union. Daddy looked so handsome that day. I didn’t look too bad, either. ;) I walked down the aisle, gripping my daddy’s arm. I was so nervous! In fact, halfway down the aisle, I took a really loud breath, and people started to laugh. As soon as I took your daddy’s hand, though, I became calm. We recited our vows, said our “I dos” and before you knew it, we were married!
|the second best day of our lives.|
Once we returned, daddy moved in to my apartment, and we adjusted well to married life.
In June 2009, we learned I was pregnant. I went to the doctor, and from the start, everything came back perfect. You were growing as you should, your heart rate was strong… you were thriving.
Pregnancy was going well; daddy was very patient and attentive, and for the most part, I wasn’t indulging in weird cravings. In December, my blood pressure spiked, and I had to go to the emergency room. Everything was fine by the time I got there, but we monitored things very closely after that. Mid-January, I was placed on bed rest because of my blood pressure. I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed for three weeks, aside from doctor’s appointments and bathroom breaks. (I should have taken advantage of this time, but it was so boring!)
|the day before having you.|
Labor was progressing well enough at first. My contractions were fairly regular (and strong) and I was dilating at an okay rate. Once I got to a 4, though, that stopped. I got my epidural, but that was no match for the contractions. Your heartbeat kept dipping during the contractions, and after 15 hours of labor, they decided to perform a C-section. I was terrified at the thought of being cut open, but if they didn’t do it, we would have died. They wheeled us back around 3am, and by 3:35am, you were here! 5 pounds, 13 ounces and completely gorgeous. It’s an out of body experience when your child is born. I felt them reaching in and pulling you out, I heard you cry, I even saw your perfect face, but it didn’t click that your daddy and I CREATED YOU! YOU WERE OURS! It’s such a mind blowing and beautiful thing to have a child. You made our family whole on that day.
|to think, it all started with a boy and a girl falling in love.|
You made us grow up in the best possible way. You brought out the most wonderful side of your daddy, making me love him even more than I ever thought possible.
You got sick earlier this year with RSV, and were admitted to the hospital. Daddy was sick, too, but he snuck up in the middle of the night to be with us. He held me as I cried, and sent me home for a shower. It sounds stupid, but those are the kinds of things that make up a good man.
|he loves you more than anything, and that's okay. I do, too.|
I love you forever,