But our story goes beyond this day, March 13, 2007, when we were sealed for time and eternity. It all started when this boy met this girl...
It was Labor Day weekend, 2005. I had just joined a little website called MySpace. Don't laugh — this was the very beginning of social media, when MySpace was the cool new thing, Facebook was only for college students, and Twitter hadn't even been invented yet.
Anyway. The weekend was winding down and I was bored, so I started playing around with my profile and the website when I discovered you could search for people in your area. Up popped a picture of this skateboarding boy from South Jordan.
According to his profile, he liked just about every band I loved, and he was online right that minute. So I messaged him.
"What are you listening to?"
Five little words, that's all it took. We were off and running.
We messaged back and forth for hours, moving beyond surface stuff to the things we were working to put in our pasts: him, a cheating ex-wife, and me, a nervous breakdown that led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For me, the old cliche held true: It was as if I'd known him all my life. I wanted to meet.
We exchanged phone numbers and ended our chat. It was around 1 or 2 in the morning, and although I knew we both felt a connection I suddenly wondered if he had given me his real number or blown me off. So I called him, right then and there. He answered, and we talked for another hour.
Two days later we met for our first date, dinner at the Olive Garden (a public place with tons of people where I couldn't be attacked by some random internet stranger, right?). I got there first and began the 20-minute wait alone. Just a minute or two later he walked through the door, and I instantly knew it was him. If our life was an '80s movie, it would look something like this:
I sit alone in a crowded restaurant lobby. People rush in and out the door, but when he enters I know it's him. The double doors simultaneously swing wide. Through the sun I see a silhouette, strong, confident. He walks through, as if in slow motion. Over the cacophony of patrons chatting, a hostess barking out "Johnson, party of 4," and the standard Olive Garden Rat Pack soundtrack I distinctly hear the synthesized symphonic sounds of Cutting Crew's "I Just Died In Your Arms." We make eye contract through the crowd and time stands still. In that moment we know we're going to spend the rest of our lives together.
OK, so it didn't really happen like that. What did happen was this: I only waited alone for a few minutes, but that's all it took for me to suddenly get uncharacteristically nervous. Then he walked in the doors with the sun framing his silhouette (that part did happen). He was wearing a T-shirt and jeans and threw me a casual (maybe nervous?) smile. We said hello and I told him we had about 20 minutes to wait. Then I thought to myself, "If we can't get a decent conversation going within 5 minutes, I'm gone."
And then he complimented me on my shoes. I was smitten.
We talked the night away — which, as anyone who has ever met us knows, is not surprising for us. But to me, it was. I thought, "There is no way I just met my soulmate. Not now." I was still recovering from that nervous breakdown and trying to figure out what having bipolar disorder meant for me and my future. I had just gotten out of an on-again, off-again relationship of two years — just gotten out, like two weeks before (though it was long in the making and long overdue).
Yet it was undeniable. If such a thing as love at first sight exists, it struck me when he walked through those double doors, '80s movie soundtrack and all.
We hugged at the end of the date and he said he'd call the next day. True to his word, he did. That's one thing I loved about Aaron right away: No games, no guessing. From that day on, we were pretty much inseparable.
But it wasn't all hearts and flowers and ooey-gooey love stuff. A few months later Aaron and I got in some stupid fight, and I decided I was seeing his true colors and could never be with someone like that. So I broke it off.
But he wouldn't let me go.
He was devastated, overcome with remorse and vowing to change. After the rocky relationships in my past, I wasn't optimistic. But Aaron surpassed all of my expectations. We got back together, and it didn't take long to realize that he was it for me, that this was it — and he knew the same.
Still, we took it slow. I wanted to be sure I could be stable over the long term, not a basketcase he'd be chained to for the rest of his life (or as long as he could stand being married to me). Considering his past experience, he wasn't eager to rush to the altar, either.
More fun ensued until a year later (or, 15 months after we first met), we got engaged. That story is just as much fun as how we first met, and it happened at the same place.
Mid-December 2006, Aaron wanted to go on a date, a special one. The day came and I ended up sick with a cold, so I tried to put it off. But my family intervened.
"Just go," they said. "It will be fun, don't miss it. You really should go."
That's how I knew something was up. Then when he showed up at the door with flowers and wearing a tie, I was sure: Aaron was going to propose.
He took me to the same Olive Garden where we had our first date. Then he wanted to go for a walk, which I love but I knew he didn't. He took me to Murray Park, my favorite, where I grew up and spent so many happy days. It was warm for December and a light, misty rain fell. In the '80s movie of our life, "Time After Time" played softly in the background.
As we walked along he started telling me about how wonderful I am and how I've changed his life, and then he said this:
"But my life is going in a different direction now, and I can't keep stringing you along." Like the next word out of his mouth would be "goodbye."
That's when I punched him.
He started laughing, then got down on one knee and proposed. And of course I said yes.
So we got engaged...
And three months later to the day, we got married.
And our adventure continued. We bought this house:
And turned it into this house:
Got dressed up...
And did the things we love, together...
Then on October 16, 2010, this happened...
And a few years later, this happened...
And here we are today...
Living happily ever after.