Eleven years ago today, I wore a black long tight skirt with slits up both sides, a tight red v-neck shirt, and some slip on sandals that made a flippy flop sound when I walked. I was so carefree and tan and thin and blond, who knows if I even showered that day, or if I just brushed my hair, teeth, and put some deodorant on and walked out the door. I probably threw on some eyeliner, lipliner and chapstick at a red light in my rear view mirror, because that was where I did my "make-up".
Off to NYK quality training. It was a day off work. My first company - sponsored training. Every new employee had to go to Quality training, and I was a little bummed because I was going to the one in Boise, ID. It wasn't exciting for me, because I lived in Boise, ID. Everyone else I knew went to the one in LA*, NYC**, Chicago***, or even Seattle. But I'd gotten chosen for the lottery of the first ever locally sponsored training. I'd been at my new job for about 9 months, and I was liking it quite well. It was my first thing after college, and I felt like quite the little professional, with my own desk and email address and whatnot. I'd just been offered a position to move to NEW YORK** the day before, and I'd accepted it, I was going. It was a good day.
(*Long Beach, CA; **Secaucus, NJ; *** Lombard, IL; - But, whatever, at this point, I'd grown up in Joseph, OR, went to college in Missoula, MT, and lived in Boise, ID. My pond was small)
I walked in to training and sat across from a pretty cute guy eating a bagel with butter on it. I heaped on cream cheese on my own bagel and chit chatted with him over breakfast. The cute guy was from the Chicago office, as were most of the people in the room who were not from Boise. He was originally from NJ, so I told him I might be moving to the NY office. He corrected me that that office was not in fact in NY, but NJ, and that he'd worked at that office too - just had been transferred to Illinois at his own request. He wanted to know WHY I would want to move to NJ? Had I ever been there? Why did I think I would like it?
I was 22, and really...who CARED? Of course I would like it! My company was moving me accross the country and I was gonna be a CPA, it would be AWESOME!! What did cute guy know about it anyway?
Cute guy didn't want to go to the training in Boise, IDAHO either. It was a 5 hr flight with stops. The only direct flight into IDAHO comes from UTAH. Period. He wanted to go to the one in NJ, free 2 hr direct flight trip home to see his family and friends.
But here we both were. We were in the same group during small group time. We might have had to do some sort of skit together. Cute guy was funny, and smart. His smile had an extra little twinkle for me. I was gorgeous and confident, with a sparkley smile of my own...but I didn't know it at the time. After the training was over, my friend said, 'Wow, Cute Guy from Chicago is totally CUTE". "Yeah, but he's totally in Chicago" was my only reply. I'd just gotten out of a long distance disaster with a stand up comedian, and was not in the market for finding love in another time zone. Still, he was cute. And funny...
As it turns out. Eleven years ago was the day that made me decide that fate really does exists.
That one day training seminar for NYK Quality.
That cute guy from Chicago changed my life. He was the first man to ever show me unconditional love. Five months later, he gave up Chicago and moved to New Jersey even though he didn't want to live there. Two years later, he asked me to marry him. I remember that day, thinking, I can't believe someone actually wants to marry me. And he did marry me. Then he gave me a daughter, and then another, and a finally a son. The first time I saw him whisper 'I love you' to our child, when he didn't know I was looking, I wept at how beautiful it was.
He changed me and loved me in all the ways a person can be loved. He showed me that all the things that didn't work out in my life led me to him. He taught me that when you need a change in your life, you just need to walk home from school another way. He showed me the beauty in my disappointments. He made me feel safe. Every single day he makes me feel like I'm not in this alone. I'm not in anything alone. I'm not perfect, he's not perfect, but we are perfect together. Cheesy as that sounds, it's true. I still remember the little things that impressed me about him in the early days. And I laugh at how easy it was to impress that wounded but strong little girl. I love how he wasn't trying to impress, he was just a great guy. Anyone who knows him knows that he is 100% real. I never have had to wonder where I stand with him, because he puts it out there and doesn't pretend he's anything he's not. If he's mad he acts mad, and if he's happy he acts happy. If he offers to help you move, he wants to help, if he doesn't want to, he won't say yes. If he wants to watch Sportscenter, he wants to watch Sportscenter. :) He did send me 2 cards per day every single day for the five months that we were long distance, so maybe he was trying to impress...just a little. And every once in a while he'll write me a poem or give me a card, just because. Just because he thinks I'm great.
He tells me all the time that he's lucky to be married to me; that I'm the best wife, mother, and woman there is. And he believes it. He believes in me. And that helps me to believe too.