our love story.

where my heart resides

Two weeks after high school graduation, my friend Robby and I were leaving the county fair when he asked if he could stop by his friend Brett’s house to return a video game.

“Brett….Gadd?” I asked nonchalantly.

“Yeah, it will just take a second.”

I hid a smile and not-so-slyly reapplied a coat of lip gloss. I didn’t know Brett personally, I only knew of him. We had attended the same high school, but not at the same time. He, five years my senior, had graduated before I started as a freshmen, yet his reputation preceded him. Brett was somewhat of a basketball legend at our small high school, with plenty of trophies and MVP awards to show for it.

Needless to say, I was slightly giddy on the car ride to his house. We arrived around 9:00pm, and Robby reassured me again that we wouldn’t be there long. I tousled my hair and told him I wasn’t in a hurry.

Brett opened the front door wearing blue basketball shorts and a white t-shirt. His hair was a total mess. He wasn’t expecting us, and immediately began apologizing for his unkempt appearance.

“Sorry, I’ve been really sick. I just got over strep throat,” he smiled at me.

I was totally smitten.

The three of us retreated to Brett’s room for a few more minutes of small talk. Him and I exchanged a couple words, although I mostly listened to him and Robby chat. At one point he turned on his computer and logged onto AIM (if you don’t know what AIM is, you might be too young to be reading this). I made a mental note of his screen name and privately congratulated myself on my romantic stealthiness. The minute I got home that night, I crawled into bed with my laptop and immediately logged into AIM, adding Brett as a buddy.

To this day Brett and I still argue over who made the first move. Brett will tell you that he signed onto AIM on purpose, so that I would subtly see his screen name and initiate an online conversation later, which is exactly what happened. I will tell you that whoever actually initiated the first conversation (me!) gets the credit for making the first move. I can’t remember what I said in that first AIM chat but I’m sure it was equal parts dorky and clever.

We talked on AIM for an hour that night, and an hour the next night, and the night after. Pretty soon I was rushing home after my glamorous waitressing shifts at Chilis to get on my computer. Online chats turned into text messages and phone calls, and finally, a few in-real-life dates. Four weeks later, on July 9th, we held hands and kissed for the first time in the middle of the street next to my car. It was 80 degrees outside and his knees were shaking. He said he was cold, but we both knew he was just nervous. On July 16th we went to a baseball game and he asked me to be his girlfriend under the fireworks.

He came to Chilis, too often, and left me flirty notes on the receipts after devouring entire orders of chips and queso. One time he even left behind a tiny bag filled with perfectly curated orange skittles, my favorite. Three months later he whispered, “I love you,” and I couldn’t say it back fast enough.

I will never forget that summer of 2004. We have other significant years to remember…..the year we got married, the year we went to Greece, the year we had our first baby…..but 2004 was the year we fell in love and I’m not sure if any other season can top that. Every thought I had, every minute of the day, was about Brett. We were together nonstop—sharing meals, running errands, watching movies. Every Tuesday we went to Baskin Robbins for dollar scoop night. I ordered mint chocolate chip with rocky road and he ordered two scoops of orange sherbet. We held hands, we kissed, we laughed constantly.

We were young and in love and nothing could stop us.

We talked about everything; no topic was off limits. One time we drove to the movie theater and got so wrapped up in a conversation about faith that we spent two hours sitting in the parking lot talking about God and completely missed the movie. We talked about our hopes, our dreams, our secret ambitions and fears. Days felt like months and months felt like years.

That Christmas, after six months of dating, Brett presented me with a huge box on Christmas Eve. It appeared to be an appliance of some sort, although the unbranded cardboard box threw me off. I was confused when I opened it and found a bunch of towels inside, until I realized the towels were meant to throw me off as well. At the bottom of the box was a smaller box, which I quickly identified as a jewelry box. I opened it to find a thin silver band with a small diamond in the center. We sat in the dark, just the two of us, in front of the lit Christmas tree in my parent’s living room.

“It’s a promise ring,” he said. “Some day, I’m going to ask you to marry me.”

It might as well have been an engagement ring, because that’s how much it meant to me. I put that ring on my wedding finger and didn’t take it off until March 19, 2006, when Brett got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

IM000813.JPG{ summer of 2004: I was 18 and he was 22….babies! }

Nine years, one baby, and a few more wrinkles later, here we are—still standing, still committed, still smiling most of the time. Tomorrow we celebrate six imperfect-but-wonderful years of marriage. These six years have been extraordinary and hard and messy and glorious and complicated, but I think every day we are learning how to love each other a little bit better, and maybe that’s what this marriage thing is all about.

Happy anniversary, Brett. Thank you for putting up with my ridiculous antics, for showing me grace when I least deserve it, for letting me chase every dream I can think of, and for loving me the incredible way that you do. I’m so blessed to be your wife.

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41 Responses to our love story.

  1. Angeline says:

    9-10 years ago must have been a sweet spot for AIM romances, because your story sounds a lot like mine and Kevin’s (with our own unique differences, of course). We “met” unofficially in RA training the spring of 2003 (I don’t think we ever spoke even one word to each other then), and it was only until later in the summer that I got up the guts to IM him off the directory they gave us of our fellow RAs. The rest is history. 🙂
    Angeline´s last blog post ..The Law of Inertia, or how productivity begets productiveness

  2. kate says:

    what a sweet love story, i’m a sucker for an online begining…after meeting in person twice my husband and i first connected on myspace email (oh man i feel old) when we first started dating. happy (early) anniversary!
    kate´s last blog post ..friday links..

  3. ah what a beautiful love story 🙂 Yes I remember AIM . Congrats on going strong and I always love reading how couples came to be . Many Many more happy years .
    Julie@my5monkeys´s last blog post ..Cover Lust #11 –Penguin edition

  4. Christine says:

    Happy anniversary! You two are such an inspiration of dedication and love, and Everett is lucky to have you <3
    Christine´s last blog post ..Do, Eat, Drink: Williamsburg

  5. lauren says:

    happy anniversary! thank you for sharing your love story. they are one of my favorite things to read! 🙂 *
    lauren´s last blog post ..little love song.

  6. Danielle says:

    I melt. True love stories are the absolute best 🙂 congratulations to you both!
    Danielle´s last blog post ..the tenement museum

  7. Sophie says:

    What a wonderful story! I just loved this – gave me goose bumps. Happy Anniversary!

  8. Susan Clark says:

    Thank you for sharing your love story. Happy Anniversary!! It is so crazy to see how each marriage is crafted together differently, I hope your day is excellent.
    Susan Clark´s last blog post ..Artist Spotlight: Anton Van Hertbruggen

  9. Liz says:

    happy anniversary you two!!! I LOVED this story!! Six years! Such an accomplishment – congrats! Looks like you had a fun time celebrating last weekend 🙂 Here’s to many more!

  10. Stephanie says:

    I loved reading your story! Ours has some similarities – my fiance and I also connected via AIM in 2004 (we went to the same high school but didn’t reconnect until we were at different colleges). What would we have done without AIM back then? 🙂

  11. Ciiku says:

    Love this!
    Happy Anniversary!

  12. Kiki says:

    This is so sweet! I am in love with reading beautifully written love stories and this one is no exception! I especially loved the AIM part of the love story, that is so cute! 🙂 Happy Anniversary, you two!
    Kiki´s last blog post ..BITS & PIECES.

  13. Jackie says:

    There are tears in my eyes. Love stories are the best, especially when they’re real life ones. Congratulations to you two on 6 whole years of marriage. You guys are sweethearts, that’s for sure 🙂
    Jackie´s last blog post ..in this world…

  14. Holly says:

    You & Brett have such a sweet love story 🙂 Happy Anniversary you two!
    Holly´s last blog post ..Our Wedding: The Ceremony

  15. Christina says:

    What a sweet story, and I love the photo of you two! You absolutely look like two kids in love. Happy anniversary!

  16. Aw, so sweet! I’ve been reading your blog now for about three months, and each post is so delightful. Thanks for sharing your stories, and happy anniversary to you both!
    Bethany ~ twoOregonians´s last blog post ..Seven Years and Six(ish) Continents Later

  17. kim says:

    Awww. This is a wonderful love story. Thank you so much for sharing. ♥

  18. Natalie says:

    Love this! Thanks for sharing. Falling in love is the BEST! I love hearing how people met : )
    Natalie´s last blog post ..Spontaneous Trip to Santa Cruz

  19. kelsey says:

    I love these stories! I have to say that I thank MSN Messenger and email because it totally helped me and Eric grow our acquaintance into friendship and eventually romance. Happy anniversary to you! We celebrate our 7th this year!
    kelsey´s last blog post ..10 Things I Don’t Mind Spending Money On

  20. Absolutely gorgeous story! Love that pic of you two!!! My hubby and I argue over who made the first move too haha.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures´s last blog post ..Ask Andi Anything + Giveaway (Part 4)

  21. michelle says:

    I love the AIM reference, takes me back to HS!! What a cute story – it was meant to be!
    michelle´s last blog post ..Birth Announcements

  22. Gina says:

    Beautiful story! Absolutely beautiful. Happy anniversary to you and your love. <3
    Gina´s last blog post ..Fitness Friday v2

  23. Lila Smyth says:

    I love reading your stories. You have a great way with words! Thanks for sharing…

  24. Natasha says:

    I’ll never forget getting that first AIM message for the now hubby and feeling totally giddy. I was a freshman in the dorms at college and he had stealthily got my screen name from a friend. So dorky and yet definitely a sign of the times!! Congrats on 6 years!!!

  25. I love your simple, sweet, powerful love story & the eloquent, well-written, still-so-in-love way you present it here. Thank you for sharing it with us. And happy anniversary!
    Kate @ SuburbanSweetheart.com´s last blog post ..After Six Years on the East Coast, Apparently Public Transportation Still Confuses Me

  26. Sarabell says:

    Such a sweet story! I feel the same way about my first summer with my husband… I love our life right now but nothing will ever be like that first summer!
    Sarabell´s last blog post ..Children’s Books

  27. This made me tear up! I find love stories so comforting sometimes. I’m so happy you found each other 🙂 xox.
    kate @ undeniable style´s last blog post ..Granny Chic

  28. Awww! I just discovered your blog. I was drawn in by your beautiful photography but OH, such lovely prose. Love your love story! Thanks for sharing. So funny, I actually felt giddy for you guys after reading this. Too cute.
    Henna | HENNA BLOSSOM BLOG´s last blog post ..wild Croatia: a snapshot from the road

  29. Pingback: Loving Lately - undeniable style — undeniable style

  30. Katie says:

    This is such a sweet, wonderful story, Ashlee! Happy Anniversary to you two!
    Katie´s last blog post ..home.

  31. Oh my goodness! I am currently searching and reading love story posts on random blogs, I may or may not be a hopeless romantic haha ;), and came across yours…so beautiful! It is real stories like yours that inspire me and give me hope for my own love life. As a single 22 year old, most of my friends are in serious relationships, married, or having babies. It is refreshing to know someday a love so strong will come about that will be unbreakable through the good times and the bad. 🙂

  32. Vivian says:

    So sweet – brought tears to my eyes!

    xx Viv at JoieDeViv
    Vivian´s last blog post ..Anaheim Packing House – District

  33. Molly says:

    Awe, I love this! You describe that falling-in-love phase so aptly, I feel like I’m there with you. I remember my own experience with my husband, which started in 2005. Surprisingly, we never spoke on AIM (I think because he didn’t have a computer) but I remember we’d call each other promptly at 9 o’clock every night, because that’s when minutes were free, and would talk on the phone about everything possible until 7am, when Tmobile started charging for minutes again. Every single night of the summer following our freshman year of high school was spent that way. We became the absolute best of friends before we even got to have our first date. Oh, to be young and in love. And for the record, I totally made the first move. We both happened to be walking to the front of the campus on the last day of school; he gave me his number, I called him right away so he’d have mine, and then a week later when I hadn’t heard from him, I called and asked when we were going to get together. I was fearless in my pursuit! I knew he was The One. And I was right 🙂 Something to be said for the modern woman, I suppose.

  34. mehdi says:

    I loved reading your story!
    Thanks, Henna!

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