I met the love of my life years ago. We both grew up in Minnesota, but an hour away from each other. Our church's youth group is what ultimately brought us together. We both belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as Mormons. Our church would hold youth dance every few months and although we can't remember completely, we are convinced we must have danced at one of these at least once.
Brady graduated from high school, and I was enjoying the summer before my senior year of high school. Our church planned a church history trek for all 16-18 year olds in our area. This took us on buses all around the upper midwest for a few days. Brady and I were in seperate groups, but happened to be on the same bus two of the days. I immediately started crushing on this silly, adorable red-headed boy. Unknown to me, he was also crushing on me. But being too scared of each other, neither of us said anything. After the trip I tried to ask him on a date, but because of the way it played out he didn't know it was me and nothing came of it.
We saw each other once or twice after that, but life and circumstances got in the way.
A year later I was graduated from high school and working at ValleyFair, an amusement park in Minnesota. In the middle of the summer Brady went to Valley Fair with some friends, but I wasn't working that day. I later found that out after seeing some pictures on Facebook, and so started commenting on them and soon enough Brady and I set up another date to get a group together to go to ValleyFair.
The day began and before we met up I had hardly even remembered I had once had a crush on him. It didn't take long though and all the same feelings returned. They did for Brady too. Each of us was unaware of each other's feelings, and again being unsecure and naive we secretly tried to sit by each other on rides with out the other one knowing (it still makes me laugh to think about that). I later found out that Brady almost kissed me on a water ride, but thought better of it. Good thing. At that point in my life I had only been kissed once and I probably would have freaked out.
Sadly I don't have a picture from that day, but here is us at ValleyFair a year later.
This day developed into Facebook wall conversations, which developed into Facebook message conversations, and soon enough texting conversations that made me change my cell phone texting plan.
Brady owed me money from buying his ValleyFair ticket with my employee discount, and so we set up a time to meet. I ever-so-slyly changed our "meeting" into a double date with his little brother and another girl. We went to The Caves, a dance club in Minneapolis that had swing dancing on Thursday nights. It was not until after we got into the club and paid that I found out I was the ONLY one in the group that knew how to swing dance. Sheesh! After attempts at teaching them, we all ended up outside and spend the rest of the night just talking. Brady may or may not have dropped me off late for curfew because he got lost... (don't tell him I told you!)
This all seems like a fantastic start, but here's the twist- I was leaving in just two weeks to move to Utah for my freshman year at Brigham Young University. We hung out a few more times. Once I thought I would never see him again. I was leaving in a few days and he was giving me a ride home from a friend's house. I was holding a bunch of stuff and as I was about to get out of the car he said, "Can I have a hug?" Now here is where out stories differ. If you ask me I said "yeah" and placed all of my things on the floor. If you ask Brady, I said "yeah" and threw all of my things on the floor. (FYI-My story is more accurate).
Deciding to be a brave little 18-year old, I got him to come over the day before I left to say goodbye. We spend the afternoon in my backyard sitting on the trampoline trying to make conversation, even though we were both still so nervous we could hardly say anything intelligible. In fact, I am quite certain at one point I looked over at my mom's garden and said, "I wonder why that tomato plant is crooked." Oh geez. How in the world this boy fell for a girl that made comments about tomato plants being crooked is beyond me...
While we were sitting on the trampoline is when we first held hands. It was absolutely perfect. We were both so nervous that when our hands finally touched the butterflies in my stomach went wild. I couldn't have been happier. Until he left. (Two hours late for work I might add). Then I became depressed. Dramatic? Maybe. But I knew there was something special about this boy and I had just said goodbye.
Well, my bravery spiked and before I left for the airport the next day I sent him a message and told him he had better keep in touch. I am so glad I sent that message. It began 9 months of 2+ hour nightly phone conversations (more of an average of 3 or 4 hours), monthly trips back to Minnesota (luckily my dad works for the airlines) and 6 months later the words, "I love you."
I moved back home for the summer after my freshman year and thought I was in heaven when I got to see Brady at least two times a week (he still lived hour away). I couldn't wait for the day when I could see him everyday. I knew, though, I would again have to said goodye, and this time it would be much harder.
That December Brady left on a two-year proselyting mission for our church. This was a voluntary thing, and while I wanted him to go and serve the Lord, my heart was broken when we said goodbye.
Two years is a long time. We both decided that while yes, right then someday we wanted to get married, we had no idea what the future would bring, and it wouldn't be fair for me to live in a box for two years. (For those who don't know, Mormon missionaries detach themselves from home so they can focus on the work they are doing and grow closer to the Lord. In other words, we only wrote letters. And we chose to not write often so I wouldn't distract him). So while he was away I dated. It took me 16 months to really try to give my heart to someone else, and while I was fair to the couple guys I dated, it was never the same. I was never in love with anyone else.
Finally, two years were up. Brady was coming home. A few weeks after he came home I flew from Utah to Minnesota to see him. Things were hard. I was different. I was almost a college grad now. He was different. He spent two years serving the Lord. We stayed friends, but both were going through hard things in our own way. Soon we decided it was too hard to just be friends and we stopped talking. A few months later, he moved to Utah. We didn't talk at first, but that didn't last. Before long we were dating again.
The summer was amazing. We had a blast. School started again and life became stressful, but Brady made it all okay. We still lived 45 minutes apart, so weekends were our only time to be together. But they were perfect.
In December of that year, last year, 2011, Brady came home with me for Christmas and New Years. At this point my parent's had moved to Georgia so that's where we went. Starting a month or two earlier, Brady had began talking marriage. And I began freaking out. Suddenly now that marriage could be a real thing, I wasn't so sure anymore. I mean, it's a big deal! It's forever! So I chose to not think about it. Until he brought it up. And I freaked out. Over break, though, we just relaxed and had a great time. And went to the Atlanta Aquarium.
In January, a few weeks after we were back in Utah, I couldn't take the stress of the decision making process anymore. So I threw in the towel. I said goodbye...again. But Brady and I have this problem where we can't stay away from each other. Ever. So we tried to be friends. It ended up in "we're a couple but we're going to pretend we're not." So then we stopped talking. But we couldn't. So we tried to be friends. And the cylce continued. Months went by and Brady moved to Salt Lake. And then I moved to Salt Lake. And suddenly we were closer than we ever had been. Less than 5 minutes away. This didn't help our cylce. It kept going. Finally I stopped and said, "what am I doing? I love this boy more than anything. I can't live without him. He's my best friend. Why the heck shouldn't I marry him?" There was no reason. He was and is my everything. I know this is so cliche and cheesy to say, but he completes me. Really. Honestly. Truly. We are the perfect balance for each other.
So a month and a half ago, before I left on trip with my brother to Australia, I cuddled with Brady, looked up and him and said, "Ok. Let's get married." It may have taken a few minutes to convince him I was serious, but the rest is history.
I will do a separate post on the proposal for all those who already know our love story (especially those who almost know it in more detail than I do!).
We are getting married on December 27th, 2012 in the St. Paul Minnesota LDS Temple.