Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Love Story

I met Eric at a junior high/senior high Pilgrim Fellowship outing at the Abol Slide. He was cute. Great smile. Easy laugh. He was older than I. He was going to be a senior in high school that fall. I was going to enter my freshman year. I watched him the entire day. He flirted with all the girls, including me. My then-boyfriend didn’t like that much. But I knew that it was attention without intention. That summer, in the weeks following our meeting at Abol, I would drive my mother crazy with requests that she drive around the block of the Congregational Church where Eric was mowing the lawn. I’d comment on his great looking legs which those 1982 short shorts could not help but show off. Mom would refuse to go around the block but she’d shake her head and laugh with me.

In the fall I got to know Eric better. We were together in band, chorus, and stage band. I still had my boyfriend however I would often bum rides home from Eric after practices. I started trying to fix him up with one of my girlfriends and they went on a date together. Luckily, it didn’t take. In the month before Christmas Eric told me he knew someone who wanted to ask me to the Christmas Dance. “Is it YOU?” I boldly asked him. When he said it was my boyfriend who wanted to ask me, my heart sank. I think Eric noticed that.

Over the holidays I finally realized that I was not being fair to my boyfriend. We broke up. I did not know what might happen in the future but I needed to give myself a chance to be asked out by Eric. On February 18th, 1983 Eric and I went on our first date. We played in the band at a basketball game and then went to McDonald’s to split a small fry and a soda. We continued dating throughout the spring. I remember the day he said, “I think I love you”. There was no denying the powerful feeling in my gut. My heart raced at those words. I know the day I knew I had fallen in love. It was when I realized I was making him laugh. Having grown up in a house where my father, brothers and sister were comedians grabbing the spotlight, I had watched the entertainment from the sidelines. But with Eric, I loosened up and he was now appreciating my own wit. I fell hard.

That summer a bad case of mono robbed me of several weeks with Eric. He was going off to college in the fall and when I recovered from my illness he joined my parents and I on a trip to New Hampshire. I remained behind to visit with my sister. Eric would return to Maine with my Mom and Dad. Eric and I had talked about what we would do when the summer ended. We decided we’d break up, after all he was going to meet other girls at college and I was only 15. I wanted to date others, to explore other relationships. Eric had been the first boy I’d ever kissed. Surely, I had more adventures in my future. In New Hampshire we said our goodbyes. I cried. What I did not expect was that Eric was crying too.

We did break up. I dated others. Eric did not. He was patient with me. He knew I was young. He gave us an amazing gift with his patience. We wrote to one another. We talked on the phone, and every time Eric returned home we met up, talked, kissed, and fell deeper in love. After three years of being “On again, off again”, in the spring of my senior year I knew I had to make a final decision on our relationship. Luckily, I made the right call.

I went off to college, at Eric’s college. We had more adventures. He must have asked me to marry him a hundred times, but I kept saying no. Then on one trip home I talked to my Mom. I told her of Eric’s proposals and she smiled. At the age of 20 I thought for sure she would tell me I was much too young to get married. When she showed me her approval, I felt at peace. The next time Eric asked me to marry him, I said yes. Eric and I were married on November 26, 1988 the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Eric was a school teacher. I was three semesters away from graduating from college. We postponed our honeymoon trip until Christmas vacation. We moved into an apartment between our schools. I graduated from college, went to graduate school, and got a teaching job at the same school where Eric worked. Turns out, we would always be high school sweethearts. We built a home and moved in seven days after the birth of our first child, Sydney, in 1992. Three years later we welcomed a second daughter, Emma, in 1995. In 1998 we lost a baby to a miscarriage but a year later our son, Paul, was born.

Today is our 24th wedding anniversary. In a few months we’ll celebrate the 30 years since our first date. We have been richly blessed in those years. We have had many years of fun, many years of laughter, many years of true love. It hasn’t always been easy. We’ve worked for this life together. There have been times of great challenge. There have been times of frustration, hurt, confusion, and doubt. But we believe in us. We believe in the family we have created. We believe in our life together. And we are excited about our future together.

He is still cute. Great smile. Easy laugh. Sexy legs. Dependable shoulders. Bright blue eyes. We’ve had years of powerful emotions and he still gives me that powerful feeling in my gut and makes my heart race. I'm still crazy about him. And we still make one another laugh nearly every day.

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