I started dating Bob (then he was called Robert) the summer I was 16 years old. I'd already known him for years by then and I'd had crushes on him on and off, but even though we were friends, he'd never shown much interest. That summer he started hanging out with me more. We'd talk on the phone, linger after hanging out with friends, make late night ice cream runs. But, he waited until halfway through the summer to actually ask me on a date. He was holding off until he turned 16 and could drive us. I was starting to think it wasn't going to happen and then, finally--he turned 16 and we went on our first date. Now it's been 23 years and countless dates later--as we pulled into our garage last week after our last date I had one of those surreal reflecting moments where I thought about the life we'd built together and all the experiences we've had and how we've already been together a lifetime and still that first date seems like yesterday. When he was smiling on my doorstep ready to go. I had no clue that I was embarking on a lifelong journey with the love of my life. I'm glad I went.
Anna and I often reminisce about when we first met. Because our parents were friends in high school, we were, at the very least, acquaintances in elementary school – eventually becoming friends in junior high.
There are two prominent memories that I have of our relational dance. The first is riding the ski lifts of Monarch in Colorado together when we were 15(ish). We were on a Spring Break trip with Young Life at the time and I may or may not have been seeing someone else. Anna would always ski with the boys and could do her fair share of flirting. I was quite intrigued and subsequently figured out how to end up together on numerous ski lifts. It was high above the (of course, double black) slopes that I first realized Anna was different. She was one of the few I could have thoughtful, intelligent, and authentic conversations with... realizing not only that an attraction was present, but that we saw the world in a similar way... all of which would significantly influence the following year.
My second memory was roughly a year later when I was hanging out with a few of my closest friends late one night. The conversation had inevitably turned to "girls"... which eventually led to ranking the girls we would want to date. Yes, this happened. I remember lying awake that night and asking myself if I would be willing to marry any of the girls we had talked about. For numerous reasons... Anna was the only one I was willing to say I could marry (at the age of 16).
I called her a few days later. And we've been together ever since.
Each year better than the last.