To the cute stranger I met 13 years ago...
Where do I even begin? Why don't I start on the very night we met...New Year's Eve (December 31, 2003). I was 19 years old, had just moved to Germany a little over a year before, was in school and worked full-time, and was having the time of my life with my new friends. Meeting someone I was destined to spend the rest of my life with was the absolute last thing on my mind, but I suppose: "Some of the best things in life appear when you least expect them," right?
My friends and I decided to stay on post and ring in the new year at a military bar. My sweet friend, Katie, and I had spent weeks leading up to that night and hours that entire day perfecting our outfits, hairstyles, and make-up. Not to toot my own horn, but I looked damn good lol. The bar had gone to great lengths with their decorations and the hiring of an incredible band that was favorited by so many of us on the base. The party was under way.
I think it's important to add that I'd known Katie and her husband, Tom, for about a year, at this point. I met Katie at school; we took several college classes together and we'd hit it off instantly. They were both originally from Michigan and it's funny how, when you're that far away from home, friends no matter how new they may be, become your new "family." I had no clue at that time, how much her companionship would mean to me over the course of the next year, but we were going to be leaning on each other a lot; she was going to be my rock during some really difficult times...homesickness plus a husband with a very dangerous, military position can truly be such a scary and distressing mix. To this day, I'm so grateful to her for her devoted friendship and company.
On this night, however, neither of us had a care in the world. It was time to party and around 10:30pm, the alcohol was flowing*, music was blaring, and Katie and I were breaking it down on the dance floor when you and another guy I didn't recognize, came into the bar and sat down at our table. I was under the impression that I'd met all of Tom's friends, but clearly I was mistaken. During the band's next intermission, Katie and I returned to the table to replenish our drinks and chat with our friends. No sooner had I sat down, then you got up from the other end of the table, walked over to my seat, introduced yourself, and asked if you could sit down next to me. For the next hour, all we did was talk and laugh. There was no playing hard to get, we were both extremely curious about one another and neither of us were shy about asking questions and revealing answers. You finally asked me to dance and then you stole a kiss from me as we rang in 2004.
Had you told me at that exact moment that within 5 months, I'd legally be changing my last name, I would've slapped you silly. Had you told me that 12 years from then we would have 3 beautiful babies, I would've called you crazy. It may not have been all glitz and glamour but it was certainly one of the best nights of my life. You drove me home later that night, we exchanged phone numbers, and you called me the very next day and asked me out on our first official date. We were practically inseparable from that day forward.
We haven't always had it easy, considering we fell in love and married so young and quick, but my life truly changed that night in Stuttgart, Germany. You bring out qualities in me that no one else ever has. We have a unique and quirky sense of humor that sometimes only you and I understand. Our personalities and interests couldn't be any more different, allowing our relationship to remain exciting and ever-changing. You challenge me at times, while also setting my heart afire. Your sarcastic, managerial disposition makes me want to smack you at times, but your unwavering love and over-protective demeanor are your most redeeming qualities.
When I look into our children's eyes, all I see is you and I just wanted you to know, I feel so lucky to have found you.
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen...we met in a bar ha!
*The legal drinking age, in Germany back in 2004, was 16.
To be continued...