HERE. Today's story is about how we met before leading to the best wedding ever!
Eric and I met at the end of March 2002. I was a 27-year-old second year teacher working at a Catholic school, I'd been dumped (thankfully) by a guy just before Thanksgiving, and I was dating here and there.
Back to the story. In order to find people to date, I signed up on Match.com. It felt risque and exciting all at the same time because meeting online was still fairly new. (Let's just say my mother in law still shakes her head that we met on a dating website! And I keep reminding her that her son did not pick me up drunk in a bar!) I'm not sure how Match works these days, but 13 years ago, I was able to load a profile for free and just wait for the men to come to me, and I never had to pay a penny! If the men contacted me, I could answer them back without having to go through the site and pay a fee. I thought I was so smart! I never had to initiate contact on the website.
By this point in life, I'd had two serious relationships, but the one just before Eric was what I thought was "The One." Even then, however, I knew things weren't all that great between us, but the whole package contained what I thought I wanted. He had a good job, a house, a car, was semi-religious, and treated me decently. He wasn't abusive or mean, but decent was about as good as it got.
To make a long story short, he reevaluated his life and realized I was not the person he needed or wanted. I was devastated ending a two-year relationship where I thought I'd eventually be getting married, but he didn't want to commit. Thank the heavenly Lord, because it would have been the biggest mistake of my life. I'd have been settling in every way. Funny how you can only see those things after the fact and after the hurt.
Since I was 27 and had had a few months to process what was truly missing in that relationship, I figured out what I wanted in a husband and moved forward with Match.com. I got REALLY snobby with my dating selections. If the guy's initial email to me through Match was poorly written with bad spelling and grammar, I didn't even return the email. If we corresponded with a few emails and they couldn't answer questions beyond one or two words, I deleted them. I knew in my heart that I needed a partner who had good communication skills. I didn't want to feel "smarter" than my boyfriend or husband. It sounds awful to admit it out loud, but I also knew it to be true in my heart.
Mean, I know! But funny!
Then one day in March, Eric's first email to me through Match appeared in my inbox. I liked that we had many things in common including our Catholic faith. He told me that he was the baby of five and was very close to his siblings and parents. That was another strong point of attraction for me because the previous boyfriend had (in my opinion) a terrible relationship with his family and could never understand my need for me to be around my family.
Eric also had great grammar, was able to string together more than two sentences, and seemed genuinely interested in me! Win!
We began emailing each other for a week. Each email gave me further insight into this wonderful man. He was 33 at the time, working in the computer industry in what appeared to be a pretty stable job, he owned a home, he had two dogs, he had a car, he loved his family, and he attended church. Almost sounded too good to be true!
Every email from him was exciting and kept me wanting more.
In week 2, we progressed to telephone calls. You know the type...the ones that last until the wee hours of the morning. You say it all and then have more to say! I loved those initial "get to know you" phone calls. We just never seemed to run out of things to talk about, and Eric was (and still is) a great listener. I think he listens better than I do. Strike that. I KNOW he listens better than I do! During that time, I was living at home, and my mom would find me on the phone at 3 in the morning and get so mad at me! I was 27, but I felt 15! I couldn't wait for our first official date.
I was a relatively new Catholic in 2002 and had never been to an Easter Vigil at church, so my dad and I had planned to attend that Easter. I was talking on the phone with Eric and he knew about my plans to go to church, but I was nervous to ask him to attend. We hung up from that phone call only to have me call him back and ask if he wanted to go to the Easter Vigil with me. He said yes, but I never told him my dad was going! I called him back a THIRD time to ask him if he was okay with my dad going with us. I wasn't going to dis-invite my dad so I could go on a church date with a guy I had never met!
Eric was completely fine with my dad going with us! And that is probably when I fell in love with him!
He drove to my little town of Chowchilla from Clovis (an hour away), we met for the first time standing in my childhood living room, he spoke to my parents and then the three of us took off to Merced to attend church. Dad sat in the back seat while we were in the front.
I still brag about this fact when I tell our story: the fact that Eric was so completely fine with meeting me in real life for the first time, going on our first date to the LONGEST church service of the year, and having my dad in the back seat of the car. I was seeing hearts and stars!
Once church was over and we came back home, we spent a bit of time talking and continuing to get to know each other. My dad went to bed! Eric told me he wanted to kiss me, but he was going to wait until our next date. Sneaky man! Any girl who hears this wants to jump all over the guy, but we waited until date #2. And oh how sweet that first kiss was!
Christmas Eve not sure which year.
We had been dating for three months when Eric proposed to me. Wedding story HERE. He tried so hard to make it happen at church, because that's where our relationship began, but I kept accidentally messing things up! Eric was ushering that day, and I usually would sit in the pew and wait for him to come back inside. He planned to come in from passing out bulletins, drop to one knee and ask me to be his wife. For whatever reason, I decided to join him outside which flustered his plan.
We ended up back at his house and he said he wanted to go get a hair cut. Okay. I stayed there and played solitaire on the computer. When Eric came back from his haircut, he had the ring, flowers, and he dropped to his knee in front of me and the computer and asked me for the honor of becoming his wife!
In these last three pictures, we were already married and had Baby #1, but I honestly can't find many of our super early photos pre kids. They are probably on a CD somewhere. I need to pull those out another day.
We'll be married for 12 years this April, and I am blessed to be by Eric's side each and every day.