Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine Facebook Meme

E and H, on their way home from senior Grad Night at Disneyland. 1997.

Why? Because I can't say anything in 120 characters or less.

I know you've had enough of the Facebook status meme, bra colors, celebrity look-alikes, et al... but I thought I'd make a complete 180 from last week's Facebook rant and use a status idea for a post idea. Because... well just because.

I like telling our story because it's not straightforward. Yes, we were high school sweethearts. We have a cute little story about how we met when we were kids, but it doesn't end there. If you've read this blog for any amount of time you know about how much work and trouble we've had in our relationship. Because it's a REAL relationship. No, I don't go around telling my students that it's a good idea to marry the person you're dating in high school. It worked for us, but it's been WORK. To be truthful, sometimes it's been awful. We've had our share of crappy. We got married young so we had to grow up together and there's so much friction that comes with that. But we belong together, and the story about how we met is still a good story.

E and I will have been married ten years this April. Of course, not ten years straight through with no problems or separation. I've written about our separation plenty of times, and my struggle to decide what our anniversary means in light of that separation. But E's encouraging me to move forward and celebrate those ten years, speed bumps and all. I realize we can't claim that anniversary the same way other people can who've managed to hold together without the break in commitment, but it's still a big deal. We still celebrate our vow renewal from last year as another milestone in our relationship--a different, more mature and knowing commitment ceremony--so basically there's just a lot to be happy about. But as far as our history: we've known each other since we were fifteen--going on sixteen years now, and we've been dating/together basically since December of 1995. E has now been in my life longer than he was not.

So how did we meet? Welp, it all started in the tenth grade. He was the pale, skinny kid who sat in front of me in Biology all year and in World History for half the semester. Of course overcoming both of our crippling fears of the opposite sex took us the entire year. I stared at him from afar, and by a lucky arrangement in Biology involving rotating rows, I got to sit behind him for about five out of every six weeks. He was lab partner to our friend Mike, and I had been relegated to lab partnership with this snooty girl (well, she was nice to me, but E thought she was snooty because she had a lot of money). I was a total opportunist when it came to in-class partnerships, suppressing my own personality just to be accepted by whoever looked the least weird. She fit the bill, so she was my partner.

I'd try to be clever for E, he would try to get me to laugh; it was a good arrangement. One day he told me he could do the middle splits and I called BS on that. We made a bet, I lost. He busted out middle splits right there in the middle of the science room. His years and years of karate had given him abnormally flexible hip joints. But even though his humor and quickness to turn beet red at the slightest embarrassment captivated me, I was too afraid to make any overt attempts to get him to notice me. I was a nerd--a shy one at that--and I'd never had a "real" boyfriend yet. Little did I know he was equal to me in nerdiness and shyness. I heard his name all the time (of course no one could pronounce his last name, so a lot of it was like what's that guy E's last name? How do you say it? but word on the street was that he was cute.)

Cut to the next fall, junior year when my friend for life, ML, and I had the amazing fortune to have a week as camp counselors for sixth graders in our school district. We got to miss an entire week of school and hang out in a cabin supervising children. No adults, just me and ML. It is one of my favorite memories, ever. ML and I would sit up late eating the junk food we'd smuggled in, discussing life in a way that I'm sure I've never rivaled in level of detail. Of course the conversation inevitably turned to who I liked, and I admitted with trepidation that I liked that guy E who had been in my Biology and History classes. I mentioned this with the added caveat that I hoped she wouldn't say anything to anyone.

Added: Of course I wanted him to know. Of course ML and I hatched a plan to find out how he felt, and even though my nervousness overcame me, we did the thing where we made sure he knew that I was interested just so the water could be tested.

A week later, our friend Mike knew, and about a day later, E knew. To my extreme glee and nervousness, he felt the same. He asked me to go to the mall and a series of movie dates over the course of the next few weeks. And on one fateful day about a week or two after he found out I liked him, as I stood in my grey Mickey Mouse sweatshirt and frizzy, ponytailed hair outside the C-Wing, he asked me if I'd go with him to Winter Homecoming. Huge deal. We went, he was a perfect gentleman, and the rest is history.

Complex, arduous, but beautiful history. :)


  1. aw, what a great story! :-) congrats on your 15 years(ish) together!

  2. Aaaaaawe...cutest story ever...all that nerdiness was going on in my classroom and I didn't even notice. You were just - such a good student. Thanks for sharing! You and E celebrate every damn minute of those 10 years, and those 15 years. You deserve it. Do not discount your time apart as separate from your relationship. You are in relationship together, and you are individual people. Those 10 years, they are yours and E's, and you deserve to celebrate every joy, every success, every hardship, every struggle, every coupon-clipping moment, every quiet breathing in of each others' air. Just be...H & E

  3. Awwww. I always thought you two were so completely adorable together in high school. Just seemed to be the right match! But I can't believe people can't figure out how to pronounce E's last name! How could they get it wrong, it's exactly how it looks!

  4. Hmmm, I remember this differently! :) This makes it sound like I blabbed it all over! My recollection is that we slyly planned who I would tell so that E would find out and then we would proceed from there. No? Either way, aren't you glad? It couldn't have worked out better. And yes, SP is one of my all time favorite memories. What a blast we had! "Snearly" anyone? :)

  5. Oooh, yes. You are correct, ML. That's just an error in my writing--I believe there was a diabolical plan hatched to see what E felt, and I was nervous for him to know, but of course I wanted him to know. You weren't blabby blabberson, don't worry. That's not how I remember it. Going back in for an edit now.

  6. awwww i'm throwing up eeeeeverywhere! haha and are you talking about Sly Park!??! i waited all my life to be a camp counselor there and by the time highschool came around, they told me we weren't doing it anymore! talk about a bust!! and umm 10 years separation or not, celebrate it girl, thats huge!

  7. You so captured the high school "I like a guy but I'm a nerd" feeling in this post...I felt just like I was back in Ms. Webster's chemistry class, rotating rows and all! Love it!

  8. It's a rare and beautiful thing to be married to your high school sweetheart. I only know of a handful of people like you, and this list includes my Nana. I loved reading this. You're so not bitter, by the way. In a later post you fear you're bitter because you ... what? Reject Valentines Day? Fug Valentines Day. You're a romantic 364 days of the year.

    Do you still talk to ML?

    I love the photo of you and E before either of you had pubes.

  9. Ha, ha! The "edit" is funny. :) I was just teasing... those days were so fun. I can totally still see us sitting on the top bunk eating cereal from the box and talking about E and "what's his name" until the wee hours! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I say 10 years, especially with the bumps, is fantastic. So many don't make it half that long. Celebrate away!