Since we are leaving for our trip mid-week and it also happens to be our anniversary week too, I thought I would turn the next 5 posts into a series I’m calling “Love Story Week”. Every day there will a new post leading you through our 21 years together from our first date to our honeymoon in New England.
Michael and I celebrate not just our wedding anniversary but also the anniversary of our first date. This may seem odd to some people but hear me out… 1. we have been together and inseparable from day one. No joke. We never had a conversation about dating – we just were. and 2. We dated for 6 years before getting married. It just has always seemed wrong to not count them in our total years together. 6 years is a long time and we celebrate that time together.
However, given how our first date went, I am always amazed that we didn’t just walk away from each other and say see-ya later, gator! It was June 2000 and I was home for the summer after finishing my 1st year of college and I got a job where my dad worked. I was cleaning the offices and bathrooms and had been there for about a week, when in walked a super cute guy. From that moment on, I was around and more visible (I never used to take lunch with other people), so I could get to know this guy. While I DID have a boyfriend at the time, I knew it was a dead end relationship and I would be ok if we had broken up. In fact, I broke up with him the next day after Michael had made the comment “well she has a boyfriend, what can I say?” when everyone was joking around.
After about two weeks we were leaving the break room and heading back to work when he pulled me aside and said the most cheesiest, dorkiest and yet totally Michael line EVER! “I was thinking about asking you out but I don’t know your name.” I blushed all shades of red, my cheeks were on fire, I was trying not to dance around… I said my name and that I would love to go out sometime. I walked back into the office and I finally did my happy dance.
We planned our first date a couple days later. We both were working 2nd shift, so we met up that morning and spent the afternoon together before heading to work later on in the day. You can definitely tell that this was a different time because the date was a surprise and I had no idea where we were going. (That would never fly today!)
This is where the story starts to get funny…
We were driving in his car, radio on, and chatting with each other when all of a sudden, it occurred to him that something just seemed… off. I was like “noooooooooo”, he KNOWS! He totally knows and this is it. He’s going to think I am the oddest girl ever and will turn this car around and take me back to my car in the mall parking lot. He turns to me and says “You have no idea what my name is, do you?” I instantly get beet red and I hide my face in my hands and I confess. Nope… not a clue and I was embarrassed to ask someone.
He didn’t turn around, he didn’t open the car door and kick me out, he just laughed a little and stuck his hand out and said “Hi, I’m Mike! Nice to meet you!” We both laughed and then moved on like nothing had ever happened.
We make it to our destination… Niawanda Park. I had never been there before and it was lovely. A long path along the Niagara River with restaurants and ice cream shops. We walked and talked and walked and talked some more. It was a warm but breezy day but the temperature was about to increase dramatically. We decided to get some ice cream…
Now I don’t know if this ice cream was already on the soft side or if I was boiling inside from being nervous or if the temperature increased by 20 degrees suddenly. The next thing I knew, I had strawberry ice cream running all over my hand, down my arm, dripping all over the ground, and with the strong winds by the river, both him and I were wearing it all over our clothing. I couldn’t eat it fast enough to stop the dripping. I had used both of our napkins at this point and threw away the remaining cone. However, I was still sticky…. so there is a 20 year old girl, standing there with a guy she agreed to go out with even though she didn’t know his name, LICKING the ice cream off her hands and arms.
Oh my goodness…. surely I was never going to see him again outside of work. I was ruining my chances of anything coming from this date and I just knew it was over. We walked around a little bit more and then headed for home.
Oh, in case you thought this was it…. wrong! It gets better! haha
We make it back to his car, with my still sticky arms and his shirt covered in pink splotches and we drive away. However, wouldn’t you know it, Michael gets LOST and has no idea on how to get us back to our town. This is pre GPS, google maps, smart phones. etc. We drive around for quite awhile before he manages to find the entrance to the thru-way and he knows how to get home from there.
He got on going in the WRONG direction but doesn’t realize it for a little bit and a couple exits go by before he realizes this. (I on the other hand, have no sense of direction and no idea how to get anywhere, so I am no help at all!) We get off the tru-way, get back on and start heading back in the right direction. Finally…
We make it back to our local mall, I get in my car, we say goodbye (knowing we will see each other at work in about an hour) and drive away. I beat myself up for every little thing that went wrong but deep down, I was still hoping that he would take pity on me and we could have a do-over on our first date.
Obviously, it worked out and 21 years later (to the DATE exactly!) we’re still together. Still making fools of ourselves, and still laughing about it all. I once asked him many years later when he “knew” that I was the one for him.
His answer… on our first date when you weren’t afraid to just be yourself. Your quirky, funny, spirited self who licked ice cream off her own arms. Guess this just proves that him and I were just meant to be.