With my wedding anniversary just a few days away I thought maybe it would be nice to post "Our Story". Really I just wanted an excuse to post some old photos.
It's a long one but...Here we go!
It was the summer of 2008. I had just finished my freshman year of college and was coming off of our NCAA championship. That summer was spent training (shocking) and also an amazing trip to Omaha Nebraska for Olympic Trials. However, since it was an olympic year, that meant the summer swim season was short and I would be left with over month before training for the collegiate season began again. So aside from runs every morning and afternoon trips to the pool I had a lot of time on my hands.
My brother Thomas had just come back from attending Steubenville West (youth conference) with our parish's Life Teen group. I never did Life Teen in high school because I was just "too busy" with swimming. Plus my family was totally guilty of making fun of the Life Teen group. I mean who does hand motions in church? And why do they hug so much? To be fair, my family is quite a Life Teen family now. Anyway... Thomas was pretty stoked about the Life Teen (LT from now on) group and started participating in all their fun activities (minus the hand motions haha). One of those activities happened to be weekly Ultimate Frisbee games at a nearby park. Now there is a good reason I'm a swimmer (read: no hand-eye coordination) but I was a cocky college athlete and I loved to compete so when Thomas invited me to a frisbee night, I casually agreed even though inside I was like "YAAASSSSSSSSS".
I showed up to play with Thomas and teams were picked. I ended up on the same team as the "'Let the river flow' guy" as my family so fondly called him. This guy was always up with the teens at Mass doing all the hand motions, laughing with them, and basically being annoyingly enthusiastic.
That guy was Andrew.
I would be lying if I said I didn't think he was cute. Because I did. But he was still a little over the top for me. Also, he showed up wearing ASU shorts and I was like whotheheckdoesthisguythinkheis?!? Anyway, we played a good game. I think he gave me a pat on the back at the end and that was it. I went home and started doing some thinking.... This thinking led me to the conclusion that it was probably a good idea to join the CORE team (group of volunteers that worked with the LT program). Can't really say why I did it. I just felt like I was supposed to be there. (Oooo foreshadowing)
A few weeks after my decision, the CORE team was headed to Phoenix for a training conference/retreat. Now this is where things get interesting. I noticed the book Andrew was reading on the way up and tried to strike up a conversation about it. And then I got Shut. Down. Now, if you know my husband, you know how BIZARRE this is. Not only to not start a conversation with a girl, but just to not talk at all. Like what? Andrew LOVES talking, but after this little incident I had no idea (I would later find out it was because he had just sworn off girls after an ugly break up a few weeks prior). So anyway, I was like fine whatever. We went about the training conference and slowly but surely, Andrew started to talk to me a little. I'd like to think I played it cool like "whatever bro"... but I think I was smiling and laughing way more than what's socially acceptable. At the end of the conference we piled into the car and headed to dinner. Andrew sat next to me which I totally DID NOT freak out about. So one thing I like to do is talk. I can really get going sometimes, barely letting people get in a word. But suddenly I found myself with the situation reversed. Andrew was talking my ear off and I think I got in maybe three sentences in 30 minutes. I was astounded. I had met my match.
At the restaurant he sat next to me again (and I was not freaking out at all) and the talking continued....The conversation eventually ended up at the weekly frisbee games. I started talking about how I had really enjoyed it and Andrew got this bewildered look on his face. He didn't remember me. In fact he actually thought I was my high school aged brother's younger sister. Younger. Yeah. I would later realize that this is just how Andrew's brain works, terrible memory that guy. I tried not to be terribly hurt by the fact that I just wasn't memorable at all. Anyway...
The rest of the weekend/retreat was a blur. All I knew was that the "Let the river flow" guy, was actually pretty sweet. And cute. And funny. And cute. And we could talk and joke like we'd known each other forever.
When we were back in Tucson I was positive that whatever had happened over the weekend was surely over. Guys just didn't pay attention to me. It was most likely a fluke. But it wasn't. We started hanging out regularly, staying up late talking about everything from politics and faith, to favorite cereals and childhood memories. For at least a week after that retreat I could barely eat and sleep I was so excited. I just had this feeling that this was it, this was the guy I would marry. The sweetest part was that Andrew took it slow. Remember when I said he had sworn off girls? Well he had. So when he wanted to make our friendship more of a relationship he made sure he didn't ruin it. About three months (maybe a little longer since he didn't remember me from frisbee) after we met we had our first kiss in my grandma's driveway. A few weeks later we were officially dating.
Our dating story is pretty typical and since our faith was both super important to us, we made sure that it was incorporated too. We would meet for daily mass as often as we could and met with our favorite priest Father James at least once a month. We would often start our dates off by going to reconciliation first and we would pray together over the phone in the evenings. However, it wasn't without it's challenges. We had almost been dating for a year when I broke it off. I won't go into details because there are some things I like to keep private (believe it or not). It was an awful time. Simply awful. After about four months of just trying to figure out what was next for us (or if there even was still an "us") Andrew made it quite simple for me... After mass one Wednesday evening we were in the parking lot talking. He told me that he couldn't see himself with anyone else because they "could never be you". But he wasn't going to put his life on hold either.... We were trapped inside this limbo of "being friends" but wanting to be more than friends but I had put things on hold. He finally said "call me when you're ready to be happy". *mic drop* He walked to his car and drove away. I stood there in the parking lot stunned.
A few weeks later after a lot of praying and thinking I asked Andrew if we could try a relationship again. We once again started slow. We went on simple dates and had long talks with our favorite priest Father James. We also began to spend more time with each others families more regularly. And slowly we began to heal. Those four months changed us a couple. Things could never go back to the way they were. Events like that change you at your core. For Andrew, he knew that if we could weather that storm, then we could weather just about anything. 8 months later, with the blessing of my father, Andrew bought an engagement ring. On a not so cool October evening in Tucson, I finished studying in the library and rode my bike over to the campus Newman center for XLT (a praise and worship night) where Andrew was giving a talk on Christian dating.
At the end of the evening Andrew got back up to give his "5 tips". Then he brought me on stage to stand next him...You can watch what happened next right here. (Thanks Ogie!)
We were married 8 months later on June 25th 2011.
So here we are. 4 years of marriage and three kids later and I wouldn't have it any other way.