This Saturday marks Bill and my 6 year wedding anniversary. March 29th of this year marked 12 years I have loved him. While there were a few years apart before we got married (growing pains, I like to think of them), I never stopped loving him and I know he never stopped loving me. We always remained friends during that time, so I don’t like to split hairs.
As soon as I open my mouth, most people ask me where I’m from, and when I explain the South, they want to know how I ended up here. Usually I tell them I came out here for college (which is true), and that’s that. But when I start to become friends with someone, the inevitable question comes out: “How did you and Bill meet?”. So I’m here to tell our story, internets:
The short answer is: We met online.
In 1998 chat rooms were all the rage, and as far as I know, online dating sites were not at all common. I’m sure there were some, but for me, my spare time online was spent in a general purpose chat room. I met lots of interesting people. I was 16 and I had dated one boy for two months the year earlier. Looking back I think I wanted that escape and promise of companionship with someone who was unlike anyone I had ever met before.
Bill and I met when he changed his screen name to be a match to mine (ie: if I was Peanut Butter, he was Jelly) and kind of jokingly followed me around the chat room (If you are familiar with how chat rooms worked back in the day, you can follow how he did this). He was annoying, at first (oh the jokes). Finally we exchanged ICQ numbers (remember ICQ?) and started private messaging and spent long evenings chatting, sent long emails, and I remember thinking “if only he lived closer” because I was falling hard and didn’t think there was a possibility of it ever being anything more than a friendship. This went on for a few months, until he finally asked for my phone number (which is serious business as national cell phone plans were unheard of back in the day).
He called me at midnight on March 29th, 1998 (three days after my 17th birthday). We talked until the sun came up the next morning. I wrote in my journal later that day: “I just spoke to the man I’m going to marry…” I didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I knew. Thus the beginning of our long distance relationship that lasted until I was accepted to college in his state and moved out here in August of 1999. A few caveats: Yes we had photos of each other and YES we met in person before I decided to move 3000 miles away from my home.
After breaking up and getting back together a few times in college, Bill and I moved in together for good in the beginning of 2003. We’ve been together ever since, making it legal on May 8, 2004.
I can say, without a doubt, that the best thing he ever did for me was break up with me when we were in college. It made me realize I could do anything on my own and that I needed no one to survive. I learned to rely on myself. But I can also say that Bill NEVER let me down. If I ever needed anything he was always there for me, even when he wasn’t my boyfriend. He gave me many rides to the grocery store (I was carless my first two years here), and gave me emotional support. He’s the only man in my life who has always been there for me. I can never thank him enough for that.
Bill is my best friend. I say that all the time, but there really is no one who knows me the way he does. There is no one I would rather spend my time with, and no one else I could ever imagine spending the rest of my days with. If there is such a thing as someone being your “other half” he is that embodiment for me.
That may be very cliché and sappy for some, but I can’t thank him enough for just understanding me. I never have to be anything but myself. I never have to pretend with him, which is an amazing gift to have in a person. He loves me for who I am, supports me in all my endeavors and is my cheering section in whatever I am trying to accomplish. He often anticipates what I need, even if it is something as simple as bringing me a diet coke when I’ve had a particularly trying day. He is level-headed where I am not, calm when I am a mess and still makes me laugh every day.
He and I have created the most amazing little people and I will never ever be able to thank him enough for that. He is an amazing daddy to our girls, and he shows me daily what the true definition of “daddy” is– what a daddy should be. Something I yearned for as a child, I get to see every day and if it took me not having one for my girls to have an amazing one, it is a loss I will celebrate. He is there for his girls, and is never too busy or tired for them.
He’s my hero for going to work every day so that I can be a stay-at-home mama. I don’t have enough words to tell you what he means to me. I would do anything to make him happy, and I only hope I am half the partner to him that he is to me.
He’s my heart…always. Happy Anniversary Bill, I love you to the moon and back.