That bit about the alley is a true story, you know. Actually, it’s not just any story… it’s a story I share with Christian. It’s our story. Well, parts of it anyway. These are the parts I’ve decided to share with you all 🙂
I love when people ask me, “So how did you meet your husband?” because the first part of that answer is, “We met in an alley” which is quickly followed by, “he walked down the outside steps of his apartment building wearing track pants and Adidas flip flops… and he just started doing The Running Man. And my heart just pretty much fell right then and there.” I knew there was something really cool about this guy… something different. It felt special and fun and light…. and I wanted to know him. And I wanted him to know me. Like, really know me.
Except this could not have been worse timing. My heart told me, “Nope. Don’t do it, you’ll only get hurt, or worse- you’ll hurt him.” I’d just come out of… well, quite honestly I’d just come out of hell. The short version? I was in NO MOOD to date. Anybody. And my brain told me I’d already lost at love. It told me to not even waste my time. But my soul pushed on, silently… just pushed me his way.
Fast forward a few months of only texting every so often, combined with emails and gchats, but on one random Wednesday I found myself sitting on my balcony and heard the familiar gchat “ping.” I’d just gotten home from work, had poured myself a glass of wine, and was enjoying the beautiful Chicago skyline and I prayed that it was him on the other end of that ping. It was, and it said, “Do you like margaritas? Because there’s a really good Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood. Would you like to join me? :)” ….. I was straight up giddy. Do I like margaritas??? Are you kidding?! I poured my glass of wine down the sink, threw on some cute clothes, and hopped onto the train to head his way. And I rode the 30 minute train ride thinking one thing: Speak louder, soul. Don’t give up.
More time went by and we continued our occasional “check-ins” and “so tell me about your day” conversations. It felt safe, and at just the pace my unsure heart was in need of. Eventually the time came when he asked me out on our first official date, a night out to see Playing for Change. I remember calling my mom as I was rushing home from work to change clothes and get ready and I kept asking her, “I mean, this is okay for me to do, right? Like, it’s just a date. This doesn’t sound crazy, right??” And it was like I could hear her smile on the other end as she said, “Have such a great time, Em, and call me tomorrow to tell me all about it.” You see, months before, my mom had asked me, “If you could write a list of things you want in your soul mate – like a list of who this person would be, what would be on that list?” I had defensively reminded her that I was not going to be writing any sort of list because I was not going to be on a search for some sort of “soul mate.” (That phrase alone was enough to make me hurl.) Five minutes had gone by of complete silence and then I straight up told her what would be on that list and boy was I picky, everything from height, to age, to relationship background to career. (Clearly this was more about me challenging God like ‘Oh yeah? Well things didn’t work out last time and I’m being told to make a list so let’s just see if you can find this supposed “perfect match.’ …Fortunately God was able to handle my sassiness.) Each thing on this mental/verbal list I was giving her was followed up with a reason as to why I felt this way, and before I knew it, I’d just completed my first ever “love list” with my mom not saying a word, just smiling. (And you know the smile… it’s the ones our moms give when they know they’ve been right the whole time.) So fast forward back to me accepting this official date – my mom knew this guy was basically my list. (No, really. He was the exact height I’d spouted off months prior. He was 10 years older than me- just as I’d said I wanted. Etc. Etc. Etc.) I could have checked off literally everything I’d “written down.” And it scared the bejeezus out of me. (God was totally up there dusting off his hands, most likely saying, “Done” with a look like, don’t you challenge me again.) (And I haven’t.)
The show, our date, was nothing short of amazing, and when the time came for him to drive me home, we somehow ended up sitting in his car talking, in the parking garage… until 4am. He finally drove me home, and I said goodbye and he caught his flight out of O’hare… a trip that would keep him away for a little more than a month.
At the time, Christian was a professional, touring musician. He was the keyboard player for Night Ranger, and it just so happened that their tour was beginning the day after our first date. Had this happened at any other time in my life, I probably would have thought, “Well great. We just started dating and now he leaves.” But again, this was the perfect pace… the right amount of space I needed. During his month away, we really did not talk to each other every day. We talked (either Skype or on the phone or via email) about once a week. I occasionally every day, secretly stalked his pictures on Facebook. (I mean, c’mon.) Christian later confessed that he was photo stalking me too. So, touché.
I did a lot of thinking in that time, a lot of things were realized. My heart softened and it was like it had finally caught up with my soul. So when Christian got back from tour more than a month later, I was all in. And so was he 🙂
Our early days of dating sure were fun ones, especially since he was still traveling with NR, and I often got to go with or at least attend his shows. We spent a lot of time together, most of the time just being goofy or watching Christopher Guest movies.
We made a silly Christmas video.
We celebrated NYE together at a smoky casino in Minnesota… ha. It was perfect 🙂
We welcomed summer and celebrated the 4th of July together, also with the band.
We ended the summer with a little trip to Disney World, also with the band 😉
We celebrated another Christmas together.
We rang in another New Years together, this time in San Diego (and not with the band)
So that was that. Or, at least the beginning to our story.