I’m feeling a little nostalgic today, so I started going through old Facebook pictures after I finished the work I had to come in early for. They made me smile to see how far I’ve come. 🙂 There’s a whole 2 year period that’s missing but that’s whatever, not worth getting into right now. (looking through those pictures was also the first time I thought really negatively about my tattoo on my arm too, the thought actually went through my head that it’s like he branded me, but that’s not the point) I had so much fun looking at old pictures of me and Ross, it’s funny the things you notice once you’re a few years removed from the picture. 🙂
He used to have so much hair! *giggle* (not that he’s bald now or anything, it’s just not nearly as thick)
I remember the first time I met Ross. It was a few days before my birthday and I had just gotten a tattoo as a birthday present to myself/I had had an awful weekend and wanted to have some kind of release so I got a tattoo, and my roommate and I went over to her sorority sister’s apartment to hang out. When we got there, there were a bunch of people there including the sorority sister’s boyfriend and one of his friends. Everybody wanted to see my new tattoo so I was showing it off (as I love love LOVE to do) and I remember the look that the boyfriend’s friend kept giving me, it was a look like you give to the kids who think the best thing in life is to party and get drunk and be slutty all the time (which is kinda the place I was in, minus the slutty part) and you’re more grown up than them so you know better. I brushed it off and didn’t think anything else of it. Turns out that the boyfriend had brought his friend over to meet/be set up with my roommate (but he wasn’t really her type). Throughout the night I kept thinking that he was looking at me (which he swears he wasn’t) so I moved to the other side of the room so he couldn’t see me because the last thing I wanted was him to like me and my roommate to like him and have that cause issues in our friendship. The friend was currently recovering from knee surgery and coming out that night was the first time he had been able to go out since his surgery, so when I moved I felt a lot more comfortable since he hadn’t moved all night so I figured I was safe.
So, of course, me and Amanda (my roommate) talked about the boys that night after we went home. And she said that she didn’t really like him, he wasn’t her type, so I said I kinda did. 😉 So we invited them all to come hang out at our apartment a couple nights later. We hung out for hours, and then the 5 of us were together almost every night. We talked about everything, from Ross’ baseball career and love of coaching to my ex and that abusive relationship. There was one night that always brings a smile to my face when I think about it, we had gotten McDonalds and somehow we ended up throwing ketchup packets at each other and everything just kind of went from there. 🙂
We’ve definitely had our ups and downs, both in and out of the relationship. One of my other roommates (I lived in a 4 bedroom apartment with my friend Amanda and 2 other people I didn’t know) went totally crazy and threatened to kill us both so Amanda and I ended up both sleeping in my room with my dog and Ross behind a locked door and I had a total meltdown so Ross had to call my dad after we’d only been dating for a month and tell him the situation. (I was curled up in a ball on the bed crying my eyes out and insisted Ross call my dad because I ‘couldn’t call him again and tell him that somebody else wanted to hurt me’ so you can see why I was a bit of a mess). Then after all that he moved in with a friend and I spent pretty much all my time there but his friend was kind of a jerk so we got an apartment together less than 6 months after we started dating.
This was the first time he had ever cooked a big meal and we’d had a date night. 🙂 The food really was amazing, the steak took up the whole plate! (I always marvel at the fact that I’m not a million pounds. I love to eat waayyyyy too much.) There were even rose petals on the bed! He really can be sweet when he wants to be. 😉
We didn’t have any problems transitioning to living together since we had spent almost every single night together since we started dating anyways, but it was still different. I had to learn how to let go of my insecurities and my hangups that came from my last relationship, and that was a lot harder than I had anticipated. I had come a long way all on my own, I had picked myself back up and put the pieces back together by myself and I liked who I had become in those few months between when I got healthy again and when I met Ross, so I had to learn how to find a balance between being on my own and abandoning myself for the relationship (which I have a tendency to do). About 6 months after we moved in together, Ross went on a week long cruise with his family and I stayed home. (it was a family thing that was already planned so I didn’t get to go) I was a total wreck the whole time he was gone. I was so terrified that if I didn’t see him all the time, my attraction to him would fade and we’d fall apart. I was so lonely that I tried to bring my dog and stay in my parent’s basement! (which was a majorly huge colossal failure) And then when he came back with lots of jewelry and sweetness, all my fears went away. (I remember trying to explain to my dad what a promise ring was….he didn’t get it! It was really funny)
Then on April 1, 2011 he proposed!
My family was super happy, his family was very cautious. (Apparently the majority of them thought I was pregnant because not only had we only been dating for a year, we were engaged just under 4 months. Almost 3 years later and still no kids, so joke’s on them!) It went by in a whirlwind of lots of drama and stress. I was still working full time with crazy hours so my mom did the majority of the planning, which was upsetting to me because I felt like it wasn’t really my wedding. My mother and I are very similar in some ways, which causes lots of problems with easy communication and idea sharing so I felt like I was getting run over a lot of the time. We bought a house at the end of May, so not only were we planning a wedding but we also bought a house and moved. With the house came a whole new list of stresses and problems. But through it all, Ross was my rock and my sanity. It’s still that way, even if everything is great. When I’m with him, I just feel better. About halfway through the wedding planning process, I was sitting in my car in the mall parking lot, trying to compose myself before meeting my mom to look for bridesmaid outfits, and the song Nothing Else Matters by Metallica came on the radio. As I listened to the words of the song, it put everything in perspective for me and helped me to remember what I was doing all this for. That was my mantra for the rest of the time leading up to the wedding, “Nothing else matters”
Nothing Else Matters by Metallica
As much as I love my tattoo and it helped me stay sane, it caused some problems. About a month before the wedding we got into some major money problems and my parents helped bail us out. Then on my wedding day my mom sees this new tattoo and thinks that I’ve been out blowing money on tattoos and letting them pay for the important stuff (which was not true in the slightest, at all, ever! I had gotten that tattoo a few months before and just kept it hidden because I knew she wouldn’t like it), so she threw a huge fit and basically refused to help me get ready for my wedding. I remember sitting on the bed in what used to be my bedroom trying not to cry because I had already done my makeup, surrounded by my bridesmaids and cousins repeating over and over again that I needed Ross, someone call Ross, he’s late, I need Ross. My mom did end up helping me with my hair because we needed to get it finished so we could take pictures, but she was not happy about it. She stuck the decorative pins in my hair so hard she scratched my head and I tried not to cry. But the pictures turned out pretty (I can always smile pretty for a camera) and then once Ross got there and I was able to go downstairs and see him, everything got better. We did pictures with my family (I have such a large extended family that we did pictures with them before the wedding so that we could do them in my parents backyard, which was gorgeous, and not hold up everyone between the ceremony and the reception. We’re not superstitious at all so it didn’t bother us) and then we were able to get into the limo and leave. I spent the whole time sitting as close to Ross as I could, being happy.
The ceremony was short, sweet and to the point. I didn’t want anything long and drawn out, I wanted the traditional vows, I wanted simple and nice. I wasn’t real concerned about it because I knew that I would most likely not remember any of it, which is true! Ross and his uncle (who officiated the wedding) both said they thought I was going to pass out when we got up to the altar, they said I got white as a ghost as soon as my dad and I stopped. I felt it too, my mouth went all dry and I felt like I couldn’t breathe! (which, in my defense, I really couldn’t because we barely got me squeezed into my dress that morning) Ross still likes to joke about how I shook through the entire wedding. (I shake when I get nervous/anxious/upset, which I had been all of those things that already that morning) And I made my brother cry too, because I kept looking at him over Ross’ shoulder during the ceremony (I do remember that part!).
The ceremony was a blast. I couldn’t eat anything because my dress was so tight (I guess that’s why you get to go to a tasting before the wedding, so you can know how good it is beforehand since you won’t get any on your wedding day!) but I still managed to stick some cake in there. 🙂 (there’s always room for cake! ….probably why I couldn’t fit into my dress…) The dj started with some slow boring song, but I wanted to dance and it was my wedding day so I went over and had him play a line dance. Well, everyone was out on the floor for that one and I got to dance all night long! (well, only til about 7:30, we’re old. :D) We got so many compliments on everything, from how short the ceremony was (from my Catholic uncle), to how amazing it was that everyone had so much fun at a reception where there was no alcohol provided! (my family is very old school Southern Baptist, plus it’s crazy expensive to provide alcohol at a wedding, so we got the reception room closest to the bar and told people they could go to the bar for their drinks. It worked out great.)
When we finally got to go up to our room (we had our reception at the Hyatt so they provided a room for us that night), Ross tried to be sweet and carry me but I just wanted to get to the room and get my dress off. 🙂 that’s me, super romantic. By the time I got my dress off, I had indents in my sides from the corset wiring in the bodice of the dress! I sat in the shower for almost 45 minutes and when I came out, my sweet husband had ordered a plain sandwich on toasted bread for me because my stomach was so upset from not getting to eat all day and being so hot in that tight dress. 🙂 We laid in bed that night and changed our Facebook’s to say married then went to sleep, lol. His grandma picked us up at 6 am the next morning and we were off to Cancun!
It was the first time I had ever been out of the country and the first time I’d been on a plane in over a decade, so I had tons of fun. The beach was amazing, Ross laughed at me because I had so much fun playing in the water but I had only been to a beach a few times in my entire life so I was enjoying myself. We swam, we tanned, we went to the flea market almost every day to look around, we got massages, we ate amazing food, it was so wonderful. 🙂 We are so American though, that we would go to the convenience store at the end of the drive every day for bottled water and Lays Stax, then we’d sit in bed and watch the one English channel on the TV and eat chips during the afternoon. 🙂 We got lost on a bus ride, getting on the wrong bus and it took us all the way out into where the native Mexicans live and we had to find a taxi back. Ross almost got a tattoo, but I wouldn’t let him. 🙂 Overall it was an amazing week.
Life has not been all roses and sunshine though, the first year is definitely hard. You think you’re more prepared for it because you lived together before you got married but you’re wrong. We had a lot of other things that compounded our struggles and made it that much harder, but we’re still together and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve been through being so broke we couldn’t buy food, heart surgery, more being broke, an almost move to Kansas City, lack of communication skills, and a lot of other more minor things that stack up to be big things. But we’ve come out the other side and we’re stronger than we ever would have been if we hadn’t dealt with those things. It may have been a bumpy road but I wouldn’t trade the struggles we’ve been through for anything else because they have made us the couple that we are today.
From the engagement pictures a friend took for us, I couldn’t resist splashing around in the puddle!
God has been good to us and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us next, whether that’s relocating because of joining the Navy or if it’s staying in Lexington for the rest of our lives, I know it will be amazing. God has blessed me far greater than I could have imagined, and while this is not how I imagined my life would go, it’s an amazing life to be living.