Friday, February 10, 2012

Sixteen sweet years

Today Matt and I are celebrating sixteen years of dating so I'm feeling especially happy and teary and thankful. Very sappy indeed. I count it as one of my greatest blessings that I met Matt when I was just 18, affording us many years of living this story that is our life, our family--side by side.

We met in the fall of 1995 in a freshman composition class at Queens College in Charlotte. Besides sharing that class, we lucked into a group of friends who ate most meals together in Morrison Dining Hall. The two of us started hanging out more to watch the 1995 MLB playoffs and World Series. (Fittingly, my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, won the Series and, later that spring, the Kentucky Wildcats won the NCAA basketball championship. Foretelling good things, I believe.) While we mostly spent time with our mutual friends that fall, we increasingly found ourselves stealing away to share long late-night conversations in the dorm lobby or at our favorite greasy spoon, Skyland. By Christmas break, I knew I had a serious crush. When Matt called me on Christmas Day to wish me a Merry Christmas, I entertained the hope that the feeling was mutual.

On my nineteenth birthday in January, my roommate gave us tickets to a Charlotte Hornets basketball game. My girlfriends, who knew I was falling in love with Matt, teased me endlessly about this being our first date and even snapped the above photo. I smile now thinking about how my sweet friends made me squirm with their hilarious antics. Matt and I had a great time at the game and enjoyed coffee afterwards at Skyland. We never called this a date, though. Early in February, we had an especially long, lovely conversation in the lobby of the student center, staying up until the wee hours of the morning. One of our lines of conversation led us to talking about the ocean and we decided to take a day trip to Wrightsville Beach the following Saturday. On February 10, we hopped in my silver '87 Honda Accord and drove the 200 miles or so to the beach. We spent the afternoon walking along the chilly, windy shore and that's when we admitted that we cared for each other and we could call ourselves just friends, but actually, we were dating. We left the beach and enjoyed our first official dinner date at a local Mexican restaurant. We headed back to Charlotte, as boyfriend and girlfriend, which we've been ever since.

Fast forward to today--through our wedding, eleven-plus years teaching for Matt and law school for me, through a measure of sorrow and an abundance of joy--where we are caught up in the wonderful but all-consuming experience of parenthood. Long conversations are luxuries now. We text and email as we think of things during the day, and try to talk around the chatter of our boys and over the squeals of our baby. And too many times we talk about things like poop! But it's all in a joint labor of love, adoring and guiding our amazing little people. In years past, we've used our dating anniversary to indulge in a dinner out, avoiding the crowd on Valentine's night. Tonight, we'll serve the kids pizza, put them to bed a little early, share some takeout and a bottle of wine and try to stay up past 9pm. Then we'll get up earlier than we'd like on a Saturday and chase babies and face the world as we have for the last sixteen sweet years: together.


Megan Stephens said...

beautiful post, Allison. seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. glad ya'll are still doin' it together. it's inspiring. love ya'll!

Sewconsult said...

So, glad that the English class led you to become part of the Smith family.
I also like finding more frequent posts, but I can only imagine how little time you have for writing.

allison said...

Thanks for your sweet comments, Megan and Beckie. My goal is to post every day this month, in hopes of developing a more regular posting routine--not daily of course (after this month), but at least once a week or so. We'll see...