Today is a big day—11 years married to the Marine I met in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Who would’ve thought that the guy who didn’t even want to dance with me would be my husband and baby daddy all these years later?
I remember the night we met at Sywanyks Nightclub, a bar covered in Marine paraphernalia that I never noticed thanks to one too many Red Bull and vodkas. My friend pointed at Dave from across the bar and remarked on how cute he was. “You should go talk to him!” I told her. “No, YOU should go talk to him,” she said. Never one to turn down a challenge, I marched my tipsy self over to the table where he was playing Jenga and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Hey, do you want to dance?” I asked.
He looked at me like I had interrupted open heart surgery.
“Maybe later,” he said and turned right back around.
“Ok! I’ll be right over there whenever you’re ready.” Can you spell loser?
I kept slamming down cocktails and suddenly someone tapped me on my shoulder.
“You ready for that dance?”
Under normal circumstances, I would have said “hell no,” but Pour Some Sugar on Me was playing and you really can’t dance to that alone.
We danced. And danced… to Rob Base’s It Takes Two, Nelly’s Hot in Herre, and (of course) J-Lo’s Love Don’t Cost a Thing.
He bought me a drink and I pretended to sip it, then said I needed to use the ladies room where I poured it down the toilet because I had already had one too many but wanted to keep talking to him.
The club was closing and my friend and I needed a ride home. Somehow, I wound up wearing a French beret and snuggling with Dave in the trunk of an SUV. When we got to my friend’s house I turned to Dave and gave him an almost-kiss (as in I turned my head at the last minute and gave him a hug instead), and went inside to sleep it off.
The next day I got a voicemail from the Marine at the bar. And then he called again. And again. I couldn’t remember what he even looked like. What if he wasn’t even cute?!
On the fourth call, I answered. We talked for hours. We went on a date that week and have been inseparable (for better or worse) ever since.
Dave jokingly reminds me that he had me at “maybe later.” But I’m pretty sure it’s true.
I try to “maybe later” him back all the time. Playing it cool. Pretending I don’t notice how lucky I am. But anniversaries make me sentimental. Time moves too fast and I can’t believe we’re here all these years later. Is our marriage good? Is it bad? Is it easy? Is it hard? Will we be doing this for another 11 years? Yes. Every day, yes.
To the man who:
- Serenades the baby to sleep with his guitar
- Takes hours putting the girls to bed because he loves reading to them
- Loves fabulous food, but also doesn’t mind eating cold soup out of a can
- Thinks real men don’t own more than one pair of shoes
- Jams out to Better Than Ezra and Beethoven
- Will never stop trying to teach me how to read a map
- Never thinks our crazy life is crazy enough and always wants MORE kids
- May secretly be Albanian because he’s so stubborn
- Believes I’m beautiful
- Always wants to go somewhere with me
- Never complains
- Always loves me
- Had me at “maybe later.”
Dave, I love you. Happy Anniversary.