Oh my dearest children, I’m a little afraid to tell you how I met your dad.
Because I was 14.
I now (in my mid-ish 30s) look at 14-year-olds and think they should still be strapped in car seats. For the love, someone needs to take their cell phones away too. (Disclaimer: I’m not handing out advice here, I say this as a non-teen parent who has no business saying this.)
But nonetheless I was 14, and I wouldn’t regret a minute of our time together and apart.
It was spring in the 90s when grunge was popular, braces were on every person in ninth grade and I was still caught between wanting to watch movies like Lion King or daring to push the boundaries with Dazed and Confused.
My mom still drove me and my friend to school, and on this particular sunny morning, my friend had coordinated for us to pick up her neighbor; a boy.
That boy got in the car and livened up our drive. In the short 10 minute drive to campus, he had us all laughing, including my mom.
My carpool friend had a crush on him, so we started hanging out with that boy and his friends all the time. Summer came quickly, beach trips were taken, and he just became a part of everyday life.
One year later my carpool friend and the boy weren’t as close, and the crush dissipated. But that boy — Grant — and I became very close. Best friends. I got my first job working for his parents. We would plan our days around each other’s schedules. I would run to my room to take his phone call when I knew he was done for his day and would finally be home.
Never once did I really believe we were anything more than friends until we didn’t see each other for one month. In teen years, that’s an eternity. Due to conflicting summer schedules, my life was over because I didn’t see him. I missed my friend. I missed the laughs, the inside jokes and all of the fun we’d had.
Apparently, he missed me too. When I was 16 we started dating, but it didn’t last long. Though we were friends, we didn’t date well.
After several attempts to date, we gave up and remained friends. During college, we were never far apart, but we definitely led separate lives.
When I was ready to start my adult career, life had taken me on a path about 500 miles away from where I had grown up. I planted some roots in my new home, but that Grant…there was something special about him. Our friendship became stronger. The miles didn’t matter. We’d talk every day. He would visit. Because I basically worked for free at my first job, he knew I was having a hard time buying groceries, so he’d send me cash through the mail to pay off bills (side note my dear wee ones…don’t ever send cash through the mail).
Then one day he decided he wanted a change and moved to where I was living. Though I was dating someone at the time, I welcomed him into my life and ingratiated him with my friends and world. He had always told me he was just looking for a change from his own career path, but it slowly became clear that his intentions were to rekindle a romance with me.
I thought he was insane.
But now I’ve been married to that insane boy for nearly 11 years.
We have two children, two dogs, lots of wonderful friends and a very full life. I guess he was more of a mastermind than insane, and sometimes that strong friendship makes it easy to stay married.
Oh, and kids…you’re not allowed to start dating until you’re 20 and don’t need a car seat anymore.