Dear Matthew, Toby, and Colin,
So we admit that we probably aren’t the best parents when it comes to what you watch on TV. The other day, I heard you ask each other what show you thought was the funniest: How I Met your Mother, Modern Family, or Friends. Since you’ve been on a kick with Friends since we watched a Thanksgiving marathon a couple months ago, you all quickly answered, “Friends!” It’s only now that I’m watching through your eyes do I see how inappropriate some parts of it are (though thankfully you don’t seem to pick up on a lot of it and what questions you do have, you always ask, which has made for some interesting conversations). Then again, I remember watching a lot of Three’s Company when I was about your age, and I think I turned out okay.
For this month’s letter, I thought I’d take some inspiration from one of your favorite TV shows, How I Met Your Mother. So sit down, relax, and let me tell you about how I met your father (cue theme music).
You already know a little bit about our story. You know, for example, that your daddy and I met when we were at Michigan together and that because of that, you were born honorary Wolverines even if you don’t end up going there. I know it’s sometimes hard to imagine that mommy and daddy had a life before you, but not only were we married without children, we also dated for years, and even had separate lives before meeting each other. Yes, there was a time when there was mommy without daddy. And actually, I was just Tricia back then.
To be honest, I don’t remember the first time I met your dad. I don’t think your dad remembers the first time he met me either. There wasn’t that magical moment you see in movies when time slows down and romantic music plays like when Barbie and Ken meet in Toy Story 3 (the three of you always giggle when “Dream Weaver” starts playing at that part). Our story is a simple one really… your dad and I met in college, got know one another, and fell in love. That was early 1997 and we’ve been together since. But even if our story isn’t the dramatic stuff you see in the movies, I like to think that there are few noteworthy highlights:
- When someone first suggested that I date your dad, my immediate reaction was disbelief. Really, him? You see, I didn’t know your dad that well yet, and he seemed a little too much of a “nice guy” for me (one day, you boys will come to understand how some girls have a thing for “bad” boys… which, fortunately, I think none of you will be). I guess the lesson here then, boys, is to keep an open mind because you never know how things will turn out.
- I think your daddy tricked me into going on our first date. Your daddy and I would often end up hanging out to talk after meetings ended (we were officers in the same student group) and when it was late, we sometimes just grabbed dinner downstairs in the Union. But one night when your dad asked me if I wanted to eat, he led me outside. Before I knew it, we were headed towards South U. and seated at Uno’s for dinner. Even though I’d had dinner with your dad before, sitting at a restaurant with a waiter made this time different. It was definitely a date.
- If our story was the stuff of movies/TV, then the day before I left Michigan for the summer would have been our season cliffhanger. Your dad waited until the night before I left for vacation to tell me how he felt. Actually, not only was I leaving for the summer, I was also on my way to Australia for a three week vacation. Who knows? Maybe if your daddy hadn’t finally told me how he felt, I would have ended up falling for some handsome guy with an Aussie accent.
- After college, it would still be another five years until your dad and I got married. We spent those five years more than 500 miles apart, racking up frequent flyer miles and phone bills (especially in the beginning when we didn’t have cell phones). People often asked if it was hard being apart during that time, and honestly, I don’t think it was. That doesn’t mean your dad and I didn’t miss each other day or want to be together, even if weeks (or months) would pass without seeing each other. The fact is that we talked so much on the phone that it never really felt like we weren’t part of each other’s lives during that time.
I like to think that those five years also gave both of us some time to figure out who were were individually, too. While your dad began to establish himself at work, I went to grad school and then teaching. By the time we married in 2003, we had spent more time apart than together (your dad used to like to brag about this “amazing statistic”), but it never felt that way. So I guess if there’s a lesson in here, boys, it’s that sometimes being a “couple” means being individuals, too.
- A few weeks after your dad and I started dating, I told a friend that this was “it.” “He’s the one,” I said. Friends were, understandably, skeptical. “How do you know?” “Are you crazy?” they wondered. Maybe I was a little. But I know your dad felt the same way. Here’s the thing, boys… when you know, you just know. When you fall in love one day, you’ll know, too. And if what you experience is anything even remotely close to what your dad and I have, then you will be very, very blessed. As we are.
So that’s just a little peak into how I met (and fell in love with) your daddy. I’m sure he has his own details to add, and there are other things I’ve left out for another time. Like I said, our story isn’t exceptionally exciting or dramatic, but it is ours. And when you think about it, it’s your story, too.
Love you boys,
This letter is part of a monthly series with other photographers. Click here to continue the blog circle and read Felicia’s letter to sweet girls.