I share so much of myself on this blog, but rarely do you see or hear about the man behind the scenes. He's awesome, ya know. I want to take a moment to brag on my man today.
It all started about 7 years ago. We met by divine accident...on MySpace. (HA!) We lived about an hour away from one another at the time, which, in the Atlanta area, means nothing. Everything is an hour away. After a bit of online chatting and talking over the phone, we planned our first date. He drove up closer to where I lived and we met at Northside Tavern. I vividly remember walking in, turning the corner, and seeing this gorgeous blue-eyed man sitting in the first booth on the right.
He was so sweet...and so shy! Carrying on a conversation was somewhat painful at first - something I was not at all used to, but for some strange reason, I enjoyed it. It was a refreshing change for me.
See, when Mark and I met, I had been divorced for almost a year. My daughter was 4 years old at the time. Dating wasn't exactly what you might call easy. I had not been single in years, so I didn't even know how to act on dates. But worse than that were the dates themselves. Ugh. These men thought they knew how to treat a woman - wining and dining but all fake. It was exhausting.
Mark was different. He was real. He was genuine. He was so stinkin' sweet! After our first date, we continued to see one another for a couple of months. Then I freaked out. I felt like I was getting too close too quickly, and I ended it. (And for the record, I gave up a round-trip ticket to Hawaii and 3rd row seats to Jack Johnson's Kokua Festival in the process...I'm still getting crap for that one!)
I continued to date off and on until one day, out of the blue, in late 2006, I got an email from Mark. He just wanted to say hello and let me know he was thinking of me, and that every time he heard a Jack Johnson song, he thought of me.
I was embarrassed to tell him that I needed his phone number again - only because earlier that summer I had dropped my phone in the pool and lost all of my contacts. Fortunately, he gave it to me and I called. It was so good to hear from him, and we made plans to meet for dinner in downtown Atlanta to share a bucket of oysters and some cold beer.
Now, I could start this next part with: "It was a dark and stormy night..." because it totally was. It was storming like crazy - thunder, lightning, high winds...just gross. But we still met up. After a little while, I moved to his side of the booth to "see the Weather Channel better" (*wink*wink*). He told me that he had just put a gazebo in his backyard that day and was sure the weather would blow it down (which it did...bless his heart). We talked and talked (which is saying a lot, because this man does not talk much!)
From that point on, we were connected at the hip. I even kissed him in the rain that night.
You know when I really knew that I was in love with him? I mean, I had all those wonderful fuzzy, squishy feelings for a long time, but you know how I really knew?
Marley and I were at his house one weekend, and he had a Strawberry Shortcake CD-ROM game that had come in the mail for some promo or something. Marley was 5 years old, and just thought Mark hung the moon. She was getting bored on this particular day, so Mark scooped her up into his lap, put that stupid little girly game into his computer, and spent the next 2 hours or more playing Strawberry Shortcake and Chutes & Ladders with her.
Yep. I was done for. Hopelessly and completely head-over-heels in love. Mark proposed on October 12, 2007, overlooking Lake Michigan while trying not to trip over a stray cat who also fell in love with him. (Another story for another day perhaps.)
That's us during our engagement photo session:
We were married in beautiful Destin, Florida, on April 12, 2008, surrounded by 85 of our closest friends and family.
Now, here we are, seven years later. We are planning our 5-year wedding anniversary in April. Miss Marley still thinks Mark hung the moon (I do, too). He still makes me melt all the time.
Honest. Sensitive. Strong. Supportive. Determined. Warm. Genuine. God-fearing. He loves Marley as if she is his own blood. He's the best friend anyone could have. Our marriage hasn't been perfect or easy, but we are so incredibly happy together. Without him by my side, I wouldn't have made it to this point in my life. He has made me a better person, just by loving me.
Thank you for loving me, baby. And for making me melt.
I love you more...