Tuesday, March 3, 2009

14 Years!

Fourteen years ago I said "I do" to the man I love. Let me take you back a little. Matt and I met Labor Day weekend 1994 at a party. My closest and dearest friend (Jennifer) was in town for the weekend and one of my classmates invited us to his house that weekend for a party. I went to very few college parties, so this was a little our of my comfort zone. But with Jen being in town and my roommate, off we went to this party. It turned out that is was a pretty low key party so I felt pretty comfortable. Anyway, as we sat on the couch talking to a couple of guys, in walks this tall guy with dark hair. Jen and I both watched him walk across the room. We then turned to each other with grins from ear to ear. Anyway, we were introduced to him and spent the rest of the night talking with each other. When we left the party that night we all exchanged phone numbers.

A couple of days later I got a phone call. The was the conversation:

Matt "Is Mandi there?"
Mandi "This is her."
Matt "Hi, this is Matt."
Mandi "Who?"
Matt "Matt, from the party the other night."
Mandi "Oh, you must want to talk to Jennifer, she does not go to school here, but I can give you her number.
Matt "No, I'm pretty sure I want to talk to Mandi. Are you the one with the red hair?"
Mandi "Uh, yeah?'
Matt "Then yes, it is you I want to talk to."
Mandi "Seriously?"
Matt "Yes, why is that so hard to believe?"
Mandi "I am just used to the guys wanting to go out with Jennifer."
Matt "Nope, not this time."

From that day on we pretty much spent everyday together between work and classes. At the end of the semester Matt moved home to join the Army (I was not too happy about this) and I stayed at school. After being apart for a couple of months and driving back and forth five hours each way, Matt asked me to marry him on Valentine's Day 1995. Of course I said "yes!" We planned on getting married that summer after he finished basic training. However, things went a little differently. He called me one night and said that he had just finished talking to his recruiter and his mom and maybe we should go to the Court House and get married. I laughed because I thought he was kidding. No, he was serious. He explained to me that his recruiter told him it would be easier if we got married BEFORE he left for basic training. Being his spouse I would be able to get information about him, phone calls from him, and of course the benefits from the Military. As he was explaining all this to me I was envisioning my dream wedding. Like most girls I had been dreaming of the day I would get married, and that dream did NOT include saying "I Do" in a Court House. After several days of thinking it over, Matt and I decided getting married in the Court House was indeed the best thing for us. We decided to have a reception that summer.

So, on March 3rd 1995 Matt and I walked into the local Court House and vowed to love, honor, and cherish each other in sickness and in health, til death do us part. And so began our lives as husband and wife. On March 7th, Matt left for Alabama for basic training and I went back to school. We talked as often as possible and I was even able to go down and see him once during his basic training.

He called me once evening to let me know that he had gotten his orders for his duty station after basic training. "Okay I said, where are we going?" I was anxious to see where in the country we would be moving to. This is how the rest of that conversation played out...

Matt "Uh, I am going to S. Korea."

Mandi "What!? I am not moving to Korea."

Matt "Well, that's good because you are not allowed to go."

Mandi "What, what do you mean I can't go"

Matt "Well, it is an unaccompanied tour for a year so the military will not pay for you to go."

Mandi "A year! You mean I won't see you for a year?"

Matt "I can try to come home mid tour if we can afford it."

Mandi "There has to be some way I can go with you."

Matt "There is no way we can afford for you to live over there if the military will not help us out."

Mandi "We'll see about that."

After that conversation, Matt and I both did alot of research on family members going overseas with their spouses unaccompanied. Matt came home from basic training in July and left two weeks later in August for Korea. It was a very emotional good bye for us, but his last words to me before he boarded the plane were "I'll see you in a month, If anyone can do this, you can." So, I spent the next days researching Korea, applying for a passport, and a visa from Korea to live there. Within a month (give or take a few days), I was on a plane to Korea to live with my husband. And so began the beginning of the rest of our lives.

Matt was stationed in S. Korea for a year and I was there for about 9 months. I got pregnant with Blake there so I came home in May so I wouldn't be too far along to fly. He came home in July, and in August we were off to Hawaii for three years. From Hawaii, we lived in Washington D.C. for a year and then it was back home for good. Shortly after we moved home we had Emma and then Gabe. And now Mylee.

I am blessed beyond words to have Matt as my husband. He is an amazing, hardworking, wonderful father and husband. We have we have laughed together, cried together, and yes, even fought together. But through the the ups, the downs, the good times and bad, the crackers and the Oreos (Matt, you know what I am talking about),I thank God everyday for bringing us together. I am so thankful that in the beginning of our relationship Matt stuck with me and slowly brought down the walls I had put up.

So Matt, thank you. Thank you for loving me for who I am and for being there for me whenever I need you. Thank you for the wonderful family we have, the life we have together, and for allowing me to follow my dreams. I know I don't say it nearly enough, but I love and appreciate you more and more each day. Oh, and thank you for the priceless anniversary gift this year (more on that to come later).


Rebecca said...

Oh my gosh Mandi, this post was so sweet that I'm sitting here crying even though I don't know EITHER of you! What a love story. Happy anniversary to you and the love of your life. :)

Chad and Tara said...

Mandi, that was SOOOO sweet! I loved reading that post. Happy Anniversary! (We just celebrated our 15th a couple months ago:)


jenjewe said...

Oh, that was sweet! And then there was poor little Jennifer kicked to the curb only to have it rehashed 14 years later on the internet for the world to see. lol
No, but really. I'm glad I was there with you two from the start, you guys are perfect together and have made a wonderful family together. I would have changed a thing....well maybe the part were I was outed on the internet. lol
I love you both and I'm so glad we have stayed close all of these years.
xoxoxo to you both!

amy said...

What a great post Mandi! Happy anniversary..Tim and I have our 15th tomorrow, wierd.. but our story is similar to yours. Congrats and here is to many many more years together!