Note: I had this as a draft saved from March 9th. I didn't realize I never 'published' it until now, so that's why the dates seem screwy.
My wedding anniversary is coming up in 11 days - Our 13th is on March 20th. I concider it to be lucky because we've actually made it to 13. Marriage seems to be so relaxed and taken so lightly these days. Shawn and I had a quick "courtship" in the beginning. We met at the bowling alley in the fall of 1997. That summer, I had left a rotten relationship, moved back home and was just... lost. I tried to find me in a trip to California, but when you go looking for things you tend to go back to the same crappy situations you just managed to wiggle out of. Depression hit. I couldn't see that, but everybody around me could. Bowling with the family on Sunday nights seemed stupid and pointless to me then, but it was mom and dad's last attempt to try and bring me back from the where ever I was. I wasn't looking for anything, anybody - I only wanted to wake up the next morning, get through the day and go to bed. But no. I had to go bowling with my parents and my little brother.
I suck at bowling. Still to this day, I suck at bowling. I've been sucking at bowling for the last 14 years. You would think that after that long, one would tend to improve. Nope. Anyway, getting back to 1997... I needed bowling lessons. I had asked a friend (borderline bowling pro) to help me figure this crap out. At my first lesson, Shawn decided to help out. I decided to flirt. I was pretty cute then. The only good thing I got from being depressed was a smaller figure. I looked good probably for the 1st time ever. When there weren't any expectations, flirting was fun!! By the end of December, I was taking quite a liking to my future husband. He was kind, he was funny and he was absolutely NOTHING like any guy I ever dated. He was older and I liked who I was when I was around him - I had found my 'happy' inside his company, and I hadn't been happy like that for a long time. Talk of a date popped up during a friendly competition on New Years Eve. My aunt got married that night and me and my cousin went bowling - Shawn was working and it was slow enough that he joined us. The bet was if he won the game, we were going out for dinner. If I won he had to help me with my 'plan'. He, of course, won....because I suck. I think he knew that, but he said he would help with what I wanted to do anyway.
The Sunday Night Mixed Bowling people (mixed meaning there was 2 men and 2 women on a team) scheduled their Christmas party on.... My 21st Birthday!! yay! I could drink - legally! Shawn bought me my 1st legal beer. My dad bought me my 2nd. Others bought me the 3rd, 4th and 5th and after those I had dove into the Poor Man's Champagne which was a mixture of pink lemonade, beer and vodka...let me also add that that was free, so for finally being able to buy alcohol - I didn't get to. I'd like to say that being under the influence improved my bowling, but that didn't happen either. I threw my bowling ball backwards a couple of times and also in the next lane over. That, my friends, takes only the skill of a trashed 21 year old....who sucks at bowling. Back to me and Shawn. The week prior to that Christmas Party, I was plotting a bowling farewell to my dad. The Christmas party was going to be his last night of bowling for awhile because he was scheduled for knee surgery a couple weeks after that. I needed a partner in crime and Shawn was guy. Since I was employed at the hospital back then, it was easy for me to 'borrow' a wheelchair and Shawn got it rigged and ready for party - long story short it was an excuse to spend time with him. By the time the party rolled around I liked him alot. I don't know how I remember all the details of that night because I was trashed - I really was. Shawn offered to drive me home and as he rolled into my parents drive way he took my hand and asked if he could give me a birthday kiss and from there we said goodnight. You don't ever really know if something is for real or special until that moment it's actually there. Sure there was flirting before then, but knowing how much older he was than I and him having a completely toasted 21 year old girl in a truck, alone, and all he wants is a simple kiss goodnight? A gentlman. I didn't know they still existed.
After my birthday we saw each other everyday after that. It was mostly at the bowling alley. I'd pop in to say 'hi' and we'd stay there well after everyone else went home and would talk til 2 or 3 in the morning. I wasn't surprised by how fast I loved him and I remember the exact moment I knew this was the one I would marry. We were driving on down 23rd street, I looked over at him driving and I flashed forward in my head and saw us doing exactly the same thing all old and grey. Him more grey than me of course, but I didn't mind it. I felt safe. I felt important. I felt very loved. He felt the same way just as fast because on January 27th, 1998 Shawn proposed. I said yes. A year and about a month and a half later we were married - 13 years later, I write this story with more love for that man than he will ever know.