Today, three years ago, my husband and I went on our first date in New York City. It wasn't exactly a date out of the movies...
At the time, we were friends. We had met in college before he moved to NYC and I moved home to Baltimore. We texted all the time and when he got a job in Baltimore, we met up for the first time. It was clear we got along, we had fun and he made me laugh.
But I didn't know how I felt about him and I had absolutely no desire for a relationship.
One night in November, he was over my house and acting weird. We were teasing each other like we usually did, and I called him out for acting so odd. Eventually, we wound up sitting in his parked car outside my house and he told me that he liked me. Not only did he like me, but he had asked my dad if he could take me on a date. Would I go on a date with him? he wondered.
I simultaneously felt at peace and anxiety rise in my chest. There was awkward silence until I said YES. That "yes' surprised myself, because I had no idea where it came from. I wasn't even sure I liked this guy and here I was, going on a date with him.
A month later- for one reason or another- we finally found ourselves on our way to New York City, Bandon's old stomping grounds, for our first date.
It was nice but cold, and Brandon had planned it all out for us. This carb-lovin' man looked up gluten-free restaurants for us to try. He took up to the Highline to see the view. We met up with some of his friends from NY. We walked around the NBC building. We rode the subway.
We went to his favorite bar and realized it just so happened to be SantaCon that day, when basically all the weirdos in NYC dress up like Santa and bar hop. So that happened.
I was anxious the whole time. New York City isn't exactly the most relaxing place for someone who experiences panic attacks. I thought his gestures were sweet, but I was trying to whole time to keep anxiety at bay.
I don't remember everything from our first date. But I do remember one thing.
The sun started to go down and we stopped by the Christmas tree to marvel and take a picture. As you can tell, that picture is super awk-sauce. On our way back to the car, we took quieter side streets and we watched the steam rise from the city streets. He took my hand for the first time and I felt the anxiety subside for the first time all day. It felt exactly like where I was supposed to be.
Three years ago today, I embarked on the greatest adventure of my life. I took a chance on a charming but persistent guy. I had no idea that first date would lead to all this- all the dates afterwards, all the phone conversations, all the fights, all the growing up, all the stress, all the long distance, all the reunions at airports, all the drama, all the getting down on one knee with a question, all the wedding planning, all the "I do's", all the decorating our first one-bedroom apartment, all the arguments over where to eat dinner, all the laughter, all the blessings and all the joy.
Three years ago, I started the greatest adventure of my life.