Thursday, February 11, 2016


Just when things seem so crazy (and I feel crazy!), things calm down, slow down, and look up.  Most pain is bearable: It doesn't even really hurt.  That's because I realize I am lucky to have what I do, and be where I am considering all the life-stuff that would break most people.  I write a lot about the many things that challenge me, and challenge Sam, and challenge my family...  But everything, all things, lead to a strength and understanding that helps all of us prevail.  We remain.  We keep going.  We are okay.

February 9th was the 15th anniversary of Sam's and my first date... Well, our first "official date."  As the retired principal of Mount Holly School commented on my FB page, "Weren't all those visits from Sam while you were working at the school considered "dates?"  Haha.  Sam did come to switch the school over to DSL, which was a big deal for the little school in 2000-2001.  And he kept driving all the way to the little school to "check things" and "work on things" and "test things," when he would really be sitting on the floor with me and a group of first graders cutting out construction paper shapes or watch me work with students in the tiny computer lab.  He would tell me I looked beautiful that day, and ask me silly questions, which were far too obvious, like:  "So you really like children, huh?  How many kids do you want to have?"  Sigh...  I thought he was silly.

And I told the principal, back then, that I was not dating Sam and I wasn't going to.  We had been friends in high school.  He was a nice guy.  I just wasn't interested.  I didn't think I was.  The principal thought it was all very funny.  I'm lucky he was such a wonderful man, and so understanding.  If Sam had made trouble for me at work, I would have been very frustrated with him, and never agreed to go on any dates with him, official or unofficial!

Our first date wasn't that great.  It was actually really weird.  He brought me to a VTel retirement party for a man I didn't know... actually I really didn't know anyone there... and, although there was a dinner, there were also many, many speeches for the retiree, and I was bored... and I couldn't even talk to Sam.  We had to sit and and listen and clap.  He didn't kiss me goodnight.  I wasn't sure if we would go out again.

But Valentine's Day was so soon afterward, and he took me out to dinner, alone that time, and we drank too much red wine, and could barely eat our dinner.  We had fun talking, though.  Sam was funny.  He asked me if he could kiss me when he was dropping me off at my parents' house (I moved back home after college to be with my little sister, who was 12), in their kitchen.  I said, "Well, now it's weird.  You're not supposed to ask, you're supposed to be romantic and seduce me, not just ask me when you're standing 4 feet away from me."  

He tried to then be suave, and I told him, "Okay, now this is even more awkward, you dork.  Try again next time we go out."  Yet, as I walked to the door to say goodbye, he turned around on the porch and grabbed me and kissed me.  It was still a bit silly, because I wasn't expecting it, and he was really trying to sneak up on me, so our faces banged together at first.  But that was okay. 

And then we were a couple, quite easily and comfortably, he came over to my house and hung out with Mikhaila too... We were often all together: the three of us.  I remember Sam telling us that his aunt and uncle had a condo in Naples, Florida and said he could go stay there, any time.  And there we were sitting around the computer in the dark family room as school April vacation was approaching and we thought it would be a good idea to bid on tickets to Florida on Priceline.  We didn't read the fine print, or even the directions, really.  We even put in my credit card number, which we thought was, you know, just for... whatever... Duh.  We put in a really low bid for three tickets, saying that the days were flexible, and suddenly it popped up that we had purchased non-refundable, round trip tickets for weekday flights to Florida, leaving before the school break even started, and not returning until after break was over.  Teachers are not ever supposed to "pad" vacations with sick/personal days unless they have a really good reason... And Mikhaila was going to miss 6 days of school?!  My parents were watching TV in the front room, and we were all like children, sitting there realizing we had been very naughty and wondering how we would tell our parents what we had done.  Bad kids!
Ha!  We sent Mikhaila in to first ask if she could go to Florida with Sam and me during April vacation... they weren't even agreeable to that at first... then we had to tell them it was actually longer than the vacation, and we would be missing school.  They weren't so happy.  And the principal sighed, and shook his head, "Aren't you supposed to be a computer expert?  How did you buy tickets on the internet by mistake?"  He had to be the one to talk to the superintendent...  We promised we would just not go and lose the money.  It was okay!  We understood it was a mess.  But we ended up going.  

Sam and I went on a two week vacation after dating for two months... with a little chaperone, but it was still very crazy.  Mikhaila and I had never been on a big plane before, and certainly never to Florida!  Our family always went to Maine or Massachusetts for two day vacations in the summer.  That was it.  It was all so new and exciting.  Time really didn't seem to matter, things moved fast... 

But here we are, 15 years later, with 9 year old twins.  Our 14th wedding anniversary will be this June.  Life is so strange, and wonderful, and scary, and sad, and funny.  On this anniversary, of our first date, I really understood that Sam and I are in this together.  We are in life together.  And we are great parents.  And we have two really amazing kids.  So, no matter what happens, or how we are challenged, we have been blessed in many ways.  

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