When they say that life moves fast, they aren’t lying. It seems like just a short time ago, I had spoken to Richard for the first time on the phone. A love story that began over the phone.
I wasn’t looking for love. Or maybe I was but I didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t love myself so honestly, I didn’t expect anyone to love me back.
Sitting on the edge of my bed, I dialed the number of this stranger. A man that I didn’t know but sent me a message, giving me his phone number and telling me that I should give him a call. I was at the point in my life where I had nothing to lose. I had already lost everything months before and so why not.
During that phone call, I told him what had happened to me. A complete stranger was the safest person that I could confide in. I remember his words to me…
We will figure it out.
It was then that I told him that I was going to marry him someday. A man, that I had never met, made me feel safe and secure even though he was thousands of miles away and in a different country. Maybe that is why he was safe. He couldn’t hurt me. He couldn’t take anything away from me.
LOVE AT FIRST SOUND
I grew up not dating anyone. Not for lack of trying. I had my crushes but they seemed to not have the same feelings towards me. I grew up being okay with that.
I was never the prettiest in the room.
I was never the skinniest in the room.
I was never the girl who dressed nicely.
I was the girl who had my future ahead of me and I pretended not to let it bother me that boys just didn’t like me. For whatever reason, I wasn’t meant to have a boyfriend.
That phone call changed my life. I would love to say in a dramatic way it made my life thousands of times better. In reality, it made the time I spoke to him on the phone better. Every other moment of my day felt the same.
I was still lonely.
I was still depressed.
I was still in the midst of despair.
But hearing his voice every day gave me a little bit of hope. Something to look forward to when the rest of my life looked bleak.
I wanted magical and this felt like the closest thing I was going to get to magical. He listened to me cry every night. He told me that I was beautiful. He said that he loved me. Our love story was just beginning.
Three months after just hearing his voice on the phone, I had decided that it was time for us to finally meet for the first time. I didn’t tell my parents. They had no idea this mystery man existed. If they did, they would have wanted me to stop talking to him and focus on getting my life together and so I didn’t tell them. I didn’t want anyone to make this go away. He was the only thing keeping me alive. I didn’t tell him that (or maybe I did) but that is a lot of pressure to put on someone.
Now I do want to point out that I do not recommend meeting someone online without someone knowing. I did tell my friend Becca and I called her every day so that she knew I was okay. She also had his address and phone number. That didn’t guarantee my safety but it made her feel better.
Those two weeks that I spent with him the first time we met, cemented everything that I already thought. He was easy to love. Not saying that our love story didn’t come with questions or concerns because let’s face it, we still lived thousands of miles away from each other. We connected in a way that I had never connected with anyone before.
DATING, PROPOSAL, LIVING TOGETHER, & MARRIAGE
Our story of meeting isn’t the typical love story that you hear. We met online before it was cool to do so. We were young and in love and that was all that either of us could ask for.
After dating long-distance for a year, Richard decided to move to the U.S to be with me. I drove up with my friend Becca because I wasn’t even old enough to rent a car on my own. We drove to his apartment that he shared with his brother and packed up his things.
Before we left, we wanted to visit Niagara Falls one more time. I remember when he first took me there when we were dating. It was so incredibly beautiful. We all got in the car and drove to Niagara Falls on April 1, 2006.
At this point in our relationship, we already knew that we would be getting married. We had discussed it and I thought that was all that was needed.
I remember him getting down on one knee. It was a rainy and cold day in Niagara Falls that day and I started asking him what he was doing. I didn’t want him to get all muddy. He then pulled out a ring that his mother gave him and he asked me to marry him. Right there by the falls.
I can’t even remember if I let him finish what he was saying before I said yes.
We drove back to Wisconsin a few days later to an apartment that I found for us to rent. We moved in around the 6th of April. I was soon back to work at my job while Richard was at home, unable to do anything since he was just a visitor in the U.S at that point.
Less than a week later, we were married at the Milwaukee courthouse. There was no family around as I didn’t tell my parents until the day before that we were getting married. We had two girls that I worked with who were going to be our witnesses.
I didn’t have a wedding dress but I had a cream coloured dress that I wore. I had my hair cut that morning and put just a little bit of my own makeup on. I bought a beautiful bouquet from the store where I worked and we went to the courthouse.
I remember that I didn’t feel nervous. Everything felt right and perfect as we sat inside the courtroom, waiting to be called back. Holding hands and knowing that this was where we were supposed to be.
We tied the knot, my friend took some photos of us at the park, and then she dropped us off back at our house. When we got there, my mom had sent us a little plant to wish us luck on our day.
The next day was back to reality as I had to go back to work. The life of broke newlyweds. HAHA
Our life wasn’t perfect. We struggled on my paycheck alone but we did it. $9 an hour supported us for about 8 months before we knew that something needed to change. And that’s when it was decided that Richard would move back to Canada, find a job, and bring me over once he was settled.
LOOKING BACK AT 16 YEARS OF MARRIAGE
These past 16 years have not been easy. We have gone through multiple moves, multiple job changes, and becoming parents three times.
There were moments when I wanted to give up and walk away. Moments that I didn’t think love alone was going to help us survive as a couple. Moments that I questioned if I could love him enough to keep our family together.
There were also moments of pure joy, happiness, and love. The moments we brought our children into this world. The moments when we are laying in bed, laughing at each other. The moments listening to our kids throughout their lives, watching them grow up into young adults.
I cherish EVERY moment that I have had with Richard. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. They have made us the couple we are today. The family that we are today. We have grown, changed, and become people that 16 years ago, we never could have imagined being.
Saying I do, in that courtroom on April 13, 2006, was the happiest day of my life. A day that I wish I could relive over and over again. Our love isn’t perfect. No love story ever is. BUT it is ours and I wouldn’t have our story any other way.
Here is to another year of love, laughter, anger, and everything in between.
Here is to chasing our dreams even if we don’t always know what they are.
Here is to watching our family grow up and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Here is to being a married couple and learning even more about each other.
Here is to our love story.