Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Story Of Us

I was 22 years old and fresh out of a long term relationship nursing a majorly mangled heart and a crushed spirit. I had become cynical and jaded and decided to take a break from romantic relationships. I was sick of dating. Sick of guys. I needed a break.

The day was July 4th, 1998. My friend Tarah and I were on our way to a 4th of July party that her older brother and his friends were throwing. This party had become a legendary annual event they all called Lobsterfest. For a small fee you would get a fresh Maine lobster that the guys had flown in, a huge array of side dishes and desserts, and all the drinks you could manage. It was a hot and humid day and I couldn't wait to get a cold drink in my hand. As we pulled up to the already full party Tarah immediately said, "Oh wow! Todd is here! He is a lawyer in New York. I always thought he would be the perfect boyfriend!"

My cynical mind immediately said, "Big whoop." I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Was I supposed to be impressed? I am the last person to get excited because someone is a lawyer. Who cares? He probably has an ego the size of Texas. Good grief.

As I followed Tarah's gaze I saw him right away. A good looking guy in khaki shorts and a plain white tee shirt stood next to a picnic table. He had one leg up on the bench of the table and was leaning forward with his elbow on his knee. He was surrounded by a group of people who all seemed to be enjoying whatever it was he was saying.

I followed Tarah over to the picnic table and she introduced me to Todd. I was surprised by his warm greeting, he clasped my hand in both of his when we shook and offered a large and genuine smile, but still expected the arrogance to show itself. The group of us stood and talked for a while and when I would make snarky, sarcastic comments here and there he would laugh and join in. He had an easy going charm about him and clearly did not take himself too seriously. Though I never fully admitted it until this moment I was impressed by him right away.

He offered to make me a drink and I followed him to the bar. He was funny. Really funny. I couldn't stop laughing. And he was easy to talk to, too. Soon I had learned that he was not only from Wisconsin but from my hometown. He had gone to the same high school I did and graduated 5 years ahead of me. He played football in high school and college. I loved football. He loved singing. My number one passion. We had grown up playing in the same parks, going to the same churches, and knowing the same people.

We talked all day and into the night. And although I still had no intentions of starting a relationship I had a good time hanging out with him. My hardened heart didn't even think to venture past that night or past a friendship.

At the end of the night everyone wanted to go dancing. Except for me. I had a long ride home and I was tired. Not only that but I looked like hell. All of my makeup had melted off my face long ago. My hair had frizzed out from the humidity and I had a giant zit on my chin. I was beginning to scare myself. Time to go. Todd kept trying to get me to go dancing with everyone and after repeatedly telling him I was tired I decided to be honest.

"I am so tired, and I look like crap. It is time for me to go." I said.

"Yeah, you do look pretty bad." he teased.

"I know. It is not good." I repeated.

"Yeah, you look awful. Really bad." he said again. But this time I became even more insecure.
"I know, all my makeup has come off. Scary." I said trying to make excuses for the mess.

"Yeah, you should do something about that." he laughed. I'm sure he thought we were just ribbing as we had done all day but by now I seriously wanted to hide.

"Yeah. Well. I'm gonna go. You have a good time." I tried to say casually as I ran out of the room shielding my hideous face. I was definitely happy to be leaving after that despite the confused look on Todd's face.

That was it. That was how we said goodbye. He flew back to New York and I went about my life, unaffected.

Six months later around Christmas time I was in my hometown visiting my family. I went out to a bar with my friend Jennifer and just happened to see Todd sitting at the end of the bar with a few friends. Knowing Todd was upset at the way we left things last time I marched right up to him and said, "Hi! I'm Kathryn. Do you remember me? We met at..." and before I could finish my sentence he was saying, "Of course I remember you!"

We cleared the air and again spent the night talking (he had recently moved back to town after his father had a heart attack) and laughing (did I mention he was funny?). He even came out dancing with Jennifer and I. He got out on the dance floor and twirled and spun me around like he was a professional swing dancer. I was so impressed and had so much fun. It was getting late and I told him I needed to go so that I was able to get up for church the next morning. He asked me where I went to church and it just so happened that he went to the same church, and in fact, sang in the church choir. The very same choir my parents sang in. I couldn't believe it.

At the end of the night Todd asked for my number but I was in a relationship at the time so I didn't give it to him. Instead, I told him I would see him at church in the morning and indeed I did. When I had told my mom who I had been hanging out with the night before she could barely contain her excitement. The minute Todd had joined choir she thought he would be perfect for me. A year or so later mom admitted to me that when she saw us talking in the back of church that morning it was like all of the blood rushed out of her body and she knew I was going to marry him. Luckily, she didn't tell me that at the time.

For the next few months Todd badgered my friend Tarah with questions. "Is Kat single yet? What's up with Kat? Have you seen Kat? Is Kat interested in me?" Tarah began to tire and soon dropped the act of "playing it cool" and started asking me, "Todd wants ya. What do you want me to tell him?"

Finally in spring of 1999 I broke up with my boyfriend. That May I ran into Todd again. Tarah's dad was getting married and I was invited to the wedding. So was Todd. When he again asked for my number I finally gave it to him still thinking nothing would come of it. He called the very next day and I agreed to go out on a date with him.

We went out to dinner and had a good time. Still, it seemed more friendly to me than anything else. I told him that I just wasn't ready to start a relationship and we agreed to be friends. We continued talking and getting to know each other over email (And for some reason I couldn't explain I printed out and saved all of his emails. I still have them to this day). We talked about everything and nothing. And when I was having a bad day he would drop everything, drive the 45 minutes it took to get to my apartment, and take me out to a movie, dinner, or just go for a walk. We always had a great time together.

When summer rolled around he began taking me on motorcycle rides. The first time he picked me up I remember opening my apartment door and my breath immediately got stuck in my throat. It was like someone punched me in the gut. He looked gorgeous! He was so tan, he wasn't wearing his glasses, and his hair was wind-blown and wild. He had a tank top on and when he turned around I saw the tattoo on his shoulder blade. Up until that point he had been the good little church boy, but seeing him on that Harley with the tattoo blazing on his back made me see him in a whole new light. I'm ashamed to say it, but I am one of those girls that likes a little bit of a bad boy on the inside of my good boy.

Then, early in September, I received an email from him. Todd told me that he was taking a trip to London to visit a friend and was wondering if I would like to come along. He said that he knew I always wanted to travel and this would be a great opportunity. I was a bit concerned that Todd would see this as more than friendship and as I was contemplating my answer he shot me another email telling me not to freak out. It was strictly as friends. I told him that I would love to go. I booked my airplane ticket and we left on October 3rd.

Our little visit to London turned into a European extravaganza. You really get to know someone when you spend 10 straight days traveling with them and I liked what I saw. We had so much fun together. We took the train from London to York (and he didn't move an inch for 3 whole hours as I slept on his shoulder), enjoyed walking the quaint streets of the city, and stayed in a beautiful hotel. Separate rooms of course. Then we went back to London and saw the London Symphony Orchestra and "The Importance of Being Earnest". We visited castles, walked through parks, and toured museums. He showed me where he used to live, all of his favorite spots, and took me to see Abby Road. After a couple of days in London we took the Chunnel to Paris.

And, what can I say? We were in Paris. The city of love. And I swear that is where I began to fall in love. I can actually remember the exact moment. We were inside Notre Dame. Todd had begun lighting some candles on the side alter and as he did so he said, "This candle is for your happiness. This candle is to keep you safe. And this candle is so that the Packers win tomorrow."

At that moment I had to ask myself very important questions. What the hell was the matter with me? Why had I been holding back with him? Why didn't I give this guy a chance? Anyone who can touch my heart and make me laugh in the same sentence deserves a chance.

When our 10 days in Europe had come to an end we went back home and back to work. I didn't see him for the whole week though we emailed often. We were still strictly friends but something had changed. I saw him differently. I realized in that week that I had missed him. I missed seeing him.

We had plans that Saturday to go to a Badger football game. I had never been to one and Todd wanted to be the first to take me. It just so happened that Saturday was Sweetest Day and when I opened my apartment door to let Todd in he was holding a giant box wrapped in pretty paper. I opened the box and knew right then and there I was going to marry him.

Inside the box was a globe. He bought me a globe. Months earlier I had told him how I always wanted a globe but never actually got one. Looking at a globe always made me feel giddy, excited, adventurous, and even romantic. It made me think of possibilities. He had remembered what I said months earlier and he bought me a globe.

From that moment on we were a couple. Five months later we were engaged.

Being one of the first girls in my group of friends to get married I was always asked how I knew that Todd was the one. My answer was always the same. It didn't even seem like a decision I was making. To me, it felt as though God was revealing to me the man I was supposed to be with. It just seemed so obvious.

Growing up my dad told me many times how he used to pray to God that he would find a good wife. I was inspired and began praying for God to send me a good husband. So many times I would wish that a good man was out there praying for me too. And he was. I truly believe that God brought us together, and that God will always keep us together.

I know this was a super long story, and believe me, this is the edited version. There was so much more that I wanted to write about, but who has time to read all of that? I had told Todd I was writing about how we met and that I was having the most difficult time writing it all down. There was just so much. I said, "How in the world do I tell this story?"
He said he always does a great job of telling it. So here is Todd's version:

"In 1998 I was able to get some time off of work and make it back to Wisconsin for the annual party that my buddies and I always threw. I can remember how hot it was that day and exactly where I was sitting. I can remember the way the sun came in across the grass. I can remember the car pulling up and her getting out. I can remember what she wore. And as soon as she started walking up I knew. It was love at first sight. I was smitten."


This is a picture of the "A-ha!" moment in Notre Dame.

On the way up the Eiffel Tower.

Lobsterfest 2001 right after we were married.


Brittany said...

What a beautiful story, Kathryn!!!!!! I love it!!!! :) Such a beautiful "chase"... and you can just see how you were meant to be. I am sappy, and crying. So beautiful!

Lisa said...

What a beautiful story...gave me chills, Kathryn!
I had a friend once tell me that if you read the famous 1 Corinthians verse, "Love is Patient, Love is kind...." and replaced all of the "loves" with the person you are falling for's name, that was a love that God approved of for you. It sounds like Todd is that love. You make such a sweet, cute couple!!!

Kristen said...

Your story just gave me chills.

I kept reading the story saying "he is the one" to my computer. I know crazy. So glad that you found just the perfect guy.

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.

Can't wait to hear what the rest of your life's story will be together. :)

Kelly said...

I loved how your version had just a few more details! :) But I love that his version had the pictures. What a beautiful story. Small world huh?? You definitely were meant to be together. But dang girl, it took you awhile to figure it out!! :)
Thanks for sharing your story!

lime said...

what a lovely story, thanks so much for sharing it. sounds like you really have found a gem of a guy. i wish you both a lifetime of happiness.:)

María said...

That was a wonderful, wonderful story.

Mom24 said...

What a beautiful, romantic story. I hope you're always as happy as you were in that story. I hope you're feeling better too--I've been thinking of you.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh I love how you both wrote your versions---what a beautiful and romantic story. Thanks for sharing it.

Ashley said...

Such a beautiful story! I love it!

Laski said...

I was of course riveted by your story (I CRAVE details), but Todd's was the one that got me . . .

"It was love at first sight. I was smitten." 'nuff said. A man of few, but perfect, words.


Beck said...

This was BEAUTIFUL! I love love stories.
ANd more importantly, I know want my husband to write our love story, too.

Unknown said...

Absolutely love this and you two are just gorgeous together!! No wonder those boys are so good lookin'!! Thanks for sharing your love story (I like Todd's "abridged" version too...)

Jenny said...

I LOVE this story. Isn't it crazy how love 'pops' in when you're lease expecting it? And to find out you were from the same town/school? Amazing. Truly wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing!

CC said...

Wonderful story!!!! Way better than mine ;) I loved it!!!

Bren said...

Best story I've read today! You two look perfect together!

Toni said...

Such a great story! Thanks for sharing....

imbeingheldhostage said...

That is really beautiful and my gosh, you're a gorgeous couple!!

Nancy said...

I love the globe gift--if that isn't love, I don't know what is!Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.

And thanks for stopping by to read mine and for your thoughtful comment.

Love the pictures of your boys in the leaves! Too cute.

The Laundress said...

I can't stand it.

That may be the best meeting story ever. It was just meant to be.

Thank you for sharing that.

I met my husband in a bar. The end.

Ha. It was better than that, but really...here?

I love your pictures too, you make a wonderfully gorgeous couple.

Le Petit Chic said...

Oh my gosh, what a wonderful story you two have! I'm a believer in things that were just meant to be, and it sounds like you and your hubby are the perfect example. :)

Melissa said...

you guys are soooo sooo cute!

Gabriel said...

It was a great story! "Long" doesn't necessarily mean "boring"... :-)

Here's mine. Hope you like it!

Chrissy said...

Beautiful story, and your husband's version was especially sweet. I love to read these.

Rose said...

What a great love story! Isn't amazing how God weaves our lives together with the one we love?

Maybe I will write mine...

Anonymous said...

kat, that is such a great story! Funny and sweet! You two are perfect together!

McKenna Gordon said...

WOW! I'm so glad you came to my blog and commented, or I might have missed coming to your blog. I was captivated by your sweet "honey" story and have just spent the last little while reading back posts and getting to know you a bit. I'll be coming back for more... thanks for sharing!

S said...

That was a lovely, lovely story. Thank you.

just jamie said...

Why am I crying after reading this? Um... because it is so darn beautiful, I guess. The pictures are so cool. Don't you just want to talk tot hat girl in the picture and tell her all about what is yet to come?

Great story. I love the part about God revealing the man to you that you should be with (and I'm not even very religious).

Thanks for sharing. I love it.

dawn klinge said...

What a special treat to sit down at the computer and read this beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. How romantic!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Oh I loved your 'story of us' - very heartwarming. And those photographs were perfect for this post(especially on the Eiffel Tower) - VERY COOL.

Tonya said...

That is an awesome story. And I really liked Todd's version!

Amy said...

WOW! What an awesome love story! I think it's so great that you started out as friends. Seems like most relationships work better that way. I really loved this story, thanks for sharing!

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
krissy said...


BTW...you were one to receive my a award. I screwed up and put Karen (talking to my friend Karen at the same time of doing this.)

You know that you are definately my favorite girl. My fellow packer fan and my soul sista. So, I wanted to point that out. It's fixed now and I feel like a retard.

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Aw, so very worth the long read because that's a wonderful and romantic and excellent story. Good stuff!

Momisodes said...

Oh Kathryn, such a sweet love story! I loved the pics too! You make a beautiful couple. It's no wonder your boys are so adorable :)

Missy said...

what a great story! Amazing how he just kept coming back into your life! What is meant to be will always find a way!

Head Gaggler said...

Wonderful story! You both look so cute in those pics.

david mcmahon said...

I'm a romantic from way back and I thought this was magnificent.

You found a man who respects you, loves you - and has a sense of humour!


ConverseMomma said...

I love love stories. Yours was pretty impressive. A Harley, a tat, and a whirlwind trip to Europe. Not too shabby, my dear.

Rebecca (Ramblings by Reba) said...

Oh my. That is SO SO SO awesome! And your husband is a cutie! :)

Thanks so much for sharing that with us. I would have read the long version, by the way. :) Such good stuff!

N. said...

Men. You always find THE one when you aren't looking.

What a great romance.

Anonymous said...

To tell the truth, I usually hate hearing other people's love stories. But I couldn't stop reading this! What an amazing and wonderful story (and beautifully written!).

Mrs. F said...

What a beautiful story. I cried a little.

His version is so manly, so obviously I did not cry during his version, it was definitely during yours. Teehee.

painted maypole said...

what a great story. i loved this... both versions.

My husband actually remembers seeing me nearly a full year before we met. i just may have to tell that story some day. I've been way to busy with may day this week, though

Sandi McBride said...

I'm a sap for a love story...and this one was just the ticket! David sent me...congrats on the honour of being chosen..

Cath said...

What a fantastic story. Beautiful love story and I'm a sucker for them. Well told. I knew his would be a shorter version! lol

Cara said...

What a great story, I love your husbands version.

Sarahviz said...

An awesome tale to tell your children someday. Everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe that.

Anonymous said...

I was sitting reading your most recent post, wondering how you and Todd met...it's amazing what you find when you scroll down! Success. What your Mom said gave me chills. That was a beautiful story and I would have gladly read the full version. Todd's was beautiful, too. What a great story.

Roxy Wishum said...

That is a great story, well told. Have you started your book yet? You have to do it.

Colleen said...

You know why your story is better than the movies? because it's REAL!! Move over Mr. Darcy!

rosecreekcottage-carol.blogspot.com said...

Wow, Kat...I had never read this! I got chills up my arms when you described opening the globe!!!! God is good~

Unknown said...

What a lovely story... I said you are a lucky woman . Do you know similar to you, my husband and ı both prayed God for each other. This is a good think, ı think :)

Anita said...

Thanks Kat for telling me about this post. It was fun to read! I'm glad you read my abbreviated story on my current post so that it would remind you of yours, and so that you would share it with me. :)

It's so sweet and romantic. I'm still smiling.

Tahnya said...

I remember you from high school and you haven't (in appearance anyway) changed a bit. You are an excellent writer and really know how to draw the reader in! Thank you!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson