The first day I met her, there was a spark. Ironically, we lived on the same floor of a 12 story dormitory as freshmen. It wasn’t until the following year, just before winter break, did I meet her officially. She was the best friend of one of my fraternity brothers. I always knew who she was…the shoulder length silky red hair, the bright red lipstick, the denim shirts, the brilliant sparkling blue eyes, and even her trademark lip curl. When I did meet her at an “end of finals week” party, I was smitten. She was perfect: low maintenance, fun, laid back, extremely grounded, focused, and fiercely independent. I even woke up early the next morning to pick her up and drive her to the airport in my old Jeep. I just couldn’t get enough time with her. She was flying home to Denver for the holidays.
A few weeks later, a few friends and I stopped by her house while driving through Denver on our way to Winter Park for a ski trip. She and her sister Amy ended up driving up to ski with us. That was all it took. Cindy and I spent New Year’s Eve talking into the night and I knew that my instincts were spot on. I, of course, babbled on about petty college drama. She listened intently, even repeatedly offered advice. I told my friend Doug on the way home I would marry her someday. For the next few months I pursued, unsuccessfully, our first date. I kept asking, she kept saying no…we were just friends. She finally caved to my persistence and said yes on St. Patrick’s Day 1994, no doubt induced by the green beer we had consumed.
The rest is history. In retaliation, I finally caved to the idea of married life six years after our first real date and chose March 18th in honor of our lucky drunken holiday. Now, fourteen years after that Christmas trip, we are a family. We managed to create two little clones…our legacies.
It has been a typical couple’s journey full of good times, good trips, bad times, worse times, hectic and stressful times, child birth, ups and downs, sleepless nights, screaming matches, sacrifice, silent treatments, laughter, and rekindling. I once heard that marriage is defined by the stuff which happens between the joyous photos of an album. I’ve learned one important lesson so far along the way. It’s ok to have bad times, it’s probably even healthy. Growing apart is natural and you can’t stop it; but you can build bridges that connect those gaps. She is my lifelong best friend and we seem to always find a way to mend whatever tear, albeit not always easily. Given all of that, we both knew it wouldn’t be easy but it would be worth it. It is today. It will be tomorrow. I regret not a single second and, if given the opportunity, wouldn’t do it any differently.