Lee and I are just months away from our 10 year Anniversary (July 22). Last week, I purchased our tickets to Milan, Italy for mid-September where we will spend ten days driving through Switzerland, Austria and Italy (we may even try to swing through France if we have time) to celebrate. As we ramp up to this big milestone in our marriage, I will be recording some of the favorite memories of our life together…
While I was in Kiev, Lee and I emailed back and forth several times. We both had the purest of intentions, of course. I mean, obviously, I was concerned with how his first few months as area director for K-Life were going and I was emailing him solely to encourage him in his new endeavor. And he was clearly concerned with how I was coping in a foreign country all by myself and just wanted to encourage me in my endeavor.
I still have those emails, by the way. I printed them off and saved them. Because I knew I was going to marry this man. Turns out that the night I left for Kiev, Lee called his parents and told them he was pretty sure he had just met the girl he was going to marry.
So when I returned to Waco in January of 1999, I prepared myself to see Lee again for the first time. We worked together in ministry so I knew I had to tread carefully. I couldn’t let on that I had a mad crush on the new guy. So when I arrived at that first K-Life meeting, I made a very concerted effort not to look down the aisle at Lee. We met in an old movie theater and he was standing right up front and it took every bit of willpower to not head straight for him and say hello. Instead, I very slowly meandered my way down to the front, stopping and talking to friends along the way.
Two of my sweet friends had caught on a bit to Lee’s crush and told me later that they were watching Lee when I walked in the room to see what his reaction would be. Apparently he was a little obvious because they both say that their suspicions were confirmed by his point blank stare.
Lee says he still remembers what I looked like when I walked into the theater. Short hair (due to a very unfortunate incident in a hair salon during one of my side trips to London that involved an orange-haired stylist from New Zealand…), orange coat and blue jeans. I don’t remember what Lee was wearing – probably jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball hat – but I remember that when I finally got to the front of the room and spoke to him, my heart started racing and my palms sweating.
After the meeting, I hung around a bit to catch up with my future husband. I believe we talked for about an hour. He sat on one side of the aisle, I on the other. I left on cloud nine and practically floated back to my apartment.
That second semester of school found Lee and I dancing around one another, both coming up with random reasons to call each other. I worked really, really hard to hide my feelings for him. And, for the most part, I succeeded. The only person to figure out what I was up to was Dana, Lee’s partner. Lee, however, did not do as good of a job hiding his feelings. Almost everyone suspected that he had a bit of a crush.
Lee and I both led Friday morning Bible studies that semester – I with the senior girls and Lee with the senior boys. My girls were supposed to meet me at the K-Life house at 6:45 and Lee’s Bible study started at 7:00. I would always arrive around 6:40 so Lee and I could have a few minutes to talk. My girls caught on to this and decided to take it upon themselves to hook us up. So they conspired to show up late every week. They never showed up before 7:00. I did not know about this until much later. Turns out they were certain that Lee liked me, but they weren’t sure how I felt, so they wanted me to have some alone time with him to figure it out.
In April of 1999, I drove with Lee to Conway to interview for a position as a youth intern at his home church. Even though I had offers that may have been a little more exciting for the summer (I had a job offer coaching gymnastics at Bela Karolyi’s camp in Houston and I also had an offer to intern at a church in Orlando), I really wanted to go to Conway, Arkansas so I could get to know Lee’s family and have easy access to him for the summer. On the way home from that trip, Lee asked me if he could keep in touch with me over the summer – he would remain in Waco for part of the time and then go to Germany to play basketball for a month.
That was as close to a DTR as we got. And that day, I bought a journal and began secretly writing letters to Lee. I gave him that journal a little over a year later the day we got married.
To be continued in which I will share the first time Lee told me he loved me. Definately a story worth recording…