|Baby Adrian and Emily, before we were Adrian + Emily.|
Adrian and I love to tell our little story.
When I was in high school, I wanted to be married by age 24. I met Adrian when I was 23 and had outgrown my younger self's deadline. When I met Adrian, I wasn't much interested in dating at all.
The year before we met, I had done a volunteer program and had moved out to Chicago. I loved my job and loved living in the city, but I was homesick. For my family, my friends, the ocean, and Dunkin' Donuts on every corner. Just before our first meeting, I had decided that that school year would be my last in Chicago.
At the time, I was working for the program I continue to work for now. But I was working in the Early Childhood program. Of all the kids I worked with, I absolutely adored this one little guy named Lalo. He was a year and a half and oh so mischievous but even more affectionate. He'd curl up in your lap and fall asleep with his little head on your shoulder and his little tiny hand on your ear. I was in love.
|Love that little Lalo face.|
In January, this same uncle showed up for registration in the Adult ESL night class I was teaching. We tested him and he scored the highest I have ever seen to this very day. I told him he'd be better off in a much more challenging program but he insisted that he wanted the extra practice so I let him stay.
I continued to work with Lalo during the day and taught Adrian in class at night. Towards the end of the year, Lalo's mom invited me to a birthday party for her other son and again, I thought nothing of it. Our adult students routinely invite teachers to family events and I had already been to many others.
I couldn't go to that party but eventually, once school let out, I made it to Lalo's house for dinner. Adrian lived with his sister and her boys and over the course of the summer I was invited to more and more family dinners and birthdays and showers and even a wedding.
That summer, I got to know Adrian and I could see that he was interested. I did not want the stress of a boyfriend and told him as much. But each day, there'd be a little text or a phone call or an invitation. And little texts turned to long phone conversations and lunches and drinks with friends. My friends told me I was crazy for not wanting a boyfriend like him. He was such a nice guy.
Adrian waited ten months for me.
Until finally one day, I couldn't say no to his opening the car door for me and paying for me everywhere we went and pulling out my chair and never even trying to hug me because he wasn't sure how I would receive it.
He drove me home from a family party and we sat outside my apartment and I told him, "I think I'm finally ready to have a boyfriend."
One of my all-time favorite movies is Love, Actually. And one of my favorite parts is when Jack kisses Judy for the first time on her doorstep. She goes inside and he jumps off down the stairs and pumps a little victory fist pump. I always wanted to be with someone who was just so genuinely excited to be with me that they too couldn't contain themselves.
Adrian still does little fist pumps that I finally said yes.
|Photo credit: Fragola Productions|
Adrian says he knew from that first day we met in December. It took me a little longer. But oh am I happy that I finally figured it out. And that he waited all that time.
(Note: I felt inspired to finally share this story when I came across this lovely blog, beauty & the feast. Allie often shares other blogger's love stories "to instill hope in your hearts but also to keep the hope in mine". Love that! Go check her out and read some beautifully hopeful stories!)