We officially started dating mid-August, but I’ve always considered our anniversary the date of our starlit chats. Because that’s when the “us” truly started.
The first week of school he gave me a beautiful arrangement of flowers and told me he loved me. I appreciated that he made it a special moment. Otherwise I’m sure it would have accidentally slipped out from one of us. He told me that he loved me as well as he knew how to at that time. It was a special reminder that as time passes our understanding of and ability to love only grows.
Since Dave-Man ‘s graduation he had considered many paths, including grad school and career. He got a kind of gap year to figure out what he wanted when the school hired him on as their interim director of security. And I was thrilled because that meant he spent my senior year around. Thinking back now, I can’t imagine how hard that year must have been for him. I’m so grateful he was around, but I don’t think I could have done what he did.
That year was interesting for me as well. I tried to balance dating this awesome guy that I never knew when he was a student, but now was dating as a alumni. I wanted to squeeze every last drop from living with my sorority sisters, overlapping for one year at college with my little sister, savor a full year of art classes and preparing for my senior show, and the last year I would ever live with so many dear friends so near.
Another issue we struggled with the college culture that can tend to assuming relationships should follow a certain path. There is little privacy and relationships are expected to follow a specific trajectory that ends with a “ring by spring.” Both of us had a hard time not falling prey to comparing ourselves to other relationships or doing things because of how it would look to others. It was a good year for growing up and growing together
By spring time, we were looking forward to a life together. We both had teaching jobs lined up in Colorado Springs and the only way we thought we could move out there together was married. And so we got engaged the last week of my senior year — one year to when we started to get to know each other. I had foiled his plans for a week by inviting my friends along with us on all his proposal attempts. (I was just trying to soak up every last moment of college.)
He finally nabbed me alone and headed to a nearby lake, gave me a note written on birch bark and got down on one knee. It was beautiful.