I got into Cal Poly (which, frankly, I think shocked both of us), and packed up my gear and headed North.
The campus was so large that I think it was a good 6 months before we ever accidentally ran into each other.
We obviously hung out before that, but it was always scheduled. It was a long time before we bumped into eachother unplanned.
(Which, by the way, I loved because it helped me feel better about following my boyfriend to college!)
There were some bumps along the way. But nothing that any normal relationship doesn’t go through.
We spent time together, I hung out with his friends, I made new friends, it was cool.
I still did the whole frat party, up until 3 in the dorms thing…while Andy hung out with his buddies playing video games or whatever.
We knew early on that we wanted to get married. It was just the way it was. I don’t think either of us romanticized it…it just was what was going to happen, you know?
But we also knew we were really young…and that we were going to have to give each other freedom to fully experience “College Life” or else there might be regrets later on.
It was sort of like “okay, we’re really young, but if we want to make this work, we have to let each other do our own thing because that’s what seems to mess people up 3 kids, a minivan, and a mortgage down the road.”
Translation: Andy had no interest in the party scene…so that meant that basically *I* was the one given lots of freedom. :)
(And let me be clear: that freedom had boundaries, so don’t let your imagination run too wild folks!)
At some point, marriage came up. Okay, from me. Not gonna lie.
And eventually we got engaged after 3 years of dating…at 20 years old.
We set the wedding date to June 22, 2002…which was the summer BEFORE we would be graduating college. We’d be 21.
This was a controversial decision. For lots of people.
It was really interesting in a college/higher education environment to be engaged.
People were aghast at that gold ring on my finger.
I actually had a (very well intentioned) professor call me into her office and sit me down to discuss “throwing away my life”. (While weird, I know that she only did it because we were “close” and she felt comfortable talking to me like that.)
It got to the point where I actually found myself sitting on my left hand sometimes when on campus. Not because I was ashamed…just that I really didn’t feel like getting into it…again.
Why so young?
Well, by the time we said “I Do”, we had been dating for 4 years.
I would guess that we pretty much *knew* we were in it for the long haul by the 6 month mark. No lie.
Andy gave me a promise ring for my 18th birthday. I remember him saying “You know, if we weren’t 18, that’d be an engagement ring.”
And at some point we were just waiting for the sake of waiting.
Some people suggested waiting until after we graduated. We had worked way too hard to get to that point in our academic careers to drop out at the 11th hour. So that was really a non-issue for us. Besides, we were both in the thick of school. It wasn’t like one of us was plugging away in the library until 3 a.m. while the other was channel surfing and going to bed early. We were in the same place and I think that made a HUGE difference.
Others suggested that if this “was really meant to be” that we wait until we were graduated and both had established careers.
Some suggested waiting until we were at least 26.
All of these suggestions are with good reason. They all have solid arguments behind them and they all warranted some thought. Everyone was well-intentioned and honestly looking out for our well being.
The statistics were against us for sure.
But, we felt like waiting was only waiting for the sake of waiting and essentially putting off the inevitable.
Kinda like that waiting for the perfect time to have kids thing.
And, we’re both kinda old souls anyway.
I do NOT suggest that every 21 year old out there is mature enough for marriage. In fact, I think that is rarely the case.
Would I freak out if one of my kids came to me saying they were getting married at 21? Depends.
It was the right decision for us.
It actually worked out really well to be married that last year. Andy was in a crazy intense Senior Aircraft Design Lab and worked until 3 a.m. and was back out the door by 6…and I had arranged it to make my senior year as easy as possible, so I was able to take care of him and deliver meals to his lab and make that year a teensy bit more comfortable for him.
We graduated from college on the same day.
It was 5 years into our marriage before we had Henry.
And our new story began.
I don’t know that had we waited any longer that anything would have been any different, except that we’d be celebrating a different anniversary.
This June will be 8 years.
So folks, that is the story of how two 17 year old kids who didn’t even really like eachother all that much, went to Disneyland, fell in love, went to college, and got married.
We totally grew up together.
We are still growing up together.
I love that.