“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to begin as soon as possible.” Truer words were never spoken, at least for me anyway. When Brian and I met, we instantly had a connection that we both knew was more than just friendship. Our relationship developed and we knew we were going to do whatever it took to get married and start our life together. There was just one problem, I was only 17!
Brian and I met when I was a junior in high school and he was a junior in college. We talked for a few weeks via telephone, MySpace, and ICQ before we finally met. I distinctly remember our first telephone conversation. I had a bad cold and after saying hello, the first thing I said was, “I just want to make sure you know that I don’t sound like a 70 year old chain smoker all the time. I have a cold.” He laughed and I must not have scared him away, because we talked every single day thereafter. A couple of weeks went by before we met in person. My friends had arranged for him to show up at an event to raise money for cancer research. I turned around and he was walking towards me. I was instantly mortified. I was wearing a sloppy t-shirt and had hardly any makeup on. I was livid that my friends would set this up without making sure I at least looked presentable. Again, I must not have scared him too badly. He stayed and we ended up having a great and slightly awkward time. Two days later, we attended a church picnic together and won an egg toss game. I literally never win anything. It was all him. That was the day he asked me to be his girlfriend by saying, “So, do you wanna make this official?” I did! I really did!
We dated all summer long. It lives in my memory as the most fun and carefree time of my life. Brian had his own place and my parents forbid me to be there when it was only the two of us. Needless to say, I told more than my fair share of lies that summer. But to be fair, if we had gone to as many movies as I lied and said we did, we wouldn’t have known each other well enough to be getting married. We spent more than a few evenings sitting on the bank of our favorite fishing hole and we even loved just sitting together on the porch swing talking. It seemed we never ran out of things to talk about and he made me laugh. That was my favorite thing about him. It still is.
By the end of the summer, we knew we were getting married. There were two big obstacles in our way. They were my parents and the fact that I still had to finish high school. I think my mom and dad knew they were fighting a lost cause. They could see clearly that I was in love. I told Brian that he would have to ask my Dad. I would have married him regardless of the answer, but it was a matter of respect and it was important to me. I clearly remember the night that Brian asked my Dad for my hand in marriage. He was scared to death. They sat out on our porch and talked. My cousin, Ashley, and I snuck upstairs to the window just above the porch and eased it open. We sat and listened. We could only make out a few words here and there, but we could tell that overall the tone was positive. The only stipulation was that we had to wait until I graduated from high school before we could get married. A few days later, Brian took me back to the spot where we first met, got down on one knee, and asked me the same question I had heard once before, “So, do you wanna make this official?” I did! I really did!
The dating and engagement phase of our relationship was so much fun. Young and new love usually is. That’s not to say it didn’t come with some downfalls though. At a time when my friends were worried about new cars, who was dating who, prom dresses, and who would be prom queen, I was already past that phase of my life. I honestly was so past it. I felt like my last year of high school was a jail sentence. A sentence I had to serve in order to get to my freedom and the exciting life I had for myself. No one understood why I was in such a hurry. My family, my friends, my teachers, everyone; they always reminded me that I had all of my life to be an “old housewife,” I needed to slow down and live in the moment. They were trying to save me from making a huge mistake, but that wasn’t what I wanted. Those comments did nothing but drive a wedge further between myself and those people. I couldn’t understand why they just couldn’t be happy for me. With Brian it was the happiest time of my life. He was my happy place. With everyone else in my life, it was the hardest. My sister was also planning a wedding. She would be getting married a month before Brian and I. Everyone was so happy for her because she was at an age that people deemed it acceptable to marry. This hurt me so much. I even had someone say to me, “I’m happy for Steph, but you’re too young.” That crushed me. Eventually though, most people came around once they saw that their warnings weren’t going to change my mind and those who didn’t just got over it, I guess.
Despite the naysayers, Brian and I continued on planning our wedding. We were completely confident in what we were doing and couldn’t wait for our wedding day. On June 9th, 2007, at the ripe old age of 18, I walked down the aisle with my very sad Daddy holding my hand. At the end of the aisle I saw my future, my life, and my very best friend waiting for me. It was the happiest day of my life up until that point. It’s number two now, second only to the birth of our daughter.
Sunday will be our 6th wedding anniversary. It seems like a lifetime ago that we were dating, engaged, and then planning our wedding. We’ve had a lot of life in those 6 years. We’ve been together through college, medical school, buying our first home, deaths of family members, losing a baby, having our first child together and so much more. I love Brian even more today than I did then. The point of my post is not only to tell our story but to say that I believe in young love. I know that most of the world thought I was crazy for wanting to get married at such a young age. I can confidently say that if our daughter ever comes to us and says she’s planning to do the same I’ll probably panic and worry myself sick. But, ultimately the message is that, sometimes it works. Love is love. It knows no age limitations. It has no care for such a thing. When love is real, it’s real at 77 and it’s real at 17.