Ten Whole Years
I won't lie, I'm a little emotional writing this post. Maybe it's the feeling that life is real, that my life is real, and that this little life moves really darn quickly. Like, 10 years in a blink of an eye quickly.
Ten years ago today, Mike and I started dating. It was the summer of 2003, and we were working at Jones Beach Theater - Mike was a cook and I worked the register. Honest to God, it was the best summer of my life. I remember the starry nights, hot rains, genuine belly laughs, and counting my lucky stars that I landed in such a great place, with such great people.
The above picture is the very first picture I have of Mike and I - from 2003, behind the scenes at the Food Court, in our very flattering uniforms. We had no idea that we'd grow together in that very spot, summer after summer, only to return to it - 8 years later - to get married, under the very same stars, and in that very special location we loved so much, surrounded by the same people who were with us from day one.
What an incredible, incredible 10 years we have had.
When I first met Mike, I thought his name was John, mostly because I thought he looked like John Mayer. It was a few days of working together before I caught on that his name was Mike. At the time, he was also a volunteer fireman with his local fire department, we was there for 4 years, also becoming an EMC & CC before leaving for his current job. I have to say, I am married to a man that looks pretty darn amazing in a uniform.
We started dating when I was 16, and he was 17 - during our junior year of high-school. We didn't go to high-school together, but we're high-school sweet hearts through and through. And yes, we went to prom together, and yes, I wore a white dress to prom. Poetic (it's OK to roll your eyes here. I would if I were you)
After high school, I went away to Boston for college and studied Interior Design for a year before coming back home. The long-distance relationship was incredibly hard and I missed Mike with my entire soul. At the time, he kept talking about going into the army, which scared me terribly, and being so far away made me feel helpless. I wanted him to follow his dreams, but I think we both knew that it would end our relationship - I was so relieved when he decided to go to a 2 year school before making any major life decisions. And, since I wasn't feeling as connected with interior design as I had hoped I would, I came back home to New York. Of course, Mike was a huge part of why I wanted to come home, and I am glad I did, he's been my rock for 10 years now, and I can't image not having him by my side.
Over the years, we've laughed together, traveled together, cried together, been terrified together, and grown up together. Our families have also come together, joined together, and have merged into one, big, unified front. We know how lucky we are for that. Truly, it is a magnificent thing.
But no matter how far we've come, or what we've been through, my heart is forever rooted in the summer of 2003, the summer we met. That one, life changing summer.
Having had the opportunity to get married there was the absolute most surreal experience I have ever had. I know everybody thinks they had the most amazing wedding day, but in my heart, I know mine is even that much more special, because of the location and the people that made it happen. You see, the folks at Jones Beach don't do weddings, never have, and probably never will, but after Mike & my original catering hall double-booked our wedding date, we were left reception-less. I was still working at Jones Beach a few days a month, and my long-time boss offered to reach out to a few people to see if we could have the wedding reception there. Big white tents, on the ocean, outside under the stars - it was like a dream come true! The Jones Beach Theater people are like family, and so they said yes. And there you have it - the very abbreviated version of how the only wedding at Jones Beach Theater ever came to be.
One of the many special touches of our wedding night was actually printed on the back of every menu. Behind each menu was the summer concert lineup from 2003, the summer Mike and I met. So if you're curious what concerts we worked and saw, here it is:
10 years ago. This summer. I cannot believe it.
Mike - we've seen hundreds of shows together, but the entire past 10 years have been the show of our lives, and I am so honored, privileged, and grateful to have had a VIP pass and front row seat. I love you, and may our seats only get better from here on out.