Tina and I had our first date in March of 1996. I had just turned 18 and she was only 16. We ate bad burritos, watched Mr. Holland's Opus, ate nerds, and shook hands at the end. It would take me two full months to get the guts to kiss her.
About a year and a half later we had a tearful goodbye as I headed off to San Francisco and she went about starting her life. It was a tough separation, but all great loves need a few years of deep thinking. And I thought A LOT!
My return to the desert in July '99 was marked by several months of savvy convincing that I was in fact the one--despite at least two fawners--and several more months of waiting until my sister came home from school in Hawaii. We got engaged in January and the longest 6 months of my life began.
We married in June of 2000 as young and innocent as you can imagine--and in a world where marriages are often put off until after school and work have been settled, I can honestly say that the world don't know nothing. It was the best decision we have ever made. (And if we would have waited until we were both done with school, we'd still be waiting.)
We started school. We worked hard. We had a baby in Feb. 2003. I graduated in summer 2003. We moved to the Phoenix valley. She enrolled at ASU in the perfect major. I chased after job option #1. I got denied job option #1. She gave me many hugs. She graduated in May 2005 and had a baby two months later. I bit the bullet and went back to school. She supported me.
I applied to graduate school in 2006 and was heartily denied by all schools applied to. More hugs. I bit the bullet even harder and realized that I was going to have to get a few more degrees. I did. We had another baby in Feb 2007. Much more educated about the process, I applied to another (much better) batch of schools and actually got in a few places. She moved with me and our growing family nearly all the way across the country. When we got here, she dug in and made a bunch of new friends. (she only complained once :)
She finds new ways to surprise and amaze me every day (She loves Mariokart!). She loves and nurtures our children full-time. (She loves Chipotle!) She is the sweetest mother. She loves me despite myself. (She loves LOST!) She is my friend, my counselor, my love.
I wish I could write you 1000 more love songs. Until then, listen to some Starmaster.
Happy Anniversary sweet Tina.