This line is from one of my all-time favorite songs that my husband introduced me to while we were dating. It was also our first dance at our wedding. I hear this song and I can't help but smile. I always picture Sam at 17, playing his guitar, and of course smiling his heart melting smile. I can still feel the butterflies, the gut wrenching goodbyes, and the feeling of pure bliss and perfection.
I was young, I mean practically a baby when I met Sam and fell in love. I had thought that I was in love before with a boy that "broke my heart" and I swore off serious relationships and wanted to just be me. Well, I needed a date to the prom. I needed someone tall and of course cute. Enter Sam. He was cute, tall, funny, a little quiet, but really nice. We became friends. I was friends with some of his friends so the transition to hang out was pretty easy. We set up a group of us to go bowling one night. I told Sam to call me and I would give him the details. It was a great plan to get him on the phone :) Well, he called and we talked and talked and talked. For 3 hours I think. Then he came and picked me up and we talked some more. That night he asked me to go ice skating a few days later. I had mentioned that I wanted to go, but hadn't had anyone to go with. He picks me up, and as we are walking in, I start to panic. Is this is a date? Should I jump in to pay for myself? Well, Mr. Cool Guy took care of it and before I knew it, I had ice skates on. I am a terrible ice skater. I can't really stop or really go fast- I am just not that good at it. But, we skated and then we sat down and talked until the place shut down. At this point in our short, and undefined relationship, I think we had divulged our hopes, dreams, and deep dark secrets. He was easy to talk to, there was a comfort with him that I just hadn't experienced before.
A few phone calls later he asks me to prom. Then a few phone calls after that he asks me to officially be his girlfriend. I was ecstatic about the prom, and super nervous about the girlfriend part. I figured that I would get through prom and then break up with him. He was nice, but he was going to college and I still had a year of high school, and well, I wasn't sure we would work out and I was not in the business to be hurt again. That was a very short-lived thought. The months leading up to prom, we went on more dates, talked until 3 or 4 in the morning and had the best time together. I thought maybe that this could work out. The summer started and I was in love with this kid. I learned that no one had actually broken my heart before because I never truly gave it to anyone. Sam had it, all of it. I was in, and I was in deep. I couldn't stop thinking about him and I didn't want to be away from him. I had never felt that before and it scared me. He was going to school, and what would he want with me? I pulled away, starting making excuses and just braced myself for the inevitable. One night, after I watched his band play, we talked for a long time and he assured me he was not going anywhere - he was in just as deep.
This is when I realized this guy was worth holding on to. Even at this point in our relationship, he fought for me. We made it through that year and through the next 4 before we got married. It was bumpy in spots, I tried multiple times to end it. I wanted my freedom. He wouldn't let me end it, but we changed how often we saw each other, giving me more time with my friends. He put up with the most ridiculous things from me, but he was always there, waiting patiently for me to see what he already saw. This was it. It's not that I didn't love Sam, and it's not that I didn't want to commit to him. I just didn't think that this was it. Who finds the love of their life at 17? Well, we did - oddly enough. I always tell people that we luckily grew into people we still loved and respected. Because 17 year old Dana was nothing like 22 year old Dana and same for Sam. He was a different man than I knew in high school - a better version of himself - but different. We had a great college experience and grew even closer through the ups and downs of life. Even a few years in, we still had this magnetic chemistry that is indescribable. He was what completed me. We fit so perfectly together and I could not imagine my life without him by my side.
We got engaged and life got real. We had to plan a wedding, finish graduating (writing major papers, a thesis, etc), find a place to live, figure out how we are going to pay for this place to live and find jobs. It was stressful, but so exciting to be planning a life with this man. It was like we were 17 again and we could not get enough of each other. I remember one point coming home to my roommate and in tears saying it physically hurt to say goodbye. Dramatic? Maybe, but it was how I felt. Every moment away was a moment too long.
Fast forward 8 years. Yes, tomorrow we will be celebrating 8 years of marriage!! I never doubted we wouldn't make it here - I expected to be old and grey with Sam. However, I never thought that in these 8 short years we would have experienced so much. We have tested our relationship. We have gone to bed angry. We have struggled financially. We have trusted each other because there was nothing else to do. Through it all, we have come out on the other side - happy, stronger, and more determined. I never thought that life was going to be so hard and that the true definition of marriage is to be truly selfless.
There are days when I struggle to find nice words, or nice thoughts and then are days when all I want is to climb in bed and snuggle in the crook of his arm all day. There are days when I look at the man that still holds every bit of my heart and think that I couldn't have picked a better person to walk through life with and then there are days when I can not understand how he thinks and why he says what he says. There has been pain and pure joy. There has been times that I don't want to remember and times that I want to freeze and re-live over and over. Through it all, I can hear this song in my head: "So give me your forever, please your forever, not a day less will do, from you." Because as hard as life can be with all it's ups and downs, there is no one in this world who I would give my forever to, who I love more, and who I would give my heart than Sam. He is my forever, and I am so glad that he gave me his.