Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Love Story

     "Welcome to my life - the good, the bad, & the in between." These are the words that welcome you to my life, however - so far, it seems all I have let you in on is the bad: cancer, my brothers' deaths, anxiety...but to be honest, there is more good in my life than there is bad; in fact there is something - or someone I should say, who is pretty fantastic.
     In August 2003 I decided to pick up a summer job just for the hell of it; my best friend, Ashley worked at a local retail store so I thought why not? I filled out an application and the next week I was called in for an interview and began my first day a week later. Along with picking up some extra cash, I was making another lifelong friendship with my friend Natalie, and, ultimately, my husband Chad. I wish I could say I acted cool, confident, and put together from the start, however that is the furthest from the truth!
     As do most girls while growing up, I watched cheesy, over-the-top, romantic movies about couples falling in love at first sight, conquering the odds together that life threw their way, and living happily ever after but even though I watched those movies about love at it fullest, I had my doubts. I had relationships throughout my teenage-years but by the age of 19 I was single, not looking, and pretty sure I would spend the rest of my life alone. That’s normal, right? Well, life proved me wrong on a random day at a random time. 
     I was just ending my shift and clocking out when I first saw Chad - he was coming out of the lost control office & was wearing a light-blue, V-neck sweater with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows. My heart immediately starting beating in a rhythm I had never experienced before…I was in love…and it was at first sight. As we passed each other in the close-quartered hallway, he whispered a shy “excuse me” and I felt my knees buckle. Who was this guy that I had so quickly & unexpectedly fell in love with? It wouldn't take me long to find out - between Ashley & Natalie (and there super-secret insiders) we had the “411” on Chad within a few days: he was 24, had recently moved here from North Carolina to go to school and, yes, he was single. SCORE! So, once again, you would think knowing that this gorgeous guy was single could only help me maintain a semi-normal, put-together, calm but welcoming aura, & would help me mentally prepare a game plan to make him mine and, embarrassingly & sadly enough, once again, that was definitely not me.
     Falling so completely hard for someone who had mentioned 2 words to me made me spastic, extremely nervous, and brought out my “inner Urkel”. When someone mentioned he was coming my way, I would run in the other direction…and I’m not exaggerating, I would literally jog to the furthest register away from him trying to pull-out an Oscar-worthy performance of “busy customer-service representative”. I was fine daydreaming for afar, but bring the boy close to me and all composer left my body. Example: it was around the holidays so our store was ridiculously busy; once we would finish with one customer, three more would be in line, so that left me little time to have my radar on maximum level. I was squatting down in front of the return desk trying to read a UPC off something a customer was returning when I heard a voice behind my say “busy enough up here for you Lisa?”, without thought, I turned around ready to answer the familiar, but not at that very second, voice and saw Chad standing there, clipboard in hand. Oh my gawd I thought, he knows my name! “Um…yeah, it’s um…it’s…it’s…busy, yeah…busy…it is!” I managed to spit out after trying my damnedest to form a normal, basic response. He smiled and walked away; I dropped my head in embarrassment. “Seriously?!” I thought “busy it is?!” who am I, Yoda?! It was a legit "Dirty Dancing" 'I carried a watermelon?!' moment.  Before standing up, I put my hands on my hips and felt that my pants had slipped down a bit, we’re not talking a Britney Circa 2007 flash, but they were definitely down a little; I stood up and pulled my pants back up on my hips, ran my hands around the rim of the waistline & discovered my underwear had been sticking out above my pants the whole time! And the worst part?…they weren’t even cute underwear!

     After the very embarrassing (til this day) “Underwearmelon” moment, little by little I began gaining courage to be in the same vicinity of Chad, first in a group setting and then a little more personal. Slowly but surely my speech began to rise above that of a pre-schooler and my actual personality began to show. Soon enough, we were taking our breaks together just talking and getting to know more about each other. In January of 2004 the, at one time, unbelievable happened and we had our 1st kiss outside Ashley’s house before we both got in our cars to go our separate ways for the night. Needless to say, I, of course, grabbed my phone and called Ashley before I reached the end of her driveway. The next day at work the news had spread and our work buddies were literally coming up to me giving me high-fives for finally showing Chad the mega-awesome person that I truly am. ;)
After that, we became pretty much inseparable and by the end of month, January 31, 2004 to be exact, we officially became “Chad & Lisa” when he called me his “girlfriend” for the first time. Here I was: 19, not single, no longer thinking I would spend my life alone, and very much in love; I had found my other half and for the first time in my life felt complete and whole-heartedly knowing that I had found my soul mate. Five years later, to the day on January 31, 2009, we became husband & wife in a small but perfect wedding surrounded by our families and friends.
     I fell in love with Chad the second I saw him; we conquer the odds together that life throws our way, and even though cancer has derailed a “normal” happily ever after, we’re on our way, but unlike those movies I watched growing up…our love story doesn’t end after the credits. 
     I love you Chad: now, then, forever, & always. <3