What it's all about...

I'm a 39 year old wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt & friend. That should tell you who I'll be writing about most of the time.







Friday, April 25, 2008

16 Years

Well it's a couple of days late, but I really wanted to write this post, so here goes...
April 23 was our 16th anniversary of being committed to each other.
This is how it happened... It's gonna be long.
We met in 1989, through our high school's summer volleyball camp. Anyone who wanted could sign up for the program that ran during the summer and then once school started you would presumably have an advantage over the other people trying out for the teams. One of my best friends was a year ahead of me and already on the v-ball team, and she convinced me to give it a try. Now, I am not, and wasn't then, an athletic person. But, I saw how much fun she had and thought I'd give it a try. Anyway, it was HARD. The coach worked us hard from the minute we got there until we stumbled out every day. One day, we were running laps in the gym and I got cramps so bad I had to stop. While I was sitting on the side, everyone else was running. I noticed that other then the girls who I knew, there was one who kept looking at me every time she ran by me. I didn't know her, but she was smiling at me. Finally, when their laps were done, she came over and asked me why I was "so special" that I didn't have to run. Not in a snotty way, jut teasing. I told her and that was that. I don't think we had any more contact the rest of the program and then school started. I decided not to pursue volleyball after all and went back to spending my days hanging out with my best friend Eric. This was 10th grade. Shell was in 9th. Eric & I started eating lunch by the choir & band rooms, which is where a lot of Shell's friends hung out so she naturally ended up there too. I still didn't have a lot of contact with her, until she called me to say that she could get tickets to the Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation concert. Eric & I had tried to get tickets, but it didn't happen. She had apparently been trying to get close to me ever since the summer, and after learning about our failure to get tickets, figured it would be a good way. She got my phone number and called. I was so impressed that she would think of me. It ended up that she finagled tickets for me, her, Eric and my mom (who would be driving us). She told us that she got them for face value, when in fact had paid a lot more from a scalper. She did all of that, even though as far as she knew, I was very straight. After that, we all became good friends and pretty much stayed that way for the next couple of years. It was truly one of the best times of my life.
My senior year of high school, Eric had dropped out and Shell became the friend I saw ALL THE TIME. I spent the night at her house pretty often, and we talked on the phone secretly all night long. I didn't realize how strong her feelings were toward me until after I started dating my first (and only) boyfriend. At 17. I spent the short time I was with him talking to Shell about everything, mostly what she didn't want to hear. One of my boyfriend's friends became friends with Shell and she confided in him how she felt about me. Unfortunately he told my boyfriend, who in turn told me. I was a little shocked, and a whole lot confused. I started to realize how I felt about her too. The relationship ended and with this newfound knowledge, I started to push on the boundaries of our friendship. I flirted with her, teased her a little (she'd say a lot), and allowed myself to feel what I did. I was falling in love with her big time. As my sublety led to obviousness, she decided to take it into her own hands. We passed each other between classes one day, and she handed me a letter. Getting a letter from her was very common. This letter was not. It said that she thought she was noticing a change in how I acted toward her, and did I want to take our friendship to the next level? And she made two boxes and marked them yes and no.
I read it over and over and over and let what it was saying really sink in. I had no fear, I was giddy. It felt right to mark yes. I gave her the letter back and after reading it, we skipped class to talk about it. This was uncharted territory for us both. She was scared to death that I would "realize" that I wasn't gay and it would ruin our friendship. I wasn't. She was afraid that any backlash we might experience at school would hurt me. I wasn't. I was uncharacteristically sure of myself and my choice, I knew it would be ok. The rest are stories for another time. I wrote the following last year on my MySpace blog and it stands true still:
Yesterday marked 15 years that Shelly and I have been together. F-i-f-t-e-e-n y-e-a-r-s! That is almost half of our lives - together. We were 17 years old, and before deciding to take the step from friends to girlfriends we sat and discussed what we both expected. Somehow we must have known that this was something special and we didn't want to mess it up. We discussed EVERYTHING and and didn't commit to anything until we had come to agreement on all areas. Before we agreed to try dating, we discussed issues of monogamy, sex, how public to make our relationship, marriage, kids and what would happen to our friendship if it didn't work. I'm not sure how, at 17, we had the foresight to bring all these issues and more out in the open at the onset, but we did. And I know that it made a huge difference in the ensuing months when our relationship was put under a lot of scrutiny. We have had a lot of tough times to work through, and there have been many times that our patience and love has been put to the test, both with each other and the world around us. It's never been easy, but it's definitely never been boring.
So here we are, 15 years later. We have 2 amazing kids that make our life together complete. We bought our first house last year, and sometimes we have to pinch ourselves to believe that it's not all a dream. Somehow, all those years ago, we saw that this was possible for us. Those 17 year old girls dreamed a life together, against their families wishes and with really no model to go by. Most of their friends thought that it wouldn't last. The odds were against them. And yet, we made it happen. We made our own family together, with the friends that did stick by us, and in time our families came around. Was it hard? I've never known anything more difficult. But if we had to get through it to come to where we are today, it has all been worth it.

Top right: Approximately 6 months together. Top left: Together 8 months. Bottom: 11 months together - we are 18 years old.

4 comments:

Denise said...

Ok first of all I have to say that this post? Made me cry. It really got me right here.
Secondly. I enlarged the photos and had to lmao at Shells fantabulous outfit in the bottom pic. Love the polka dot shirt. She is all about bringing sexy back!
Thanx Tyff, this was great.

This Mom said...

Actually, I am the one in the polka dot shirt and very blue leggings. Oh my how I needed help then!

Denise said...

Sorry!

vikki said...

Congrats to you both! My partner and I celebrated our 15th on April 25th.