Today is the anniversary of the day Shawn finally convinced me to go out with him. 11 years later, we are newlyweds and looking forward to many more years together. Every love story has its unique beginnings and challenges. For us, our biggest hurdle was me. It took a lot of perseverance and effort for Shawn to finally convince me to give him a chance. But like they say, if you do not succeed the first time; try, try, try again.
Shawn and I met on our first day of college. I was not in the mindset that college was going to be where I was going to fall in love, let alone fall in love with the man I was going to marry. I was planning on giving it the old college try: work hard, meet new people, make some mistakes, and have fun. But that did not happen, not even close.
As it always is, the first day is by far one of the most daunting days of the whole experience. I remember my first class. I was so nervous. I arrived early because I had a fear of getting lost, not finding the classroom and being late for my first day, setting off the whole college experience on the wrong foot. In stark contrast, Shawn showed up in the nick of time just as the class was about to start. Clearly, he was not plagued by the same fears.
Now this is the time that I would normally write that he took my breath away or that I blushed when our eyes met. Shawn walked in wearing a baseball hat, baggy jeans and a baggy shirt. Unlike most love stories in the movies or in fairy tales, for us, there was no spark, no blushing, and there was no love at first sight. It was just a regular moment.
After a couple of weeks, we started talking and he seemed like a really nice guy. What stood out with him was how easy it was to talk to him. One day after class, he walked me to my car. It was raining out, but it was light enough that it was almost refreshing. We stood behind my car talking for two hours. We talked about everything and anything and it didn’t seem like we would ever run out of things to discuss. We had plenty of opportunity to just say goodbye and go our separate ways but we both just wanted to keep talking.
I was completely oblivious about his feelings for me. Maybe I had Shawn “on the hook”? If I did, it was certainly not my intention. He asked me out in late November over MSN Chat (anyone else remember that?!) and I said no. He asked me out again in February, right around my birthday and I said no. My reasons were legitimate to me: I was working two jobs, going to college, and training for a half marathon. In my mind, I had no time to date. It didn’t matter to him. He was dedicated.
In February, I had one day off from both of my jobs and I had one big plan for that evening: cleaning. I had a pile of laundry that almost reached the ceiling and an apartment that hadn’t had a good cleaning since the last day I had off – a month earlier. When he heard that I had the night off, he asked if we could hang out. I responded with my priorities in hand, “I have to clean”. So what does he do? He offers to come over and help me clean, that it would go faster with help and if there was time, we could watch a movie.
That’s how it started. That’s how he slowly moved into my life – by offering to help vacuum my apartment. After that night, we started hanging out more often; usually when I would get off work. He would meet me at my apartment and we would watch a movie. Typically, I never saw past the first 20 minutes of the movie because I would fall asleep from sheer exhaustion. But he would stay, wake me up when the movie finished, and offer to do it again later.
April 4th, 2004 – the day that I caved. I don’t know what happened, and I cannot tell you the pivotal moment where it all came together. I can only imagine that it was a collection of subtle moments. I didn’t even realize that I was starting to have feelings for him. They just crept up on me, in the best of ways. But that third time he asked me out; man, it was impossible to say no. I’m pretty sure all I did was answer with a big smile.
Shawn didn’t win me over with big gestures, fancy dates, or anything superficial. He was just himself – an all-around nice guy who had the determination, perseverance, and stubbornness to stick it out when I couldn’t see what was directly in front of me.
If there has been one thing that Shawn has taught me, it is that when you want something strongly enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen – even if it takes three tries to get you there.
Editor’s note: Catherine & Shawn are my dear friends and it’s an honour to share their love story on the blog today. All wedding photos are credited to www.byfieldpitman.com