Like many couples, we met in college. Unlike many couples it took many years, life experiences and a coffee date to bring us together forever.
Mike and I started at the University of Pittsburgh in the Fall of 1995. The first week of Freshman Orientation is the beginning of our story.
It all began with our Best Man and an orientation class. Mike’s best friend, Matt (the Best Man in our wedding) also started at the University of Pittsburgh that fall and sat behind me in class. Matt and I got to talking and decided we’d meet up for a party that night. At the party Mike and I met for the first time. From day one, we were drawn to each other. We started out as the best of friends that year and saw each other through the many ups and downs of college life.
By our sophomore year, we knew our friendship had taken on another meaning and we fell in love, for the first time. College life is crazy. With classes, parties, and friends the year flew by. We tried to keep our relationship together but it got too difficult and it was over by the summer of 1997. After we broke things off, we tried to be friends but it was harder than either of us had imagined. We drifted in and out of our friendship over the next two years but the feelings were always there and they were always very real.
After college, Mike moved to Washington DC for a job with the Department of Defense and I moved back to Philadelphia to start my career. Our feelings for each other hadn’t changed in four years so we tried again. We had a great year! We were in love and happy as we began our lives in the real world. We explored life after college and celebrated the millennium but by the summer our paths were changing again. I was offered a job in Connecticut, in July 2000. Mike and I, still in love with each other, knew that it was time to break it off, for the second time. There were many tears, arguments and long goodbyes but it was over and time to move on with our lives.
Mike and I remained friendly over the years. Some years were better than others but we kept in touch through it all. Feelings like these are hard to forget. Mike moved to California to follow his lifelong dream and stayed there for four years. Mike flourished in his career, met great friends and became an avid surfer. I stayed in Connecticut, excelled in my career, worked towards an MBA and made lifelong friends. But something was missing in both our lives.
It was easy to stay in touch through the many friends we had in common. There were college homecomings, holiday parties, and weddings where we saw each other a few times a year. In June 2006 Mike and I both attended a wedding of a mutual college friend. The wedding was great. Our college friends were all there and we partied and danced the night away. After the wedding Mike and I huddled together at the hotel bar and started talking about our relationship and all of the good times…like we had many times before. But this time it was different.
Mike had moved home to Philadelphia in late 2005. He was single and ready for a life change. I was still in Connecticut and dating someone but I was restless and also ready for a change. We were almost on the same page again but it would take more time.
Mike and I planned to meet over Thanksgiving weekend, 2006, like we had many times over the years with our friends. This time it was just the two of us. We both knew that this coffee date was going to mean something significant in our lives. This time it wasn’t just coffee.
We met up on Walnut Street and both had butterflies. My heart skipped a beat when I saw Mike. I was hoping something big was about to happen, but cautious because of our history. We sat and talked for hours. We caught up on our careers, families, friends and the world. Finally, several coffees into the conversation Mike tells me he needs to get something off his chest. He tells me that his feelings have never changed and he wants to try again, for real. He knew the chance he was taking but had to give us one more shot. I was ecstatic! I heard the words I’ve waited years to hear and was overwhelmed, excited and scared. I knew this was the chance of a lifetime to be with my first love. We took the chance.
In the few months after our coffee date, I finished my MBA, found a new job in Philadelphia and said goodbye to Connecticut. I was going home to my first true love and I couldn’t have been more excited and happy. I moved home to Philadelphia in May of 2007. Our relationship was better than it had ever been. We had the all of the butterflies and excitement of a new relationship but the comforts of old friends.
While I was busy getting reacquainted with Philadelphia over the summer, Mike was shopping for the perfect engagement ring. He picked out the ring, met with my parents, told them he had always loved me and wanted to marry me. While we were on a weekend trip to the Poconos, Mike surprised me with that engagement ring on November 1, 2007. This chapter in our story has the happy ending we always wanted. We were married on November 8, 2008!
Looking back, it feels like fate and destiny intervened many times over the years to bring us together. Now we’re getting married and looking forward to the next chapter in our story.