Last year on this anniversary, I recounted how we met and how we actually came to be "Meghan and Eric." I even shared old love letters and moderately embarrassing pictures of 16-year-old me.
Fifteen years ago, I had just turned 16 years old. I was a junior in high school, in honors classes, with short hair and braces, and was a member of the marching band. (Read: nerd.) Eric was a 125-pound 15-year-old high school sophomore with nice abs. He was in an advanced math and science program at his high school, ran cross-country and played football. (Read: some sort of weird cool guy/nerd hybrid.) I stalked him from afar until he finally realized that I am awesome and we became a couple. That was September 7, 1998.
"Our song" was "God Must've Spent a Little More Time on You" by 'N Sync. It was 1998, and 'N Sync was the new hot boy band.
Our first dance was to All-4-One's "I Swear," which I had recorded off the radio onto my mixed-tape using my "sound system" (or rather, my glorified boombox). It was 1998, and there was no such thing as iTunes yet.
Because we were both too young to drive, we had to have our parents drive us to and from our dates. We sat in the backseat, with our hands next to each other on the middle seat so our pinkies touched. We were too nervous to actually hold hands. It was 1998, and we were just kids.
I took Eric to my homecoming dance that year, and I wore Titanic-inspired jewelry. It went really well with the Leonardo DiCaprio Titanic posters adorning my bedroom walls. It was 1998, and I had seen Titanic in the theater eight times. I am not ashamed.
On our dates, I wore crop tops and jean shorts.
The first movie we ever saw together was Ever After.
Neither of us had cell phones, nor would we get them for a couple of years yet.
Our entire beginning was just so 1998.
And I love it.
I love that so many of our memories are "dated." I love that those memories so clearly reflect how long it has been since we first met and began our relationship. I love that it is so easy to see how far we have come and how times have changed, just in the years since we met.
Since our beginning in 1998, life has happened. We dealt with the ups and downs of typical high school drama. We went through the college application process and celebrated graduations. There were proms and homecomings, some with each other and some with other people. There was college, where we struggled at first but ultimately ended up together and more in love than ever. There were deaths of grandparents and friends. There were family crises, including Eric's mother's stroke. We moved together to four different states. We both went to grad school. We got married and made beautiful memories of our wedding day to cherish. There was lots of travel and endlessly exciting new experiences, all of which we enjoyed together. We had the most beautiful baby girl in the world. We laughed, we cried, we struggled, we excelled. Through it all, we loved each other unwaveringly.
When Eric asked me to be his girlfriend 15 years ago today, I was very excited and couldn't wait to see what our relationship would be like. I don't know that I ever could have imagined it would be this great, 15 years later (so many years later, in fact, that the "hot new boy band" that provided our song has already broken up and reunited again). My 16-year-old self was so happy, but I didn't realize that it was only the beginning, only a drop in the bucket of happiness that I had ahead of me in my life with Eric. I had no way to comprehend the depth of the love we would share, through all that life threw at us, through thick and thin, till death do us part. I'm just glad that my 16-year-old self saw the potential one way or another and made the very good decision to say "yes" when that hot boy from the pool asked her to be his girlfriend (as if there was any other answer to give).
Thank you, Eric, for making that young girl's dreams come true and then some. And then lots, actually. I can't imagine a life without you in it and I am so lucky to have shared the last 15 years with you. I love you, always and forever.
Our first dance, summer 1998. Not pictured: my boombox playing All-4-One on that mixed tape.