It was a beautiful, snowy January day in 1999, when I found myself admiring a handsome soldier walk into the bank. I thought I was daydreaming as it had been a very quiet day, until my boss came to me and asked me to do loan paperwork for this gentleman. Now you must understand, my boss at the time, a man, preferred men, so we always had an outstanding joke that he would keep a look out for cute, single attractive men. He would then write in the loan documents that they must have a date with me. This time I was all for that little joke to become reality. I of course kept this all to myself till we were dating and now bug him on a regular basis that my boss picked him out.
Being that I worked across the street from the military base in Edmonton, Alberta, seeing a soldier wasn't all that out of the ordinary. Something special just struck me right away about this one. I know that might sound cliche, but in all honesty I new something would transpire the moment I saw him.
It ended up that I did not have to weasel my boss into writing a date in with me. Working diligently for the rest of that afternoon, I couldn't help but think about how cute he was. I was then summoned to the phone as "Ryan" was calling for me. I thought it must have been someone I called earlier about their accounts, not HIM. Picking up the phone I inform him that his account is overdrawn. He is totally confused and nicely tells me "I was in earlier and just opened my account, so how could I be overdrawn?"
I realized how idiotic I must have sounded and finally clicked in to who was on the phone. Here was Ryan calling me to go to a movie with him that weekend, not the guy who was overdrawn in his account and needing to make a deposit. I still shake me head about that to this day.
We ended up going on our first date the Saturday following this first interaction at the bank. I learned this was very out of the ordinary for Ryan to do. He is usually the sit back, go with the flow, shy guy. He actually initiated the date and asked me out. The date itself was casual and a lot of fun, but something was just different about "THIS ONE."
Soon Ryan and I were in-seperable. We saw each other as much as we could throughout the week and for sure on the weekends. Even to the point of going grocery shopping together, romantic isn't it. I was told, however, that he never wanted to get married or have kids. This was a damper as I did want those things, but not at the moment. Well, lets see where this goes?
Our relationship bloomed and was going so well, until I was told he would be going away for six months to Kosovo. How could we survive this? We had only been dating for five months, how could he do this to me? I was devastated.
It turned out that the overseas tour to Kosovo was our saving grace. We had gone through a period at about the three month mark of almost breaking up. There always seemed to be the three month period in all my relationships that would make or break it. In this case, it all worked out and we were passed that point. Now this new obstacle was upon us.
I didn't realize how much the statement "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" would be so true in my life. The tour itself seemed to last forever, but he came home and was very sick from being there. He had lost a lot of weight from being overseas and we were very worried for him. He finally started to get better and the reunion was phenomenal. I did break down and told him I loved him. He did not return the sentiment. I was okay with it for the most part, but it didn't sit well when I was told a month later that he was headed away again for 3 months across the country. What the hell??
Ryan ended up gone to Gagetown, New Brunswick for three months. This was pretty much right after our reunion that I didn't even have time to blink. Looking back, I would have had him go back to Kosovo anytime over what we went through with this course in New Brunswick.
All I would hear about were men cheating on their spouses, drinking every weekend and lord knows what else. I was of course on the receiving end from all of the other spouses/girlfriends etc at home. I just counted down the days to him coming home and new that we would either be done or a big decision would be coming our way.
The result was a healthy man coming home and saying he loved me. He was so sorry for what went on during his time away and what I had to endure at home. At this time the decision was made to move in together. Oh goodness, what would my parents think?? I was very nervous telling them, but they were indifferent. I later found out my parents were ecstatic with the decision as they didn't like me living on my own.
Ryan then made the decision to leave the military in October of 2000. This was strange to him as he grew up with army all his life. His grandfather was an Engineer, his father an Engineer and even himself. This was new territory to him, but the best decision he says he has ever made.
Our first vacation together was to Orlando, Florida. I have to admit, I had been bugging him on a daily basis since we moved in together of "When are we going to get married?" Come on, it had been two and a half years of dating by this point, any female would be on a mission by then. On our vacation, we hit Disney World on our second day into the trip and to my wonderful, wonderful surprise, Ryan got down on one knee and proposed to me on the steps of the Cinderella Castle. I was shocked he asked me there, in public. Oh and did I mention we were travelling with his family too?? I did find out that he had to send the ring with his brother down there so if we got searched I wouldn't know anything about it. This was also just after nine eleven, so every thing was heightened security wise.
He did mention how he almost didn't ask because of how much I bugged him about it. There were several times he just wanted to give me the ring so I would shut up. He understood where I was coming from and gave me the benefit of the doubt and asked me in the way I could only have dreamed of. He still jokes with me to this day as to how hard of a time I gave him. Little did he know that was just the beginning of what was in store for him.
We were married in August of two thousand and two. It wasn't a big ceremony, but perfect for us and took place in my hometown. We did most of the stuff ourselves and enjoyed every minute of planning it. We were fortunate to be given a cruise to Alaska for a wedding present and took full advantage of this the week after we were hitched.
Eight months after tying the knot, we left our little one bedroom apartment, which had been home to me for over four and a half years. We had found a house plan and were able to build our first home. Moving into the house in 2003, it was perfect, he was perfect, jobs were perfect but all I could think was:
"What do we do now?"