March 5, 2019
First of all, these pictures are OLD. I hope you enjoy these throw backs. 😉 As I’m typing the first few words of this blog post, I can’t even believe that I’m finally writing our story after almost 7 years of knowing each other. It’s been a dream of mine to write this after Michael and I established that we were going to get married. I was so afraid that I would forget all the little details that made our story special so I constantly asked him to remember it for me so that one day I can take the time to put our love story into words.
It was easy to remember the little things when we were engaged. We were constantly telling our story and reliving our significant moments but after a couple years of marriage it’s easy to forget the small things and those are really the moments that matter most.
When I meet one of my couples for the first time, I always love to ask questions about how they met and their proposal but my favorite questions to ask are about the moments in between. I enjoy asking about the moment they first realized they loved each other or their first date.
Michael and I first met in 2011. We were in the same English class in college. I was the only girl in the class. When he first saw me walk into the room I didn’t see him but he turned to his friend and said, “wow, who is that?” I sat in the same row and he couldn’t stop staring at me. He said he felt drawn to me and could never ignore the feeling for the entire year. After a few days, he found the courage to ask me questions but because I was the only girl in the class I remember feeling shy. One school year went by and we never became friends. He was dating someone else at the time and I wasn’t interested in having a relationship.
This is the part of our story that gives me chills. On the last week of school, we sat outside to read our poem that inspired us most that year. We were the only two people that chose the same poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. I remember the feeling of shock in that moment. I was most inspired by this poem because the writer was being ironic when he famously wrote that taking the road less traveled “made all the difference.” Despite his sarcastic writing, I believe that all our decisions matter and that life begins to lose its meaning if we don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. We both exchanged a look and a smile but didn’t talk about it after class.
I remember the first time I really noticed Michael like it was yesterday. It was a beautiful Fall day in September of 2012. We had just begun a new school year and I was happier than ever. I was walking back to my dorm room and we were the only two on the sidewalk. He was wearing a navy sweater, grey jeans and his glasses with those gorgeous blue eyes. We exchanged hellos and my heart skipped a beat. That was the moment I had a feeling that we would date. Over the next few weeks we kept running into each other. Michael even confessed that if he saw me he would go out of his way to walk past me in the cafeteria so that I would notice him. We weren’t in classes together that year but he requested to be friends on Facebook. To this day he is still ashamed that he started messaging me on Facebook and asked me out via text. He came to visit me when I worked at Red Robin a few times. This is our very first picture together:
The reason I knew that Michael was the one for me was because I never had any doubts. Not even one. He was the path that I knew I should take and I’ve never looked back. On December 14th, 2012 he surprised me by bringing me to a cozy fire with a bouquet of flowers and s’mores. We didn’t know that our friends reserved the spot at the park by telling high school kids who also wanted it that we were going to get engaged, so they stayed and hid in their cars to watch the engagement. He walked me to the fire and told me how he felt about me and asked to make it official. We got a text informing us of what they told them and so we faked an engagement. Michael got down on his knee and asked me to be his wife right after he had just asked me to be his girlfriend that night. A bunch of people got out of their cars cheering for us and honking their horns. It was as hilarious as it sounds. Ever since that day, he has made me the happiest girl. We both knew in that moment that he would be proposing for real someday but we didn’t say a word.
Our first year of dating was spectacular. People often ask me if we ever thought about breaking up and it never crossed our minds. We sometimes disagreed but it’s a really easy relationship when you’re dating your soulmate. I remember thinking so many times, “where did this guy come from?” I always felt like I was dating my prince charming. I constantly referred to him as my “favorite boyfriend” because he truly was my favorite one yet. He always treated me like gold by cleaning the snow off my car and opening the door for me. We took our relationship very slowly. We would hang out with our friends a lot. Our first date he took me out for coffee and we sat on the dock of a beautiful lake in our small college town. We were both extremely nervous but I remember thinking that it was the perfect first date. I remember thinking that he was way too good to be true but I was wrong. He is still the most genuine, sweetest man I’ve ever met. On New Years, 2012, I spontaneously road tripped to meet his family for the first time. Michael and I went to the festival in Lebanon, PA to watch the bologna drop (a town tradition) and we were surprised to learn that our New Years kiss was captured on local television. I knew that he was the man I had prayed for. I wanted to kiss him every New Years for the rest of my life.
I fell in love with Michael for many reasons but I chose to spend the rest of my life with him because of the way he pursued me. He treated me with a kindness that was unlike anything I’ve ever known and he still does. Someday I’ll share how we decided we wanted to become Mr. and Mrs. Pannebaker. <3
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