When I started this blog I didn't want it to be one of those blogs where the wife just gushes on and on about her husband. I think out of that fear I have gone too far in the other direction and hardly mention Ryan at all. Since it is Valentine's Day I think I can afford to gush a little, because yes he is wonderful and romantic and yes we do love each other.
Valentine's Day has kind of a special meaning for us because we started dating on Valentine's Day of 1999. We had known each other for six months or so, and my roommates and I had become friends with Ryan and his roommates. They had even given us a nickname: The Muppet Babies. We all looked really young (well, we were young, but we looked even younger), especially compared to the apartment of girls who lived upstairs who all looked like they were in their 30's and had big Utah hair. Thus their nickname: the BUH's. Anyway, whenever Ryan and one of his cousins would get some crazy idea for a date he'd have to find someone to go with him, and a lot of times he'd end up at our apartment looking for volunteers. More and more often it ended up being me who would go. So we had already been on a few dates but hadn't moved past just being friends. In February Ryan said he was getting a big group of people together to go down to St. George to visit his Grandparents and ride horses. It sounded fun so I said I would, but the "big group" ended up being me, Ryan, my roommate Rebecca and her fiance (who is also Ryan's cousin) Dave. Needless to say, Ryan and I had a lot of one-on-one time that weekend. I remember on the drive down to St. George we were listening to a mix tape his brother had made that had a lot of classic rock on it. I remember feeling proud of myself that maybe I had impressed him by being able to name most of the bands. I also remember just feeling comfortable around him and being able to talk to him, which for an introvert like me doesn't happen too often. We rode horses, listened to Grandpa's democrat and cabbage jokes, ate pumpkin cookies from Harmon's, went to church with his Grandparents, watched Roxanne. I found out where his affinity for Neil Diamond came from (Grandma Haslam). It may have been the first time I had seen some of his scratchboard artwork. (His grandparents had a couple that Ryan had given them, including one of Neil Diamond.) I also saw a bit more of his spiritual side as he shared some things he had been studying in the scriptures. We drove up near the St. George airport and shared our first kiss after a long conversation. It was unbelievably romantic. At one point he asked it I would be his Valentine. I had a feeling that if we did start dating, things would probably progress toward marriage. Ryan was really the first guy I had dated who was at that point in his life. I was still only 19 and wasn't sure if I was ready for it. But I decided to take a chance. The last night we were there, Grandma Haslam made a big lasagna dinner. As she was taking the lasagna out of the oven she lost her grip and it splattered all over the floor. We assured her it was fine and after it had been scooped up, we ate it. Later that evening we were driving up to Cedar City so Grandma and Grandpa could reminisce about their younger days. Grandma couldn't stop laughing about the lasagna. Anyone who knows Grandma Haslam knows how uncharacteristic it is to see her laugh at length about anything.
The next year when we had been married almost two months, Ryan decorated our apartment on Valentine's Day and surprised me by making dinner. He made lasagna. Now each Valentine's Day instead of going out to dinner, we have a nice candle-lit lasagna dinner at home. I try not to drop it, though. My floor is usually not that clean.