I started writing this post on Saturday so I can get all my thoughts out before it has to go live. I am scheduling it to go up a little after midnight on Thursday, when it becomes September 2nd.
[A note for the new visitors: all the turquoise words are links to previous posts.]
I would like to note, before I do anything else, that when I went to go through old blog posts to get a retrospective, Blogger told me that my most popular tag is Doug. I am not surprised in the least. In the past year, he has been the one in front of my camera the most. He has also been the one by my side when I go shooting (or even when my cameras are put away).
It all started a year ago. At that point, I had been smitten with him for half a year and had admitted it to myself, as well as to my mother. I decided that I was done being that friend that sat on his floor and planned crazy adventures for us that I was rarely brave enough to bring up, so I asked him flat out if he liked me. And because he was chasing someone else at the time (and is the kind of guy that only goes after one girl at a time), he lied and said no. Then, when his roommate pointed out that he did, in fact, like me, he went and gave the other girl one last chance and then came and told me how he felt about me. I may have said some less than nice things about cowardice and stupidity, but that totally ruins the mushiness I have going right now.
That was the first few days of school. And during that time where we were trying to figure out whether we could even have a relationship, he got the swine flu. I spent a week bringing him his mail and checking in on him. Somewhere, I have a photo of him hanging off his bed with a mask on his face. He wore that silly mask and Lysol-ed every surface multiple times, just so I could come over. By the time he was no longer contagious/sick/full of cooties, we were unofficially dating. September second, the date we consider to be our anniversary, was the day he got the all-clear from the nurse and the first time he kissed me. I don't think I told anyone and made a really subtle comment at the end of a blog post.
By the end of September, we had gone to Universal Studios and I had told the world that we were together. I knew that he the kind of guy I wanted to be with when he let me take this camera to Universal and shoot whatever, wherever, whenever with no fear about damaging it. For Halloween, he went as the Mary Jane to my Peter Parker. Slowly but surely, Doug was becoming my muse and working his way towards the most popular tag on my blog.
For the record, I have these photos in a lovely triptych frame that his mom got me for Christmas. But I am getting ahead of myself.
On the drive to Universal, when we had been dating for less than a month, he starting conspiring to bring me with him to Ohio for Christmas. I kind of smiled and nodded, sure that his parents would not let him bring a girl he had not been dating for that long with them on a family trip.
The Ohio trip, in which I met almost all of his family, was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. We started by driving up to Crestview right after my family's Hanukkah party and in true Doug spirit, he plotted with my best friend from preschool so I could see her while I was in town. It was a little surreal for me to meet his parents and sisters for the first time when I was staying at their house but I immediately felt like I was a part of the family. Once I got to know Crestview a little bit, we packed all our stuff into the van and started the drive from the panhandle to Ohio. The temperature started dropping as we went further and further north and it started snowing right after we crossed the state line into Ohio. I twirled in the flurry at the gas station and kissed Doug in the snow and that was it. At that moment, I knew I was head over heels in love with Doug.
He knew that this was my first 'proper' Christmas and I don't even want to know what he did behind the scenes to make it so magical.
It was while we were in Ohio that we both decided that we want to spend the rest of our lives together. By the time we were ready to head back to Jupiter, I was already thinking of his family as mine.
By Valentine's Day, I was publicly acknowledging that I was madly in love with him. In March, we celebrated our six month anniversary with a themed photo shoot.
When I saw that photo, I saw the kind of love that I had always wanted for myself. And when my best friend got married, I did everything in my power to catch the bouquet.
If you'll notice, this story is only hitting the major events. But one of the things I love the most about being with Doug is how every day is wonderful because it's a day spent with him.
In June, we drove up to Crestview for his father's retirement from the Air Force. It was the first time that I realized that his parents consider me to be his future. I was slightly shocked that I got to walk in with the family at the retirement ceremony and I teared up so much when his father gave me a rose, along with the rest of the important women in his life.
We spent July watching fireworks and playing with sparklers. It was pouring rain as we stood on top of the parking garage on the 4th of July and Doug tried to get me to wear the rain poncho (the only one we had!). We finally compromised and I let him hold my cow umbrella over Marjorie. It was super cute how worried he was about me catching a cold.
When we went to see Scott Pilgrim, we got stuck in a torrential downpour and as we were running to the car, I sort of asked him to marry me. He said yes, but not yet.
Two weeks ago (it seems like so much longer), he went with us to a photo shoot in Naples and even the photographer commented on how adorable we are together. He completes me, he completes my family, and he makes everything feel whole and right.
(The photo above is from Rachel's personal blog.)
The night before the shoot, my mother paid him the nicest complement ever: she compared him to her David, the love of her life. And any time I left her alone with Doug, he would ask her questions about our future wedding.
The day after the shoot, we went to Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure. Things did not go according to plan at all and I ended the second day of the trip in the middle of an anxiety attack. I got a ring from the quarter machine and it was a star and Doug decided to propose... except I wouldn't let him because I was miserable and I didn't want my memories of this moment to be tinged with unhappiness.
That is where we are today. It's been a year of ups and downs and in that time, Doug went from that super sweet friend that I had a huge crush on to my boyfriend to my future husband. We are not officially engaged but it is only a matter of time. This is the original sketch for the engagement ring he wants to make for me:
Happy anniversary, Mr. Pacman! This past year has been a wonderful one and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us. Here's to many more years of love, life, and laughter together. I am looking forward to our super cute, environmentally friendly, geeky-as-all-get-out hobbit house and the swingset on the roof. (Oh wait, we didn't discuss that yet, did we?) I loooooove you. Like a fish.
I will try to take pictures tonight of our romantic anniversary dinner, but I can't make any promises.