I met Carl when I was in 2001 while I was finishing college. I had just turned 20, was just a few months out of an extremely unhealthy relationship, and wasn't even looking to fall for anyone.
I decided to drive from Kent, OH. to Ohiopyle, PA. to go kayaking, and was just hoping to be able to bum a shuttle ride from someone.
When I arrived at the put-in I was excited to see a couple of guys there getting ready to run their own shuttle. I jumped out of my car and begged for a ride. I think my exact quote was something to the effect of, "I just need a ride, I can get all my own gear if I swim, and don't need to follow you guys or anything... what do you think?"
Carl and Lad readily agreed to go down the river with me, and give me a ride back to my car at the end.
Looking back on it, I must have been quite a sight to see. I had been out partying for Halloween the night before, still had on my makeup, my hair was a disaster (in curls with so much product it was crunchy!), I was sick to my stomach from the prior night's activities, and was gulping pepto as we made our way down the river. (I actually had the pepto in my kayak along side my water bottle!)
Carl kind of hung back, and was quiet. He was respectful of my space and really polite. He was really a nice guy and I assumed unavailable because of his age and behavior.
After paddling the river, Carl and Lad decided to go out for drinks and dinner, and since I was going to be paddling for a few days, I agreed to go out with them. We went to the Black Bear, and ate and talked. We had a great time. Lad left early from dinner, and left Carl and I to talk at the table.
Carl and I shared some bacon-cheddar fries, and had a great conversation. Carl was so sweet; he was kind, and cute, and nothing like most of the men I had dated! It was a welcome experience, and wonderful to meet someone so "good".
We agreed to go kayaking the next morning again and to meet at 10am.
10:30 rolled around and I decided that I was going to get my gear on, and at 10:45, I was leaving to paddle. I figured he was one of "those guys" who can never be on time or care enough to call someone if they are going to be late. I was pretty hot under the collar by this point and figured he wasn't as nice as he had seemed.
At 10:44 Carl came screeching into the parking lot, jumped out of his car and was apologetic. He had slept through his alarm. He was so relieved that I hadn't left. I actually felt bad for him with how rushed he seemed and how tired!
We had an awesome day, and at the end agreed to boat the next weekend again... little did I know that this was the beginning of something real, and life long.
A few months later, during a pool-game at the BrewPub in Morgantown, Carl pulled me aside and told me he loved me... The almost school-boyish smile on his face as he shared that secret, is something I will never forget. I was in love with him too.
Over the following years Carl and I have grown closer together. We have dealt with a lot of turbulence and stress, but in the end, we have always come out closer and more in love. Now, with 3 children, and almost 7 years of marriage under our belts, I know that our love is real and substantial.
I don't love Carl the way I did when we first started dating. I love him more. The more comfortable and safe we feel in our relationship, the more I love him. Each day that passes shows us trials, tribulations, and more ways to fall in love and to support each other in life. I love my husband, and cannot imagine our lives without each other.
He is my partner in life, my other half, my equal, my love.
So, if you read all of that, I just wanted to say, I love my husband! He is the first love in the "13 Days of Love" that I wanted to share with you.