Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How We Began: Our Love Story

Valentine's Day has always been a special celebration for Paul and I. This is because we officially became a couple on Valentine's Day evening in 2005 during our Freshman year at Notre Dame. We had established a friendship a few months prior, but Valentine's Day 2005 will forever mark the beginning of a courtship that evolved into a marriage and a family! In honor of our upcoming 10-year anniversary (and inspired by Jessica's love story), I am going to write a short history about how Paul and I became "Us".

We first met when we were about 8-years-old while both living in Montana. Nothing monumental happened there. I always thought he and his identical twin brother were absolutely adorable despite the fact that they loved to tease and mock pretty much everyone. Then, my family moved halfway across the country and I never saw them again.

That is, until I began my Freshman year of college. Turns out, those cute little twin boys grew up and decided to apply to Notre Dame as well. I had heard that they would be on campus and looked forward to reconnecting with someone from my childhood past! I was eager to reminisce about Montana and perhaps rekindle a friendship with those two boys. Well, the opportunity presented itself when one of my high school buddies happened to be assigned to the dorm room right next to Peter's (Peter is Paul's twin). So, my friend had met the twins and decided to organize a lunch to have his high school friends meet some of his new college friends. This was before classes had even begun for the year! We all met outside of South Dining Hall and I immediately had a nice, friendly chat with Peter who claimed he remembered me and was eager to talk about Montana and mutual friends back there. Paul was a bit late, but he soon approached and I turned to him and said: "Hi Paul! I'm Monica. We were kids together in Montana! Do you remember me?"

His reply, unemotional, monotone, and completely disinterested, was: "No. I do not remember who you are."

And that was that. He never really made an effort to talk to me or continue a conversation. Peter, on the other hand, was extremely chatty and fun and we soon established a good friendship. Paul remained a bit more aloof and just plain moody, so I concluded that he was kind of a jerk. However, I was still attracted to him and I could not explain why! It bothered me that I wanted him to show me a little attention even though I had no idea why!

Fast forward a couple months to the end of October. Paul got stuck with the task of walking me back to my dorm. My friend Pat had basically ordered him to do so since it was very dark out and it was only gentlemanly for the women to be escorted back. We spoke very little until we got to the Notre Dame grotto. I showed Paul the statue of Thomas Dooley and began to talk to him about who Dr. Dooley was and why his likeness occupied such a prominent spot on campus. In the flickering candlelight, as we began to finally talk and connect a bit, the words "I'm going to marry this guy" floated into my mind and heart. They took me aback but I recorded the date to be remembered just in case my odd little premonition came to fruition. Later on, after we had started dating, I learned that Paul had also gone back to his dorm and committed that moment to memory. He claims that it was the moment he fell in love with me.

After that, we began making plans to hang out more often. Paul would often call or message me about where he was going to be during the weekends and we became pretty inseparable. Most of our activities were done in a group with about six to eight other people, but we always tried to sit together. It was so much fun! We had a great friendship going. One time, Paul invited me over to his dorm for Sunday Mass and one of the guys who lived on his floor referred to us as "Mr. and Mrs. Nistler". I thought it was funny, but it really, really angered Paul. That made me think that maybe he did not have feelings for me and perhaps our relationship would never grow to be more than just a friendship.

Then, Valentine's Day rolled around. A guy that I worked with during the Summer had asked me out on a date over Thanksgiving. I went - and it was the most awkward, uncomfortable experience of my life. He tried to kiss me at the end and I quickly avoided that. Of course, that didn't stop him from continuing to send me notes and other signs of affection. In honor of Valentine's Day, he sent me a card asking me to be "Be His." I threw up a little bit in my mouth and then tossed the card into the trash. However, being the manipulative young woman that I was, I decided to use the love letter to my advantage with Paul. I told him about it and how the guy had asked me out and that I was "debating" what I should answer. As if I would ever have gone steady with him.

Well wouldn't you know, that very evening Paul showed up at my dorm with a bouquet of roses and a hand-written poem. He was also wearing a festively red polo shirt. Perfect for the occasion. I accepted the flowers, read the poem, and told him how much I loved it. He was making me nervous because he wasn't saying much. In fact, he was obviously trying to keep his mouth as shut tight as possible. The reason became obvious a few minutes later: he was wearing his retainer. I didn't even know he had a retainer. Apparently, when he had brushed his teeth before heading over, he had accidentally put his retainer in (ala his normal bedtime routine) and realized it too late. So cute.

Anyway, we talked for a little while longer and then he headed back to his dorm. I received a quick call from him soon after asking: "Ummm...soo....are we going out now?"
I said: "Are you asking me out?"
He said: "Yes."
I said: "Then yes."
He said "Good. Goodnight."

And so we began ten years ago this coming Saturday. In the 10 years since that time, we graduated, began new jobs, got married, had two kids, lost two babies, bought a house, started a business, and currently have a third baby on the way. That's a lot of life we have lived together so far and I have loved (almost) every minute of it!

I love you, Paul. Happy Anniversary and Valentine's Day!

This post is being linked up for #TuesdayTalk! Look at the other great posts here.


  1. I love hearing others' love stories. =)

  2. I love this! Your story is very similar to ours in a lot of ways! Aren't we the little manipulators? Haha ;) But, hey, they really liked us anyway, right? ;) We just needed to push them along a little! I just loved reading your story...thanks so much for sharing it! Happy Anniversary!!!! -Jess

    1. Hey, sometimes those guys just need a little nudge in the right direction! It worked out for everyone involved!

  3. Such a cute story! On my first date with my now husband, he ended with 'If we're still friends this summer...' We're on a DATE, and we might not be friends in a few months? Gee, thanks! ;) Our boys are a lot alike in needing a nudge! :)
    Thanks for sharing...I had John read it too since he went to ND with you guys! :) Happy Anniversary!!

    1. That is hilarious! Guys say the funniest things sometimes - I repeated that one to Paul and he did a facepalm. Like he's so smooth all the time! You guys are an adorable couple and I hope you enjoyed a great Valentine's Day together! :)