My studio friends and I had decided freshmen year that if we ever found a boy who was willing to come up to studio with us or help us on a project than we had the one. And Kevin was doing just that.
We'd had some fun date nights but I had to buckle down and work hard on a big project meaning our time together was rather limited. That didn't stop him from spending time with me though. If I were working late in the computer lab, he was there, and when I had to stay up late working on a model or boards, he was there. With every late night my heart fell for him a little more. Besides, being tucked in at the end of a long day working on projects was beginning to become a requirement.
We said, I love you, more with each day. And I meant it completely. This boy had been my friend just a few short months ago and now he was my absolute best friend and I was growing ever more infatuated with him. Our time together was always too short. Our kisses never long enough. Our date nights not often enough. I was loving dating this guy and adored feeling so precious to someone outside of my family. My relationship with M had taught me so much. We made mistakes and didn't treat each other with enough respect. But this relationship, this time with Kevin was so different and so sweet. We communicated and shared our hearts, and we leaned on the Lord most of all.
The Phi Lamb formal date night was approaching. In December I'd gone shopping for my dress while I was in Houston. My friend and I tried on multiple dresses till I landed on the right one, and then daddy approved and picked up the bill, a birthday gift. I had been planning on making this a special night for us. Having been homeschooled, Kevin never experience prom. I loved prom! M and I had gone to prom together and it was a blast! I just had to make this date party as prom-like as possible.
We arranged to wearing matching colors and select a boutineer and corsage for each other. We went out and bought Kevin his first suit and planned to take group photos at a local hotel with a pretty interior. My girlfriends and I spent the day getting ready, doing our make-up, giggling as we ran across the ends of the apartment. A few of us went out to get our hair done. These moments I wanted to hold onto and never let go.
The smile on his face was infectious from the moment we saw each other all dressed up. Pictures in the car, pictures at the hotel, and pictures on the dance floor all showed the immense joy that we shared that night. He was my prince charming and we had the most spectacular night together. It was better than prom, we were completely smitten.
It was April and summer was approaching. I couldn't believe it but I had been asked to spend the summer with StudentLife camps and Kevin of course had as well. We were put on different teams, which had been expected, and tons of paperwork had been sent our way. Kevin talked about our summer adventure constantly. He was eager to meet his team and spend a summer doing media graphics for students learning about God. I was anxious. A team of twenty-somethings awaited me and I didn't know a single one of them. College had taught me to be more of an extrovert but my tendencies were very much still introverted and the better part of me was freaking out about the summer ahead.
Thankfully, Kevin and I had a few more date nights and time with friends before our departure date came, including a big day for our relationship. We had just received our first piece of mail, addressing us as a couple, a wedding invitation for Kevin's cousin. The same weekend of our 6 monthiversary of dating.
On Saturday, May first we buckled up in Kevin's Saturn and turned on NeedtoBreathe as we drove down I35 South towards Dallas for the wedding. We held hands and talked about the previous few months and the terrifying summer that lie ahead. It would be the longest time apart we would experience thus far in our dating relationship, a big test of our relationship.
As we pulled up the church, he explained that he had been waiting for an appropriate time to give me a special gift. From the backseat, Kevin pulled a small package with a sweet note. Inside was my very own plush penguin. Both him and his sister grew up loving penguins and had their own plush penguins. This gift made me feel so apart of his life. I was welcomed into one of his childhood favorites and in moments I was about to be welcomed into his family, his big family, not just mom and dad. My heart swelled.
We shared a few more sweet moments in the car before we made our way into the church to change and get ready for the wedding. I met a few family members with him before he was whisked away to play usher for the wedding while I hung back with his sister, mom and dad. We sat towards the front amongst family members and watched as the couple said their vows. I sat in the pew and felt and overwhelming sense of excitement and emotions.
I'd always loved weddings but this time was different. This time my heart was completely overwhelmed and I didn't know what to make of it.
I was questioned by uncles, shared cake with his mom, in pictures with his immediate family, and welcomed in every way by the whole family. It was wonderful. Before the day had arrived I was nervous to meet this much family. But now, now I was at peace. Now, I was loving every moment of it.
We had a busy week ahead of us, including Kevin leaving the very next day for an early week of training for camp, so once the wedding was over and we had lunch with his mom, dad and sister we were back in the car to Norman, back up I35.
Kevin got in the car, looked at me and smiled. I want to marry you, he said. I froze. I tried to speak but no words came and I was silenced. It took me off guard but it was exactly how I felt as well, and that terrified me. We had no idea what the future held but we knew we wanted to continue this relationship the Lord had gifted us. I softly returned the sentiment, and we talked the rest of the way back about his family and the wedding.
On Sunday, I drove Kevin to the airport for his week of training. I had waited until today to give him my gift, a lock of hair. I wrote him a letter describing the tradition of a girl giving her guy a lock of hair and smiled as I handed him the little envelope. He laughed but loved it.
Before he got out of the car for our week apart he said, " I want you, and I'm determined to show you that. I want to pursue you as long as that's what God wants for us and as long as you still want me. I will pursue you. I promise you that now. I'm not sure what that will look like but are the only one worthy of pursuit for me and the only one I want to purse...it's not something I take lightly and I'm not half heated about being in a relationship with you. If I'm with you, I'm going to give it my full effort."