Where we left off, I was about to start my senior year of high school with a giant crush on a boy who wasn't going to date me. Or anyone else. So I was told. But it didn't stop me from those feelings and having lots of daydreams about being the girl he chose. I remember standing in our church youth room talking to my friend Bobby (who happened to grow up and become a rock star.. as a side note!) and him saying "but what if you were the girl that made him want to date someone" and then my daydreams continued.
Senior year was a REALLY fun time of life. Two of my best friends (they are also sisters) had decided to move from their private school to public school, and another guy we went to church with made the switch too. So three of my church friends became school friends overnight. Ben, our other friend Seth, and myself already went to our school. This switch allowed us to grow in our friendships exponentially. Now that I look back on this, my friends all deciding that they felt like they were supposed to be in public school for senior year of college really did establish a foundation for a friendship that became a relationship that became a marriage. But I'm moving forward too quickly. :) We were all constantly together. Before school, after school, during school, weekends, etc. We took the same classes and did different activities but always fell back together.
The photos above are from the night of the Homecoming football game. Afterwards we tried to go eat pancakes at Ihop but so did the rest of our school so we went to a Denny's. That group photo is actually kind of confusing because instead of my friend Kristen being with us, my friend Abby (who was a few years older) had joined us because I was on homecoming court and because she was and has always been a super supportive friend. The second photo shows how goofy and fun we were together. Another side note is that Aaron, in between Ben and I, is now married and has a one and a half year old son, twin five month old boys, and they're also in the process of adopting a precious elementary age little girl. Life is crazy. Anyways, we had fun together. The ordinary things were wonderful because we were together. I remember all of our car rides so fondly because they were such a great example of that.
I should also note that all of our friends, and pretty much everyone knew that I was all about Ben. So he clearly did too, but at the time I thought that he was oblivious to that little secret. :)
I remember taking this photo from a night when we all made homemade pizzas, and thinking that I liked the most perfect person on the planet. Haha!
We took dual credit college courses that started before school hours, and allowed us to have off periods during the day. We all had first period off, and on the days our college classes met we'd just wait in the library for second period to start. Every Monday-Thursday morning, you could find Ben and I side by side on this little couch. I can't tell you why this photo was taken, but I'm so grateful for it.
I'd also like to note that I'm wearing a dress from Old Navy over flare jeans, a Forever 21 necklace of a little leaf with a fake diamond on it, and I'm reading a Gossip Girl book. YES.
At the beginning of November (of 2008) I got baptized during a Wednesday night church service. I had been a believer and follower of Christ for a few years.. but not having been raised in a Christian home I didn't know anything about baptism. I remember getting up to share my testimony and specifically being scared about being vulnerable in front of my crush (very high school girl appropriate) but doing it anyway. :)
My friend Whitney snapped a few photos of the baptism, and this somehow became the only one I have. That's Ben in the red hoodie. :) Little things like this now feel like breadcrumbs leading you towards what was ahead.
This is a minor detail but a few days after I was baptized, our whole youth group went on a mission trip to help rebuild a church that had been damaged during the hurricane. We all slept in the church, and Kristen and I were in charge of cleaning the bathrooms, which were horrific, for everyone while we were there. We hung up signs with rules and notes, and I wrote one quoting my future mother in law, haha! Also on this trip, my friend Liz point blank asked Ben if he liked me because she felt like we needed to deal with the situation, and he told her no. Womp, womp. Liz never told me about this conversation. I didn't know about it until Ben told me once we were already dating.
Soon after this trip, our friend Aaron told me that he had had enough of me being googly eyed over Ben. He said we needed to have an adult conversation about it and then move on with life, either together or apart. Can you tell our friends wanted this taken care of? At this point, Ben and I frequently communicated about random things over text message. I wish so, so bad that I could go back and see those conversations. I'm sure they were embarrassing to say the least, haha! I remember really liking that Ben used smiley faces in his text messages, a skill that not all 18 year old boys have... silly! Anyway, I decided that I was just going to tell him I liked him over text message. I literally texted him and told him that Aaron told me I had to bring it up. He told me exactly what I knew I was going to hear.. that he was flattered but didn't feel like there was any point in dating in high school and that he wanted us to still be friends. I'm pretty sure I told him that I expected that answer but was glad we talked about it. I'm sure that I cried that night because I would have loved a different response, but I also think that I knew it wasn't over.
The next morning when I got to the library, somehow our other friends had other activities and it was just Ben and I. We didn't skip a beat. It wasn't awkward and I remember being so encouraged.
The rest of our senior year continued like how it had started. Constant adventures and sweet times together.
Note: Again with the terrible photo editing! EESH!
We graduated!! I had to deliver a speech at graduation because of being class president, and I was incredibly nervous. There were 600ish students in our graduating class, so it was an incredibly large event. There were also a lot of other really hard, heartbreaking things that went on that day with my family, but at the bottom of my speech paper a certain boy had drawn silly photos and written me notes of encouragement. :)
.... more soon! And this is where things actually start to happen! Haha! :)