It started with a kiss at the top of Tower of Terror.

It started with a whirlwind.

It started a power, a force, bigger than anyone could understand.

It started from the moment our lips collided.

The rest was history.

There’s something to be said about two people finding each other and instantly knowing that it’s right.  It doesn’t happen often, in fact, it rarely happens at all.  The first time I met Kirby, I was attracted to him, but not just his looks, it was his sarcastic attitude, the way he so easily made everyone around him laugh, the way he looked so at ease; something that I so desperately wanted to feel within myself.  In a way, Kirby was everything I wanted to be myself.  He was happy, laid back, the type of guy that went with the flow, the type of guy who dealt with things head on and didn’t let them hold him back.  That’s what kept him in my mind after the first and only day we had hung out.  It wasn’t until a couple of months later that we had our first date.

To this day, we still debate on who picked who up, but for the sake of the story, I’ll say I did, because I totally did.  I shot him a message on Facebook being the modern dating woman that I was, and he responded almost instantly.  We talked and talked and talked about things I can’t remember, but it was easy conversation. He was witty and I had a permanent smile on my face after each message came to my phone and when he asked me out on a date for the next day, I about died.  I remember being in my mom’s office in her house, squealing and doing a happy dance.  The embarrassing kind of happy dance, the one that I hope no one saw through the window.

I had butterflies and I had that kind of near explosion feeling in my chest.  I was out of my mind excited.  I spent the entire day leading up to our date prepping.  I went into full girl mode, something I don’t often do.  I tried on a ridiculous amount of outfits, and I did my makeup and hair a thousand times to makes sure they were perfect.

I counted down the hours.

I counted down the minutes.

And I’m pretty sure I annoyed the hell out of my cousin that day because I was gushing so much.

I remember I was getting ready when he sent me a picture of himself.  Before you get your minds in the gutter, it wasn’t like that.  He sent me a picture of him making a super goofy face.  It was what I loved about him, even then, that he was willing to just be goofy with no false pretenses of who he was, he wasn’t trying to impress me with fronts, he didn’t pretty himself up for a selfie, he took one and it represented him.  It was a lot different from what I was used to.  I sent him a picture back, one of me smiling so big it hurt, and he responded with how damn beautiful he thought I was.  I swooned.  I actually swooned.

So you can imagine when the time came for the date to start, I was anxious, excited, thrilled.  We met up at a park down the street from my cousin’s house, one that my cousin and I frequented on a daily basis.  My cousin and Kirby knew each other, so we hung out for a few before deciding to go on our date.

I don’t remember a lot of what we talked about that night, I don’t remember every single detail of our date, but I do remember this part.  I remember standing there in the parking lot, tucked underneath his arm, staring up at those vibrantly blue eyes, thinking that this felt different to me.  We clicked.  It wasn’t something that I had experienced before.  Usually, you meet someone, you find yourself attracted to them, and then after time goes by, you discover whether or not you vibe together.  It happened at warped speed for us.  So much so that I reached up on my tip toes, and kissed him.  This is always an argument between us because he remembers kissing me, and I remember kissing him first.  It doesn’t matter how it happened, it only matters that it did happen and it will forever be burned into my memory.

We went to our date, going through all the rides at Disneyland, hand in hand, smiles all around.  He took me to California Adventure, and we got in line for Tower of Terror.  If anyone knows me, they know that I am not a thrill seeker.  I’m a rule follower.  I’m afraid of life.  I’m definitely not a roller coaster person, let alone a free fall ride type of person, but he asked, so I figured, why the hell not.

I was nervous as hell throughout the entire line and nearly backed out as we shuffled into the ride.  But, Kirby being Kirby, he held my hand, told me to relax and said something funny.  He distracted me as we rode up and up and up on this damn ride.  I was shaking and got the nervous giggles.  He held me close, and as we neared the top, he looked me in the eye, smiled, and leaned in for a kiss.  And as we kissed, we fell down, down, down, towards the ground, the ride bouncing up and down before letting us free fall some more.  He timed it perfectly.  He kissed me with the intention of distracting me from being afraid, he kissed me with passion, and he kissed me with a smile on his face while I dug my nails into his hand because i was terrified.  I don’t think he knows how much that meant to me to this day, but one day, I hope he will.

I think it was that moment that I actually fell for him.  We were physically falling down the stories of his ride, my stomach was in my throat, but my heart was beating fast, hard, and it wasn’t just from the ride.  It was from him.

Our romance was anything but conventional.  December 2nd 2010 marked the day of our first date and the day he asked me to be his girlfriend.  A week from then, I told him that I loved him for the first time.  I wrote it with my finger, across his forearm, half of me hoping he didn’t know what I was doing, and the other part hoping he caught on.  He definitely caught on, because it was no longer than a minute or two later that he responded, saying that he loved me too.  And from that moment, things sky rocketed.

The following week, we were driving around in his 1998 suburban, listening to Marry You by Bruno Mars.  He was singing out loud, something he didn’t do often, or nearly loud enough, but I loved when he did because he had a great voice.  We had planned on going to Vegas for my birthday, and while listening to this song, we made a joke about how funny it would be if  we got married in Vegas.  I laughed, he laughed, and then we got quiet as it started to sink in that the joke didn’t sound all that bad.

It started as a joke and it turned into something bigger.  The joke turned into a discussion about our futures, and what we saw for them.  And that discussion turned into what we saw in our futures with each other.  And that discussion turned into a talk of what if’s.  What if we got married? We loved each other, so although it was crazy, it could work, right? What would people think?

Well, Kirby was never one to care about what people thought, and I wanted to be that kind of person for once.  I wanted to put other people’s needs and opinions aside, and do things for myself.  So a week from the day we told each other “I love you”, we were engaged.  Most people don’t know that we got engaged twice.  Once, in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, where Kirby slipped on my first engagement ring, and told me “I’m going to do this right one day, and it’ll be a surprise when it happens again but I don’t want to wait to ask you to marry me.” To most people, that probably seemed dumb and impulsive, but to me, my heart still thunders away in my chest over it.  I remember how he looked, and how his hands shook, and I remember what it felt like to have that ring slide onto my finger.  I remember it all, and I cherished it.

No one really approved of us and I don’t really blame them.  How could anyone know what we felt for each other, that it was real, without being us.  We held strong through it though, while we lost friends, and lost respect from family.  We held strong because we knew that the love we had for each other was the forever kind.  We didn’t need to wait, we knew.  That’s all that mattered.  And in the end, everyone was glad that we were right in the long run.

When things settled down about our relationship, Kirby took us to Disneyland again, and we spent the day riding the rides and smiling just the way we had on our first date.  As we stood in front of the princess castle, watching the fireworks go off above us, I felt Kirby wrap his hands around me from behind and bring his lips to my ear.  He told me a lot of things that night, the things he loved about me, and what he wanted from us and our future, but the thing I’ll remember the most was the words “Will you marry me?”  I remember feeling like things were finally going right for me and that I was complete.  We kissed, under those fireworks, around a thousand other people huddled around, and I felt alive.

It was less than a year later that we actually married.  We wanted to get married in Vegas, but after some negotiating and compromising with our families, we settled on doing a traditional wedding.  It was gorgeous.  It was everything we wanted.  And if I’m being totally honest, I only remember the highlights because the day was over in a blink of an eye.  We danced.  We laughed.  We spoke our vows in front of the important people in our lives.  We were finally married, and it was everything I could have imagined.  I loved it all.

We went to Disneyland for our honeymoon.  It was our place, the place I fell for him, the place he asked me to spend my life with him, the place we celebrated the start of our lives together.  And one day, it’ll be the place we take our kids, too.

Our marriage started off differently than most people.  We were young, barely twenty-one.  And Kirby had enlisted in the Army a couple of months before our wedding.  He was set to go to basic training in January, so we only had a limited amount of time to really bask in the newly wed bliss.  We spent it well, though.  And when the time came that he had to leave, it was heartbreaking.  But, I felt good knowing that when I fell asleep at night, I had memories of him to think about.

It wasn’t easy for us.  It hadn’t been since day one.  Because I had mental health issues and Kirby hadn’t had to deal with them on my kind of level before.  He learned, and he was my rock through it all.  But, it wasn’t easy when he left either, because we hadn’t spent a day apart before that.  We made it through, and somehow we became stronger as a couple.  When he graduated and went to AIT, he was set to be in AZ for a couple of months.  I decided to move out there just so I could be close to him.  We had our first apartment there, and although I lived there alone, it was worth it.

We’ve been through ups and downs.  We’ve lived in five states, six cities, and seven houses over the last four years.  But each year rolls around, and each year I’m so taken back as to how strong we are.  Even when I think we’ve hit the max amount of closeness, of strength in our relationship, that we’re just too awesome, it all grows, we grow as a couple.

In the years spent in Texas, Kirby helped me through my mental health situation.  I was bipolar, and completely unstable.  I was on seven medications a day, I was sick, and I was tired.  He helped me when I decided to wean myself off of my medications.  He helped me when I decided to take a break from all of the doctors.  He supported me when I did it all, because he had faith in my that I could do it.  And on the days I needed him to baby me, he did without question.  And on the days where I needed him to take the kids gloves off, he did it.  And it was in those moments that I made the biggest strides.  I had him to keep me motivated, determined, because he was always there with the right words keeping me in check.

I’m convinced that had I not met Kirby, my life would still be in shambles.  I would still be unstable and sick and burning bridges.  I would still be making awful life choices, hanging out with the wrong people, and still stuck on medications.  I would still be the girl who gets told that she can’t have the life she dreamt of; that I would never had a family, that I would be in and out of a hospital for the majority of my life, that my life would never be good.  Without him, i would still be broken, but because of him, I am now whole.  Because of Kirby, my dreams are my reality.  Because of Kirby, I have a beautiful family, in a beautiful house, and I’ve experienced more than I ever imagines.  Because of Kirby, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how strong I am, and what it means to be apart of a couple.  Because of Kirby, I’ve learned what the definition of home is, and let me let you in on a secret, it has nothing to do with the walls holding up the roof over your head and everything to do with the people in your heart. Because Kirby is my home.  We don’t have the most conventional relationship; most people think they wouldn’t be able to handle Kirby, and most people wouldn’t be able to handle neurotic behaviors, bu hat’s what makes us work; we handle each other perfectly. I’m not a religious person, I lean too much on the what if’s of life to be one, but I do think that everything that happens in this life is purposeful. And I’m pretty sure Kirby and I were meant to be together.  We were meant to come together in a time where we were young and in need of some life guidance.  We were meant to come together with intensity, with a sort of power, with an overwhelming amount of love.  And we were meant to go through hell, only to come back on top with our dreams within reach.  Because now, I’m nearing twenty-six, and we have these two amazing children together.  Kirby is following his dream in his new career with the Army, and I’m following mine with books and hopefully school.  We’re following our dreams together as a couple, and I couldn’t be more blessed.

By reading this, you would never know that I”m not the lovey dovey romantic type.  In fact, neither Kirby nor I really believe in romance.  We believe in what’s real.  Flowers and chocolates only last so long, but the connection you have with someone, being able to show the person you love how you feel on a daily basis without all the false pretenses, is what is important.  We believe in speaking the truth, and that truth is that I love him, he loves me, and our story is hardly done.  It’s just beginning.  Here’s to the best four years of marriage, and the best almost five years of my life.  Here’s to many more.  Here’s to loving you with my entire being.  And here’s to you for changing my life, for being my reason for life, for being mine.