Do you remember the moment you met your spouse? I can pinpoint my moment down to the minute.
Most people question the validity of this story, but I can isolate the exact time and place when I knew Dana would be my wife. September 1, 2000, 8:03 a.m. CST. Tucked in the back offices of KVRR-TV in Fargo, North Dakota, I was in a cubicle that faced away from the walkway that led from the front office to the where our desks were. Dana was escorted back by our news director; I was on the computer preparing for a day of shoots in Moorhead. The news director brought Dana back to introduce her to everyone – she was a “college girl” who’s assignment was to shadow a reporter for the day (I was the photographer assigned to the project that day).
The news director said as he came around the corner, “And this is our newsroom…oh, and this is Dave, one of our photographers…” I spun around in my chair and had one of those moments that are hard to describe…the room kept spinning, even though my chair wasn’t; the space between us got smaller, even though I hadn’t moved an inch; my heart rate accelerated and my head got light – this woman, dressed in a slim cut black business suit, her brown hair cut short just below her ears, parted to the right, smiled and extended her hand. “Hi, I’m Dana…” was all I heard, for after that, it was nothing but explosions and fireworks and thunder and party favors popping off in my head.
We spent most of the day together, first documenting a Make-a-Wish story with a young boy who’s wish was to go on a shopping spree at Wal-Mart. Next, we picked up footage at a few other quick stops for other assignments. The day went fast, and I said very little to Dana – you know, because I was all business, couldn’t let emotions of the heart interfere with professional journalism.
The day passed with me holed up in an edit bay cutting together several stories for the evening news. I didn’t get a chance to spend much time with Dana after our adventures around Fargo-Moorhead during the morning, but I quickly regretted not being more proactive in engaging with her during the day. She left without even saying goodbye. I chalked it up as a false alarm, but never forgot that initial spark.
As fate would have it, my office phone rang 20 days later – September 21, 2000, 4:37 p.m. CST. “Hi, not sure if you remember me, but I’m that girl who shadowed you a few weeks back,” said the voice on the line.
“Remember you? How could I forget you?” was all I could muster. From there, my awkwardness succeeded in inviting her over for a movie that very night, which led to an innocent, well-intended late-night invitation to lay down in my bed – rejected, of course. That nevertheless led to a second date of Subway turkey sandwiches at a park that lasted 4.5 hours of amazing conversation, which led to a night out – date three – where I asked for permission to lean in for a kiss, which was granted, in my car outside of her dorm before parting ways. She needed a few more dates to be convinced, but I was already gone.
Why am I sharing this? Because I want everyone to understand just how important proactive engagement is when you meet someone who might be your soul mate. I nearly missed my moment, yet thank my lucky starts that despite my obvious blunder in not asking my future wife for her number, the fates shined on me 14 years ago today when my office phone rang at 4:37 p.m.
We had our first date on this day 14 years ago. It was awkward, awful and I embarrassed myself by inviting Dana to lay down with me after watching something called Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It was late, I was tired – she was tired, too – but we both made the right decision. 51 weeks later, we got engaged. 53 weeks later – exactly two years to the day of that fateful movie night – she became my wife. 624 weeks to the day, here we are.
Today, I celebrate the moment I met my wife. 12 years of marriage is just a number. We’ll continue to work to make our relationship stronger, improve our skills as parents, and offer our time, talent and treasures to our community. However, through all that, the memory of that moment I met my soul mate will live within me forever. Every man who celebrates an anniversary likely defaults to the “I’m the luckiest man in the world” line. I honestly don’t feel that way. I feel like I was granted a second chance very early on in our relationship and I’m going to spend the rest of my time on earth ensuring I don’t let the good times just simply walk away without doing something about it.
I love my wife. Happy anniversary, darling.