I cannot think of a more appropriate day to create this page of our history than our 6th anniversary. But let's go back just a bit further in our history first and end up in the present day. Just as all of us do, Steve and I have a history before each other. Both of our histories before each other was messy, complicated, and frankly somewhat unfulfilled. The most wonderful beings that came before there was us, is our wonderful children. I came into our relationship with David and Steve came to our relationship with Caitlyn, Craig, and Wyatt. Caitlyn, Craig and David were all young adults and had endured and survived much from the mistakes that Steve and I had made in our previous lives. So when God placed Steve and I together, while we knew that we were finally in the relationship that would carry us to our graves and beyond, our children were somewhat skeptical. But over time, they have come to realize that Steve and I have something remarkable and lifelong.
We met through a mutual friend on December 18, 2009 while Steve was on his final deployment in Iraq. Until July 30, 2010, we enjoyed writing and skyping together and an occasional phone call. During our seven months online we learned about each other's thoughts, fears, loves and losses and created a special bond. But we were also mature enough to realize that what we were experiencing online might only ever be a great friendship. But on July 30, 2010 when Steve stepped off the airplane in Tampa, Florida, I knew that I was finally in the space of my soulmate. We dated, laughed, and continued to enjoy each other's company and on December 18, 2010, Steve declared his love for me and asked me to be his wife. Even though I was certain that I loved him, I wasn't yet sure that he knew enough about me to realize what he was getting into for the rest of his life. I spent the next few months saying, "Did I tell you..." and "Did you know..." and on February 14, 2011, I was convinced that he knew exactly what he was signing up for and we began to plan a wedding. So on July 30, 2011, exactly one year from physically being in each other's space we declared our lives and love to each other in the eyes of God and our family and friends.
Steve had just three years left until his 30 years in the Army would come to an end and so we were at an interesting time to be starting our lives together. While most people who get married are talking about having a family, buying a house and developing their mutual careers, our newly married pillow talk was about how we would invest wisely during the next few years of our career life, how we would spend our retirement years, and also how we would prepare for life alone after one of us passed away. Those are the important topics to discuss when you are like us and get married in the autumn of our lives.
In 2012, when Steve turned 50, I gave him something he has always dreamed of and wanted- sailing lessons. I knew that once he received his ASA 101, 102, and 103, he would want some kind of sailboat. And Tampa was the perfect place to have a boat and enjoy our weekends on the water. Little did I know that Steve wanted more than a daysailer and was looking at 70 foot vessels capable of taking us around the world. In December 2012, after 4 months of seriously looking and learning about boats, we boarded Take Me There and knew this was the boat for us. Just a little over a year later, in February 2014, Steve was offered a job in Springfield, VA. We knew that moving up north would be temporary and we would be keeping our Tampa home, so we were looking for a low cost place to rent for the couple of years that Steve would be working in order to complete our retirement financial plan. "Why don't we sail the boat up to Virginia and live on the boat?" You're thinking those were Steve's words, right? WRONG! That was actually my suggestion. A bit out of character for me, to say the least. In April 2014, we sailed Take Me There from Tampa to Fort Washington, MD. What an adventure that was! After two years on the Potomac to be close to Steve's job, we decided to move to the Chesapeake for more sailing opportunities. But by April 2015, I was knee deep in my dissertation work for my PhD and so our weekends were consumed with my research and writing routines, while Steve continued to work on the boat in preparation for a time when we would be able to sail away. In October 2016, I succesfully defended my dissertation research and our weekends were now free. When our one year lease was completed at Herrington Harbour on the Chesapeake, we moved Take Me There to Naval Air Station Patuxent to complete the work so we could be Caribbean-bound. (including a new bottom job and through hulls in addition to other projects).
While this write-up makes it seem like our life has revolved around Take Me There, our life together has actually revolved around family and Take Me There has simply been the adventure that we both enjoy. I didn't think that I would enjoy boat-life as much as I do. But what I really enjoy is seeing Steve happy and Take Me There makes him happy and fulfills his need for projects, adventure, and learning new things. Take Me There also enables us to do what we love- be on the water! As we celebrate our 6th anniversary today, he is up on deck continuing to work on the hard-top project and I am in the salon learning how to can fruits and vegetables. We will celebrate tonight by enjoying dinner in Solomon's Island (thanks to the rental car that we have for a few days in order to run errands). Our adventurous life together continues!