Three children down for naps. One child playing in the living room. Me, at the kitchen table, with my laptop and Diet Coke. A well deserved break. Because I am worn out. This week has gone by so fast, but Friday is normally a slow day for me. Not today, but thats fine.
The other day, I read a blog where the author told the story of how she met her husband. It made me get really sentimental. I enjoy being sentimental, but it puts me in a really emotional mood (as if I needed any help). In order to get over it, I am going to write my own story of how I met my husband. And, in doing so, maybe I will enjoy the walk down memory lane, then move on to the present. I love memories, but I also enjoy now.
So here it goes…..I do not profess to have creative skills in writing. Hopefully you enjoy the story. But I will probably not awe you with my use of the English language……
The first night I met my future husband was July 19, 2002 in Nashville, Tennessee. We were both there for a Christian college conference. Both students at Florida State, Brett had ridden up with a group from Tallahassee, while I drove over from Missouri (I was home for the summer).
My perspective of Brett from that weekend: The two things I remember about him were: All of the FSU students were eating a man’s house. After lunch, we were conversating about the weekend. The pastor told how Brett’s life radically changed two nights before, and he wanted Brett to share a little bit about that. He must have been sitting near me, because a few years later, I found a picture from that day, and we’re sitting near each other. Secondly, I remember him videotaping everyone dancing and singing one night during a praise time.
Brett’s perspective of me that weekend (I obviously did not know then): God changed Brett’s life (as I mentioned) that weekend in an awesome way. Before the conference, he partied a lot and was pretty depressed. Jesus captured his heart, and Brett was instantly changed (and has been ever since). A few hours after praying to receive Christ, Brett saw me for the first time, and was like (in his words), “Whoa! Who’s that?” The next night), a group of FSU students were going to eat a late night dinner at Steak and Shake. Since most of my guy friends in college were rather large, and I am average, I ended up riding in the middle of the backseat (so a larger person could drive), sitting next to Brett. I found out the night before our wedding that he was looking out the window, thinking how much his life had changed that weekend, and happened to notice me again. He thought to himself, “God, you’ll never give me a girl like that.” (Go ahead, get the tissues!)
The weekend is over. He goes back to Tallahassee. I go back to Missouri. Oh, I neglected to mention that at the lunch, while sitting next to Brett, and a mutual friend of ours got the sense from God that we would get married one day (which he did not share with us until a few weeks before our wedding).
And Brett does not speak to me. Ever. Nor does he talk to any other female on the planet (except maybe a cordial “Hello”). Why? He had treated girls so terribly before meeting Jesus that he decides not to have girls as friends, which was his way to honor women as God’s daughters (if you have read this blog for long, you know that his definition of honoring daughters is to stay away from them!).
At this time, Brett and I went to the same church and were involved in the same campus ministry. However, we were in different friend groups.
The only interaction I remember having this whole time is the following:
1. There was a church-wide prank war going on, and my friend (Tristan) and I decided to “decorate” Brett’s and his roommate, Ross’, cars. Which, single ladies, is not the way to a man’s heart (but I did not have a crush Brett at this time). Everyone else involved in the prank war got really mad at us (not sure why), but Brett just laughed. Which made me really think highly of him.
2. For our campus ministry, we had a Christmas party. We did a gift exchange where you could bring a real gift or a gag gift. Brett convinced an unsuspecting female (not me) to pick his gift, which turned out to be “deer urine”.
Fast forward: According to our friends (Clay and Ty, who are husband and wife and whose house we were at), Brett was making jokes all night, and I was laughing really hard at his jokes. As Clay put it at our wedding: “We all thought Brett was funny, but not THAT funny (meaning I was laughing a little too hard).” By the way, Clay is the one who had the sense we’d get married, and he was the minister who married us. They are best friends of ours to this day.
Clay and Ty thought for sure that either Brett or I would start liking each other that night. But, no. (We are at December 2002 at the time).
Brett has one other memory of me: That September (2002), we were at a friend’s house for a birthday party. One of my guy friends and I were talking, and a girl leaned over to Brett and said, “Wouldn’t they be so cute together?” (There was no love interest between my friend and me at all). His mouth said, “sure,” but his heart said, “NO!” He did not actually realize that he liked me. At the time, he did not know why he was so negative about it.
Brett graduates in December, moves to Atlanta to train for the NFL Combine, and gets drafted to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2003.
Brett is in Kansas City. I am in Tallahassee.
In October 2003, Ty (who denies this story but it is 100% true) approached me at church one day and asked how far my parents lived from Kansas City. I told her they are three hours away. She suggests that the next time I am home that I should go visit Brett because he is lonely since all of his teammates party and go out a lot, yet he does not (which was not entirely true. Brett was a little lonely, but one teammate was also a Christian and did not party).
I told her that I was going home the first week of November, and maybe I could to Kansas City to hang out with him and catch a Chiefs game. If you know me, this is so contrary to my personality that it is an act of God that I agreed to such a plan. This truth may be further proven by the fact that I waited until his next game to call him to ask him for tickets to the game. I knew he would not answer his phone, and in case he thought I was totally weird, I did not want to put him in an awkward situation.
Sometime in the time that I agreed to go visit Brett and the time that I actually did visit him, it dawned on me that Ty was trying to set us up. I think my roommate, Ashley, may have been the one to figure that out. Normally, I would have backed out, but for some reason, I didn’t. During this time, Clay suggested to Brett to see if I wanted to go to dinner the night before the game. Mind you, this would be his first real interaction with a female (other than his mom) in well over a year.
As the time approached, I started to wonder if we would be a good match. “Could I like him?” and like thoughts consumed me. I decided that this trip would give me a good idea if I could like him or not.
But I did not tell my parents any of this.
November comes. I fly home. That Saturday, my parents and I drive in my dad’s Toyota Tundra (which, ironically, Brett now drives) to Kansas City. We check in to our hotel (AmeriSuites) and leave to meet Brett at the Cheesecake Factory.
Apparently, my parents thought we were great friends from college, so they were surprised that we were merely acquaintances. Knowing me, my parents suspected immediately that I must like Brett (yet I only liked the idea of liking him, I did not necessarily like him).
Dinner was great. Conversation was fun. My parents loved Brett. We invited him back to our hotel to watch the Florida State vs. Clemson game, to which he agreed.
The evening was fairly uneventful, yet I found myself being drawn to him.
The next day, we went to the game. Our tickets were in the 2nd row on the 50 yard line (which I never again got such great tickets, even after we got married). I found myself trying to watch Brett more than watching the game.
I go home and fly back to Tallahassee. I somehow convinced my parents that there would be no future for us. I realized that Brett was a really awesome guy and looked forward to getting to know him more. Yet, in my mind, I had no chance to actually date him. I was an ordinary girl going through my senior year in college, and Brett was a tall, very attractive professional football player. Don’t they marry trophy wives?
Over the next several weeks, Brett and I talked on the phone a few times. Oh, I neglected to mention that Brett and his teammate, Jordan, had gone down to my parents house a few weeks after our dinner/game weekend to hunt on my parents’ property (shoot, I should have put out all my good photos instead my awkard junior high ones!). Which made my parents love Brett all the more.
Back to what I was saying, the first time Brett called was to tell me he had my parents’ house key. In my mind, I wanted to tell him to keep it since we’d eventually get married, yet, I restrained myself. Because I was not a trophy wife. Oh, and, I was not desperate. We talked for a little while, and I hoped that the conversation would not end. It turns out Brett does not like to talk on the phone, so those ten minutes were like an eternity to him.
As you can see, my feelings had started to grow for this man. I did not even know him that well, yet I could not imagine my future without him in it.
I shared this with my four of my closest friends (Ashley, Danielle, Ty, and Tamiria). One night, I was sitting on the couch writing Christmas cards, and my roommate, Ashley, decides it would be a good idea to call Brett on my phone. Only I did not realize that is what she was doing (she went in my room to get my phone). Until I hear her say, “I do not know much about that. Why don’t you talk to Sarah?” When I say I could have killed her for being so blatantly obvious, that is an understatement! However, I was excited to talk to him again.
(In case you’re wondering, Brett was also starting to have feelings for me.)
There were some random events during December. Like when Brett’s brother (who I worked with and lived near) said something to me about being his sister-in-law (Brett had told him to mention him to see what I would say). Or when Ashley and I were at Ty and Clay’s house, and we spent about all of the four hours talking about Brett. When Clay asked me if I liked him, I was near a mirror. And my face turned about as red as the shirt I was wearing. I talked to Brett one other time during this period. That time, I was at Gordo’s (a restaurant), across from a mirror again, and I was also bright red. I turn red when I am embarrassed, and for some reason, I did not want people to know how much I liked him.
Yet I was not even sure that I truly liked him. Or if I still just liked the idea of him (Godly man, very attractive, funny, charming, etc….all the traits you want in a man).
Until I was flying home for Christmas. My parents asked me to change my flight home, so that I could go with them to Kansas City that weekend. They were acting really weird. So, in my mind (aka imagination), I was hoping that we were going to see Brett again or something like that. I was so disappointed when that turned out to be false; they just wanted to go shopping. That is the point at which I realized that I really liked this guy.
I get very sentimental during the holidays. At Thanksgiving that year, I remember asking God for that could be the last Thanksgiving without knowing who I would marry. I had not gone home for Thanksgiving, so I was really missing my family. I knew if I was dating my future husband, then I would never feel that loneliness again! Of course, going home would have done the same thing. But I really wanted to get married.
During Christmas break, I found myself thinking of Brett often. Thinking about him, in general, but also thinking of how fun it would be if he were on vacation with my family and me.
I return to Tallahassee in January. Brett and I have not talked for many weeks, yet I cannot stop thinking about him. One night in January, Ashley and I were praying together (as we did often), and God spoke to me very plainly that I would marry Brett. WHOA! I did not tell anyone this for many months, because I did not want to embarrass myself. I believed what God said, yet I also knew that Brett would actually have to like me back. You know, since God is the God of free will and all. Furthermore, I went to a women’s night at church, where the woman spoke about dreams. She said, “In this season of time, some of you will have dreams fulfilled, while others will have their hope deferred.” I knew in my heart that my dreams (meeting my future husband then getting married was my biggest dream) would be fulfilled!
We are now to February. Starting about mid-college, I started writing a journal to give to my future husband on our wedding day. I would just write about my singleness and other random things. If I would have known at that time that I would marry Brett, I would not have written it, because he is not into that sort of thing. Our kids may enjoy it one day. But back to my point: since the point at which God told me that I would marry Brett, I started writing the journal to him. I still did not know him that well, but I would hear people talk about him, and everyone had the best things to say about him.
By this time, I had decided that if I did not marry Brett, I would never get married because I could not imagine my life without him. And, no, you have not missed anything. We still had never been on a date by this time.
Brett’s rookie season with the Chiefs ends, and he comes back to Tallahassee to visit for about a month. His first night back, we have a campus meeting. To get to the room, we had to walk down a really long hallway. I could see him in the room from the beginning of the hallway, so I had a good while to get really nervous. I walk in the room, say “hi” quicker than you could imagine (without making eye contact), and sat down. I spent the rest of the meeting really mad at myself because I thought he would think I did not like him, even as a friend (it turns out that he did think it was strange I did not say anything—he did not hear the “hi”—because I was his one friend who actually came to see him in KC). Fortunately, I made an excuse to talk to him after the meeting and all was well.
Over the next month, I do everything within my power to be around Brett without being really obvious. I would never invite him places or anything like that, but I would just hope he would be at the same functions as me. He would later tell me that he would want to invite me to hang out, but he was too shy to do that. This is getting long, so I will spare you all of the random times we hung out. We would pretty much avoid one another. Because we were mature.
Towards the end of February, we had a group meeting for a trip to South Africa we were taking (a missions trip). Previously, we had been divided into groups to research different parts of the upcoming trip. I was in a group with Brett and another NFL dude, so I knew that meant I had to do all the work. They did call me about an hour before the meeting to “put together our part of the presentation” (which I had already done). That part is a little pointless, but the meeting is relevant. So, we have the meeting. Afterwards, we are all just sitting around talking about the show “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance” (remember that?). We were all dialoguing about whether or not our parents would have fallen for it. “My parents wouldn’t care who I marry, as long as her dad has hunting property,” says the man who had been hunting with my dad mere months before. I turned twelve shades of red. Brett later told me he did this to see how I would react. On the way home from that meeting, Brett found some excuse to call me, which gave me hope that he might actually be interested.
(Are you bored yet?)
March 3, 2004 starts out like any other day. I wake up at 7:50 for my 8 am class. I look like death warmed over in my sweats. I am particularly tired on this day for some reason, and Ashley (roommate) even noticed it. I am sitting in my third class of the day (Sociology), when my phone vibrates. I had a Nextel phone, where you could do the walkie talkie thing. It was Brett. BRETT!!!! I had knots in my stomach. Because Brett Williams does not just call me at 10 in the morning. He kept “be-beeping” me (as we called it). I finally whispered to him that I was in class and would call him back.
Class has never been so long! I get out of class, call him back, and NOTHING. No answer. My heart sinks. Apparently, Brett was just calling for no reason.
I go hang out with a friend that afternoon and leave my phone in the car. When I leave her apartment, I check my phone, and Brett has called again. My heart is racing. I call him back, and he answers. We make small talk for a few minutes, then Brett invites me to a late lunch. I about wreck my car (I should not have been driving!) and am freaking out in my mind. I ask where to meet him, but he says he’ll pick me up.
We get off the phone, and I immediately call Ty. She is playing it totally cool, while I am freaking out (in a good way) to her. Clay gets on the phone, and says, “Well, you know Brett wouldn’t ask you out unless he liked you.” Once again, I about wreck my car.
With my heart beating out of my chest, I race home because, as mentioned, I look a hot mess. I get ready really quickly. I wear a pink tank top and capris. I dressed pretty drab in college, so this was my best outfit.
Brett picks me up. He was driving a brand new Tahoe. I am a girl who likes nice cars, so I enjoyed the new car smell as I climbed in. We drove a short distance to one of Brett’s favorite places, Larry’s Giant Subs. While there, we make small talk for awhile. I was starving, and when I get nervous, I eat really fast. So I scarfed my food down. When Brett gets nervous, he does not eat. A pretty funny site to see the girl eating a ton and the guy barely touching his food.
At the end of the lunch, Brett said, “The reason I brought you to lunch today is to tell you that after our trip to Africa (which was in two days), I am headed back to Kansas City. Would it be okay if I call you more when I return home?” I, of course, said yes.
I am not kidding when I say that the next question out of my mouth was, “How long have you liked me?” Once again, that question was totally out of my character. I normally had a quiet confidence around men. I was not afraid of them; I just did not say weird things. But around Brett, I was a mess. I could barely form sentences, and when I did, it came out all wrong. I may share stories about that later on.
We spent a couple of hours at Larry’s Giant Subs (that, consequently, are not that giant). By the end of it, we joke that we could have gotten married. We were definitely exclusively dating. Three months later, Brett proposed. And, as they say, the rest is history.
As I finish writing this, it is now Sunday night. I am back to normal with my two sweet kids quietly in bed. The chaos that has been this previous week has settled. I would be shocked if anyone stuck with this story until now. At least I will never forget the details.