Here we go! Mr. Ski was born in WI and lived there with his two brothers and mother until he was thirteen when he and his mom and younger brother moved to TN. Mrs. Ski is the youngest of four girls and was born and raised in the same city Mr. Ski moved to in TN. Mr. Ski and I had one class together in high school, he is a year older than I am so it was my Junior his Senior year and it was drama class. We didn't have much interaction with each other and we were not friends. He was a football player and I was a swimmer so we definitely resided in different crowds. Although Mr. Ski is very sociable and can fit into any crowd, regardless the most contact we had in the four years we were in high school together was we would call each other "schmuck" as we passed in the hall way. Who knows why, we just did. Mr. Ski and I were in the same play. I was a bride marrying my best friend (Franklin) and I had only one line...are you ready...it's a big one...."Eye Eye." I guess it's not even a line really more like two words but moving on we won't even mention the fact that I had to wear a hideous green wedding dress, oh, I also had another role I was a belly dancer in the final scene. Guess who else was a belly dancer, yep, you got it...Mr. Ski! He wore a coconut bra and grass skirt and belly danced along with the rest of us. It was hilarious and I don't think anyone could have pulled it off quite like Mr. Ski did. I still smile when I think about it.
Mr. Ski graduated and went on to play football for ETSU. Mrs. Ski graduated the next year and went to UT Knoxville. I never really thought about Mr. Ski after that drama class as I'm sure he never thought about me. So we'll fast forward seven years to when we reconnected. It was summer of 2006, I was working as a case manager for children with mental health disorders and Mr. Ski was stationed in Ramadi, Iraq with the United States Army 506th Infantry Division. Thanks to modern technology and social networking I was browsing our high school's page and came across Mr. Ski. BLOWN AWAY! That's what I was, I mean I know that everyone changes but wow, Mr. Ski was nothing like I remembered him to be. I browsed his page and caught up as best I could from what he had listed but I wanted more! So I sent him a friend request, here's the funny part, he had this privacy setting that required you to give his last name before allowing you to send the request. I was frazzled...I knew what his last name was but I couldn't spell it to save my life. Luckily one of his friends had used his last name in a comment on his profile so I was in! He approved my friend request so being the sweetheart I am I sent him a message just saying thanks for adding me as a friend. Mr. Ski sent me a clever little message back pretending not to know me...I think his exact words were "I see we're from the same area, do I know you from my past." Haha! Now, I know I've changed but I didn't think I'd changed that much that he wouldn't even recognize me! Well, I let him know where he knew me from and our online relationship began there. I do think though that Mr. Ski knew who I was all along.
We sent sporadic emails back and forth for a month or so. Catching up and making future plans of getting together sometime when he got home from Iraq. We started using instant messenger and sending more messages as the months went on. I learned about what he had done in the last seven years including his playing football in college, joining a fraternity, leaving college, joining the Army, almost getting engaged and then being deployed to Iraq. He learned about what I had been up to for the last seven years including having open heart surgery, going to college, living with Erin, living alone, working in a pharmacy, moving to a larger city, working in the projects (case management years), working for a weight loss company and raising the cutest chihuahua! There wasn't anything that I didn't want to know about Mr. Ski, I remember one of our conversations on instant messenger that was solely facts about us. I think that's when I started to fall in love with Mr. Ski, maybe it was because he too liked to eat cereal at night and put peanut butter on his waffles but it really was because he was so much fun to talk to and I never once doubted that he didn't want to know things about me too. He was so sweet and easy going and made me feel special, as silly and cliche as that sounds it's the truth. Mr. Ski made me feel important and special and I always made sure I was available to talk to him whenever he had the chance. This also led to a lot of worry, I would worry if I hadn't heard from him in a few days, worry if the internet connection went bad during one of our chats, worry when I watched the news, worry when I saw stories in the paper, worry worry worry. Our chats became longer and our emails got lengthy, it was unlike any relationship I've ever been in. We had an emotional connection. Keep in mind I hadn't seen Mr. Ski in seven years other than the few pictures he had on his website. Our connection was because we truly had things in common and enjoyed talking to each other not just because we liked the other's physical appearance...don't get me wrong though I had NO problems with his physical appearance and often told him how I looked forward to being held by his big,strong arms. I guess you can say we did things a little backwards but I wouldn't have changed a thing. Most girls and guys see someone and based on what they see they talk to that person and based on what they hear they date that person and so on and so forth. We began our relationship with nothing physical, heck I met his mother and brother before I had laid eyes on him, but we'll get to that later. Our beginning definitely made us unique and gave us an opportunity to get to know each other on a level that most people don't get the chance to experience.
Mr. Ski always tried to make me feel special and he always succeeded. He sent flowers to my work on my birthday and he continued to send gorgeous bouquets every two weeks or so just to let me know he was thinking about me. We began the countdown, first months, then weeks and then days until he would be home. I don't think I'd ever looked forward to anything more in my life and I know that he was ready to come home just to avoid being shot at but deep down I hoped that he looked forward to seeing me as much as I looked forward to seeing him. When it kept getting closer I started getting nervous. Would Mr. Ski like me in real life, would we need to carry around computers to maintain what we had, would the relationship we began (we officially began dating online October 31st while he was still deployed) be the same when we were face to face, would we be attracted to each other, would it be awkward, could I actually listen to my heart without freaking myself out and backing away? I think Mr. Ski was having the same feelings. I'll never forget the phone call I got from him the day he was coming home, I had just gotten out of the shower, it was a Sunday night in November and he was finally back in the States but still a plane ride away from home. I think we both needed that little confirmation that what we had was real and if it wasn't what we expected we could be friends. That was the first time I drove to Fort Campbell and it most definitely would not be the last. I was a wreck! I remember driving there that night and going through a gammet of emotions. At one point I screamed and I know I cried too, and yet in the midst of all these emotions I couldn't manage to keep a smile off my face. Mr. Ski had always promised to make me smile and he has continued to keep that promise. I got to the Army post early...shocking I know...but I even beat his family there. So as I sat in the parking lot I called my mom and my best friend. My best friend did her best to calm me down, she knew what these things were like...her husband had just come home from Iraq. She talked me through what was going to happen, asked about my clothing choices even though we had already talked about this topic in length many times prior to this night and she also changed the subject a lot to try and keep my emotions in check. My mom gave me advice I'll never forget. She told me to calm down (easy for her to say) and told me that one of three things would happen either I would see him and not want to be with him at all or see him and realize that maybe we were better as friends or I would see him and know that's who I was supposed to be with forever. As you may have guessed the latter was true.