I was at a softball tournament in Union, MO. during my senior year of high school. I knew he was going to be there, and I was so nervous. We had been messaging and texting each other for months, but had never met in person. This was the day.

I remember seeing him walk towards the stands with a friend while I was playing shortstop. I thought, "Wow, he's handsome. Wait! Kelsi, get your head in the game! This is the year that your team is supposed to make it to the State Championships. Every pitch, every play, every second counts. Focus!" It was so hard not to sneak a peek into the stands to catch a glimpse of him every now and then during the tournament. I didn't know it then, but I was about to meet the man I would spend the rest of my life with.

After the tournament, I gathered my gear together, completely sweaty and dirty, with eyeblack smeared down my cheeks from donning and removing my batting helmet numerous times throughout the day. I threw my bag over my shoulder, left the dugout, and started walking towards him with a group of my friends. I was so nervous! What would I say? Better yet, what will he think of me...I must look a sight! I'm pretty outgoing by nature, so I just decided to be myself. I placed my hand on the chair he was sitting in and said, "Hi!" Though I came across as bubbly and excited, my heart was racing from so many emotions racing through my body at once. He looked up at me and smiled, and in a shy voice he replied, "Hi." I know some people do not believe in "love at first sight," but it is possible...and in this moment I was head-over-heels for him.

That evening we went bowling with friends and got to know each other a little more. I remember him offering to follow me home to make sure I got back safely, and I thought to myself, "He is quite the gentleman."

We dated for four and a half years, and he was there for all of my good times and bad, and there were plenty of both. We were studying at different colleges during this time, and we both had full times jobs, but he rarely ever missed taking me out on a date on a weekend, or hanging out at my house to help me study for my exams. I'm tearing up now just thinking about how supportive, and just how humble and GOOD this man in his early twenties could be. I was (and am) completely devoted to him, and I've never been more filled with joy than the night he asked me to be his wife.

This year on May 24th, Blake and I will celebrate four absolutely delightful years together. I will never forget the day we exchanged our hand-written vows to one another, underneath the oak tree on my grandparent's farm. The grass was beaded with drops of rain from earlier in the day, and the smell of peonies cut fresh from my dad and grandmother's gardens filled the air. His vows were on a small piece of white notepad paper, and mine were written on yellow. We put them in a time capsule, and I'm eagerly waiting to open it up and read those vows again on our fifth anniversary.

I'll end with this. A couple of months ago I asked Blake about his first impression of me on that day at the softball fields. I said, "I had to have looked so sweaty and dirty from playing ball all day." He replied, "I don't remember any of that, but I remember how blue your eyes were."


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