It's not a crazy or exciting story, but it's ours. 15 Years ago I met Patrick Brooks, a college sophomore at Gorge Mason University. He was the TA in my P.E. class, underwater hockey. Yes you read that right, check out this video. As a side note, Tyera kicked my butt every time I faced her under the water, but she's great people.
You were also team captain of the the GMU team. I joined the team and loved playing the support till we moved away from Washington, DC, in 2007. This picture was taken in 2006 at a National Tournament in Florida. Can you pick out Pat? (The photo quality is going to be pretty bad until we get to smart phones.) I had already graduated and hung up my Mason suit for a DC one.
We became quick friends, because lets be honest you're a great guy! Not bad looking either, but we were just friends, while I dated a series of your friends. You're a few years younger and so...nice. That he didn't really fit the bill, but gosh darn-it we had fun together. .
Eventually, I realized those guys were jerks and you weren't. Also fun, sweet and majorly crushing on me so I gave you a shot. Oh did I mention super hot? I took you to the beach with my family and everyone loved you because you're you. At my wedding everyone (besides us) agreed that if I didn't marry you my sister would have to because we weren't losing you.
And then of course I dumped you because you were like super nice and treated me well. Also a Labrador retriever who followed me everywhere. I was perfectly fine with it until you got a new girl friend. Stupid redhead #*&!!* (sorry that was uncalled for). Then I asked you to Marry me. The Washington Post actually ran a fun engagement Q&A on us. This was the photograph they used. There are about 20 in the basement somewhere. Somewhere...
We got an apartment and moved in together. Those were good times. Thinking we were grown ups but consuming too much tequila, losing the electric bill and getting the lights shut off and the excitement of the Wegmans' free wine tastings. Throwing a party for every holiday. Oh wait, I still do that.
Then we got a dog. Our sweet little girl Coco Chanel. I know it's pretty standard stuff here. But she's legit cute and I carried her around in a doggie purse. So you can look at this cute picture of baby Coco.
Since I insisted on a Christmas wedding you had to wait a year to marry me. We moved to Maryland to be closer to my family. Very close, lol. I still threw lots of parties and you indulged me every time! Oh wait, you still do.
It was worth the wait. We were so excited when one of my college besties got married a few months before us. Our moment was coming. This photo from her wedding was our first Christmas Card.
The on December 22, 2007 it was our turn. It was a beautiful Christmas wedding in DC at a beautiful church with pipe organs playing classic Christmas hymns, dozens of candles light by relatives, a huge trees and poinsettias galore.
The reception at the Old Ebbitt Grill across the white house with it's giant nutcrackers, crab cakes and lamb chops were perfect (well they were perfect to me, you didn't actually get one). Plus the exquisite Atrium decorations and a Sugar Bakers cake. Oh and Elvis. Did you think people know we had an Elvis impersonator at our black tie wedding? LOLOL
We had a wonderful honeymoon on a Caribbean cruise and discovered how much we love rum. Especially Mount Gay in Barbados. To this day we enjoy no cocktail greater then a good bottle of Mount Gay Rum with a splash of tonic and lime. We also still love cruising.
The first few years of marriage are really hard. But we found another mutual love, craft beer. Yes you'll see a pattern emerge. Those days of Oktoberfests with the Toms and release parties at DuClaw, I will never forget. We still only have local beers on tap in our home.
We loved cruising so much we spent out first anniversary on a three week tour of Europe, before we had a child and some money in the bank. It's pretty cheap to do the Mediterranean in winter, because it's freezing! The wind on the Acropolis plus the cold...never again.
Eventually, we were ready for a baby, or at least we thought we were. It was a miserable pregnancy. I was past my first trimester in this photo but it was still a secret and we were scared, so few knew. Side note, I still cared enough about Coco to let her true Pekingese shine. Look at that fur.
But she came, and she was perfect. Well eventually she was perfect. She looked like an alien for awhile and for some reason this is the only picture of all three of us on her first day 7/17/2011.
What a strange thing it was to take a 3 month old baby to Eat at Joel's. But looking back, I now know she looks forward to that event as much as we do. In our pandemic world she sends weird text messages to the kids she knows from this one event.
We were supposed to take a baby-moon but because I was so sick, we couldn't travel. At 6 months we went back to our favorite spot in Barbados, while Aunt bug lovingly care for our baby girl. I cried daily.
That baby, she grew. She grew and she grew and she grew. To the point that for the next three years it was so hard to find pictures of just the two of us. She was our whole world.
She turned out blonde, and smart, and silly and a little anxious. She loves the surf and she loves the sun. But mostly she loves to be like you. You took a job that had you on the road 5 days a week so I could be at home with her. The minuet you walked in the door you took over. I still resent how much she clings to you even though you never leave any more. But I love that she has a strong, loving father, that she wants to be just like when she grows up. She even claims "I'm going to be a beer person when I grow up."
At some point, probably an adverse reaction to being a full time stay at home mom, I decided I needed to dye my hair a different shade of neon every 3-6 months. You never said one bad thing about it. (Look I found a picture without her at Eddie's wedding)
She went off the kindergarten and you found a job at home. So you wouldn't miss a thing. We started having family Halloween costumes again.
We became a soccer mom and a dance dad. She eventually chose soccer, I think. But don't count your chickens before they hatch. She could change her mind about the dance thing and you could still have to be a party dad in the Nutcracker.
Then came the Disney phase of our life. Oh wait, we haven't finished with that phase. Actually I think it's probably going to be a life long obsession with eating at Epcot, identifying birds and having rum dole whips at Animal Kingdom, and avoiding Magic Kingdom like the plague.
Like many parents our life became all about our little girl. Our time, our money, and our energy went to our baby, well not so much a baby any more. But that was ok because she is worth it. All of it.
Then in 2019 something amazing happened. Paris. I cried by day 12 away from her to be sure. I missed my big girl, but for the first time in nearly a decade. I was looking only at you (and Champagne but you are looking at her with the same lust I do). La ville de l'amour.
Then came 2020. The shit show to end all shit shows. Pardon my french. But with you by my side I survived. We all survived. With you by my side, I will always survive. Our first Christmas card went out 13 years ago. This was the one that went out this year. I love it more then any other. My beautiful pink mane isn't flowing in the wind and the bags under my eyes are loud and proud. You can't see Scarlett laughing at the dad joke you made right before snapping it. But we're together, supporting our daughter, side by side. Never give up, and never surrender. I thought underwater hockey was the ultimate team support. If you don't come and help me, I literally can't breathe. I didn't know our marriage would be the same. Please don't ever doubt my love for you because it's the only thing I have ever really been sure of. Happy anniversary Pat.