Once upon a time, there was a 14-year-old girl with a big crush on a cute boy. She was shy and innocent, braces on her teeth, a good girl who did her homework and giggled with her friends. And he was the cool skater boy. The first time she saw him, he was walking down the Math hall (at good ol' CKM), kind of glaring at everyone as he passed by. But when their eyes met, it sent a jolt of excitement through her... Those eyes! So intense! She was a goner. She confided in a friend in gym class about her crush, and watched that friend go directly to him after class and give him the news. She thought she'd die of embarrassment! A couple of days later, the phone rang, and the voice on the other end of the phone said, "Hey, this is Mario Galvez". She didn't believe him; she swore up and down that it was a friend playing a joke on her. "No, really, it's Mario... with the flat top and combat boots!", he insisted. So began the hours of talking on the phone. He was out of school for a week, recovering from a wrestling injury. When he returned to school, they spent lunch together, walking to Taylor's Market (back in the days of open campus lunch!). He offered her a sip of his Koala soda, but she was too nervous to drink or eat. Valentine's Day came around a week or so later, and she received two candy grams (you know, pay 50 cents, write a note, and it will be delivered during second period with a piece of candy). Written on the first one was something like, "I really like you and hope we can hang out more". The second one said simply, "Thought you'd like another candy". What a smooth talker! That weekend brought the Valentine's Day dance. She wore a button down chambray shirt tucked into khaki pants, with her hair pulled back in a barrette. (Seriously? Yes, unfortunately.) That evening, dancing slowly to the sounds of Janet Jackson's "Let's Wait a While", he kissed her for the first time. It was the first time she had ever been kissed... and the beginning of the rest of her life.
Today marks the 24th anniversary of that fateful kiss... the day we fell in love. We were married 11 years later (which may sound like a crazy long courtship, until you remember we met as freshmen). We celebrate Valentine's Day as one of our anniversaries, every year growing increasingly amazed at how long it's been. I still have those candy grams, stashed away in a memory box somewhere in the garage. With our daughter just a few years away from high school, it almost sounds creepy! We literally grew up together! At times we grew apart, such as when I went away to college and he to the Marine Corps. But our paths always ended up leading back to each other. It sounds cheesy, I know, but there is no doubt in my mind that we were destined. He has a pure heart, a playful sense of humor, and is amazingly smart. He is a completely loving and supportive husband and father. He is still the coolest guy I know. And those eyes still make me go weak in the knees :)