We had been talking on the phone for about three months before he flew out to see me, and although that doesn't seem like a very long time, it felt like an eternity. Three months of just talking allows for a lot of time to get to know someone without any distractions. And I'm so thankful for those phone conversations. When he arrived at the airport on October 31, I was sitting patiently at this very table, just like this. . .
(Of course, I had on different clothes and was a little less red - this photo was taken as a reenactment last summer when we were flying through this same airport after a vacation down south)
When I saw Nathan in the flesh for the very first time, the most amazing thing took place. I wasn't nervous. We greeted each other with a big hug. I asked how his flight was. He asked if I had been waiting long. We grabbed his luggage and went to my car. It was as if we had known each other for years and he was making an annual visit to see me. There was no awkwardness. It was just complete calmness and familiarity, even though we'd only ever talked on the phone.
And when we got to my car, being the romantic gentleman that he is, he reached inside his backpack that had made it all the way across the country and he pulled out a happy bouquet of fresh daisies. They're one of my favorite flowers, and he knew this through our many phone conversations. Up until this point, not many men in my life had ever bought me flowers except for my dad. Flowers were a big deal to me, and it meant a lot that he took such care with them through the multiple airports and on the plane.
In fact, I remember dropping him off later that evening at our pastor's house and leaving to go home - I immediately called my girlfriend from Alabama and practically screamed, "He got me daisies!!!!" She of course knew this was a big deal, and screamed back, "Rachel! They're your favorite!!!!" I screamed back, "I know!!!!!" and we shared a classic girlfriend moment where I told her every. single. detail. of mine and Nathan's first car ride together, our first in-person conversation, whether or not he was as cute in person as in photos (and, he was!), and I probably even told her how badly I wanted to kiss him. Some things never change. ;)
We spent that weekend doing lots of fun and memorable things...like walking along trails in nearby towns.
And ironically, this town where we took our first date stroll is the same town we purchased our little house in.
Getting dressed up and going out to one of our now-favorite Italian restaurants...
And visiting the famous George Eastman House, where Nathan would propose 7 months later!
I am so thankful that 4 years ago, a Colorado boy had the guts to fly all the way to New York to visit a displaced southern girl. I am so thankful that our weekend was the start of a deeper friendship. And I'm even more thankful that after our weekend visit and a few more phone calls, Nathan asked me to be his for-real girlfriend. :)
I haven't stopped being giddy over that man yet...
And, because Lowe's had these on sale this fall, I got them and planted them in our front flower bed . . .
Nathan reminded me afterwards that 4 years later, the daisies have come full circle.
And now every time I look at them I can't help but remember our first weekend together and remember how totally cool God was to orchestrate our paths to cross.
Happy 4-years-since-our-first-date, my love. Thank you for not hightailing it back to Colorado the minute you got in my car and realized I didn't know how to get us home from the airport! ;)