Ten Year Tribute: Happy Anniversary to my Jr High Sweetheart

Today is my anniversary. Ten years ago we sealed the deal on a plan I hatched long ago. I still wonder if Shea knows what hit him.

It started in a galaxy far, far away. Junior High.  Erika described it this way, “…it was pretty much just the worst of times.  After all, it was Jr. High School.  As a matter of fact, the best thing to come out of  those years of awkwardness, orthodontia, and grunge fashion might just be this blog.”  In my mind, the blog is the second best thing.  Somehow, amid the painful inelegance and dental subjugation, I managed to fall head over heels (and not just because of my baggy pants) for the tall, handsome new guy in town. (It’s okay, my plaid flannel hid the fact that my pants were low riding).  Ahh yes…1993.

There is no psycho stalker alive that can match the stealth and perseverance of a twitterpated teenage girl.  Within days of school starting, I knew his locker and when he frequented, his class schedule, who he hung with, and even the route he took to which classes and when. All this intel was carefully integrated to insure that I “bumped” into him as often as possible.  He had first period science with me.  I worked behind the scenes, playing TA duty and buying off others by doing their homework to eventually get the seating chart arranged to sit Mr. Whitaker right behind me.  There I continued to mercilessly seduce him with extreme tactics like Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and handholding games like “Mercy” and “Slaps.”  Ahh, the pain was worth it.

For all my passive aggressive scheming, I came to be really good friends with Shea.  I was too self-conscious and awkward to ever bust a real move, but I was happy to claim him among my best friends. I wonder if he ever suspected that Mrs. Kristin Whitaker was written all over my journal.  Life was smooth until the cruel hand of fate intervened.  Ever changing school boundaries would heartlessly tear us apart. It was so Capulet and Montague…I was slated to be a Bountiful High Brave while my love-object would be a Viewmont Viking along with Erika, Charity, and 95% of the rest of our school.  The injustice! The tragedy!  While all other ninth graders rejoiced as the last day of school approached, I mourned inwardly with all the intensity of a 15-year-old girl.  My life was over.  Our relationship surely would not survive without the carefully planned accidental rendezvous in the hallways, without the notes I passed in English class to remind him of my existence, without the bribery of confections and bubblegum I offered in science class. It was surely over.  He would be swept away by hundreds of adoring, beautiful Viking women and I would be a lonely Brave.  I wish I could go back and tell myself then what I know now!

I have only two pictures existing from those days.  First, this is us signing yearbooks on the last day of Jr. High. I am sure I wrote something charming and friendly, encoding a deep and unending love and perhaps a phone number into my scribbles.  And what did my Prince Charming write in mine? I breathlessly ran to a quiet corner alone to find out…

“Dear Kristin, you always were the strong silent type…but enough about your farts. Have a great summer! Shea”

Second, is a picture from ninth grade Lagoon Day. I was thrilled Shea opted to wander the amusement park with me and my girls (you’ll notice Erika sitting/ screaming next to me) but still didn’t have the gumption to sit next to him. I could move heaven and earth to arrange our proximity, but couldn’t be so direct as to actually sit by him!  Funny. I have since overcome that.

High school was not as tragic as I had feared. Shea and I stayed in touch for a while.  I used to ride my bike to his house to listen to these really cool things called CDs, a new musical novelty.  Shea actually asked me out on his sixteenth birthday and I was privileged to be his first date. Be still my heart!  Here is a picture.

be cool, Kristin; just be cool.

Can you tell my heart is in my throat and I can hardly breathe? Of course not, I was too smooth for that in my borrowed black suede vest. We went to Desert Star Playhouse and ate pizza.  For our ten-year, we are revisiting the theater.  Hopefully I will get more action afterwards.

We went to a few dances and sports events. When our rival teams played, he would come sit on the Brave side with me and I thought he was so, err, brave.  I mean, I had to sit on the bleachers with the pep band–I was on drumline–he willingly ventured there!

Shea even took me to prom. I think the pictures say it all.

Don’t think I ever told him he slammed my hair in the door.

We made some amazing memories and were pretty close in those days, but still the man would take another 8 years to kiss me. I was tortured by that then, but now I have the supreme satisfaction of torturing him.  Somehow through the drama of high school, we gradually lost touch.  In retrospect it was all for the better. By the time I ran into him at the airport 4 years later, I was done playing games and ready to play for keeps. Oh, and we both had our braces off.

The second I saw him again, the sparks flew. I picture myself suave and mysterious as Mr. Whitaker approached me that day. My mom, who witnessed the encounter, said my jaw was on the floor and I mumbled incoherently. I think I had a stellar line on board like, “wow, how tall are you now?”  Somehow, Shea called and asked me out anyway and the rest is history.  Five months after that we were married. Ten years later we are living it up on our half-acre with 4 children, 2 hopefully pregnant goats, 3 rabbits, 12 chickens, 2 barn cats, and a frozen worm farm (oops).

Our engagement photo. No more baggy jeans and Doc Martin knock offs! We’ve come a long way!

I remember sitting on the beach the night before our wedding. We watched the moon rise over the waves and reminisced about our history.  I laid my head on his shoulder and wonder how it could get any better.  Funny, I do the same thing now.

In Junior High, I could barely manage the words “yes I like Shea. Yes, I LIKE like Shea” to my closest friends. But now I can proclaim to all Blog-dom…”I love Shea Whitaker!” He makes me laugh till I hurt, he catches my tears, he tolerates my downtimes and he builds my dreams. It is also a bonus to be helplessly attracted to my best friend.  I’ve had ten years to wonder how I got so lucky and forever to live it up!

At dinner the other day, while Shea was out, Becca (5) randomly piped up, “Mom I am so glad you married Daddy. If not you would still be walking up and down the streets saying, ‘Will you marry me? Will you marry me? Will somebody PLEASE marry me?!!!” Wow, thank you Shea for sparing me that fate!

Happy Ten Years!

3 comments on “Ten Year Tribute: Happy Anniversary to my Jr High Sweetheart

  1. Liz Ford Call on said:

    Congratulations to you both. I lived just down the street from him in those days. Pass his old house when I go to my mom’s. It will always be the Whitaker’s house to me! Congrats again!

  2. Charity on said:

    Kristin, this post makes me so happy! Shea’s yearbook entry is a classic. You guys are amazing, and I too am glad you are not forced to roam the streets in search of love.

  3. VeNicia on said:

    Aw, that was the awesomest. I love it. No, I don’t think he knew what hit ‘im, but I’m certain it was more than he even dreamed =o) We were just at the Desert Star to watch It’s a Wonderful Life (one of my “old” students was in it) and discovered NICK as a main character! I didn’t even know! That was cool. Did you see that on your anniversary or are they already on to the next one? =o) Love you guys! And your little Becca, too.

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