01 May, 2009

Our Love Story

Seeing as our 2nd anniversary just passed, I felt this a perfect opportunity to reflect on our amazing journey so far.

Short version...3 1/4 years ago we met, 3 years ago we started dating, 4 months later we were engaged, 7 months after that we were married, and 18 months later we were parents!

Now, for those of you who tuned in to hear the real story...here goes.

Kevin and I met by strange diocesan coincidence.

When I moved to Green Bay there was no young adult group to speak of. Along with another friend, we requested a list of young adults in the diocese who might be interested. Kevin was on this list.

Back story: Kevin would never have been on this list if he hadn’t finally broken down and gone on diocesan retreat with his Dad after years of pestering. Strangely, the man who married us, Bishop Bob, directed his first retreat.

We gathered our first time in my apartment and Kevin offered his house as a regular gathering area because there was more room.

We gathered there, sometimes as 3 people, sometimes as more, for several months. We spent many Thursday nights reflecting on faith and life and enjoying an occasional glass of wine. Admittedly, during this time I had a few thoughts of “Hmmm...he’s sweet, but I could never date him because he likes camping.” However, in the meantime I started dating the guy who I was coordinating the small group with!

Toward the end of May, the guy I was dating called things off. Much to my dismay, it was the week before he was supposed to help me move into my new apartment! I was without any help to move! I called Kevin just hoping I might get some help. He agreed.

Memorial Day weekend Kevin offered his time, his truck and his thumb for the cause. While moving my fold-out couch, he punctured his thumb and to this day has a numb spot to show for it.

I was so moved by this man who barely knew me and who would give up part of his holiday weekend to help me move in 90+ degree heat. Never once did he complain. Never once did he ask when we were going to be done. After an day of witty banter my curiosity was piqued.

The weekend after, I went to Cincinnati for my sister’s high school graduation. I knew I wanted to get to know Kevin better, but I had come off of a nasty, long-term relationship and I didn’t even know where to start. I stopped in Indianapolis to have dinner with my best friend and she told me that I had to call him and invite him out for a cup of coffee sometime soon.

I made the call. He wasn’t home. I left a message. He called back. I was sitting by the pool. I missed the call. He left a message. Yes.

On my return home, as I inched through a traffic backup in Milwaukee, we made plans for a light dinner on Wednesday night. He’d pick me up.

Dinner was simple but wonderful. Leaving the restaurant, I knew I didn’t want the night to end. We walked by the Fox River a short ways and then headed back to his house for a bottle of wine and some Sinatra on the deck.

Kevin dropped me at home at almost 1:00 a.m. and I had to get up for a 5:00 radio show!!! I still had to finish my rundown for the morning and I barely got 3 hours of sleep, but I was walking on air!

That Sunday, I got my first taste of Door County, WI. Kevin and I went to Mass at Resurrection (not my church at the time, but the church where we were eventually married and where I now work). Then we headed up the Door County peninsula for pastries, parks, beaches, and ice cream, followed by a fabulous dinner on the water.

At one point during the afternoon, we were sitting in an outdoor amphitheater and I asked, “What are we doing here?”, referring to our interpersonal situation.

Without missing a beat, Kevin replied, “Well, we can keep going from here and maybe go to the beach or get some ice cream if you want to.” He kissed me on the forehead (yes, strange) and we walked on. I kind of let the thought process go until another opportunity presented itself.

As we were sitting on the beach later that day I asked again.

“What are we doing here?” gesturing the interpersonal nature with a back and forth motion of my hands.

“Well, I’m all in.” Kevin replied.

“Good. That’s my sentiment. Give it all we’ve got and see where God takes it.” I confirmed. And that was it. We talked about our dreams and our passions, but no more about the relationship.

We had dinner at a restaurant on Lake Michigan. As we delicately maneuvered the dinner dance of an early date, the moon rose full, first red then bright yellow through the large windows on either side of our little corner of the restaurant. We traded laughs, sipped wine, and gazed intently at one another. After dinner we walked along the path right outside the windows we had just been gazing from.

As we reached the end of the path I breathed, “The moon is so beautiful tonight.”

Kevin replied seamlessly, as though in a classic film, “The moon is the second most beautiful thing tonight,” and he turned me around and kissed me.

Yes, it happened that way.

Grinning bigger than the moon, we headed back to his car and drove along the lake toward home. Upon returning to my apartment we snuggled up on the couch.

Kevin said later, “If I’d have known our night would have ended like this, I would have brought you home sooner.”

The following months were filled with wonderful times like that first Sunday. We went to church together every weekend, we took drives, met families, went to dinner, drank wine, attended weddings, and enjoyed learning about one another.

At the end of September, four months later, Kevin had a trip to Vegas planned. The Friday night before he was going to leave he came home with a ring. I had nothing to do with picking out the ring, but I gave him two words. Simple and elegant. Oh yes, and yellow gold because the contrast makes the diamond sparkle more!

I was pretty sure he had the ring, but I was also pretty sure he was going to wait to ask me. I remember gently reminding him that it would mean a lot to my dad if he called and asked to marry me.

He grabbed the phone and went for the basement. Apparently the conversation was noted as a conversation that neither party had ever had before. My dad wished him luck waiting to ask me…Dad proposed on February 12th over canned Chinese food because he couldn’t wait.

Apparently, the Krogh women are hard to wait for. Kevin walked back up the stairs, walked into the living room, handed me the box and asked me if I’d marry him. In our living room with my cats plodding around and climbing the screens!!!

Kevin had planned to wait until Sunday and take me to dinner at a local Italian restaurant. We found out later that the restaurant isn’t open on Sundays. We didn’t really feel like a fancy dinner on a Friday night and instead we went out for wings, gyros, and beer at a local Chicago-style Italian restaurant.

Two weeks later I was laid off and I had a very emotional time relinquishing control and relying on his financial support.

Kevin said, “When I asked you to marry me is when our marriage started. We will get through this together.”

I spent the next 6 months collecting unemployment, looking for a job and trying to plan a wedding with limited funds.

After 4 jobless months, we decided that I would move upstairs in Kevin’s house to save rent. A very hard decision with two younger sisters watching and parents that I knew wouldn’t approve.

Strangely enough, the day we met with Bishop Bob to go over our wedding ceremony, was the day I found my job. Bishop Bob met me at St. Brendan’s Inn for lunch and Kevin was late because he had gotten stuck by a train on the way over. As we sat there, Bishop pulled out the draft of a job description and asked if I’d be interested. He pre-interviewed me until Kevin arrived and I submitted my resume that following Friday.

I was offered the job 2 weeks after we were married.

We were married on a typical spring Friday in Wisconsin. The morning started off cool and rainy. Kevin had taken the day off and spent the morning watching movies. My dad and I had breakfast that morning and then my mom, my maids and I went off to have our hair and nails done. We finished up the last minute details at the church and returned home to dress.

We had a very small wedding of only the closest family and friends. The whole group totaled less than 40. We had dinner before the ceremony so that our friends and family could reflect on and testify to our relationship before we committed our lives to one another.

I wore a cream cocktail dress for dinner and changed into my wedding dress at the church.

My sisters gave a joint toast of which Johanna had to give most of because Alida, my maid of honor, was crying and laughing so hard she couldn’t talk.

My dad gave a colorful toast which included a reflection on my level of maturity and knowing that I would have to marry a man with the same level of faith and life perspective, but never thinking it would be someone 11 years older than me!

Leaving cake for later, we all left for the church. I frantically changed into my dress, touched up my lipstick and carefully avoided being spotted by my soon-to-be hubby while having my pictures taken.

I took my dad’s arm, sent my soon-to-be niece down the aisle ahead of me, squared my shoulders and smiled calmly as I prepared to take my last steps as Amberly Krogh to the melody of Ave Maria.

I don’t remember much about the ceremony. I remember our readings and how my grandfather read for us. I remember how my Confirmation sponsor read our petitions and prayed for our deceased grandparents. I remember how my paternal grandparents distributed the Eucharist and how my sister read a carefully chosen devotional that Kevin and I had taken as our own. I remember holding Kevin’s hand and trying to capture every moment in my memory.

After the ceremony and pictures, it was cakes, drinks, and home to bed. We arrived home, changed into comfy clothes, opened our gifts, and then snuggled up in bed for our first night as a married couple. And there we slept some of the most peaceful sleep of our lives lying contentedly in each other’s arms happy to simply hear each other breathe.

We arose the next morning to see my extended family off. We invited my immediate family back to the house for brats and cheese curds. We spent the afternoon laughing and talking until they had to get on the road. Kevin and I finished our honeymoon packing and went to bed early.

We arose to catch our flight to Montreal, Canada were we spent two days before making our way to Quebec City, Mount Ste. Anne, and Iles de Orleans. It was a fabulous international trip for discovering the country and each other. Quebec will always have a special place in our hearts and our marriage.

The following year was full of wonderful trips, people, and experiences. We truly make the best of every moment we have with one another.

In March of 2008, the day after St. Patrick’s Day, we found out we were pregnant. After a few frightening moments in the beginning, we embarked on the amazing, emotional, and life-altering experience of pregnancy. To know one another as ministers of the sacrament of marriage as a couple is one thing. To know one another as ministers of the sacrament of marriage as co-creators is a totally different thing. What a powerful and completely holy experience.

John Ross Boerschinger, our gift from God arrived on November 28th, 2008 after 10 hours of labor and 41 weeks of love. Within hours, I compared my son’s wrinkled forehead to that of his sleeping fathers and softly chuckled at the way they were both soothing themselves by rubbing their feet together. Our son is truly the ultimate gift and culmination of our marriage covenant.

The days that followed remain a blur of fingers, toes, tears, and trust. We were each other’s rocks and each other’s respite. Watching one another embrace the role of mama and papa has deepened our love in ways that we could only have imagined.

2 years later, I can’t imagine my life without Kevin. It seems like we have known each other for so much longer and loved each other forever. In marriage we have found true love, true commitment, and true vocation. Vocation is about discipline, holiness, self-sacrifice, and the perfection of love. The vocation of marriage, like any other vocation, is not easy, but together we remind each other that it is our calling. It is the loving, gentle, all-powerful, and all-knowing call of our Father in heaven, the Giver of all good gifts.

I love you schweetie. I can’t wait for the next year and the next year and the next year and…

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