Dear Logan (age 5) and Grayson (age 2),
Right now, you are living in a world that you think revolves around you. I know that it is hard to believe that your Dad and I existed before you were born, but indeed we did. We even went on non-kid-friendly trips, had dates whenever we wanted, and sometimes would even binge watch Friends DVDs before that was a cool thing to do (Netflix and chill, anyone?). Nonetheless, I thought I would share with you how I met the man who is now my husband and your father.
It was January 2004, and I had just started my last semester of college at the University of Memphis. I already had plans of heading to Big Orange Country (UTK) for graduate school, and I definitely was not looking for a boyfriend. In fact, I was celebrating the near end of a fun, rewarding college career and was looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life in a new city. But as you will learn, life sometimes has a way of throwing curve balls at you.
My college roommate and best friend Mitzi was dating a guy named Matt (who is now her husband) who was then playing baseball at a local college. Both Mitzi and Matt said they wanted me to meet one of his teammates, "Tucker," but we never set up an actual meeting time. It was just one of those things they mentioned a couple of times, and I did not think much about it.
Fast forward several weeks later, and Mitzi and I made last minute plans to meet some friends at Windjammer Karaoke in East Memphis. Windjammer was a frequent hangout of college students, and I love to sing karaoke. I mean, Natural Woman is my jam. When we got there, Matt was already there with a few friends. We all start signing up to sing, and then in walks "Tucker." I then realized this is the person I am supposed to meet, yet it was just happenstance that we were both there that night. I awkwardly glanced in his direction and noticed that he was cute and tall, which are both things I like in a man.
"Tucker" pulls up a chair and sits beside me, and we talked the rest of the night. We barely made time to talk to anyone else (rude, right?). I then got called to sing (that night my song was Son of a Preacher Man), and I think that is when he knew he could not live without me (wink). When it was time to go home, he walked me outside to my car, asked for my number, and asked if I was free the next night for dinner. I told him that I was, which was totally not playing the whole hard-to-get game.
The next day he called me and left me a voicemail that said, "Hey, this is Brian." I was shocked--his name was Brian? I thought Tucker was such a cute, preppy first name, but apparently all baseball players call each other by their last names. Anyway, we had our first date that night and quickly became smitten. Those next few months I was busy finishing up sorority obligations and taking 18 hours of classes, and he was playing lots of baseball games and finishing up classes. The impending date of me leaving Memphis was looming over our heads, but finally we talked about it. Your dad had one year of college left because he had studied more baseball than psychology, so he was staying in Memphis for at least that year. I really did not want another long distance relationship, but we decided to give it a go. That August, I moved to Knoxville.
Your dad was determined to keep me in his life, and I am so very thankful. He drove the six-hour one way drive to Knoxville at least two weekends a month all the while finishing up his psychology degree and working to save up for an engagement ring for me (I later learned). My UT student activities graduate assistant obligations did not allow many free weekends, so it was mostly him who did the traveling. After he graduated the next May, he found a good first job in Knoxville, got an apartment a couple of miles from mine, and left Memphis for the first time in his life. We were engaged less than two months later, were married the following June after my graduation from UT, and moved back to Memphis a month later.
Looking back, I am thankful for the year of long distance even though it was tough. Back then texting was not really a thing people did often, and hours of talking on the phone really helps to get to know someone. Now we are so happy to have you two boys, and I sure would not change a thing!