How I Met Your Father

I never thought I’d meet my future husband in a grocery store. I certainly never thought I’d meet him at a time when I had no makeup on, sporting wet hair and a high school gym class shirt. I was only 19 at the time, though, so I guess I hadn’t had much time, relatively speaking, to think about how I would meet my future husband… your father.

My second year of college at the University of Missouri, I moved into an apartment with 3 girls I’d never met. It was a giant leap in the direction of independence, one that required feeding myself, and not relying on campus cafeterias.

(I would loose about 10lbs of my freshman fifteen that year because, as it turns out, when you’re solely responsible for feeding yourself, you can’t afford frequent trips to the all you can eat frozen yogurt bar.)

On my first trip to fetch “groceries” (mainly Totinos Party Pizzas) at a nearby, very over-priced grocery store, your father checked me out.

Er… I mean, he checked my groceries out.

I was smitten. He was adorable. He was tan, and muscular, and had an amazing smile. We chatted a bit, small talk, and then I left.

I referred to him as my “grocery store boy.” I ran into him a few times that fall semester. I saw him a couple times on campus from a distance, and he came into the sports bar where I worked a few times. I never had the chance to talk to him more than a quick “Hey! How’s it going? Yeah… I always work Saturdays.… See you soon?”

Oh, how I adored my grocery store boy. My friends all knew him as such. “Have you seen your grocery store boy, lately?” they’d ask.

I didn’t find out his real name until a few months after our first encounter. Now kids, this was back before Facebook. I don’t even think people were really Google-able at that point. I looked him up in the student directory.

A BOOK WITH PAPER PAGES. Can you even imagine?!

5 months after that first exchange in the grocery store, on an evening I was particularly hating life and hating working at a sports bar on Karaoke night, my life changed forever.

“Ding!”

I sighed from the kitchen of the bar, shoving back my plate of house fries and wiping my hands on my apron. That sound meant I just got a table.

Damn, I really want to get cut early and get the hell out of here before I’m subjected to one more version of  a Hank Williams Jr song.

As I walked into the bar, coasters in hand, I locked eyes with him, Scott, “grocery store boy.” OHMAHGAWD.

I think my heart leapt into my throat. I smoothed my hair, adjusted my shirt, and proceeded to get their drink order: a couple pitchers of beer, and one water. He was there with 3 guy friends.

Then I ran back into the kitchen, retrieved my cell phone (quite the chunky thing, looking back), and called a BFF.

“My grocery store boy is HERE! He is at my TABLE! I’m going to talk to him. Like, I’m really going to go out of my way to have a conversation,” I talked myself through it with her. I didn’t even need her to say anything. I just needed a sounding board.

This is why texting was invented, I think. That’s something I wouldn’t even know how to do until 2 years later.

The 2 other waitresses on that night noticed my excitement. “Eeek! It’s your grocery store boy!! Go, go talk to him! I’ll take your other tables for the rest of the night.”

And so your father and I talked, and flirted, and smiled. I kept refilling his glass of water and brought maybe another 3 pitchers of beer to their table before we closed.

“So… uh… could I maybe… get your number?” he asked as I handed the check over.

“I don’t give my number to guys who’ve been drinking here,” I instinctually replied, while simultaneously thinking:

What the hell are you saying? Give him your number! 

But it was true, I didn’t give my number to guys at the end of the night, especially after bringing their table 5 pitchers of beer.

“But I haven’t been drinking! I’ve had nothing but water! You’ve been serving me water,” he gestured toward his cup.

Yes, on a rare night, your father actually drank nothing but water at a bar because he wasn’t feeling well. Feeling silly, I wrote my number down on a guest check, folded it, passed it over the top of the bar table and smiled.

He still hadn’t called me when I ran into him at the gym the next day. And then he pretended to not see me, and walked past as I waited in line for my kickboxing class. For a minute, my heart sank. Then I noticed his friend jab him in the ribs and shove him my direction. He walked back and said hi. He tried to play if off like he wasn’t paying attention, didn’t see me there.

Later, I learned he was really thrown off by what to do. He wasn’t planning to call me for 2 days, trying to play it cool, and the “man rules” didn’t specify what to do if he saw the girl he was supposed to call 2 days after collecting her number if he ran into her at the gym in the meantime.

Your father. That’s so him. 

The next day, he finally called. We talked for well over an hour. We went out to dinner (Applebees) and a movie (insert worlds worst action movie here, so terrible I’ve forgotten the name). That was nearly 11 years ago, on January 31st, 2001.

One of the first pictures of us together, taken at the bar where we met.

We dated through the end of college. I moved to Chicago to be with him after graduation, and then on to Washington D.C.

We were broke.

We once collected all the change we could gather, poured it into a Coinstar machine, and used that money to buy bread and sandwich fixings so we could eat for the week. We never went on fancy vacations together. Instead, we learned where we could have the best “cheap” dates, like breakfast and window shopping at Ikea in Schaumburg, IL, or the free seats at The Muny Theater in St. Louis.

On October 30th, 2005, after we both completed our first marathon, your father got down on one very tired, achey, bended knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes.

Ewww! Mom and dad are kissing!

On October 8th, 2006, we said “I do.”

Credit Tyler Schmitt

This happy ending brought to you by the power of stalking, knowing what you want in your heart and making it (him) yours. Here’s to growing old with my “grocery store boy.”

 

 

  • Nanette - Awww, love this story! Happy anniversary, you two crazy kids!ReplyCancel

  • Vi Nguyen - Awww, that is so sweet! I love your “How We Fell in Love” story. Definitely one to tell the kids. You guys look so cute together too.

    Ahh, men & their rules =)ReplyCancel

  • Tarryn - What a lovely story! Happy anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife - I love hearing couples “how we met” stories! So sweet! Congratulations on 5 years!!ReplyCancel

  • Kali - Awww, Jill! What a nice story! Happy almost anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - i love reading/seeing/hearing stories of how people met.

    congratulations! happy anniversary!

    great story to tell your kids (or for them to read) when they’re older!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Flora Ross - I love this story! And the wonderful pictures. But I had to laugh. See, I was always convinced I would meet my hubby-to-be at the grocery store, in sweats and no makeup. LOL It was sure it would happen that way simply b/c I didn’t want it to.

    Turns out I met him online, through Match.com. Which is totally not how I ever imagined it happening. Go figure.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I love when I hear of others who meet online! I think it’s amazing that the internet can bring people together like that.ReplyCancel

  • geekbabe - What a sweet story! What’s amazing here is that the 2 of you have just gotten better & better looking with every year that’s passed since you met!

    Happy Anniversary Scott & Jill!ReplyCancel

  • Erin - I love this story!

    And wow does it parallel ours – met in college, sophomore year, age 19 – first date was at Applebees (ha!), and we got married in October of 2006! And we have one kid with another on the way! :)

    Happy anniversary to you and your grocery store boy!ReplyCancel

  • Brett - Love this… it made me smile today.ReplyCancel

  • dianthe - what an awesome story!!! i stalked, i mean went out of my way to make myself available, my husband also until he finally asked me out! here’s to happy endings!!ReplyCancel

    • Jill - Indeed! And to strong-willed women. I don’t think they had any idea what they got themselves into ;)ReplyCancel

  • Laura B - What a great story for your kids to look back on! Happy Anniversary to you both!

    I met my husband will be celebrating 11 years of being together next month (we married in May, 2007), so I feel the same gushy sentiments that you are expressing for Scott.

    Congrats!ReplyCancel

  • Dorothy - Oh, this is adorable! I love it. Happy (early) anniversary.ReplyCancel

  • April G - What a beautiful, and sometimes funny story! Happy anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Adorable story!ReplyCancel

  • Jasmin - This was beautifully written. What a love story! My husband and I began our love story in 2001 also and were married October 20, 2007. Happy Anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • Kylee - Such a great story!!

    Happy Anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • molly - Just beautiful, Jill. I adore real love stories like this.

    Glad you got your grocery boy!ReplyCancel

  • Liz @ Law Mama - That’s pretty much the sweetest story ever. Happy anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley @ Mama of All Trades - So sweet, Jill! Such a great story to share!ReplyCancel

  • M&Co. - Aaaawwwww…..ReplyCancel

  • Good Girl Gone Green - What a cute story, Jil!! You both look so cute together in the first picture from college!! :)ReplyCancel

  • { J } - Great story to share with your kids when they get older. I had a sense of deja vu while reading it. I also met my husband when I was 19 (but a junior). I looked a hot mess while washing dishes at my apartment’s kitchen sink (he walked in with friends coming to see my roommates)…I was rocking the yellow rubber gloves and everything. We had our first date at Applebee’s and saw “Double Jeopardy,” and after college I moved around a few times to follow him. We’re pretty much on your exact schedule except one year, and one kid, ahead. Who knew that Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood could lead to all of that?ReplyCancel

  • Navigating the mothership - So fun to read! I’m in the middle of writing up my own love story on my blog and it’s had this hilarious yet fabulous side effect of bringing back the early feelings.

    Ps-got my Luna bars yesterday!! Thanks:)ReplyCancel

  • Tanya @muddero7 - I adore your story!! Happy “anniversary” to you both. Your kids will love to read this someday, kissing pics and all!ReplyCancel

  • Myndee - What a great story! I have pregnancy induced tears over it! And I totally heard the voiceover guy from “How I Met Your Mother” while reading this! :)ReplyCancel

  • Jocelyn - Happy 5th anniversary!! Your anniversary is exactly 6 months after ours. That is such a fun story, and what a great post! I’m totally going to have to copy the idea someday. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer (The Vintage Chain) - What a sweet story! It’s always fun to hear how couples met. I like to tell people we had an arranged marriage. We were kinda set up by my parents…long story, but we’ve been happily married for eleven years!ReplyCancel

  • Jen @ a little barefoot blog - I just had the roughest morning and a long day ahead of me but I sat down to my google reader while lunching at my desk. I’m so glad I did! This is the sweetest story and has put a goofy smile on my face for the rest of the day.

    Happy Anniversary! Here’s to many many more wonderful years together.ReplyCancel

  • Terri - happy 5th anniversary! really cute story. thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Jess - Such a sweet story and one that surely brightened my long day :) Happy anniversary to you!ReplyCancel

  • BigMamaCass - Awww!! That is a beautiful story!! How great! Happy Anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • meghan - Love it! What a great story. Happy Anniversary.ReplyCancel

  • MomEinstein - I love your love story! So cute. Mine will have to be heavily edited before it’s suitable to tell our kids.

    Happy anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • ashley - Happy anniversary!! I was married on oct 7th, 06 :) what a sweet story!ReplyCancel

  • Jocelyn - Hi! I just recently started following you on Twitter, and this is the first time I’m really reading your blog! But in just a few posts, I feel like I “know” you and we have so much in common. Um yes, that sounds a little creepy… I swear I’m not a stalker.

    Anyway, if you saw my reply on Twitter, I also got married at Star Hill Ranch five years ago this month. And I also met my future husband in a college bar in 2001 (though we didn’t start dating until ’05).

    I plan to spend part of my lunch break reading more posts!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Happy Anniversary! Ours was October 4th…8 years! I love your pictures. So stinkin’ cute, you two. I knew our boys were both May babies (I think K is the 2nd & M is the 12th) but didn’t know our anniversaries were only 4 days apart! Enjoy your special day tomorrow!ReplyCancel

  • Emily at Tales of Fruit and Cake - Wait just a minute… Were you also a Fall 2006 Knottie? Me too!ReplyCancel

  • hcg diet weight loss journal - Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!ReplyCancel

  • I’m In The Mood For Love And To Give Away Windows Phones - [...] already told you the story of how Scott and I met, so if you want the full version, check it out here. The short story? I stalked him the first half of my sophomore year of college (after discovering [...]ReplyCancel

  • Stephenie Mancini - :D happy anniversary!! I just married my lithograph (our job at the time right out of high school) boy! We could barely utter a scentence to each other for years :) ReplyCancel

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