Posted by: angelnorman | February 19, 2010

our stories.

angel’s story: 

i met him one night in the spring of ’97. he was in the backseat of my friend matt’s minivan, and i, in the front seat (of course), turned to him and introduced myself. “hi! i’m angel,” i announced. he said nothing to me, just smiled politely and then looked out the window. his less-shy best friend took it upon himself to make the introduction for him. “i’m john,” he began, “and this is mike.”

mike. michael. i’ve always preferred to call him the latter. he was, at that time, nothing more than the quiet boy i didn’t think very much of.

the more i saw him, the more i began to notice subtle things about him. he has beautiful eyes, i found myself noticing. he has the greatest sense of humor. he and i think the exact same way. what an adorable smile. i love to hear him laugh. i guess he began to notice me too because i went from getting polite smiles to having conversations to being playfully teased.

spring turned to summer and one day, i found myself feeling something strange. michael wasn’t able to go out with us that night, because his sister was visiting and he wanted to spend all the time with her that he could. i suppose i realized that night that if michael wasn’t going, i didn’t want to go either. what could this mean? i remember asking myself, am i actually crushing on this slightly older boy i barely even know? could it be that i’m interested in being more than his friend?

before long, we became a couple.

the following year, we moved in together. about 4 months later, he proposed. plans were being made left and right. family was butting in to our relationship (in both a good and bad way), and some were even offering their assistance on a regular basis. i began feeling really overwhelmed. i’m too young. i have never even dated anyone else. what if i’m not a good wife? what if i can’t be faithful or strong? marriage had never meant much to me. i watched both my parents divorce and remarry and then my dad divorce and remarry again… and honestly, i always thought marriage was no longer the very serious thing it once was. if it was so easy to call it quits, then it didn’t mean very much to begin with, i thought.

so i decided that maybe i didn’t want it after all.

meanwhile then, michael was dealing with his own stuff. he became distant, hard for me to want to even be around. we decided, as a couple, that we’d call off our planned wedding on march 18th (my brother mark’s birthday) of that following year. we’d keep up appearances through the holidays so as not to bring down everyone’s good time. we’d go to each others’ family celebrations at christmas, and even for super bowl. and then we’d go seperate ways afterwards.

only, something happened over christmas that i can’t really describe. it was as though the pressure was finally off, and knowing that we were calling it quits anyways, we were allowed to be ourselves again. i wasn’t talking about wedding things and he wasn’t escaping in his work from our problems. we started talking more, and laughing again, and working together to be the people our family wanted us to be.

the titans went to the super bowl in 2000. i remember laying in the floor at his parents’ house watching the game and thinking to myself, “maybe if the titans win… i will marry mike anyways. if they can win, then i can do this whole married thing.” they didn’t win, but they made it there anyways.

and so did we.

on february 19, 2000, i stepped into the little log wedding chapel in gatlinburg, tn, wearing my beautiful $600 wedding gown and walked the four steps to my groom and the preacher. we were eloping, only we were surrounded by our parents and the siblings and friends that could make it to gatlinburg on a week’s notice. i said my vows in front of God and family, and i meant every word. i have never, ever regretted it.

there is no one on this planet that i love the way i love my husband.

we have been through some times, let me tell ya. we’ve been down and broken so many times, but prayer and love and teamwork have made everything right again. we struggled to get pregnant with nick, and then when we finally did, it was cut short. our whole life was in upheavel as we watched our child struggle to live. no one that we knew had any idea what we were going through (no matter how much they think they knew; they were clueless because it wasn’t THEIR child in that incubator), and we had to stand firm in our fears and worries as a united team. alone… but together. for two whole months, through tears and setbacks and then through recovery and joy and fear all over again because we had NO IDEA how hard it was to care for a child, we stood by each other’s side and faced our difficulties head on. we were a team. the best of teams.

and ever since then, whenever we begin to lose our footing… when nick has another emergency or when one of us is ready to give up because she’s sick to death of trying for another baby and feeling like a failure, one of us will remind the other that if we can get through what we’ve been through, we can get through anything. we are still a team. still the best of teams.

and there’s no one i’d rather have on my team than mr. michael j. norman.

***

michael’s story:

when i met angel, she was hanging out with my friend john. john was friends with some of her friends. we all hung out for awhile like that, in a group setting. angel was different than everybody else. she was mysterious. (haha he said i was mysterious?) i remember confiding in john that i liked her, but i knew that she was sort of hanging out with our friend matt and i didn’t want it to be weird if i decided to pursue a relationship with her. so i asked matt’s permission, and he was all, “i don’t care”…. like he would’ve said otherwise.

i never told angel that i liked her. i had john do it. i was a grown man but i was a chicken. (okay, i- angel- added that last part in.)

i don’t remember what happened after that. i realized i loved spending all my time with her. she made me laugh. we made each other laugh. it just felt so right. we dated for awhile, and even lived together for a minute, before i decided to propose to her. i took her to a spot in centennial park, which we always used to sit on (we called it “our rock”). and i asked her to marry me. i was nervous and scared and couldn’t find the right words to say. angel still says it wasn’t a true proposal, more of a hypothetical scenario. i very casually said, “so if i asked you to marry me, what would you say?” miraculously, she said yes.

so we got married in gatlinburg. our parents helped to fund our wedding, so we had to invite them. we then spent an extra night in gatlinburg for our so-called honeymoon. i liked our wedding. i thought it was good that our core family members could attend. angel had both her mom and dad walk her down the aisle, which was very important to her. and i liked that it was a small wedding, because i’m not a fan of the really big wedding sort of thing.

we’ve been married ten years. we’ve had many ups and downs in that period- the most trying, yet wonderful, time was when our boy was born. i will never forget the way i felt during that time. i felt like i had to be the gatekeeper when nick was born, because so many people were in the waiting room wanting to see angel and the baby and i was there going, “no. you can’t. i’m sorry but you’ll have to wait.” i felt terrible for that. but see, i had to be the strong one. angel needed me to be firm and to protect her from the things that she was too vulnerable to protect herself against after having nicholas. and then in the following month as we watched our baby in his little incubator, we reversed our roles. sometimes angel had to be the strong one for me. i remember us feeling so many things- fear that he wasn’t going to make it, guilt that we couldn’t be with him every second of every day. it was intense.

but going through something like that strengthens a bond, and honestly, i think it’s one of the biggest reasons we’re still together today. when you go through something like that, when you see people at their worst, and you make it through it with them… it’s very maturing. yes, it matured our relationship. angel feels it aged her by about 15 years. i know exactly what she means.

things could have probably been better, sure. but if i were to change anything in the past, there would be no guarantee that things would have turned out as they are today. despite the negative things that have happened over the years, i wouldn’t trade any of it for all the good we’ve had. i think patience, endurance, and understanding is the key to a successful marriage.. and while we’ve only been ten years into this marriage, i think we have what it takes to make it another 50.

of course, she does tell me she hates me 3 or 4 times a day. and i think the whole reason we haven’t had a baby yet is because everytime i say anything, she follows it up with, “your face is…” and that puts a slight damper on the relationship.

but i love her, more than anything, and i’m glad i’ve spent the last ten years as her husband.

***

i love you too, honey.

(and… YOUR FACE puts a damper on the relationship.)

happy anniversary to us.

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Responses

  1. This made me cry thanks alot.

    And Mike I know most of all you are proud to be my son-in-law ahahaha!!!
    Happy Anniversary you two!! Love you lots and also thank you for giving me my grandson..he is precious and I love him very much.

  2. Such a sweet love story, one that I am sure will be continuing for the next 50 years, of course I won’t get to read about it, but I could almost write the ending now, I have faith in both of you———-and yes, it brought tears to my eyes too, it is our trials that make us strong.

  3. gah me me cry too!


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