christine clling

How I Met My Husband–And Our 16 Hour First Date

Reed and I met for the first time 8 years ago today, on September 11, 2011.

I snacked on some strawberries as I drove to a local church to help volunteer at a ministries fair, briefly questioning why I was even going because I was going to miss nearly all of it after my own church service that morning.

I found my group and talked to them for maybe a minute before we all went to a back room to have pizza (I guess I must have come for the pizza?). On our way back I noticed someone sitting on the ground near the coat racks, making eye contact with me as I walked by. My friends and I found our pizza and quickly ate all of it, and soon that guy who’d been sitting by the coat racks came in. He asked if we had any pizza left, but he looked at me the whole time. And, no, we did not have any extra pizza.

Our group eventually walked to the front of the church to leave, and while we were all talking and getting ready to go that guy came up to our group and started talking to us. He asked what we were doing at the church and then introduced himself to everyone in the group (around 8 people, I’d guess), getting to me last. He shook my hand with his left hand, his right in a cast, and said: “I’m Reed.”

We were all wearing t-shirts with red solo cups on them as a part of our outreach program. Reed singled me out and asked me what they meant. If you know me at all, you know that I don’t like having to talk in groups–especially when I was younger. I quickly and reluctantly explained how they were meant to get people thinking about what they’re thirsting for and what they look to to satisfy them. The group talked for a bit after that, and then I said goodbye to everyone and left.

Reed left the nearly-empty church right as I did, and said something I don’t remember to me on my way to the car. We drove away at the same time, in the same direction. And then onto the same quiet two-lane road with lots of stoplights.

We pulled up to the first red light with no cars to offset us. He rolled down the window of his lifted truck (I hate lifted trucks) and asked, word for word, “how old are you??” That sounds super creepy now, but I didn’t feel weird around him, so I said, “19.” He semi-awkwardly explained that a lot of girls look way older than they are. He didn’t want to “stalk” a minor, which is commendable, right?

The light turned green, we drove a block, and the next light turned red. Again we stopped right next to each other. He rolled down his window again and asked what I was doing. I said I was going to do laundry. He seemed oddly excited about that. (Later he told me he knew that meant I lived on my own and was independent, unlike former relationships he’d had.) The light turned green, we drove a block, and a THIRD light turned red. Neither of us remember what he asked that time, but after that, we drove our separate ways.

Later that night I went to a meeting for the same ministry. One of the leaders who had been with me at the church came up to me and said that the guy we met earlier today is wondering if he could have my number. I said yes.

He texted me almost immediately. After texting for a little bit, he asked me on a date for two days later. Yes, he asked me out through a text. Yes, I still think it’s kind of funny.

Our First Date

Reed and I went on our first date 8 years ago September 13. Two days after we met, on a Tuesday. It ended up being 16 hours long. I always feel like I should add an “innocently” before the 16.

We met at a beach parking lot, and the anxiety peaked when I saw him walk up to my car. I don’t remember what we said to each other, but I do remember he was wearing maroon sweatpants. He still has them. First he asked me out through a text, and then he wore sweat pants on a first date. Something must have made me stay on the date for 16 hours.

We left our cars and walked a long ways to a coffee shop, where we ran into one of his friends and his brother. We went on a walk and then walked back to get one of our cars. We drove to Chester Park and climbed up a hill to sit on a chairlift at the ski hill. We had a beautiful view of Duluth with faint fall colors and the creek at the bottom of the hill. Then we climbed an old wooden ski jump and got an even better view. {That’s what this picture is from.}

How I Met My Husband–And Our 16 Hour First Date

We stopped at my apartment, he met my roommate, and we made rice. We went to his apartment and played Super Smash Bros on the N64. We went to Blockbuster (RIP), rented The Notebook, and watched it in a piano room at my university. We went on a hike next to his mom’s house where he grew up, to the quarry he grew up playing in. We tried to go on the alpine coaster at our big ski hill but it was closed (we came back on our second date). We drove my car to a beach and sat on the hood at looked at stars. We laid in the back of his truck in the parking lot we met at and looked at the stars until sunrise.

Reed says that he knew he was going to marry me the moment he saw me. We got married 11 months later.

September 11, 2019


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