This is a personal blog, so I’m going to do something personal today and show every one of the existing pictures of me and the SO. Don’t worry–there are only like a dozen. The SO and I celebrated five years of not-breaking-up a few weeks ago, and so I flipped through Facebook, old emails, and my hard-drive to try and find those pictures and save them somewhere. I showcase them here, with commentary.
This may be the oldest picture of us in existence. In it, I am receiving my first Regional award, so photo credits to somebody I didn’t and still don’t know from 2009 AMTA Regionals somewhere in the south east. SO and I met, naturally, pursuing our interest in the law, and we were rewarded for all of our hard work in our first year by playing witnesses Reagan Thomas (roving reporter for the Blitz News Network) and Harley Kim (the drunken, bumbling cameraman–although I think his “expert witness” wardrobe is pictured here). (On the other side of me, my best friend Eric Bisby is looking cherubic, as always.) The SO and I had not started dating at this point, but were in the habit of staying up late in hotels and gossiping about our teammates over Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I believe that at this point, I had been nursing a crush on him for long enough that started to curtail my non-committal Freshman dating life. I gave up a life of glamour, you guys: I had been treated to Waffle House just the previous month for Valentine’s Day and had more than one interested party texting me at 1 a.m. to “see what I was doing.” (Answer: sleeping.)
While I did not want to jeopardize what had become a magical friendship–sneaking over to his house to play Halo after mock trial meetings and watching re-runs of “Good Times” until we fell asleep–I came to a point where I didn’t feel like I could stand nursing this crush privately for much longer. I formulated a plan with my parents (and therapist): I would tell him how I felt, take off on my first study abroad trip one or two days later, and we would have six weeks to recover from my embarrassing admission so we could be friends again. I went to his apartment, under the guise of getting my cell phone, and told him how I felt. His response: “I’m glad you said something. I had just decided I was never going to.”
This is probably the first picture of us taken as a couple after I got back from my trip, on yet another mock trial competition. At this point, no one knew we were dating (probably everyone knew), except for the cherubic Eric Bisby. When cluing Bisby in months later, I told him that “my boyfriend from Florida” was visiting and we were going to meet him at iHop. Then we met Lee at iHop. What a twist. (I invented a boyfriend from Florida–as adolescent girls are wont to do–so that I could discuss my butterflies with my best friend and still not be perfectly honest. To my credit, he was the first and only person I told for the next year–and we thought we were very clever.)
Why the secrecy? Mock trial is a highly-political affair, if you are unfamiliar, full of highly-political, type-A gossips. The SO and I didn’t want our relationship to interfere with our careers, we wanted to keep competing with each other (because winning), and we wanted to keep rooming at the same hotel as long as possible (because obvious). The photo above was likely taken in one of the interludes between fervent make-out seshes by the ice maker at a Ramada Inn in Georgia. Again, we thought we were very clever.
Or, “the SO learns that dating me means always dressing up for Halloween.” He had not prepared a costume for our mock trial party, and so was dressed in a clear trash bag and some balloons.
This photo was likely one of the first times I met the SO’s family . . .
And this photo was likely the first time the SO met mine. We have since continued the tradition of taking my youngest brother (and now, brothers) to Chuck ‘E’ Cheese. ($20 in the token machine and they’re in a coma before you hit the prize counter.) On one of my favorite occasions, I let my dad know it was Chuck ‘E’ Cheese Day, and we told Z that he was going to the dentist, saying things like, “You’re gonna get the drill,” and “It’s really gonna hurt.” (Like you do.) My five-year-old brother and Lee, who came in later–and despite me having discussed the actual plan with him–thoroughly believed that Z was going to the dentist. On the car ride, both were asking me to reassure them that it wasn’t really going to hurt. I’m fairly certain Lee was more worried than the five-year-old.
(Aside: My brother is wearing rainbow toe-socks on his hands and a hockey jersey because we let him dress himself and because he’s the best.)
A birthday. Or, “in which the SO learns that when I get a bad hair cut, I get. a. bad. haircut. And wear glasses.” You can see the SO contemplating what it would mean to stay in a relationship with this haircut.
Ours has been a relationship that has comprised a great many road trips. The better part of my family lives in Florida, and what with mock trial at a state school, we drove frequently for that, too. I also hate driving, and one of the keys to our success as a couple has been that he accepts that he must drive, barring grave illness or death. This trip was to some mock trial competition, and I believe photo credits are due to Rachel Harmon, who captioned this photo, “Our lovely drivers.” I very much doubt that I drove.
Our first couple costume–so folks must have known at this point. We “officially” disclosed our relationship because we knew that mock trial executive board nominations were upcoming. Lee being the front-runner for president, we didn’t want my own presidency tainted with impropriety. We thought we were very clever, and very important. (I was not actually appointed president. Actual president pictured in costume as Daphne from Scooby Doo.)
So that’s the SO in the Batman costume, I am of course Robin, David Haggard as that guy from East Bound and Down (sorry, DJ, can’t remember his name), Sam Farish as Daphne and Kevin Rayburn as Fred. (Kevin did not intend to dress up.) I stuffed a tube sock down my briefs–proud of that one.
Yet another mock trial competition, with me doing what I did best: fervently discussing what we needed to change before the next round like it was very, very important. It’s also another window into why I think our relationship has been successful to this point: the SO is a listener. As a law student, he continued to graciously accept my increasingly ill-informed advice, even as he grew into the type of accomplished and talented litigator that I now aspire to be. Pictured L to R: David Haggard, Esq. (Faulkner, L14) (congratulations, by the way!), Heather Haggard, SO, me, Rachel Harmon, and Constance Grieves. Photo credit to Kristin Johnson, I believe.
The photo below is a more attractive one from the aftermath of the same competition. I think photo credits go again to Kristin Johnson.
Again with the glasses. Senior Political Science Honors ceremony, photo by his mom.
Taken at the SO’s graduation from MTSU, photo credits to my mother or his.
Taken in St. Augustine, Florida, on a trip with my family. My mom and step-dad invited the SO on this trip, pretending that it was a graduation present. In actuality, they like him better than they like me and would probably not have taken me if he didn’t come along. The SO loves the beach and has repeatedly said that St. Augustine was one of the best vacations of his life–and yet, later that week, a family emergency had me crying in our rental suite and it was he that first proposed that we cut his own groovy-good-times short, pack up, and head to south Florida post haste to be with my dad’s side of the family. He is a genuinely selfless person, and loves my family, for which I am incredibly grateful.
It was probably shortly before this photo was taken that I decided to apply for my second study abroad–this time for a semester. I was spurred to take this trip when a French professor asked when I was going to “study abroad, for real.” I told her I wasn’t really interested, and she raised an eyebrow at me, asking if it was “because I had a boyfriend.” I started the paperwork very shortly thereafter (being, as I am, ever-contrary), and I discussed it with the SO. I would have to push back graduation, and it would fall on his first semester of his 1L year–a notoriously difficult and confidence-eroding process, for those not in the know. Little did we know, he would also face a much graver family emergency than I had that would begin while I was out of the country and last for nearly a year.
SO: Well, that’s cool! . . . So if you apply, what are the chances that you get it?
SO: Oh. Well . . . That’s cool! I’m really excited for you. You can teach me how to use Skype.
I have repeatedly told others since that point that I am lucky that he was the reason that I went, and not the reason that I stayed. I have made dumber sacrifices for less-worth-while boys, and he is continually proving that he is most worthy. He said the same thing that he said then when I wanted to spend a summer in California, and he says the same now as I prepare to leave for Chicago.
My own graduation. I know my stole is silver, but I did graduate summa, but whatever no big deal.
I will note, briefly, an oft-shared word of encouragement to long-distance couples: time spent long-distance is some of the best time. I spent that semester abroad and the SO spent the year leading up to my graduation about 4 hours away, at a time in our lives where we were both too poor and too busy to make the trip more than once a month. But when you do have the time to see one another, you make up for it all, and every minute is quality. We have since moved-in together, but these oranges are just as delicious as those apples–completely absent of laundry or dishes arguments, and made-up instead of breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, dates, movies, walks, and marathon TV-watching.
The SO and I on my dad’s honeymoon. My dad was engaged and married quickly, relatively-speaking, and it was imperative that the two of us met the fiancee before the wedding. We made two trips that summer, one for the introduction and one for the wedding–and yes, my dad invited us to stay with them on their honeymoon for a day. Again, I feel like I would not have been invited if I hadn’t taken him.
The SO and I shacked up after my graduation and during his second year, second semester of law school, with his roommate Ethan Bennot. The SO graciously covered expenses while I tried to find employment, and Ethan Bennot, his roommate, graciously put up with my passive-aggressive notes about turning the lights off and not putting food in the trash can because flies. Tony, our next door neighbor, is also pictured. During those months, Tony would come up on our porch to have a beer, always referring to the SO as my “hubbin'” and me as his “why.” So we still say that. Photo credits to my mom.
Barrister’s Ball 2013. Photo credits to Ethan Bennot.
After missing two straight Halloweens (one for France and one for a bad spot during 2L), we did it up big by going as JFK and Jackie O. This was taken at a law school party, and photo credits go again to Ethan Bennot.
This was New Years at Bar Dog Tavern here in Memphis. Some lady across from us said she should take our picture because we looked so cute. So that’s Rule #4–for those keeping track!–of an enduring relationship.
Bar Dog has been an especially special place for me. Having moved out to Memphis, and all my friends from undergrad scattered cross-country, I had very little to do but work. The SO’s friends have been very warm and welcoming, and we have established a tradition for the past year of going to Bar Dog almost every Monday night, with essentially the Memphis Moot Court Board + me. Sam, Jasen, Bryant, Megan, Whitney, Josie, Andrew and others have almost entirely constituted my circle of friends here in Memphis, and I am very grateful to them. Sam, in particular, refers to me as “Mrs. Boss” or “Madame Chief Justice,” which is awesome!?
We spent this past Valentine’s Day at the Vagina Monologues, and the SO hosted my mom and sister for almost the entire weekend while I was at shows–not to mention all the running he did before the fact, securing Taco Bell and rum for Kaleigh Thacker, Jakatae Jessup, and myself the evening before and helping us hang curtains until late at night even with homework beckoning.
The SO also deserves credit for the other community theater shows he’s seen throughout our relationship (with probably varying degrees of interest)–Little Shop of Horrors, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (starring my best friend, Jennifer Grissom), among others–and for all of the other late nights he’s spent running errands and painting stages (with zero- to one-degrees of interest). The SO is nothing if not supportive.
And did I mention that he ran two 5Ks in one day with my mom, my sister, and me? We made a gentleman’s agreement that I would get my carry permit if he would run one 5k with me, and when we found out that the law school 5K fell on the same day as the one we’d been planning for, he ran that, too. I have yet to get my carry permit, so BOLO for that.
Most attractive picture of us to date, photo credits to his mom.
Last weekend, the SO graduated from law school. Here I am, adjusting his hat and being classically controlling. (Same dress, same shoes, so embarrass.)
I am actually currently finishing the champagne from the dinner afterwards (flat champagne is just white wine, after all). I made a toast (any excuse to be the center of attention!) but I entirely meant what I said, which was this: I feel very lucky to have been close-by for some of his law school career. I have gained so much respect for him in witnessing (harhar) all of his hard work, and am so grateful to have been the benefactor of all of his advice, mistakes, and triumphs when considering my own, upcoming, law-school adventure. I owe a lot of my current success to just that.
I’m preparing a post on Amendment One for all of my Tennessee friends that I hope to have up by Friday, so BOLO for that. Also, so much thanks to anyone that read down to this point (!?) and for all of the support on Facebook regarding my last post, mostly from my FLA friends. I’m not famous or anything and I don’t want it to sound like an acceptance speech when eight people are reading my blog, but I really appreciate it! Thanks for reading!
- Andrew Horvath
- Bryant Kroll
- community theater
- Constance Grieves
- David Haggard
- Eric Bisby
- Ethan Bennot
- Heather Haggard
- Jasen Durrence
- Jennifer Grissom
- Kevin Rayburn
- Kristin Johnson
- law school
- Lee Whitwell
- long-distance relationships
- Megan Warden
- Memphis Law
- mock trial
- New Years
- Rachel Harmon
- Sam Hinson
- St. Augustine
- study abroad
- Vagina Monologues
- Valentine's Day
- Whitney Manning