You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.
(Author: Gwen Bell)
First of all, if I have 15 minutes to live, I am writing to my daughter – that is 100% for sure. I want to tell her about her father and I, and how we met and fell in love, the little things she doesn’t know about us. Fifteen minutes is not a long time, and I also want to tell her the story about how much I love her, but hopefully she already knows that!
So, the story goes like this. I’m in 10th grade and her father is in 12th grade. We’re in band together. He plays trumpet and I am in the colorguard. We don’t really know each other, but we have some mutual friends. Our mutual friend Samantha had told me she had this guy in her Spanish class I would like. I refuse to be set up and don’t know she means him. We run into each other at some gas station type store near school. I don’t wave to him because I assume he doesn’t know who I am, and he teases me about this for the rest of my life. We go on a trip to Indiapolis to Nationals in the fall of 1995. At some point on the trip, I sneak up behind him and take his picture. I already have a crush on him, but I can’t remember when it started. I covet the photo. On that same trip, it snows and it’s the first time I’ve seen snow. I think he gives me his band uniform jacket at one point – I can’t totally remember. There are lunches spent eating underneath the drama hallway, with our group of friends. There’s some inside joke about a stick he finds on the ground and gives me for Christmas. I say it’s not a real present unless it’s wrapped. And the next day he brings it back, wrapped. To this day I think I still have it wrapped up somewhere. After Christmas that year, we start hanging out in a large group of friends outside of school. We see Twelve Monkeys with Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis. We don’t sit next to each other, but talk through the whole movie, over the lap of our friend Erika. There’s a trip to Kennedy Space Center through school, and we end up sitting next to each other on the bus. Everyone keeps asking if we’re dating. I don’t really know what dating is, so I say, what does Ryan say? Eventually, we decide we’re together. It’s February 13th and a mutual friend from school has had a brain aneurism and on Valentine’s Day they let him go. Another person passes out little peices of paper that day, “No matter how in love you are you will still die alone.” They didn’t know what was going on with the other person. It pulls us closer. He graduates in June of 1996 and stays in town for the first semester of college. He’s accepted to UF for January 1997 and he goes. We stay together, long distance, for almost 2 years. We make it work, before the days of Facebook and Cell Phones. And here we are 15 years later, and we have you. And you are the culmination of everything. And we love you so much. We hope you experience all those silly little things that we have when it comes to being in love. We want that, and everything, for you.