My Favorite Love Story

I woke up this morning feeling especially excited, but not able to pinpoint why. Landon walked into our room a few moments later and I got to read this sweet blogpost, still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. This melts my heart. And I wanted to share it here too. I’ve gotten to blog about our struggles and wedding day, but this goes back a little more, to where we began. Guys, he’s the best.  Here’s our little love story. It’s my favorite. ps: Happy Valentine’s Day!

“I could feel the heat like pin pricks rising into my cheeks, my embarrassment obviously visible. The cute old ladies next to us in “The Park” breakfast cafe had seen what I had planned on being a subtle move. Their smiles and excited whispering made it apparent that my private question had caught their attention as well. I shouldn’t have been embarrassed, but there I was, happiest dude in the room with a bright red face. I shouldn’t have cared too much, she had said yes and that was the most important part. Her smile was infectious as we both sat their without speaking. She knew it was coming at some point, but she hadn’t anticipated that I would ask her to marry me over breakfast at the same place we had enjoyed our first date. I had wanted something simple but cute, and decided on The Park as the perfect place to pop the question. I tried to be sly about it; pretend to drop my fork, bend over to pick it up and come back up with the ring. It had worked and now we were both happy as a pair of clams, and so were the two old ladies to my left still giddy like school girls over my proposal. Kyra Valentine had said yes and although her name would change we decided she would be my Valentine everyday just the same. We also got a free breakfast for the show.

*    *    *    *    *

I was a hipster musician type with a closet outdoor obsession when Kyra and I first met the previous summer at a friends going away party. She had just moved to Salt Lake City for school and had tagged along with her roommates to the get-together. Her beauty struck me instantly although I apparently had to take a number to talk with her. Every guy there seemed interested in the blonde haired, green eyed Alaskan girl, so I ate some waffles and waited. As a side note, I have no idea why there were waffles at a going away party, it’s not like the festivities were in honor of Leslie Knope.

At any rate my number was apparently called because at some point I found myself talking to this mysterious newcomer about who knows what? (music probably – I had an indefatigable passion for music at the time). Whatever we talked about must have caught her attention just enough for her to want to head over to another friends house to watch “500 Days of Summer.” Probably not the best movie for a potential couple, but we still have fond memories of cuddling up on the Luv Sac with her boney head jabbing into my shoulder while I laid there in pain to nervous to ask her to re-position herself.

And so our relationship began, boney head on my throbbing shoulder. Our first official date at The Park cafe came a few days later and a couple of months later we both admitted to each other what we had both known from the very beginning; we were in love (cue “aww’s”). That’s actually how it went though. We both knew after our first couple of dates that we would eventually be married. I even told her later that I knew I would marry her before I ever loved her. I guess when you know you just know.

We were married for time and all eternity on June 10, 2011 and our life together officially started. We moved into a little one bedroom apartment in downtown Salt Lake City. That apartment will probably always be my favorite despite being build in 1910, not having air conditioning, not having room to put anything and a bathroom smaller than a coat closet. It was simple and those were simpler times.

the stratton 2
We spent the first year of our marriage going to school full time and working three jobs between both of us while rocking out the the Avett Brothers. Despite our hectic lives we still found time to watch Hulu and eat popcorn, something we still enjoy on a very regular basis. We planned weekend get-a-ways to Saint George, Zion National Park, the Uintas and the like. We fought the masses to the free concerts in the park to see Matisyahu, The Decemberist, Modest Mouse, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros and so many more. We biked through the city in the summer and cuddled up by our little fireplace to watch the snow during winter. Yeah, that apartment will always be my favorite apartment.

Now back in California near my childhood stomping grounds we have our own little one. Paityn just turned one and her aging has done little to slow her down. In fact she’s into anything and everything. Kyra and I have opened a new chapter of our lives and are just realizing that the love we thought was strong before is deeper and stronger than ever and will only get stronger with time. It has been a process of learning, changing and forgiving that has brought us closer. I had heard people say, “marriage takes work” more time than I had heard the Star Spangled banner before the big game, but I don’t think I ever understood it until I had to understand it. Marriage does take work, everyday isn’t always the ending to The Notebook, full of tender affection and cathartic love. We’ve had tough days, but in the words of Paramore, “..even on the worst nights I’m into you” (I’m a Dad now, I can quote whoever I darn well please).

So, today on her favorite holiday I want to wish my Valentine, Happy Valentine’s Day. And while I can’t afford a dozen perfectly cut roses or new pair of running shoes to show my love I can say I love you, and hope you know how much you mean to me. I love you Kyra Ann.”


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