Our first photo together, taken with the first iPhone. ;) What a throwback!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you’ve ever surfed around the Kelly in the City menu, you may have noticed that a lot of the wedding links are broken. That’s because I didn’t update the WordPress theme or plugins I’d installed on kellyandmitch.com for three years, and the site ate itself whole, haha. This was a little heartbreaking, as I LOVED our wedding website. (Here’s a post I did on it a few years ago, and here’s what you saw when you logged on. It scrolled from the bottom up. Mitch and I drew the whole thing, and all the little illustrations were clickable! Literally took us four months to launch!)
Anyway, I love you guys. Your messages are actually how I discovered the links were broken in the first place. Up until now, though, I hadn’t done anything about it, mostly because rebuilding the site was incredibly daunting but also because I was excited to take a break from planning once the wedding was over. ;) While I loved every minute of it, it sure was all-consuming!
But I’m finally doing something about it, because A) I don’t want our stories to be lost, and B) This blog is the perfect way to memorialize that amazingly special time in our lives. I’m not going to rebuild the site, because, very honestly, I have no idea how to code something like that. (Mitch’s best friend is a developer, and he helped with a LOT of it.) In honor of Valentine’s Day, though, I am going to recreate some of the content that appeared on it. :)
How We Met
I met Mitch in 2008, when I started teaching English at a large public middle school in the South Bronx through The New York City Teaching Fellows. (I arrived mid-year in January, and he’d started teaching math there the previous September.) He introduced himself and invited me to lunch in a coworker’s classroom, and quickly thereafter, various staff members told him that I was married and told me that he was gay. Though, clearly, I was not and he was not.
Still, I couldn’t help but have a little crush on the adorable gay man who taught sixth grade math a floor below me. ;) Whenever I’d see him in the hallway or on the subway, I’d blush a deep shade of red, feign oblivion, and walk as fast as I could in the other direction. What can I say? We were, after all, in middle school.
There were certainly some untruths floating around out there about our personal lives, but I was in a relationship at the time. (I talk about that here.) A year later, though, things fell apart, and Mitch heard through the grapevine that I might be single. I remember sitting in my tiny Upper East Side apartment when Mitch friended me on Facebook. I was so excited. (My sources could have been wrong about him, right?!) But then I saw his profile photo, which showed him holding a baby. As it turned out, that the baby was his niece, Parker, but at the time, I was pretty bummed. Not only did I have a crush on a gay man but I also had a crush on a gay father.
A week or two later, Darby (my best friend at school) and I were sitting in her classroom. Having both recently broken up with our significant others, we were talking about how we were in ruts. We didn’t necessarily need to meet new guys, but we needed to get out there. Take advantage of living in New York City. Live it up as 24-year-olds! So we vowed to go to the next happy hour with the younger crowd of coworkers–something we’d always skipped in the past since we didn’t know our coworkers very well.
Our first time hanging out!
The next event was a Mets game, so we went. And it was a blast! I remember being hyper-aware of where Mitch was sitting, and on a couple of occasions, we chatted about nonsense. While I was ridiculously nervous, I definitely had the butterfly feeling, and I did not get the gay vibe. ;) (I actually think that by that point, someone had confirmed that Mitch was straight, haha.) After the game, a coworker offered to drive everyone on the east side of Manhattan home, so a bunch of us–including Mitch–piled into his little car and headed down the FDR. When we got to 68th Street, I remember not wanting to get out, and regretting the fact that I didn’t live downtown!
Spoiler: See the guy in the middle in the above photo? That’s Jason, and Darby ended up marrying him the same summer that Mitch and I got married! (He’s also one of our best friends, hehe.) They also had their baby, Ethan, a couple of weeks before we had Emma. Awwww… So glad we started saying yes to things, Darbs! <3
The following Friday, we met everyone at Mustang’s on 85th and Second Avenue. And it was so fun. I coincidentally sat across from Mitch, and I remember another coworker asking me some basic questions–where I lived, what I did before the fellowship, and whether I had a boyfriend–but loudly enough so that others could hear. Once I’d confirmed that I wasn’t involved, Mitch started up a conversation with me. Somehow we got on the topic of iPhones, which we’d both just gotten. (Oh my goodness. Remember life before iPhones?!) I admitted that I really didn’t know how to use the thing yet, so he showed me some cool tricks. And then he challenged me to a “texting contest”–who could text the fastest–which he needed my number for. ;)
Oh my goodness. So dorky. Also, I remember being horribly slow at texting back then.
When everyone decided to leave Mustang’s and head to another bar about 20 blocks down, Mitch and I were so engrossed in conversation that we didn’t even realize that they’d gotten on the downtown bus. We just continued walking and talking, and when we arrived at the next location, everyone was staring at us and smiling. A lot of pressure, but also very sweet!
Teachers’ happy hours often end pretty early since they tend to start at like 4 p.m., but when most people started to go home, Mitch invited me to hop into a cab and hang out with his friends Shawn and Erica in the East Village. (Fun fact: Erica is now one of my very best friends, and I ended up living with Shawn for two years!) At the end of the night, Mitch walked me to the subway on 14th Street. Saying goodbye was super awkward but at the same time, absolutely adorable. I remember wishing he’d kissed me. But he was a gentleman. ;)
As Mitch had my phone number from our “texting contest,” he texted me again to make sure I got home safely–and we didn’t stop texting. You can see some of our first texts in this patheticly put-together video, which I made for Mitch for his birthday that year. We texted so much that Shawn and Erica ended up getting pretty mad at him because he was always on his phone. But I loved it. ;) (He also sent me a song every morning before school. Of course, I read into every single one, and studied their lyrics ad nauseam!)
The rest is a blur, but one of of coworkers was SUCH the matchmaker for us in the beginning and organized event after event… and we always say that we owe our relationship to him. There were beer garden outings, gatherings at Frying Pan, brunches at the Sunburt Cow, parties at coworkers’ apartments, and happy hour after happy hour. And he always made sure that Mitch and I knew where and when these things were occurring. Thank you, Charl!
At one of these events, Mitch and I were talking about how we both really wanted to quit certain aspects of our lives: Mitch wanted to quit smoking, and I wanted to quit taking cabs to the subway every morning. (Even back then, wasn’t a morning girl!) On the way home, in Union Square, he made a bet with me: If I couldn’t stop taking cabs, I had to go out to dinner with him. And if he couldn’t stop smoking, he’d have to help me move the following week. (I was moving from 68th to 81st and my grand plan was to make something like 50 trips on the bus with my rolling suitcase.)
I don’t remember exactly what ended up happening, but he held me to dinner and helped me move, hehe. (He quit smoking for sure; it’s been seven years now! Hurrah, Mitch! But I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop taking those cabs…) Instead of dinner, though, we decided to watch “Annie Hall” at my place because we were both too nervous to eat anything.
Oh my goodness: I distinctly remember Mitch getting off the First Avenue bus with flowers and a bottle of Trader Joe’s wine and freaking out because I so badly wanted things to go well. And they did! (Also, I still have that bottle of wine. It’s on the fireplace shelves. Can you spot it?!) We couldn’t stop talking throughout the movie, so we ended up shutting it off and taking a long walk around the Upper East Side. We talked about everything and anything, from our friends and families to our childhoods and our plans for the future. And then I walked him to the subway. We said goodbye, but neither of us turned away… and after a long, long pause, he kissed me.
I know that this sounds creepy, but at that moment, I 100-percent knew I was going to marry him.
And what about the move? My parents and brother, Danny, drove in to help, and they met Mitch for the first time. While I don’t remember this, Danny apparently wouldn’t talk to Mitch, as he assumed he was a jerk. (In his defense, I didn’t have such a great track record with dating.) But my mom apparently told my dad that day that she knew I was going to marry Mitch.
Birds of a feather, Mom. Love you.
And then, suddenly, we were together all the time. And when we weren’t together, we were texting. It went on like this for a few weeks, and then I think both of us freaked out that because things were moving so quickly, we were going to ruin it. I remember talking about it one afternoon in Madison Square Park: that we should probably spend a couple of days apart every week. Hang out with our friends! Catch up on laundry! Get some sleep!
Soon after this conversation, a bunch of Mitch’s friends from back home came to visit him in the city. He invited me over; he wanted me to meet them. I came, and it was a lot of fun! But at the end of the night, when Mitch asked if I’d stay over, I said no, because I wanted him to have fun with his friends.
Working in Mitch’s classroom in the Bronx.
Didn’t go over to well. Mitch took it as me wanting some space; I thought I was just doing what we’d discussed in the park. He didn’t text me the following morning before school like he always did, and I’m relatively certain I shed a couple of tears on the subway. My stomach was in knots.
When I got into school, the assistant principal asked if I’d deliver papers to all the teachers before the bell rang. But when I got to Mitch’s room, I freaked. I waited outside the door for a couple of seconds, bravely entered, handed him the papers, and tried to think of something to say. But all that came out was:
“Oh! What are you listening to? Music?”
You idiot, Kelly!
And then I realized how ridiculous I sounded and ran out of the room.
I went through the rest of the day in complete distress, and I totally yelled at a couple of kids when I shouldn’t have. (In my defense, they did draw genitals in permanent marker on one of my desks while I was having a meeting with another student, but I didn’t often lose my cool over nonsense like that, haha.)
Long story short, I ended up crying on the phone to my brother when Mitch and I didn’t talk at happy hour that night. Afterwards, though, Mitch arrived on my doorstep with cake in hand, and we talked it out. Yes, things were moving quickly, but we had a feeling that they were moving quickly because things were right.
And then, like two months later, we moved in together. (Maybe less?! Oy, ha!) I know. Reckless and irresponsible. But we were young and in love. And, I mean, Manhattan rents were out-of-this-world expensive. So in a way, we were being responsible, right?!
It’s hard to tie this post together, as our “story” continues on. :) But I think one of my favorite tales from the early days is the “I love you” one:
Mitch mumbled it while half asleep on the couch, and I freaked.
Did he mean it?! Was I supposed to say it back?! What if he hadn’t meant to say it?! If he was more asleep than I thought he was and I said it back, would it wake him up?! Would he not remember he’d said it and then it would seem like I was saying it first?! WAS THIS THE END?!
The following morning, the conversation went something like this:
“So last night, I think–“
He said “I think!” That must mean he didn’t really mean to say it!
“It’s okay! Don’t even worry about it!”
We can’t remember how much longer this went on for, but there were months of awkwardness surrounding the “I love you” thing. Our friends assumed we’d said it; our families assumed we’d said it. But we hadn’t, and neither of us could build up the courage to do it after the incident.
And then one Friday night, we were walking through Central Park with a friend. He was telling us about his girlfriend and how he wanted to tell her that he loved her. He didn’t know when to do it, though.
“When did you guys say it?” he asked.
There was an awkward pause, and then, upon realizing the answer, he booked it. Like, ran as fast as he could out of Central Park, leaving us in the dust, haha. And the kid could run. (In his state of panic, he also broke into a locked Bank of America ATM vestibule, but that’s a story for another time.)
Mitch and I couldn’t stop laughing. The clouds parted, the stars aligned and the turtles emerged from the pond. Just kidding. But we finally said it, and we’ve been saying every day since. ;)
Happy Valentine’s Day to my best friend. Mitch, you are the world to Emma and me. Thank you for filling our lives with laughter, joy and love. You’re the best husband and father we could ever wish for. We adore you!
You may have missed:
The Proposal (And professional engagement photos)
More Wedding Photos (Slideshow style.)
Tripod Engagement Photos: Country