Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s late and I’m writing this after taking my students to sing at a basketball game, which meant no date night for Aaron and I, but to be honest I couldn’t be happier. I came home to ice cream with strawberries, and that excellent chocolate syrup that gets hard when it touches cold. He went to the store today just to buy me my favorite snack foods and make sure I had something to eat when I came home. I don’t deserve him, ya’ll. I love him so much!
Let’s start with the story of how we met. Rewind way back to 2006, when mutual friends introduced us. My best friend at the time (shout out to Ceara, love you!) was dating a guy that went to a different high school, which is where Aaron went. I went to the performing arts school downtown, but lived about 10 mins walking distance away from where Aaron and my best friend went. I ended up meeting another mutual friend (not Aaron), and dating him, but that didn’t work out.
After a miserable freshman year at the performing arts school downtown, I was weighing my options. I didn’t want to continue at my current school, and decided to transfer to my ‘home’ school (the one about 10 mins away). My bestie, Ceara, was in marching band and encouraged me to join. I had played trombone for about a year in elementary school and decided to give it a shot. I’ve never been so bad at something, ya’ll. The learning curve was STEEP. Aaron, however, was a wonderful and talented percussionist that picked it up quickly and turned into a great musician with ease.
This was me my sophomore year, and I ended up marching right in front of the drum line (and Aaron) most of the time, as low brass usually does. We were mutual friends, but I was dating other people and didn’t think Aaron would be interested in me. I didn’t realize how much we had in common!
Anyway, fast forward a little and it’s the summer between my sophomore and junior year, and I’m going through a terrible break up. I had no friends left, and didn’t have anyone to talk to. One night, around 2 am, I was scrolling through my phonebook and looking for someone that would pick up. On a whim, I called my not-that-close-but-hey-he-might-pick-up friend Aaron, and hoped he would answer.
Well…he did. We talked for something like 6 hours that night, and he was so sweet to me. Now I know he’s like that to everyone, but that night it felt like he was there for me even when he didn’t have to be, and I was so happy. We didn’t immediately start dating, but stayed friends instead. I needed to get over the heartbreak of my previous relationship and wasn’t ready to date Aaron. I told him I really liked him, but it wasn’t time yet. He was so perfect that I didn’t want to mess it up – we became super close friends and I think even then I knew he was probably the one.
We started officially dating in January of 2009, and my sister actually had to make Aaron ask me if I was going to be his girlfriend or not. Aaron is many things, but forward is not one of them! I had never been happier, and we spent the rest of high school inseparable. We went to both our Junior and Senior proms together, and spent every waking moment we could with each other. It was a wonderful and simple time of our lives.
During our senior year of high school, we were trying to decide where each of us were going to go to college. I was thinking a larger state school, while Aaron was thinking a smaller college in the mountains. We talked it over for months, but eventually decided that we loved each other enough that we wanted to try this for the long haul. I ended up getting more scholarship money at his school choice anyway, and so off to the mountains we went. (It wasn’t quite that simple, but that’s a story for another post) It was a hard decision to make, and I’m not sure I would advise my students in a similar situation to make such a large gamble, but it certainly paid off. It was wonderful to have my partner at my side through my entire college career, and I am so happy with the decision we made. My sister took the picture above during a visit home during our freshman/maybe sophomore year. We weren’t engaged yet, but had talked about marriage and knew we wanted to be together.
One blustery evening sometime around Thanksgiving of 2011, Aaron proposed. He took me down to Louisville’s waterfront park at night, and we walked down next to the water. It was raining, well really it was sleeting, but we found some shelter underneath a giant sculpture. There was pretty much nobody around, and Aaron got down on one knee and asked if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Of course I said yes!
One of my favorite parts of our engagement was going back to our high school to take our engagement pictures. That red thing in the background was the band tower we made tons of memories sitting at. We actually went to Ballard high school, which made some of the school logos and things perfect backgrounds!
After a relatively short engagement (about a year and a half) we had finished planning our wedding, and were ready to be married! We’d been together 5 years at that point, and were so ready to make it official. I never thought I would be someone that got married at 21 years old, and there were certainly some people that thought we were rushing things, but I’ve never been so sure of a choice in my life. He was the one and made me so happy – I couldn’t imagine life without him!
My mom and I had so much fun planning our wedding, and I really think it brought us closer. My mother in law helped pick my dress, and my sister was my maid of honor. It was a perfect and magical day that I love thinking about. Even though there were a few things that were…interesting, it was exactly what we wanted as a couple and I was so happy to finally be Mrs. Ballard.
We got married on May 18th, 2013, and it was the happiest day of my life. We finished up college, graduated in May of 2014, and the next day threw what we could in Aaron’s CR-V and moved to Texas. We would have loved to stay in Kentucky, but there is no job security for Aaron and I was worried about finding a job in my field since people tend to hold onto their positions in my hometown for a long time. So off to Texas we went!
After finding jobs and living in an apartment for a year or two, we bought our first home! It’s a early 2000s fixer upper that needs a lot of love, but Aaron and I felt we were just the people for it. He loves working on projects with me, and it gave us something to do together. In high school, we had a ton in common since we were in marching band together, but as we’ve grown older and our interests and hobbies have become more and more specific, the less we had that we mutually enjoyed. He and I love spending our weekends working on projects around the house, and it gives us something to do together that is productive and fun!
Above is one of the last pictures that we have of us before we found out we were pregnant for the first time, and it was such a wonderful day. As a couple, Aaron and I haven’t taken too many vacations, but we decided since we were thinking about starting a family soon, it would be a good idea to have a spontaneous road trip. We hopped in the car, and drove west. We ended up at the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, etc. and listened to a lot of audio books. It was a great trip!
Our lives changed on July 18th, 2016, when we found out we were pregnant! I couldn’t ask for a better life partner, and can’t wait to see what life is like as parents. I love you, Aaron Ballard, and I hope we have a long and happy life together. You’ve made me the woman I am today, and I’m so glad I have you in my life. I can’t wait to become a mother with you by my side!