I remember well the first time I met Kristi. It was soon after Steve, Sam and I drove all the way across the country and arrived in Provo. It was a typical sunny Utah Sunday morning and the three of us were leaving to go to church. As we got into the car, Kristi and two of her roommates came out to the parking lot and one of my brothers offered them a ride. I wasn't super excited with the idea because I had just returned from my mission three weeks before and was still terrified of girls. Luckily I was sitting shotgun and didn't have to squeeze in with them in the back. I don’t remember if I even made eye contact with Kristi and I doubt I said more than “Hi, I’m Nick”. It wasn't much but that was the first time I met my sweet wife.
I’m a little embarrassed about the story of our first date. Kristi was hanging out with me and my roommates watching TV in our apartment at the Riviera when my roommates decided that they wanted to go watch “Just Go With It” at the dollar theater. Kristi decided that she wanted to come and I wasn't sure if she would like that movie. I decided to take a peek at what other movies were playing in the dollar theater a saw that “Tangled” was also playing. I decided that instead of going to see “Just Go With It” with my roommates I was going to sneak off with Kristi and watch “Tangled” instead. My plan worked and I paid for her ticket so this was our “first date” even though I didn't really ask her out, it just kind of happened. Kristi and I had gotten to know each other well and I liked her quite a bit at this point. During the movie I wanted to hold her hand but I got close and chickened out several times but that is part of another story. So that was our first “date”, if you can call it that, but it was enough to start us on our journey together.
Since we didn't hold hands on our first date the next step in my relationship with Kristi actually happened later that same night. Kristi had come over to our apartment to watch “24” with me and some of my roommates. I think we were in the third season already and that was always my excuse to see Kristi. Whenever I wanted to see her I would just suggest that we watch “24” and then one of my brothers would text Kristi (I didn't have her number, pathetic I know) and tell her that we were going to watch some “24” and she would come on over. Whenever this happened I always made sure I was sitting somewhere with a seat next to me so Kristi would have to sit next to me (a classic technique we implemented many times at the HMC). I did the same that night and Kristi ended up sitting next to me on the small couch. Our apartment was usually cold and that night was no different so we were sharing a blanket (another classic technique of the HMC). We were sitting real close and our arms were touching and I grabbed Kristi’s hand (If you ask Kristi this story might be a little different). We held hands the rest of the night and often did so while we watched the addictive “24”.
The next stop on the train ride that is our relationship was the first kiss. If you didn't already know this about me I have never been super comfortable around girls and there was nothing more nerve racking than trying to kiss a girl. Our first kiss came about three weeks after we started dating. I had tried to kiss Kristi once when saying goodbye to her (a classic peck and run situation) but she had given me the cheek which discouraged me. With some convincing from some friends (especially a certain friend who threatened at one point that I had one week to kiss Kristi or I would be beaten) I was ready to try again. Once again this story might be a little different if Kristi was telling it, but she isn't, so I will take some artistic license. One night Kristi and I were cuddling on the love sac watching “24” (big surprise there) with my roommates. Kristi and I both fell asleep watching and when I woke up my roommates had gone to bed. Kristi was cuddled up to me resting her head on my shoulder and I could tell that she wasn't asleep either. We kept moving slightly closer to each other until we kissed, and to spare you the details it was great and it was definitely me who initiated it.
The next big step in our relationship was the big “I love you”. Kristi was the first to say it and so this is her story. One of our favorite activities was to go on walks around BYU’s campus at night. It was a time we could be alone and we could talk about everything from our childhoods to BYU football. This time we decided to go on a walk up around the Administration building and sit on the benches out front. It was a nice place to sit because they had nice flower gardens and it was usually pretty quiet and it was quiet that night except for a couple on a tandem bike that rode around for a minute. We were sitting there talking and I could tell there was something that Kristi wanted to tell me. She just had that look in her eyes that she was going to tell me something and I was pretty sure I knew what it was. I could tell that she loved me by the way she treated me and the way she looked at me (and to be honest what’s not to love). I was nervous because I wasn't ready to tell her the same, not that she isn't great but I had some things I needed to work through first, but I did want to hear that she loved me so I kept prodding. She finally said “I love you” and even though I knew it was coming I was not ready for that. I gave her a kiss and a big hug while I collected my thoughts and then I said “I love being with you too”. Let’s overlook for now that I was the lamest boyfriend ever and just appreciate this first in our relationship.
The next obvious first was me telling Kristi that I loved her. It took me longer than I would've liked, but the first time I said those three little words I know I meant it. I had taken Kristi to my grandparents' house several times for Sunday dinner. Those Sunday dinners were always great and my grandmother was always asking me, Steve and Sam to bring our “special friends” so she could meet them. I love my grandparents and I am glad that they moved to Utah and we were able to spend more time with them. Of course I’m also glad I get to eat all that tasty food, yum. So this Sunday was the second or third time that I had brought Kristi to my grandparents. We had a great time and we even played a little canasta after dinner. The whole time we were there I felt like Kristi fit in perfect and would fit in perfect as part of my family. After we left and I was saying goodbye to Kristi I gave her a hug and whispered in her ear “I love you” and I sure did mean it. I regret that it took me so long but I am grateful that I was finally able to say it.
The next and last big first is also an only. It is the day that I proposed to Kristi. The day I proposed was almost exactly one year into our relationship. It would've been one year exactly, but Kristi hates secrets and had figured out that’s when I was going to propose so I did it a couple days earlier. I had this elaborate plan to take Kristi up the gazebo behind the Hinckley center, another favorite spot of ours, watch "Tangled" on my laptop, and at the part where I was going to hold her hand on our first date but chickened out I was going to ask for her hand, get down on one knee, and propose. Unfortunately, it rained that night so I had to change my plans. We went to the UPC, a building across the street from our apartments where they teach English as a second language, and I set up a projector in one of the classrooms. We watched "Tangled" and at that part I asked for her hand, said some very romantic things, got down on one knee, showed her the ring and asked her to marry me. She said yes and that made for one of the happiest moments of my life.
I love you sweetie and I am so glad that today I get to celebrate another first with you and I am excited for all the firsts we still have to come!!