Saturday, February 11, 2017

The story of us - Meet Kelsie Wilson

In honor of Valentine's Day AND our upcoming 10 year anniversary in March, I thought it would be fun to take a little detour from my usual content and do a series on how the Mr. and I came to be. I told one of my daughters that I was going to write our love story and her eyes grew bright with excitement.

"Can I read it!?" she exclaimed.

"Of course!" I told her. "That's one of the reasons I want to write it down. I want you kids to know how Daddy and I fell in love."

"Can you publish it and make it into a real book?" she pushed.

Oh how I love her enthusiasm!

"I'm not sure it's book-worthy material," I answered. "But I do think it makes a pretty good story."

So, without further adieu, The Story of Us, how I came to be a Crozier....

*          *           *          *          *

I remember the first time I spoke to my college roommate. It was the summer of 2002. After a rigorous elimination process, I'd finally made the decision to call Seattle Pacific University (SPU) my school. The process wasn't actually that rigorous. I had two basic criteria: 1) I wanted to attend a Christian university and 2) I wanted it to offer both Nutrition and Nursing programs as I had not yet made a final decision on my choice of major. Maybe I didn't do my research very well but there weren't a whole lot of options that met my criteria. I ended up applying to 3 schools, but SPU won me over in the end. My sister was already there, it was pretty close to home which appealed to my easily-homesick self, and they offered me a scholarship. Sold.

Upon our acceptance, the school required us to fill out an exhaustive self-assessment questionnaire to assist them in selecting the best roommate match possible. The form covered topics such as our typical bedtimes, study habits, cleanliness standards, music preferences etc. etc. I'm not sure what my to-be roommate wrote down on her form but somehow she got matched with me. We were encouraged to connect with our roommates over the summer prior to the start of the quarter to "get to know each other." Both of us being the rule followers that we were, we did as told. We lived in different states so we opted to set up a phone date. I knew very little about this future roommate of mine. The only information I had was that her name was "Jacquelyn." I'd learned this from the roommate assignment sheet that had arrived in the mail.

I'm pretty sure she's black, I thought to myself. As an ex-homeschooler from a smaller town lacking in diversity, it just sounded like a black name to me. I didn't have much to go off of.

Finally the time we'd agreed upon for our phone date arrived. I was so nervous waiting for that phone to ring. I let it ring 2-3 times before I picked up so as not to give away the fact that I'd literally been sitting there looking at it. She introduced herself. Her voice was bubbly and energetic and she sounded super friendly. I liked her already! We covered
the surface level basics and then the topic of conversation moved toward interests and hobbies. She told me she was really tall and that she used to play basketball.

Yep. Definitely black, I told myself.

Stereotypes, man. I'm mortified confessing this.

Our conversation was going really well; she was making a great first impression and now it was my turn to talk. I wanted her to like me too so I decided to put my strongest foot forward:

"I was homeschooled and I really like cats," I blurted out breathlessly.

I don't know how she responded to that curve ball (how does one, anyway???) but I would assume there was an awkward moment of silence while she made her best efforts to gather herself. I'm quite surprised she didn't hang up and call the school right then and there to put in a new roommate request. Who knows what else I shared with her that day, but of this I am certain: I had her convinced I was a real winner.

Unfortunately, I didn't redeem myself much the day we met in person for the first time (maybe first impressions just aren't my thing?). It was freshman move-in day and the whole campus was abuzz with excitement. Less than two weeks prior, I'd had my wisdom teeth removed. The procedure itself went fine but then I landed myself with complications - dry sockets and persistent bleeding and a really swollen face.

I looked at the number on the key the guy who had checked me in had handed to me. I was going to reside on "3rd Hill," aptly named because it was built upon the steepest slope on campus, located on the back side of Queen Anne Hill. I walked down the hall nervously, looking into the rooms as I passed, until the number on the door matched the one on my key.

Jacquelyn and her parents were already in what would soon be "our" dorm room getting settled when I arrived with my family. The door was open but we knocked anyway to announce our arrival.

A girl with brown hair, flipped out perfectly at the ends, was standing in front of the corner desk. She was adjusting a display of framed pictures on the shelf and had her back turned toward us. She was very, very tall - this was certainly true. But it was immediately evident that she was also very white. She pivoted when she heard us knock.

"Hi! I'm Jackie!" she said, greeting me warmly and running over to envelop me in a hug.

Oohhhhhhhh, I thought. She goes by Jackie. I was way off. 

"I'm Kelsie." I told her. There was a brief pause and then, for good measure, I added "And my face isn't usually this fat."


Oh. My. Word. God help us all! I'm not making a lick of this up. This is horrifying to re-live.

So this here gives you a picture of the ever-eloquent, overall-wearing Kelsie Wilson that presented herself on campus in the fall of 2002. It is important that I introduce you to this girl - this insecure-in-her-own-skin-perfectionist girl who desperately wanted friends but had a long way to go socially-speaking. But this here was the girl who would soon meet boy and for some crazy reason catch his eye and hold his gaze. And SPU would be the setting where our story would first begin.

Why kick off the story of us by first introducing you to my college roommate? Thanks for asking. It's because Jackie and her now-husband Brant played a major role in our love story; they were our matchmakers from the very start. Thankfully my amazing first impressions didn't scare Jackie away. We laugh about them still to this day. She and I grew to be quite close and lived together for 2 1/2 years until she replaced me with a husband. Graham played music with Brant and eventually lived with him too. You see where this is going. We have them to partially credit (blame!) for pushing us toward each other.

And this is only just the beginning....the story of us.

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