Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and it’s been a while since I’ve shared my love story! After being married a while, no one asks how you met or how he proposed anymore. It’s normal, but sometimes I just gotta rehash all the lovely details about our relationship! It makes me nostalgic. So grab your coffee and here we go!
My family has known the Watkins family for a very long time. We went to church together when we were little and our dads have stayed connected through my grandpa’s business. I’ve known of Carl Watkins for a long time. But in August of 2009, he became a possibility for my future. My dad asked Carl if he would be interested in getting to know his daughter. Yeah, me.
After a long silence, I got a friend request from this guy on Facebook and we began talking December 29th, 2009. I still remember our first conversation was about LEGOS! Don’t worry though. We talked about other things too. For the next few months, we stayed up insanely late discussing opinions and beliefs and movies and cheesecake. Talking also brought us closer, even though I only saw him face to face like five times that summer.
In October of 2010, I started getting the very reluctant feeling that Carl Watkins wasn’t for me. Our families were so different, our futures looked incompatible, some people I cared about voiced their concerns, several things that let me to believe that God was telling me I needed to move on. So late that month, we “broke up”. Technically we weren’t officially together, but our hearts had become involved so it felt like breaking up. That was the day he hugged me for the first time and I don’t-care-who-sees-me sobbed the whole way home. But that was also the day that things really started. Carl decided he really cared enough for me to give up his dreams and exchange them for ventures that would please my dad, earning the permission to pursue me in the process. That was big you guys, I mean BIG!
We started dating/courting November 18, 2010. For the first few weeks, most of our time together was spent sitting in the Target parking lot talking about serious life issues that might be a problem in our relationship. Our first real date was December 1, a Starbucks and Christmas lights date. I remember feeling so strange because all the time we’d spent alone previously was pretty tense! But our serious discussions lessened and I don’t remember what I got for Christmas that year because I received a hand-written letter from him that said “I love you and your family.” Butterflies!!!
The rest of our dating/courtship days were fun! We spent lots of time with our families, went hiking, visited old friends, went to the fair, wrote long emails, rode bikes, texted constantly, played Lego Wii games, and really just enjoyed being together. I remember Carl telling me once that he had memorized every bump and dip in the road on the way to my house because he had driven it so many times. I knew which route would be the fastest to his house at which time of day. There wasn’t tons of dates and flowers and sparkling romance, but there was a lot of sweet words and holding hands.
On our first courtship anniversary, November 18, 2011, Carl took me out for a fancy dinner, a carriage ride around the circle downtown and then a short (and freezing cold) walk on the canal where he read me a poem, dropped on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Of course I said yes! He could barely drive the car on the way home because he kept looking down at the sparkling ring on my figure. We went to his family’s first but they were busy getting little ones in bed (family in town for Thanksgiving) so we decided to wait until the next day. When I got home, my brother Gavin was the only one awake and when I told him, he says “Hm. Cool.” and continues his movie. I found out later that my family knew which would explain his underwhelming response. I had a more satisfying one the next day from Carl’s family.
And so began wedding planning, a process I couldn’t have done without some key family and friends. We also looked at an endless list of apartments before settling on a one bedroom just a few minutes away from both our families. And we counted down the days until we wouldn’t have to say goodnight and part ways.
September 1, 2012, Casey Ruble became Casey Watkins and we began our life together. The day went like a dream and even today I’m so thankful for all the people that helped make it that way! We had a strawberry shortcake wedding cake with cream soda and coloring pages for all the kids. Then we went for bridal portraits at our favorite park and spent the night in a fancy hotel before driving off to Gatlinburg for our honeymoon. And if you’re looking for a fairy tale, you can tag “And they lived happily ever after” and stop reading here. If you want the whole story, keep going!
Year one was not quite a fairy tale, to be completely honest. We struggled to learn each other and I struggled with all the changes and we had quite a few bumpy moments. But we still had adventures and enjoyed Saturday mornings in our sunny yellow kitchen. Carl learned to grill, I learned to clean and I look back now on those days as mostly golden and carefree.