This is the story of how Mandy and Daniel became M and D.
Did you know that D and I went to the same high school? Don’t worry, neither did we! Even though we shared more than a handful of mutual friends, our paths never crossed until one fateful night in July of 2008, after we had both graduated. It was a warm summer evening and I was out with my best girlfriends looking for something fun to do. We ended up at our friend Adam’s house to watch him film a funny video for his fraternity. I remember a tall, dark, and handsome guy walking in with his friends shortly after we got there. He was kind of shy, but I could tell by his infectious sense of humor that he was someone I wanted to get to know. He introduced himself as Daniel.
It’s funny how you remember little details from important events in your life. D still remembers that I was wearing short denim shorts and a yellow tank top. I remember what he was wearing, too. Except that’s probably because he was wearing a gorilla suit for the video they were filming. After the video was done, I remember we went to get frozen yogurt at Spoon Me. When it was time to go home, I was hoping that we’d get to hang out with those guys again soon.
I definitely got my wish. Our little group of friends got closer and closer as the summer went on. It definitely helped that D was couch-ridden for a week after he had surgery on his ankle. We brought him his favorite Butterfinger shakes and watched the Olympics 24/7. When D got his cast on, his mom told me that he requested a specific spot to be saved for me to sign it.
Toward the end of the summer, I went on a vacation to California with my family. D and I exchanged about a million text messages while I was gone. I was beginning to think that I might actually have a crush on this Daniel boy.
As things went on, I was beginning to get the hint that D just might like me back. I had really wanted to go to the Secondhand Serenade concert, but I had no one to go with. All it took was a mention of the concert to D, and we were driving all over the city together trying to find tickets. We turned up empty, but that didn’t matter to us. Our first adventure together was a total blast. We even discovered that we shared a mutual love for Jimmy Eat World – our favorite band to this day.
When school started, D and I signed up for an Institute class together – just the two of us. Even though he didn’t have any other classes that day, D still walked me all the way to my next class every day after Institute. Then one day, he finally asked me on our first official date.
Our first date was classic. D had called my friends to see what I liked, and he everything planned out. He was so excited to take me to Color Me Mine to paint our own pots, but when we got there, it was closed. I think it’s hilarious, but D still hates talking about it. I’ll have you know that the rest of the evening went perfectly. We had dinner at Friday’s, and then we went back to his house to watch a movie.
Our first kiss was also classic. D was just a little nervous about it, so we had about ten of those awkward hugs where you both know you want to kiss, but you’re both too scared to make the first move. Then, one beautiful August evening, D finally kissed me for the first time. It was on my front porch after one of our dates, and it was perfect. I was so happy.
I could just end our story here and say “it was all downhill from there…” But that actually isn’t true, and it wouldn’t be honest. So I’ll tell you what really happened.
The kisses and dates became more frequent. But the more I started to like D, the more I afraid I felt. I couldn’t explain the feeling back then, but eventually I sorted it out. I realized that I was falling for Daniel. I’d fallen for people before, but nothing had felt like this. I wasn’t in high school anymore. I was in college. These were the “big leagues.” You date people in college to get married. Married? And he was a returned missionary. He was intelligent, mature, driven, kind, and perfect. And I was terrified.
I was terrified because I could see a future with Daniel. I knew that if I kept dating him, I’d fall in love and want to get married. But I wasn’t ready to get married. I felt young. I felt inexperienced. I needed time. I didn’t know how to explain this to D, so I told him that I thought we needed to date other people. I tried to keep my distance and when that didn’t work, I told him I wasn’t interested. I don’t know if D saw though it or if he was just crazy, but throughout all of that, he never gave up on me.
I remember one conversation that we had one evening. I fed D my classic line that I wasn’t ready for a relationship. I will never forget what he said to me that night. It may seem like an odd response, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. He said: “Mandy, if we were ever together, I can promise you that I would never, ever hurt you.” And I knew he was telling the truth.
Things cooled off for several weeks after that, and I was beginning to think that D had finally given up on me. But then, out of the blue, I got a phone call one evening as I was driving home from work. It was Daniel. He said something like “I know we said we’d date other people and all that, but there’s this date night on Saturday, and there’s honestly nobody I want to go with. I want to take you. It’s probably a slim chance, but would you like to go with me?”
I surprised myself when I said yes. I surprised myself even more when I realized how excited I was to go with him. I had missed going on dates with D. All at once, everything I liked about him came flooding back to me and I absolutely couldn’t wait for our date. We had so much fun together. After that night, I threw caution to the wind. I shrugged my shoulders and decided to go with it. So what if I fell in love with him? I didn’t want to miss my chance with a fantastic guy because I was too afraid to give it a chance. So I took a leap of faith.
And it was was, hands down, the best leap I’ve ever taken.
We said "I love you" in November, and started talking marriage early the next year. Even though we both knew we wanted to tie the knot, we didn't see any harm in spending another year dating each other. I never regretted it because we learned a lot about each other over that year. D got down on one knee and asked me to marry him on March 31st, 2010 on the same very same doorstep that we had our first kiss. We were married for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple on August 16th, 2010. But as, you know, that was only the beginning.