Most of you know that Brad and I met when we were in high school, in 1998. He moved to my high school during our senior year and I immediately decided that I was not going to like him (at all). Of course, that was because I was totally attracted to him and dating someone else. And, I thought he was the arrogant, cocky football/basketball star that would come in and play me, break my heart, and run off with some other girl. lol. So, I wasn't about to fall for him. I avoided getting to know him in our first period English class on the first day of school. I sat in the front row, he sat in the back. Typical. It was Advanced Placement, so I have to admit that I was kind of impressed that he was even in the class, but I figured that he had just been lucky and they had put him in the class because of scheduling or something. On to second period... Advanced Placement Calculus... in walks Brad Ooten and plops himself down in the seat right behind me. Again... I'm impressed. He's athletic (quarterback at his old school - sigh), good-looking, and smart. I'm doomed.
Over the course of the next six months, I found that we were so much alike (and so opposite) in SO many ways. We had a good time together. He made me laugh and helped me understand some of our calculus problems that I didn't always get. :) He had a great smile, could play the best defense of any high school basketball player I had ever seen, and he was sweet. He wasn't arrogant at all. In fact, I can remember one of the reasons that I fell for him was because he didn't treat the less popular girls any differently than the popular girls that were all swooning over him. He was faithful to his girlfriend at the time - yes, I will admit that I found that attractive, as much as it makes me mad that I am sure people are attracted to Brad for the very same reason now. :) We loved the same movies, shared the same viewpoints on most things, and had the same goals in life. We even would say the same thing at the same time... a lot. Random things that just made us realize that we were supposed to be together. For instance, his stepdad had been coming to the tobacco store that I worked at for months and months. I always had his Skoal ready for him when he came through the drive through. I had his schedule down to know when he would come through, just because. I don't know why. I didn't even know he was Brad's stepdad. He just was one of the customers that I really liked (probably because he had teeth and/or didn't have strong body odor, unlike most of the other customers we had - lol). Imagine my surprise when he walks out on the football field with Brad on Senior Night. I thought I would die of shock. And, what's funnier is that Rick (Brad's stepdad) brought Brad's best friend from West Virginia through the drive through at the shop to "see the prettiest girl in Louisa." All of this happening before either of us had put all the connections together. God was just telling us to be together... I'm sure of it, especially now. There was nothing I could do to resist him... He was just "the one."
Things haven't changed that much since then... he still has to help me with math. Most of the time, it's simple math more than complicated calculus. :) He makes me laugh, even when he makes me furious. We enjoy hanging out, love the same movies and shows, love to talk about politics and religion (mainly because we both have similar stances on things), and we most definitely still have the same goals in life. And, I still think he's incredibly adorable. I remember watching him play ball when we were in school and watching the little ways he would move his hands, shift his weight on his feet, or move his arms to stretch. I can recognize him across a crowded field a mile away - some habits just don't change. His smile still melts my heart and his sense of humor, while it can drive me crazy, most of the time is what keeps me sane. We're opposite in so many ways, but we complement each other.
I know this isn't nearly as good as what Cilla wrote about Bret, Brad, but know that I feel so blessed to have had your love for all these years. I know we want to kill each other sometimes (like when you come in and yell at me for wearing "your" socks, even though you still have socks to wear and I'm the one that washes them... ah-hem...), but it's nice to know that when times get tough, after we try to kill each other, you're still there with open arms. :) Happy birthday... sorry it was spent running all over Lexington with the kids and their schedules.
Oh... and thanks for finally being the same age as me again. :) Now, I don't have to hear about how I'm the cougar married to the young man (by all of what, five months?!).