My husband sent me an email link from Afghanistan today about this article on cnn.com describing people that married their prom dates with a little note that said "HaHa and I love you." Who knew that two proms and 15 Marine Corps Balls later (we missed a few when he was deployed) that I'd be digging through an old cedar chest looking for photos from the past 17 years of our life together. It's funny how many times my husband and the hardened military movers have complained about lugging that old cedar chest in and out of rental homes. After 12 moves you think my husband and those movers would realize that the chest goes with us along with the dog, the kids and all the memories I can manage to fit inside of it. Pulling out these pictures tonight, oh yes that's Prom 1995, Prom 1996 and our most recent Marine Corps Ball photo I got to sift through the years of our life as a couple. Old high school year books from our time together at Renton High School in Washington, his football jersey, my drill team uniform; I suppose if I'd been a cheerleader this story would be more prolific. Matt's first cover from when he was a reservist in Washington, our caps and gowns from high school and college. There were wedding invitations and a cake topper from when we married in September of 1997 while we were both going to college, him at The University of Washington and me at neighboring Seattle Pacific University and mementos from our son Mitchell's birth in 2001 and our daughter in 2003. Neatly tucked away in the top shelf of this chest I found the letters that still make me cry. Letters from Recruit Steele while he was at the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in San Diego, letters from Lcpl Steele while he was gone at reserve training, letters from the soon to be officer as he was finishing up Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia and best of all a handful of printed out dot-matrix style emails from that guy that asked me to prom in May of 1995 whom I'd said yes to then, said yes to in a Church in 1997 and would say yes to all over again 17 years later. My prom date is deployed again and I know this will not be the last time that we will be apart. I'm going to print off his email about the cnn article and marrying your prom date, add it to the stacks of letters and carefully place it inside of that old cedar chest. Next time a mover complains about having to lug that old chest into another rental house, up another flight of stairs or into the back of a moving van for another cross-country move I'll let them know that my Prom Date is inside of that chest and I will follow him wherever we shall go.
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