Fair love

I went on my first blind date at the state fair. It was a Sunday afternoon—October 19, 2014—and our best friends set us up. The sky was bright blue and the temperature so quintessentially autumn that I had no choice but to wear my favorite green flannel shirt. My date was fun and easy to talk to, and he kept me laughing while we sat next to each other on a bench eating giant turkey legs. On the drive home he asked if we could get together again soon, and I excitedly said yes. I thought there might be something special about this person, and my instinct ended up being right. He was so special, in fact, that I married him. 

Now, eight Octobers later, we’re at the fair with our kids. Their eyes are wide in wonder at this unlikely place where their parents’ love story began. They take in the intoxicating scent of kettle corn and funnel cakes, the clanking sound of homemade ice cream being churned, the upbeat live banjo music that plays while we admire blue-ribbon pumpkins. I’m amazed at how much has stayed the same in eight years, but also at how much has changed.

Getting to the fair this year took a lot more effort than it did in 2014, when all I did was throw on my flannel and a pair of boots before jumping into the car. I would also venture to say that our relationship takes more effort now, too. Gone are the days of simply meeting for dinner after class and spending the evening eagerly learning new things about each other (You watch The Office? Me, too!). 

More effort isn’t always a bad thing, though. Effort conveys intentionality, and purpose, and commitment. It’s easy to go on a first date, but not as easy to show up to the same place eight years later with two kids in tow, am I right? This year, I realized that’s where the real magic is—in showing up nearly a decade later to make more memories, to watch your kid go on their first pony ride, to share a bag of kettle corn, and to reminisce about first date jitters. 

Being at the fair will always remind me of meeting Josh, and the butterflies that came from starting something new (and from unwisely riding the Gravitron after eating a turkey leg). It’s not often you meet someone who will change the trajectory of your entire life, but on that long ago October day, I did. I’m so grateful. Grateful for best friends who know just your type, for the magic of sunny fall days at the fair, and for two people who took the risk of saying yes.

4 responses to “Fair love”

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