“Although the state wants to protect autonomy, these circumstances and precedent warrant special care and preference for the child’s well being. The state should remember that the focus is not solely on an adult’s ability to live freely but that the child’s interests have been a focus of the courts in the past.”
It happened in the fall of 2010 during 2L year. We both registered for and regularly attended the same Family Law class, but sat on opposite sides of the room. We both randomly chose the same group assignment, Exercise #3, but didn’t meet until a couple of weeks before our assignment was due. It was a four person group (although once we met it felt like a two person group). A few days before our Fall Break (generally occurring in October, about a month before Thanksgiving Break) we coordinated by email to meet after class. I didn’t know what he looked like so I waited for the classroom to empty out. He did the same. A blue-eyed brown-haired boy stood a few rows across from me and kind of smiled, I smiled back. He walked over to me and we quickly began to coordinate the details of our assignment, completely forgetting there were two members of the group who were not present. I had plans to visit my sister in California over Fall Break, so I told him to email me to work out the details. He made a couple of jokes, closing with something about sending smoke signals. I laughed. He nervously gathered his things and left the room. I was utterly confused. When I got to California my sister’s wi-fi was not working and I was freaking out. My outdated Blackberry Curve did not access my email with the ease of my current iPhone and I was expecting his email. She did everything possible to make it work, but even when she succeeded there was no email. He never emailed me.
When we returned from break the four of us decided to meet once again to figure out the assignment. We met at the Bricks on a sunny South Florida afternoon and the four of us quickly came up with a plan: I would do the research and the detailed outline and he would do the writing, the others would do editing and presentation. The other two members, satisfied with the discussion, immediately left and he and I stayed behind. We talked, he tried to make me laugh, and before I knew it the sun had set. I told him I had plans for the afternoon, but he never let me leave. We talked for hours about nothing and everything; I ditched my plans and sat by his side, there was just something about him.
What followed was a few days of awkward assignment emails, which turned into a few weeks of very entertaining Facebook and AIM chatting, mostly about the insufferable group project, class, and law school experience. On December 4, 2010 I awoke to what seemed like a relatively harmless message in my inbox, which he’d sent at 3:11am: “Family review session? Reunite the group?” I definitely was not ready to even begin studying for family law so I tried to say no, but he talked me into it. We planned to meet on the Bricks the next day and work from 9:00-10:00am. When I arrived only he was there, but I didn’t think anything of it. I figured once again our other group members had failed to make an appearance, but in reality he had never reached out to the other two. I had been tricked! We “studied” by making each other laugh and getting to know each other until late in the evening, but we were definitely no more prepared for our Family Law final; still, it was well worth it. We kept in touch, but then the semester ended and he went home to Ohio. For about a month we didn’t really keep in touch.
The New Year began and classes were about to resume when he reemerged. He asked if my Family Law was what I expected, I said it wasn’t, but it was sufficient. We exchanged a couple of messages before seeing each other in school. I had dropped the Copyright class that he coincidentally was taking, so we didn’t have a class together. Still, we chatted on AIM during classes and after classes. He often hinted that I join him at a weekly event held by our school, not knowing if he was asking in some sort of group thing I never went. Finally, he officially asked me to join him for Beer at the Rat, the weekly event, and I consented.
The first time I went to meet him for Beer at the Rat he was leaving to get some books, he assured me he would return, but then it started to rain and I left. The second time we met for Beer at the Rat it was a late Thursday evening in early February and his parents were coming into town. We met at the Rat and talked forever, it was pretty late when he realized he had to go. He lived really close to school and had walked there, but I offered to give him a ride back. As we walked to my car we talked about attraction, he had some pretty cliched notions about what women were looking for or attracted to, I tried to express my attraction to him in my dissent. I don’t think it worked. We talked about Star Wars and having coffee next time.
Friday or Saturday night he messaged me on AIM, I don’t recall the exchange but it led to us meeting for coffee after he dropped his parents off at the hotel. We walked around looking for something other than a Starbucks, finding nothing we got milkshakes at Johnny Rockets. When everything in the area began to shut down he asked me to his apartment for coffee, I accepted. We talked for hours and he eventually even asked for my number. He walked me back to my car and I was sure he would finally kiss me, he didn’t. It was about five in the morning and we sat in my car, it seemed we still had a lot to talk. I didn’t leave until about seven that morning, we had spent almost ten hours together, talking. I was smitten and confused, not even a kiss? I had never met someone quite like him. We spent a few nights texting nonstop, and a few days before Valentine’s Day he finally kissed me.
Fast forward three very happy, very complicated, very eventful, very rewarding years and that very sweet blue-eyed brown-haired boy, who I have seen grow into a confident and admirable man, has asked to be my husband, to share my life with him, to have a family together. Yes, I will be very lucky to be his wife, to live, grow, and learn by his side, to raise puppies and babies together, to hold his hand as we walk aimlessly, to never run out of things to talk about, to wake up beside him every single day for the rest of my life. Yes.
* First three photos courtesy of University of Miami.