June 20th 1996....As per usual I attended Cheerleading practice from 8-12, went home for lunch and got ready to meet the other cheerleaders for "Pool Time". As I arrived at the pool I quickly located my friends and set up camp in my chosen lounger. Once settled in one of the girls asked if we had noticed the "Hot" lifeguard!?! I'll be honest, I had not. I took what was supposed to be a quick glance over my sun glasses only to find myself completely gawking! I mean mouth open eyes wide, forgetting I was in public gawking. Once I regained my composer it was decided that we would form pairs and then commence in trying to see who could get a date with him first. It was at that point I was informed we went to the same school as him but I had no idea who he was.
My best friend Debbie and I decided we would go last, you know that whole save the best for last thing. We were not worried, we knew our game was strong! So I laid back and watched as one by one they took their turns with the Lifeguard. He smiled at some and seemed very polite. But I also saw him repeatedly raise one eye brow as if to say "you have got to be kidding me". Soon enough it was our turn, we waited until he called a 5 minute rest break and made our move. We pulled 2 chairs up next to him and began to introduce ourselves and gather information on him. We found out that he worked until 10pm and only had a power bar for dinner....Whelp that was it, challenge accepted! We casually said our goodbyes and headed off to make our plan. We rushed home to Debbie's house where we made a gourmet Totinos frozen pizza! We also gathered up 3 different kinds of chips, a bunch of sodas, and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Once we arrived back at the pool we were happy to see most of the swimmers had left for the day. Which gave us an opportunity to talk with the lifeguard while he ate. Sadly for Debbie she had another date she had to get to that evening and had to run.....I continued to stay and helped him close up the pool for the night. As we were stacking up chairs he asked if I would be interested in going out for coffee afterwards...
That's it, I had WON!!! If only I knew then the life altering significance of what I had just won! I responded with that I would love to go out with him but I did not drink coffee. So we agreed on a little cafe called "Starry Night" that served other drinks and treats. We went back to his place so he could change out of his swim trunks and that is when I realized why I had no idea who he was..........
He walked in his room looking like he was straight out of Bay watch and walked out looking like Slater from Dazed and confused! News boy hat on backwards, old torn up pearl jam shirt, big baggy corduroy pants, and what I affectionately referred to as his Jesus Sandals. To finish off the ensemble he wore a cross body messenger bag that contained his poetry. I instantly regretted not driving myself in-case I needed to make a quick get away. But I figured what the heck I like making new friends and he seemed really nice so off we went to Starry Night.
We ordered our drinks and found a nice spot outside to sit in the perfect June air. One hour quickly turned to 3 and we still were chatting non stop. It felt as if we needed to know everything about each other right then and there. At one point the subject of smoking came up. I told him I was allergic (true story, I am) and that I had a very dear friend who suffered from Cystic Fibrosis. I could not understand how my poor friend was doing everything he could to keep his lungs working and yet people with perfectly healthy lungs would trash them with smoking! On our way back to his car he stopped at a trash can and threw away all of his smoking paraphernalia. I stood there shocked that I could have such an impact on someone I had just met.
As we pulled up to my house he proceeded to do something no guy had EVER done before...............................................
Our First Song, I honestly have no idea why but it was "ours"..
....As we pulled up in front of my house after the first magical date at Starry Night I waited for what would come next, would he lean over the seat and kiss me goodnight, would he get out of the car and walk me to the door and then kiss me, would he.....well folks here's were things went in a direction I could have never predicted.
He put the car in park, said he had a really nice time and then began to reach into his wallet. Looking at him completely perplexed I watched him retrieve and hand me a Business card! Ya, you read that right, his business card! I didn't know whether to be offended or impressed. He pointed out his pager number on the card and said that was the best way to reach him and that he would love to hear from me. That's it, didn't walk me to the door, hug, kiss Nada! I walked into my house completely in shock! That had never happened before......and how did I feel about that???
The fact that he had made his own business cards was impressive it showed his commitment to hard work and independence. I also noted that he had multiple businesses on it...lifeguard, swim lessons, landscaping mowing etc. and construction work. This was a getter done kind of guy! Over the next couple of days I found myself thinking about him NON stop! Ok now full disclosure... I was dating 7 other guys at the time, #SummerSeason, I was having a very fun summer! And in all fairness 2 of them were in other states that I had met at various camps etc. But I realized that if I was going to be spending so much time thinking about Mr. Baywatch I needed to downsize. So I took about a week to go on various "we should just be friends dates" towards the end I did hear from Cameron , he invited me out to the lake to go skiing. We had a great time! I had never been water-skiing before and his Dad was an excellent teacher. But in truth my favorite part was watching Cameron Slalom ski! It was soooo beautiful!! We went back to his house and spent the rest of the night hanging out with his adorable and sassy 12 year old sister. From the very beginning Cameron's family was involved in our dating . In fact that very first night I was introduced to his Dad in the kitchen wearing nothing but underwear. If you know my father in law that will make perfect sense to you, it will also make sense to you that he did make it seem awkward at all. Lane Kaley is one of my favorite and special free spirits I have the pleasure of having in my life! The Kaley's made everything so comfortable. They immediately welcomed me in as part of the family, because that's how the Kaley's role!
Now lest you think I handled this summer romance so perfectly in full dis-closer there were some things that were just so unfortunate. Such as 2 of the boys I was dating were in other states. One in fact had talked his parents into flying him out for a week to see me and go on college visits so that he could be closer to me. Well in all my awesomeness and maturity guess who I had pick him up from the airport to come stay at my house....yep go ahead shake your head now....that had to be the longest and most awkward week of that poor boys life! You deserved soo much better Scott! Lets take a moment to acknowledge all of the boys that I hurt, confused, or dismissed. I am truly sorry! I have tried to instill in my daughters how to be sensitive and caring to a boys emotions, that it has so much power over how he sees himself as a husband and father. It is better to be open and honest and encouraging about your feelings rather than leading someone along with a false sense of reality.
Ok back to the Summer Romance.....well after date 2 came 3,4, and so on it became a daily thing, thank you Summertime!! But back to the Kiss I was looking for on that first night, I may have gotten a hug on the second date I'm really not sure. He may have attempted to hold my hand after the 3rd. By the 4th date I was saying 'Houston We have a Problem!!!" Is this guy EVER going to kiss me!?! I was going to put it to the test! So the fourth date we ate dinner with his family and then went to basement to watch a very romantic movie "A Walk in the Clouds" I tried just about everything, put my head on his shoulder, leaned on him , gazed up at him for long periods of time through out the movie, and nothing! What in the world was happening..... the movie ended and we went into his room to listen to some music, a love we both shared. He sat on the edge of his bed and picked out some CD's to put in the player. I jumped up on the bed and laid my head in his lap so I could see the the cd's he was looking through. He played with my hair while I looked at the CD covers. Our eyes met and he very slowly leaned down and gave me a very gentle sweet kiss. In his defense we were in a very awkward position, But I took it! Finally!!!!
We were inseparable after that. There were plenty of challenges along the way but the constant thing that still remains 22 years later...He completes me, he balances me out, he was always meant to be the other half of me. We promised each other before we came to this earth that we would find each other and go through this together. I have never doubted that! We will soon Celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary....I will share more then about the ups and downs of our Beautiful perfectly imperfect Marriage Journey we have been on. But let me leave you with this, Marriage is like a fairy-tale, the real ones with with dragons, conquests, pain hurt, sorrow, hard work determination all in a great quest to find the treasure, save the day and be blissfully Happy Ever After! If you have ever paid attention there is nothing easy or uncomplicated about a fairy-tale. What makes them so beautiful and sought for is the power of Love behind them that drives the characters to overcome, conquer, and succeed. A love so Powerful it can only come from GOD.
This is first song we danced to at our wedding, not the easiest song to dance to but the message was more important to me....He was my True Companion!
(True Companion by Marc Cohn)
My name is Michelle Kaley but I have many other names.....Daughter, Sister, Wife of 20 years to my High School Sweetheart, Mom to my 4 Beautiful Children, Ms. Michelle to my hundreds of Students, and as of 2016 Cancer Patient was added to the list.