As I write this, you are both still small. You won't care about this story just yet, as your days are spent plotting how to steal Mommy's phone in order to watch tractor videos, or snorting hungrily in the general direction of Mommy's boobs every two minutes (you know who you are).
But one day, you'll want to know how Mommy and Daddy met, and how you subsequently came to be. And this is what I'll tell you.
First, you should know that we live in Los Angeles. Now, Los Angeles is a nice place to live and has many wonderful qualities, but "ideal for locating quality individual with which to fall in love and subsequently marry" is not amongst them. It is the home of the struggling actor, the fledgling musician, the wayward drifter, and Mommy was growing tired of sifting through these bums and lowlifes. She knew your daddy was out there - she just didn't know how to find him.
This is where your Grandma comes in. See, your Grandma is a very smart lady, and as much as I hate to admit it, she's usually right (USUALLY, Mom). One day, Grandma made the keen observation that Mommy would never be able to marry someone who cannot spell and use proper grammar, so perhaps she should try online dating. That way, she pointed out, Mommy could see right away who could use the English language properly and who should have paid better attention in elementary school.
Mommy had to agree that Grandma had a point, so she set aside her long-held suspicions that internet dating was reserved only for trolls, losers and the socially maladjusted, and created a profile on a dating site.
Dudes started emailing Mommy. Most were perverts and/or could not distinguish between "your" and "you're." Mommy ignored them. One day, when she happened to be out of town visiting Grandma, they were sitting in their favorite coffee shop when an email popped up from a new prospective internet suitor. Only this one was different. The note, although fairly inane ("What are you doing for the fourth of July? I am going to a rock climbing gym"), was properly spelled and punctuated. The profile listed a love of wine, tortilla chips and jazz (um, have you MET Mommy??). And attached to the profile was a photo of a very, very handsome man - your future daddy.
"Look at this one," Mommy told Grandma. Grandma took one look and said "write him back." Mommy protested that it cost $19.99 to write him, since she had only signed up for the free trial and therefore could only receive emails, not reply to them (did I mention that Mommy is a cheapass?). "Write him back," Grandma said, and handed Mommy a twenty.
So write him Mommy did. But she didn't hear back. Nothing. For days. Weeks, even. One day she went on his profile. On the page there was a section that said "Number of messages you have sent this user: 1" and then "Number of messages this user has sent you: 3."
Huh? Three messages? Mommy had only received ONE, boys. Was he sending messages that she wasn't receiving? Was the internet conspiring against Mommy and Daddy?
She promptly emailed him again, in a last ditch effort to meet this cute chip-loving, wine-swilling jazz fan. She told him that she hoped she didn't sound like a stalker, but it seemed that perhaps he was sending her messages she wasn't receiving, and if that was the case, well, let's fix it because maybe we will meet and fall in love and have beautiful babies together one day (okay, she didn't actually say that last part. Mommy is pretty forward, but that's just ridiculous).
And you know what? This time, he wrote Mommy back and she GOT it. And she wrote back, a really witty, silly, snarky email in true Mommy fashion. And then he wrote again. And on and on it went, back and forth, for several weeks, until one day we had our very first date.
We went to Mexican food. We ate chips. We drank margaritas. We laughed a lot and talked too loud, and people at the tables next to us stared. Your daddy said to them "This is our first date - how do you think it's going??"
Afterwards, we wandered tipsily into the parking lot. Daddy started to say that he'd had such a great time, yadda yadda. And Mommy said "Is it over already?" because she is forward like that, as we have already established. So off we went, down the street to the famous Dresden Room to hear Marty and Elayne butcher some jazz classics. Mommy spilled wine on her shirt, and Daddy tried to kiss her and she wouldn't let him.
And then she did.
Later we sat in Mommy's car on the street and talked for a long time, our faces bathed in the glow of a dim streetlamp on that warm August night. Mommy doesn't remember exactly what we discussed, but by then she thought that maybe she was going to marry that man one day.
Daddy called her the very next day. He said "This might be weird, but what are you doing tonight?" So we went out again, on another marathon date, with dim candlelit and french food. We decided to be honest, to put all our flaws out there, on the table, so we wrote them down on the paper tablecloth - one column for Mommy and one for Daddy. Mommy still has it. Among other things, it says "Paige: can't make decisions" and "Max: procrastinator." Some things never change, boys.
And as we sat in the moonlight in Mommy's car that night, she was quite certain that she had finally found your father.
Just over a year later, Mommy and Daddy got all dressed up and stood in front of their families and friends and told them all about their hopes and dreams.
That was four years ago today, on a perfect autumn evening.
We didn't know what the world had in store for us. We were just kids.
We didn't know that we would be lucky enough to have two perfect little boys to share our lives.
We didn't know that we would be so happy, or so tired.
But here we are. All of us - our little family - together.
So my boys, I promise that I will do my best to teach you, love you, protect you, and help you become strong, kind and smart.
But if there's one thing I know is true, it is this: if you grow up to be one shred of the man your father is, you are very lucky little boys indeed.
Happy Anniversary, LOML. Thank you for our beautiful life.
Oh, and you still owe Grandma twenty bucks.