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Here's to Life, Here's to Love, Here's to you!

It's January '2002, after the horrific fall of '2001 and I'm about to meet, for the first time Eric Kingdon DeWitt, who I met online. Yes, online dating back then was sketchy at best, he had a handsome profile picture. I'll get into that later. It was unusually cold that late January, which might have been a sign.

We talked a few times online and made a date, finally. We met at an Italian restaurant near MSG (Madison Sq Garden NYC). I cannot remember the name, but I remember saying when he walked in the restaurant and came behind me to say hello, "oh that's not the guy on the profile picture" He was still TDH (Tall, Dark and Handsome), but nowhere near the photo I saw online....but a girl's gotta eat and he was still darn handsome. Little did I know that the picture he used on his profile was Babyface Edmonds. I wasn't a huge fan, so it went right over my head...and he was late. I can remember me with my micro braids, wearing a long leather trench that was not warm enough, but darn cute. He was in jeans, a warm coat and a heavy scarf, that ended up on me and in my apartment. No it's not what you think, not on the first date...keep you minds clean.

I have to say, I wasn't annoyed he was late, which was odd for me. During our dating, he did have time management issues, but that has been mitigated over the years. We sat down for dinner. I was explaining what I did for a living on a napkin, drawing telecom networks with cloud interconnectivity via OC192s rings, yes OC192 rings, that was a while ago. And how customers used that network for bursty data on ATM and frame relay circuits. I loved that job. I was a lot more technical back then. He explained his work as well, as a technical architect for a global Jewish organization. He loved that job as well. He kept toasting the internet..."here's to the internet". I guess in a way to thank it for our meeting. But for me, I was thinking...I will never see this guy again, nerd!

After dinner, then we went to see a movie; "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind". Then we were off for some hot toddies and after movie snacks at Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar; then off to the Jazz Standard for some jazz. Yes our first date ended up being 5 hours long. I said to myself, I'd like to see this tall, dark, thin nerd again and I did. Now we took our time, we wanted it to be real. Not a rebound, he had just broken up with his ex, and not a fling. It took a few dates for us to know we belonged to tougher. After we were married in '2005 and to this day, he kept saying he prayed to God for me and I showed up, the same was for me too.

Our first date started on 34th St, headed up to 59th St, then to 72nd St, then back down to 27th strees. I didn't get home until 1:00 AM in the morning. I couldn't stop thinking about him. And couldn't wait to see him again. A week later we had another date together, with friend Kim Weston-Moran and her then partner, to watch the '2002 Super Bowl. It was a snowy but nice day. You know the kind when the snow billows softly on the ground with a slight breeze...beautiful. I was excited to see him again and knew I was slowly falling in love...this time.

Each date after that first one, we started to get to know each other. I really needed to nip that time management issue, which I did. Our adventures started in NYC, took us to Atlanta, Silicon Valley, Napa Valley, San Francisco, Texas, Jamaica (Queens and the Island), Mexico, Washington DC, France, Italy, and the Netherlands,

We dated for 3 years before we were married. I said "I love you" first, which I'm told is a no-no. But I was in my 40's and never thought I'd meet someone. I thought I'd be single forever. And most importantly, I loved him and I didn't think it was a bad thing to say. Even though we only knew each other for 9 months. Our lives together, to this day, have been and continues to be an adventure. We have seen and continue to see the world together, with great music, food, love, fights, make ups, faith, hope, and charity. It also continues to have twists and turns..."may all of our storms be weather, and all that's good, get better." Here's to life and this time it is love, and continues to be. With every fork in the road, every time we had to 'pull over', every time we had to stop, every time we cruised we are always thankful

Now with this new "fork in the road" that we're navigating, we've decided we are navigating it in our way, the way we want to. "So here's to life and all the joys it brings..." one of our favorite songs. A jazz anthem to life, love, perseverance, and determination. Eric is and always will be my true love, no matter what. We have been through so much together and this particular adventure is the toughest we've ever had to endure as a couple and family. No matter what the future holds for us, we will always be together for laughs for life and for love.

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