Alrighty friends. The long awaited “How He Asked” story IS on its way, BUT I thought it might make more sense to release the “How We Met” story first, because so much of the way we met and came to be a couple played into Shane’s beautiful proposal. It also is giving me a special opportunity to look back on Shane and I’s journey, and how lucky we have been from the very beginning.
To start things off, I feel very compelled to have an acknowledgements section, because I think of our story like a wonderful, crazy, hilarious, love novel, and all novels have an acknowledgement section. So, here goes: We have a number of people and entities to be thankful for in getting us to have ever met. For one, we owe our whole love story to West Virginia University, the best university (in my biased opinion) out there. WVU shaped Shane and I into the people we are at the core, and we are forever grateful and proud to be Mountaineers. With that said and more specifically, we have all the thanks in the world for WVU’s Greek Life. Both Shane and I entered WVU in very different social and mental places, but both of us felt the pull to be a part of something bigger. Shane had just gotten out of the military and was searching for brotherhood. I was looking to shake the baggage I had from highschool, start fresh, and find myself. So, we both took the leap, went through the process of getting bids, and found our home away from home.
For me, I found Sigma Kappa Sorority. I have chills thinking back on my time in SK, and currently have tears dripping on my keyboard, because I can without a doubt, without hesitation, without a shake in my being, know that if it was not for this sisterhood, my life would never have been what it is today. I did shake my baggage. I did start fresh. And I became a woman who I am proud to be, and I attribute so much of that to the love and support I had from my sisters.
For Shane, he found Kappa Alpha Order. Oh, KA. We both have so much to thank you for…. But, right. Right. This part is about Shane. Shane, too, found the brotherhood he was looking for. He found men that accepted him and cared for him when he needed it the most. Coming to college after serving our country is not easy, and Shane had his own demons to face. But, KA walked alongside him every step of the way.
We also have our loving families to thank. I think we both can honestly say that we love our respective in-laws to be! I will never forget my first trip to Peterstown to meet “the Family,” and was so heartfully thrilled to find out that family did not just mean the typical mom/dad situation. Family spanned from the tellers at the bank, to the ladies at Hometown, and all of the families that helped shape Shane into the man he is. As far as Shane and my mom, I am still pretty convinced that she likes him more than me. Jk… but not really. On countless occasions, I have had blogging events, and can’t be home for dinner. Rather than keeping to their respective corners of the house, Shane will take my mom on a “date” and take her to dinner. Since I can remember, I always wanted my husband-to-be to be as close with my mom as I am… and believe it or not… I do.
To you all – We love you, cherish you, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being the glue to have stuck us together. Life is so crazy, and so many times, we cannot explain the things that happen. But I am a firm believer of fate, and I think for some cosmic, wild reason, we were all went to find one another, and be a part of each other’s lives. Personally, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Ok, jeez. Didn’t make it through the acknowledgements without crying, so this is about to get real! Lordy, Lord!
Alright, now that I have said my thanks, let’s get to what you huddled up around your screen for in the 1st place! Grab a glass of wine, cocktail, beer… I don’t discriminate… and sit back, and enjoy the beginning of what is my favorite story. Also, please enjoy the progression of the roundness of my face in college. Yikes! Freshman 15 is REAL.
Let’s start things off by saying that I am now literally laughing, because our story is so 100% us. When I saw Shane for the first time, he was sitting in his fraternity’s great hall, and was talking to one of his brothers. For one, no, it was not love at first sight. And no, I did not see him and plan to hit on him. Actually, my goal was slightly more calculated, because I was at the KA house for a BBQ, and my goal was to introduce myself to each and every brother. Ok, yes, I am a pretty social person, but no, I am not some weirdo politician who just makes it a point to introduce myself to everyone in the room for the sake of doing so, lol. However, I WAS at the KA house for a campaign, and yes… I was there for MY campaign…. My Sweetheart Campaign to be more exact.
Crap. Already got ahead of myself. Might want to explain the whole campaign thing, because I probably sound weird right about now. I should also put a little context behind the whole Sweetheart thing.
Ok, we’re now going to turn the clock back to the Spring of 2013, where I was in my first year at WVU, and a newly initiated sister of Sigma Kappa. Imagine yourself sitting in a room with 130+ ladies, all dressed in the SK/EK letters, waiting for the President of the chapter to commence the informal meeting.
*Informal Meeting is started.* Sister A says her part, Sister B says her, and so on. We get to the point where Sister G, who happens to be in charge of social affairs, starts talking about how “Sweetheart Week” is coming up for the fraternities. Let’s refer to our Sorority Girl’s Guide to Greek Stuff to add some context:
Fraternity Sweetheart (n.) : origin; fraternity row; definition: elected by the men of the fraternity to serve as the House sweetheart, She is the female face of the fraternity and spends allot of time helping with events and projects. Usually the sweetheart is a sorority girl, but not always. The sweetheart is held in very high regard and is treated with absolute dignity and respect. It is not a beauty contest, she must have good moral character, have excellent grades and be able to speak in front of a crowd. Being pretty doest hurt but it will not win the right to be called sweetheart. A week long contest is held in order to crown a house sweetheart. Once crowned sweetheart they rule for the entire year and become very close to the brothers.
What the definition above does not cover is that becoming a sweetheart is literally opportunity to make an entire brotherhood your friend, by making them yummy treats, showering them with love, and being happy to be around the house all the time.
Um… I’m ok with that?
Ok, back to the informal meeting, in a room with a 130+ sister, blah blah blah…
“Alright ladies, here are the fraternities that will be looking for their next sweetheart. Raise your hand if you would like to participate…”
Within 2 seconds a fellow sister’s hand shot up!
“Thank you, Sister D!”
The chapter applauds the brave sister!
*Queue the little person in my head “OMG, Erica you have to try. This would be so much fu…”*
Another fraternity was named, and within seconds a sister raises her hand, and the room applauds…. Shit!
*Erica, you have to do this. This is exactly what you have been waiting for. This is your fresh start!…*
Another fraternity listed, and taken.
*damnit! Erica, quit talking to yourself and put your damn hand up!*
“ME! I WILL!”
*Raises hand- and kind of blacks out a bit.*
“Thank you, Sister Luczakowsky!”
And the chapter applauds.
*OMG. I am running for a sweetheart. WTF. What did I just sign up for? Holy Crap… where do I even start?*
What is so funny, is that I would never have thought that me simply raising my hand that day, taking a wild chance on something that I thought would be good fun…. Was actually the start of my life long fairy tale….
Over the next week, and with the help of my ride-or-die, official/unofficial campaigning partner, Steph and my fellow sisters, we started plotting the campaign trail. The following Sunday, we announced my official running for Sweetheart, by cooking the boys dinner. I swear it was straight out of Steel Magnolias. Aiming for the southern belle vibe, I wore the floral dress and pearls, got all dolled up, and with my girls by my side, we walked up the infamous High Street (aka Frat Row) and delivered homemade salad, lasagna, and garlic bread. From making the boys “Sigma Kappa <3’s Kappa Alpha” cupcakes, to ordering the chapter Chipotle, to the very last day of campaigning, where I hand wrote each brother a letter, I put my heart and soul into becoming a sweetheart.
The last day of campaigning was so emotional for me, because I cannot begin to explain how much love and work I (and my sisters) put into everything. The final decision was to be decided that Sunday, and I was a WRECK. I was so happy to have participated, but I also knew I would be devastated if I lost.
Well, Sunday morning came and went, and I heard nothing… I felt sick.
Sunday afternoon came and went… was kind of in denial.
Sunday evening had come… Nothing.
To add more chaos to the madness, (To my Greek Ladies out there, you will get this reference) … Sigma Kappa was in the thick of getting ready for Recruitment. Early morning recruitment practices. Late night recruitment practices. Long hours of interview training- I was spent. Well, while I was waiting to hear back from KA, Sigma Kappa was having an evening recruitment practice. My fellow sisters and I are in the kitchen, after doing a few “run throughs”, and my Recruitment Chair tells us all to quiet down.
“Erica, I want to see your walk-out again…”
*Low key shit myself* … Is she talking to me?
“Erica, get to the front of the line- I want to see your walk-out AGAIN”.
Let’s refer to our Sorority Girl’s Guide to Greek Stuff to add some context:
Walk Out (n.) : origin; wherever recruitment ever came to be; definition: a formal way a sorority girl welcomes a girl going through recruitment into the house. It typically entails having your feet making a T, your hand behind you back, cupping your booty, and yelling, “Hi, I’m Erica, and I would like to welcome QUEEN LATIFA to Sigma Kappa *Queue Glistening Smile*).
Guys, oh my god. I was a new sister. I was a new sister taking part in her first recruitment… And my recruitment chair is telling me- not any other girls – to show her walk-out again. THIS IS NOT GOOD! Abort mission… I REPEAT… ABORT MISSION.
Everyone is quiet…. We all line up, and I, embarrassed beaus I must have really been slacking, get to the front of the line, and prepare myself to walk out the door.
“GO!” my recruitment chair yells.
I push the back door of our sorority house, and turn the corner, making my way down our walk way. As I scuffle my way to the front step, I notice a boy on our sidewalk… Wait, not just 1 boy… a few boys. Wait… why are there like 20 boys on our sidewalk…?
I come to a stop at the top of our stairs, and there, waiting for me, are my Kappa Alpha boys. In one of their hands, is a gorgeous bouquet of roses. I look around dazed and confused, and honestly don’t know what to say or do. The president, Matthew, steps forward… and then… he hands me the bouquet. And then… if my heart could not fall out of my chest any more… all of the boys started to sing.
(I wish we had my serenade on film, but for the full effect, watch this amazing KA serenade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBkfnFckxXk ).
For all that are reading, I am literally bawling, thinking back to this moment, because as I listened to the lyrics again, I cannot believe the lyrics actually came to be.
“And some day when we meet again, I’ll take you by my side. And I’ll make my KA sweetheart my Kappa Alpha Bride.”
Over the next few weeks, I soaked up every bit of being the sweetheart. I was always at the house, was having the best time getting to know the guys, and felt so incredibly lucky to be given this opportunity. And as funny as it sounds, Shane and I did not have a relationship unlike any of the other brothers, and even though we had gotten closer as friends… we were just FRIENDS. Even funnier, right before we left for summer break, Shane had asked me to be his greek “Big Sister” (lol, still get a good kick out of this” and I was more than happy to fill the role.
Flash forward to the fall, still friends. Actually, I was in a relationship, and Shane was simply not interested in relationships in general. AKA, perfect combo for a platonic relationship. However… over even more time, I was single, and I think something in Shane’s mind shifted, and maybe was a little more open to a relationship than he thought.
But, hey. Neither of us were going to be the ones to admit that there was even a semblance of a spark between us. #Stubborncouplesofinstagram
Well, the first spark of something flew at a huge tailgate we were at. All of the KA’s were there and I was with some of my sisters. As I made my way around the tailgate, I had this funny feeling that someone was keeping an eye on me. “Lucas? Lucas, have you been following me?” as I laugh, and probe Shane’s Greek Big Brother? “Well… no…. Ok, fine. Shane may or may not have asked me to keep an eye on you, because things are kind of crazy…”
AH HA. I knew it…. He does sort of kind of maybe like me…..
The second spark, and the spark sealed the deal, was at a KA party that Shane and I were at. Shane and I were joking around in the upstairs hallways, when his brother, Ryan, walked up, and proceeded to tell Shane that two girls “A blonde and a brunette”, were downstairs waiting for him. Listen guys, I am all for putting my bro cap on for the guys… but man was I jealous. As Ryan high fives Shane and walks away, a VERY P/O’d Erica turns to Shane, says “Have fun with that”, and walks off.
Shane followed me downstairs into the party, and grabbed for my hand to stop me. As he took my hand, I swung around and… well….
I smack him. Omg…haha. As I write this, I am so embarrassed, but can’t help but laugh. I totally, 100% smacked him. Meanwhile, one of our good friends, KP, witnessed the whole thing. HAHA. Yes, cat was out of the bag. I totally had a crush on Shane.
Well, that was that. I knew he liked me. I knew I liked him. But per typical sweetheart standards, the point of the sweetheart is to be FRIENDS with the brothers. Not date them. So Shane and I kept our “whatever we were” on the down low.
Flash Forward to January 22 at 1am, and we both had enough. We couldn’t keep it a secret any longer, and Shane officially asked me to be his girlfriend. Duh… YES. So, like any millennials would do to make something official, we put it on FB. Man, were we nervous to hear what everyone would say. I was worried the KA’s would be mad, and I just didn’t want Shane to get crap because of me.
In the next 24 hours, we were FLOODED with love. I crashed a KA social with Chi O, and every single brother came up to Shane and me, and hugged any of our doubts away.
From that day forward, “I” became a “We”, and “Me” became an “Us”, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
And now we are back to the beginning of the story, and I am standing in the KA Grand Hall. I am running for sweetheart, and I am about to walk up to Shane to introduce myself. The silly girl walking across the room to a silly boy sitting on a bench with his friend has no idea that she is about to introduce herself to the man she would someday marry.