The funny thing is, Eddie thought that AnnMarie did not like his car. That's what made him start to like her.
The love of Eddie and AnnMarie began with a simple bit of miscommunication, but it grew into a force that changed their lives — because they found that they could just talk to each other, so well.
Their story begins in the spring of 2008; both were single, working parents, and neither was looking to add another duty by throwing a romance into the mix. They had worshipped at the Chicago Church of Christ for years, but did not meet until they both attended a singles' activity. They conversed, Eddie thought AnnMarie was nice, and he asked to take her out for a date.
Eddie was driving a 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona special edition at the time. He has loved sports cars all his life, and this machine was strictly for his own enjoyment, not a tool for picking up ladies. As you'll see in a second, he had other tools at his disposal for if a woman caught his attention — the car was just for him.
AnnMarie, as I'm hoping my pictures have made obvious, is strikingly beautiful, but she's also a mature mother of two teenagers — gentlemen needed to show her a lot more than a muscle car on the first date if they hoped for a second.
But, it had been a while since a guy showed up in one. When Eddie arrived in the kind of machine the boys used to flash for her when she was a little younger, it made AnnMarie feel...younger. Not a car connoisseur, she thought it was a Camaro, or maybe a Mustang — but she remembers to this day that it was orange. For a second, it was exciting to once again watch a guy trying to use a hot car to make a good first impression.
Eddie wasn't; it worked anyway. What came next, however, is what made a lasting impression.
Eddie got out with flowers in one hand and balloons in the other. Like I said, he had plenty tools for impressing a date when he wanted to. These were better than the car: The flowers and balloons reminded AnnMarie of what it was like to have a gentleman, not a guy, trying to win her attention.
It had been years since the last time AnnMarie stopped thinking about her kids for a few minutes and let her guard down.
Moments like this do not come easily for her. AnnMarie is the oldest of three siblings, her family moved from their native Philippines to Chicago when she was 10, and she lost her mother at 13. For her to take her mind off her responsibilities, it takes a moment of real substance.
Eddie gave her that moment.
"I'm feeling like a woman again," AnnMarie said of Eddie's approach.
The couple asked me to include their guests in lots of photos, because they said they wanted their ceremony to be as much about their friends as it was about them. I have hundreds more hugging pictures where these came from.
But, she kept her composure. The car was cute, the flowers and balloons were sweet, and all this had gotten her to relax a little bit, but AnnMarie wasn't about to flip out.
And that was good for Eddie, who since buying the Charger had actually grown weary of women making a big deal out of it. AnnMarie didn't fawn over anything he showed her that night — which made her interesting.
They conversed the whole night — that made her exciting.
"We were able to talk on a very mature level," Eddie said.
"To have a guy talk to me, and to be able to connect, it's like 'Wow, that's nice,'" AnnMarie added.
Nice enough that Eddie earned a second date. And a lot more after that.
And, as it is with any two adults whose fully-developed worlds are coming together, sometimes those worlds intermingled – and sometimes they tangled. Communication got a little more complicated after the first date.
"It's been a journey, up and down," as AnnMarie put it. Eddie put it, of course, in an entirely different way.
"We're very opposite."
The technical term here is 'yumm-o.'
But a teeny bit of miscommunication is what brought them together, and they agree that they've gotten pretty good at understanding each other now.
Adam and Amanda were happy to watch their mother fall in love.