THE ADVENTURE TO COME
Before we had even met, we were both drawn to Vashon Island - a little stitch of land tucked 15 minutes away from West Seattle by ferry boat. I had lived there previously on and off in my early twenties and Brian would catch an early morning boat every chance he had to explore and discover on his bike. Both of us had been searching for a slower paced community in which to plant roots. Vashon Island has it all - a rural, laid back lifestyle that is close enough to the city to maintain our professional careers but far enough to keep us at bay from the bustle. It's where we want to raise our family, plant our dreams and watch them grow.
With your generous contribution, combined with our savings, we hope to purchase a plot of land. On our slice of island pie, we are looking to build a small home efficent in space and energy with room for a growing-family, floral business and future entrepreneurial endeavors. With friends and relatives on both the island as well as the mainland, our home on Vashon Island is central to that which is most important to us - family.
We set up this registry because help in establishing our life together on Vashon Island is truly the most authentic gift we could ask for. We have all we could need to survive and thrive, but are working towards establishing a place on Vashon Island to call home... as The Ericksons.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN...
It was only day two of my first 30 days as a UPS driver. I swung the bar door open and was greeted by the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. Watching her slowly sign her loopy signature, my stare drifted to the sun cutting through her complex hazel eyes. I had to know her name. Not just to clarify her signature in my DIAD, but so I could put a name to those beautiful eyes and gorgeous smile. Her name was Liz.
My heart started beating again as I clumsily left the bar and got back into my truck. I fired up the truck and started driving towards my next stop. I could not stop thinking about that gorgeous smile. I missed stop after stop and made wrong turn after wrong turn. Gathering myself, I got it together enough to finish the day but that smile was never far from my thoughts.
In order to to become a UPS driver, you have to pass a 30 day period where you have to prove you can complete a route in a certain amount of time, all the while not damaging the truck. Essentially I was going through what could be considered a job interview that lasts for 30 days. As soon as my truck left the building, I was under the gun. Delivering packages as fast and safely as possible in order to get under a certain time was the mission for the next 30 days.
Every around the same time in the morning, the route dictated my truck by parked directly across from the bar Liz worked at. The bar wouldn't be open yet, but I'd see her inside setting up. I'd sit there for as long as possible until I could catch a glimpse at her gorgeous smile. Her smile made me smile by default and soon much waving began. Each day that she was working we'd frantically wave and smile at each other like a couple of school kids.
I'd only ever asked what her name was, yet I'd already dreamt of a world where we shared a life. She was already my girl, my best friend, my love. We lived in a small, humble home in a lot in the forest on Vashon Island. I pictured her as the mother of our children. I imagined camping, biking, traveling as a family. I dreamt of all the stages of life and growing old with this woman. Looking into those beautiful eyes every chance I got and doing everything in my power to unfold that gorgeous smile.
Telling myself I was crazy, she's probably got a boyfriend, if not a husband, I was able to focus enough to successfully complete my 30 day probation period. I was now officially a UPS driver. I was also now officially off the training route. No matter how hard I tried to not think about her, or what route they put me on, her smile was burnt into my mind and the desire to know her grew with everyday that passed. Days, weeks, months passed while I begged and groveled to get back onto my first route so I could finally go and ask my dream woman out.
I came into work on a typical Thursday morning and lo and behold I was on my training route again. I wasn't expecting it and completely panicked. I ran the route like normal but was not prepared to see my love again. All I could do was smile and wave. I had a half finished bouquet of flowers fashioned out of old bicycle parts at home and was beating myself up that I had not finished them and brought them to work everyday on the off-chance that this would happen. I wouldn't make that same mistake again.
Staying up until 3 o'clock Friday morning, I finished painting and building the intricate bouquet of spokes and tubes. Put them in a box and brought them to work with me Friday morning. Expecting not to be so fortunate as to get the route again, I hadn't completed the box I wanted to give her. Sure enough, I got lucky and was on the route again. Thinking of how and when I was going to deliver my special package, I could barely focus on my actual task at hand which was doing my job. I was sitting in the West Seattle High School parking lot after a delivery when I decided it was now or never. I lined up my deliveries for the section of California Ave that the bar was on and gathered as much courage as possible.
My driving felt impaired on the way to the bar because the beating of my heart was so loud and rapid. I practically ran inside the bar and let her know I found a package for her. Too nervous to even attempt to gather an unnecessary signature from her I told her she could have the package in exchange for her phone number. Success. I drove by the bar countless times during the remainder of the day to soak up her smiles, excited at the prospect of finally getting to meet the woman I'd spent the better part of four months dreaming about.
That weekend we had our first date. Only fifteen minutes into to our first adventure on the island together and I knew that I wanted nothing else but to spend the rest of my days discovering all life has to offer with the beautiful woman in the window by my side. Summer solstice weekend I made it a reality by asking Liz to marry me at the exact lookout on the island that we shared our first kiss. In less than two months time, on September 26th, we get to return to Vashon Island, our favorite oasis, to make our life official as husband and wife. Life is good.
It was June of 2014 when I had started seeing The Gorgeous UPS Driver around. I had moved Olive and I into our new apartment in the Admiral District of West Seattle and had just started day bartending. I remember the first time I laid eyes on him. He delivered a package to the bar and cooly asked for my signature and name. I not-so-cooly drew a momentary blank, mumbled my name and asked for his in return, not understanding that this was typical UPS protocol and I was just... a little zealous. The connection was instant and I fell hard for a beautiful man I didn't know. It was a good few months of waves, nervous facial twitches you try to blend into a coy smile and getting particularly good at listening for the engine of a big, brown delivery truck. He was a complete mystery to me. I had to know him.
Several months went by until abruptly there was no Gorgeous UPS driver in site. Day in and day out, the UPS truck barreled down the road and the packages kept arriving, but my dream delivery man felt like nothing more than a figment of my imagination. A couple of months trickled by and I couldn't shake the feeling that I just had to know this man. Now, depending on one's perspective, I either reached in all-time low in my dating game, or an all-time high in creative solutions - I reached for Craigslist. Wanted under Missed Connections: "The Gorgeous UPS Driver". Location and situation specified, I mentioned being a mother but unspoken for with a compelling desire to meet him. A couple of months passed since I had posted the ad and the silence stayed a steady tick day in and day out... I put my curiosities aside (as much as I possibly could), patted myself on the back for putting my intentions out there and went back to the grind of mothering and working and building my business olive + pine floral design, all the while being haunted by the absence of the unsolved mystery that was Brian.
The tides changed in early October. It was a Thursday when I heard that truck engine stop across the street from the bar. I was going about my opening duties when I looked up and saw him smiling. My heart dropped and so did my broom. I had kept my number scribbled on a ticket that I kept behind in the bar in hopes for a lucky strike. I thought to myself "Elizabeth, this is your chance". Our paths only rekindled through the window that day, but deliver he did the following afternoon. He glided in, so calm and tall and I almost forgot my name and absolutely forgot the task at hand behind the bar. He handed me a box with my name on it and said he had found it in the back of his truck. I remember the purple pen and his smile... The most beautiful smile I have ever seen and fell so hard for. I took my package behind the bar, patrons eagerly watching both the box and my face (as my crush was old neighborhood news). Inside it was a bouquet of flowers he had fastened, sculpted and painted out of bike parts and nail polish and a note that read "Not a day goes by when I get in my truck and don't think of your gorgeous smile." The tears immediately welled up and I stood behind the bar, on the clock, in stitches of laughter and tears. He was real, he was kind, he was gorgeous AND single.
That weekend we had our first date on Vashon Island. Neither of us realizing it was our favorite slice of the PNW and where we both hoped to make a home one day. 3 months later we combined hopes, dreams, senses of adventure and kitchen gadgets. We were roommates and a blended family in training. 8 rich months later we returned to that very spot and became partners for life as lovers to wed. On September 26th we will be returning to that island and leaving it (for now) as husband and (luckiest) wife. The Universe delivered!