In keeping with the theme of reflecting on last year, I want to tell you about this night last year.
I don't think this story has been told on my blog, so I will take the chance to let you know. Last year Kate Marie (Miss DC) worked some recon and decided I needed to meet her boyfriend's brother because she thought we would totally hit it off. She was thinking boyfriend at the time I was thinking friend.
So, on this mission of hers, she strategized a plan where she would bring her crew over to my Halloween party. Ironically I went to high school and college with some of Steve (her boyfriend's) friends. I met Paul whom I made fun of for having a store (slash worse ... online!) purchased costume when he came over ... and then later in the night I tried on my roller blades for him and showed him my skills (non-existent) in my pint sized Manhattan apartment.
We communicated and went on our first date a few weeks later. Most know that the couple of months leading up to Miss America are at the very least insane. Paul works in investment banking ... and his days are always as busy as mine were those couple of months. But in between all of that we found time to hang out. He would literally come over from 1-3am and we would chat, I would giggle, go to sleep and go to 645am Bikram yoga.
I'll never forget the morning of my Miss America send-off party, 5 days before I left for Miss America, when he asked me if there was anything he could do to help. After some thought I said no ... all I had was a lot of laundry. Otherwise that day I was going to 4 hours of mock interviews, tanning, going to the gym, getting a haircut in my apartment by my dear friend Jay, and then Jay and Paul were going to head to the party with me. So he insisted on taking my laundry in my overstuffed pink Vera Bradley duffel home with him. He returned that night with my duffel and stacks of clean laundry.
I was done for.
So the morning I left for Miss America he came over, stuffed a card in my carry-on advising me I couldn't open in until Vegas, walked to Starbucks got me a huge latte, and carried my 3 overweight suitcases down my 4 flights of stairs.
I mean, I really can't make this stuff up people.
He came out to Vegas on Friday morning (after nearly missing his flight because he had unknowingly turned off his phone due to the influx of texts from family and friends about my ss win ... including a photo from his Aunt Karen of me giving him a HUGE thumbs-up) and met my family for the first time at our gala that evening.
His mom, Mrs. Sig, met my parents inadvertently in the lobby of Planet Hollywood before either of us had met the respective family. Embarrassingly enough I'm sure it's not hard to miss MY FACE ON A SWEATSHIRT. (Or my dad's cowboy boots for that matter .... worn with his tuxedo on final night hoping they would be photographed with me as Miss America.)
We danced, he met all of my dear girlfriends, and then all of the contestants were escorted by security and hostesses back to our rooms. Miss CA, Jackie, was my roommate last year. She was also known as my twin. Her boyfriend Robbie was also in attendance and had come that night to the gala. So when we were washing our faces at our sinks ... looking at each other through our parallel mirrors she asked me if Paul was my boyfriend. I reminded her, since we had already discussed this, that Paul and I hardly had any time to talk about that. With a sly little grin on her face she then informed me Paul had told Robbie that he was my boyfriend that night.
All I could think about that night was 1) the amazing over-stuffed cookie box from Mrs Fields that Jacqueline Cook, a former Miss VA had sent me ... that had been torn into by moi ... and I wanted more AND 2) !!!!!!!!!.
I went to bed that night so excited that Paul was my boyfriend. It sounds so silly. But think about it. I was a 23 year old girl head over heels for him. It put everything into perspective. Yes, winning that prelim was awesome, and ultimately being in the 5 was awesome I was legitimately excited about what awaited me at home if I didn't win. In 5 years, or even next year, and actually now, winning ss and placing in the 5 is miniscule in comparison to what I want to achieve and the time I want to spend with all of the people that I love. And that would include Paul and the whole Sigfusson/Bere clan.
PS: Paul is going to be extremely embarrassed I wrote this. I'm in trouble.