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Meeting Michael

It’s June of 2013 on a hot summer day and I’m a lifeguard with my best friend Kali. We pull up to the pool and do our duties as lifeguards. Helping at the concession stand, being professional wasp killers, cleaning the bathrooms, and watching wild kids have the time of their lives! There might have been some gossiping going on between me and my bestie about our college life “problems”, too. Then after our day was done our amazing bosses, Madi and Stevi, invited some friends over to the pool. I see Matt and his friend pull up and walk down the stairs together and I’m thinking in my head “wow.. who is this friend of Matt’s?!” Now, keep in mind, I knew a lot of the friends they invited over to hang at the pool because they were mine, too, except for one. One I had never met but heard of. One that was the hottest MAN I had ever seen in my life. One I might have been avoiding because I was afraid I would say something stupid.. which happens often to a blonde like me! THE ONE that was walking in with Matt. So, like I mentioned, I was trying to avoid this no name man with dark brown hair, so I was sitting on the edge of the pool watching a couple of kids that would always hangout after closing time. I knew these two kids could swim and they were the only two in this 135′ x 60′ community pool but I was giving them my full attention as if they had never swam a day in their life. All to avoid who I didn’t know was going to be my future. As I’m sitting there pretending these kids can’t swim someone comes up beside me and says in a deep manly voice “Hey, Taylor, I’m Michael.” He knows my name?! I remember this moment like it was yesterday. I look up at him.. in slow motion it felt like. Starting at his feet all the way to his dark blue eyes with a small hint of green in them. I MELT. First off, I’m in trouble because blue eyes are my weakness and second, I have never seen a man this hot in my life and he has his hand out ready to SHAKE MINE?! A true gentleman is what I was thinking. Well, honestly I was thinking a lot of different things. Little did I know in that moment that my prayers were being answered. Slowly but surely. I had no idea though because there is no way that someone like Michael Vanlandingham would be interested in someone like me. Some immature chick that’s 4 1/2 years younger than him. He was graduated with a job and I was hardly in college. I know, it seems like I had zero self confidence but honestly you’re right. I didn’t. Almost every girl knows after getting cheated on your self worth goes out the window. You feel like you don’t deserve anything good so there is no way he would like me! No way. After we met, everyone got in the pool and played water football. Somehow I got the ball and Michael dunked me in the water. You know those girls that look so breathtakingly beautiful coming out of the water with their makeup perfectly in tact, water slowly dripping off of their lush lashes? Yeah, that’s not me. I’m like the kids that go underwater and come up looking like some form of George Washington who had been crying for a week straight. Considering the amount of mascara I was wearing at the time. I guess that look really did it for him though. I like to tease Michael and say he was crushing on all my other friends but he backs it up with “I dunked you in the water FIRST didn’t I?!” while laughing. It’s fine because all my other friends are hot and 10 times nicer than me and I would dig them, too, if I were a dude! Although it seems like we could have fallen in love right then and there that’s unfortunately not what happened. I was drowning in boy problems at the time and he was pretty fresh out of a long term relationship. Not too fresh, but enough that I knew he more than likely was carrying at least a small amount of feelings for her still. Whether he knew it or not and I completely understood. After leaving the pool we all went our separate ways and went about our lives. I started college in Tulsa pursuing my dream job of being an ultrasound tech while Michael kept with his job in Seminole. We were both talking to other people but we had one thing that kept us together which I guess was unseeable for us at the time.. the same friends. They are the key to our story. The invisible magnet that had us coming back together again and again.

In March of 2014 Michael got my snapchat and started snapping me. I snapped a lot of people so this didn’t mean anything to me or him for that matter. Snap chatting in 2014 was just the college kids way of communicating, it meant nothing. Somehow I got invited to hang out with Matt, Justin and Michael to go the OU basketball game during the March ice storm. After that we grabbed some food at BJ’s, then hit up Dave and Busters. They were all older and could get drinks at the bar. I remember thinking “wow.. it’s kind of great hanging out with older boys.” There was less drama and more fun. Don’t get me wrong, I liked boy drama and initiated a lot of it. I had been consumed with boy drama all throughout high school. It’s all I knew. I’m the girl that liked the same boy from second grade all through 6th. So yeah, I was boy crazy to say the least. I was also in the middle of being hurt and hurting others time and time again and needing to grow up. I felt like I was in the right place with them. Michael didn’t know it at the time but I loved seeing him sitting at that Dave & Busters machine with his red OU shirt, dark blue jeans and brown boots with a huge smile on his face while laughing with friends. I knew he wasn’t a country boy but something about seeing that man in boots. I just kept on keeping on though because I was talking to someone else. Not serious but still. I knew I shouldn’t let him know how I was feeling because deep down, I was scared he was feeling the same way and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. Although my prayer since high school was to meet the man of my dreams early and have all my children by 25 (very specific prayer, I’m aware), I was only 19 at the time. I was scared of commitment even though I wanted someone to commit to me. Looking back, it’s like I was fighting fate. The boys were done playing at D&B’s and they took me back to Kali’s dorm room. Kali asked how it went and I told her “it was fun”. That’s all I said because that’s what it was. Fun. It felt innocent. I didn’t feel like they wanted to hang with me for any specific reason. I didn’t feel like I was being judged in a good or bad way. It was genuinely a fun time. I wasn’t used to that. Hanging out with boys and not feeling the need to impress them. Looking back it’s kind of sad that I ever felt that way but it’s true. Michael and I kept snap chatting after that day but April rolls around and he ended up getting my number. I was still talking to the same guy I was previously talking to the month before but I just KNEW Michael didn’t like me like that so I went with it and we text back and forth often as friends. After a month went by of us texting DAILY I realized maybe he did like me after all so I had the bright idea to text him about my boy drama, of course! Because that’s the smart thing to do when someone possibly likes you…. totally kidding, don’t do that. Sitting at my sisters barrel race that night I messaged Michael about this random guy I was talking to. I confided in him about the “problems” we were having to see how he would react. I could tell he was taken back by my questions and thought to myself “yeah, pretty sure he likes me after all”. I still couldn’t tell 100% because his pride wouldn’t let it show completely. I’ve always been really good at reading people though so I would say I was about 99.7% sure. While I was texting him about all of this he was with a college friend in Austin. I didn’t let him know, but I was feeling uneasy thinking about two guys eating dinner together because I knew what came after dinner. Drinks at the bar, and with a hottie like Michael, I knew he could get any girl he wanted. Plus, I just made him feel like I wasn’t interested in him at all considering I was talking to him about another guy. He’s fair game with all the 6th Street Sally’s out there all because of me and I wasn’t crazy about. I had no right to feel this way though, I’m aware of that. We were just friends. I had a whole other mess of drama in Oklahoma I needed to handle anyway.

<MAY> A lot of things happened in May of 2014. Michael and I were still texting constantly but hadn’t told each other how we felt at this point in our story. I knew where this was going though. I knew he was going to be my last relationship. Like I mentioned before, I had been praying for someone like Michael for so long that I could truly see God was working now. He had been working the whole time but my eyes were fixed on other things that I was blinded to His work. Now my eyes and heart were open to the thought of starting a new relationship with Michael. I needed to say goodbye to my past though, so that’s what I did. I said goodbye and let go. All because I knew deep down things were going to change for me. I was no longer going to be in this love triangle I had been in for years. I needed to do some changing myself to make this work. I was not about to mess this one up. This was my future now. He was it. Dramatic I know, but true. I met Kali at Cazadorez for dinner one night and told her how I was truly feeling about Michael. She said “Good. He won’t put up with your crap.” If you know Kali, she’s brutally honest but that’s all I needed. The approval of my best friend. I got invited by Michael to go to the movies with him and some friends of his. It was the movie Neighbors, I believe. On the drive home to Seminole, Michael and I were sitting in the back seat of the truck. He was in the middle and I was sitting on the right side of him. We took Earlsboro exit off of I-40 and started on the Highway. Matt was driving when suddenly we took a sharp turn. That sharp turn was the beginning of our story. I can still play it in my head. It all happened in slow motion it seemed like, but maybe that’s because this whole story was in slow motion. It took us forever to get to this point. 11 months to be exact. As we were taking this sharp turn, Michael leaned over and SOMEHOW his hand fell into mine. “This is it”, I told myself. I knew in that moment that my last name was going to be Vanlandingham one day. We spent the rest of the month hanging out together but we were not “official” yet. At the very end of May we were sitting in a hot tub across from each other. He looks over at me with those dark blue eyes, with a hint of green, and asks “Will you be all mine?”. I look back at him with a huge smile and say “Yes, yes I will”.

The rest is history.

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Aug 24, 2023


I love this!!

Thanks for sharing💕


Aug 23, 2023

Love this love story and remember a bit of it. Sons don’t tell their Moms much. At least mine doesn’t! ❤️👏🏼🙏🏼

Taylor Jo
Taylor Jo
Aug 23, 2023
Replying to

Thank you & I’ll tell you for him 🤣🥰

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m a stay at home mom, married to the love of my life, doing my best to raise 4 wild kids. This is me, living in the life I’ve prayed for. Pure chaos and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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