Audrey and I were introduced in October of 2012. My secretary was desperate for me to have a girlfriend, so she asked a co-worker whether she knew any available lesbians. My co-worker said no, but that she knows people; I quit listening at this point because I didn’t figure this would go anywhere. However, my co-worker talked to a friend of hers, who said she knew this really great single lesbian. They helped us connect, on Facebook of course, and we had our first date October 10, 2012. The date (at Molly’s) went great, there was a second date, then a third, and we became official girlfriends Nov.14, 2012 (this date is important).
Over the course of the next two years we did the things most couples do: lots of dates, lots of time as a family with the two kids (Carnes, now 10, and Kathryn, now 8), vacations together, grocery store trips, bought a car, meeting and then introducing our families. We moved in together in July of 2013 – I moved into the apartment with her and her two children (and my two cats and dog, plus her cat). In May 2014 we got our first pet together – a stray kitten we found in Pensacola – aptly named Cola (he is all black). At this point we’re up to two adults, two kids, one dog (a jack russell) and four cats living together in a one-bedroom apartment. Things started to feel a bit tight, so we started thinking about getting a bigger place. After a few months we got really serious about it, and in November 2014 we bought a house together, a beautiful 3-bedroom Dutch Colonial in Midtown. We also got engaged on November 14, 2014 in New Orleans (that date look familiar?)
When we got engaged it was with the idea that we would wait until same-sex marriage was legal in Tennessee before we actually tied the knot. We hoped we wouldn’t have too long to wait, and were very happy when the Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that yes, we can get married. We plan to get married Nov. 14 2015 (there’s that date again), exactly three years since we became official and one year since we became engaged. We are going to get married in one of the chapels at Rhodes College. We both attended Rhodes, but because we graduated five years apart we never actually knew each other then. We’ve enjoyed a number of events at Rhodes as a couple and as a family, and since it has been a really important place to both of us, but largely separately, we want to marry there to tie that back to something really important that we share. The ceremony will be with family and close friends.
We were recently asked what is something that we look forward to when we are married. The reality is that not a lot will change dramatically – we’ve lived together over two years and own a house, and for several years now our lives have very much functioned as a couple and as a family. So we’ll continue to do all of the fun as well as mundane things that families do. But it will be great having all of the 1173 legal rights and protections afforded by marriage, that we as a community have fought so long and so hard to achieve. Also, as simple as it may sound, I cannot wait to call Audrey my wife!
Katherine R. Hiestand, Ph.D.