A respect for differences

JUST MARRIED

Carmen Amyot And David Brown

March 17, 2002|By Sandy Alexander | By Sandy Alexander,Sun Staff

Carmen Amyot and David Brown say their relationship is a case of opposites attracting. She is sunny and outgoing, and he has a sarcastic sense of humor. She is more emotional, he is more reserved. She grew up with siblings and he is an only child.

When they accept their differences, David says, "that's when we appreciate each other more."

The couple met when they were working at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a center for children with disabilities in Baltimore. Carmen coordinated therapeutic foster care and David was a recreation specialist. On Valentine's Day in 1996, David sent Carmen flowers and an anonymous note, but she found out the source and approached him about it.

They went out to dinner, and Carmen was not sure the relationship would go any further. But that weekend, David called her while on a trip to New York and asked if she would spend the next day with him. She agreed. He drove back to Baltimore, and a warm March day at the Inner Harbor was the start of their romance.

Carmen, who grew up in Vermont and earned her master's degree in social work at Rutgers University, had just moved to the Baltimore area in 1995. David, from Northwood, had recently returned from living in New York. They spent time exploring the city, taking care of a dog Carmen adopted and building a circle of friends.

"What attracted me the most is how he related to kids," says Carmen, 35. She was also impressed with David's dedication and caring for his family, particularly while his father was ill.

But family obligations, differing personalities and other stresses were difficult on the relationship. They separated a number of times, but their friends encouraged them to get back together.

"They showed us how good we were for each other," says Carmen.

In 2000, at a party for his 30th birthday, David proposed to Carmen by having his fraternity brothers sing a romantic song from the movie The Wedding Singer.

They began planning a wedding, but four months later, David realized he was not ready for marriage and called off the engagement.

"It was ... three or four months before I could speak to him on a regular basis," says Carmen, who was angry and disappointed. But they did start speaking again, and then dating again. Last November, they agreed it was time to get married.

They exchanged vows March 9 at Emmanuel Reformed Episcopal Church, a few blocks from their Mayfield home. Friends helped out with hairdressing, flowers and photography, and Carmen's brother Eric sang. Dinner and dancing followed at the Cloisters in Brooklandville.

Carmen is chief operating officer for Board of Childcare, a nonprofit social-services organization in Randallstown. David is a senior teaching specialist at New Foundations, a special-education school in Baltimore.

When they return from a honeymoon to Palm Springs, Calif., the Bahamas and Disney World, they say they have to make some decisions about their future. David plans to finish his master's degree in social work at Coppin State College this summer, and Carmen says they "won't wait that long" to start a family.

And while they will never be just like each other, they have found happiness by respecting their differences.

"Now it's just enjoying each other," Carmen says.

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