The Story of Us: Intro
The very first time I saw that face I both wanted to punch him and kiss him. I did neither. Although. With that grin? I’m not entirely sure that he would have minded either…or both. He stood in his worn “Kansas” sweatshirt, staring off the balcony, watching me drive in, teasing me. I’d been lost and driving for a couple hours and was about to pee my pants for wanting to finally meet him! I. had. no. patience.
And then – that smile, mischievous and warm. His pale blue eyes, almost turquoise, grinned more than his mouth. I parked and walked up to him, unsure of my footing for the jitters I had inside. The ocean breeze swept by us both and I’m not sure it’s ever let go.
We were pen-pals before we’d ever met. Our meeting was perhaps as random as it was far-fetched. Or not. Different areas of the country, different careers, no common denominators, except one. (Thanks for the intro, cousin!) We’d been writing for a month when we met. I think I jumped out of my chair when I first found out that he’d be in Florida. I said, “maybe” when he asked if I’d come see him. Maybe. I had gooseflesh all over. I wasn’t going to go out of my way to meet this guy, or was I? I didn’t sleep that night.
To describe our dating days, I think I need to look up every synonym for electric. Sleeping, eating, everything was up-ended. I remember nothing so much as the buzzing giddiness that I felt, all the time. It was the most torturous and lovely time of my life. We fell hard and before I knew it, the pieces of our lives were rapidly rearranging themselves with the speed of embryonic cells, splitting, merging, replicating, a mess of the old becoming the new.
I got his first email in Janurary 2005. The first sentence made me laugh aloud in my tiny pink apartment in Jacksonville.
I already was on alert that this homeschooled-bad-ass would write, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. How could anyone fit that bill? Anyone? He’d just be another guy. …another guy I’d need to push away. I had my defenses ready. But he came in a door that I didn’t know I had. “Hi, I’m 6’2.”
Really? Who does that?! Who introduces himself like that?
And just like that, prayers I’d uttered since my teens, were being heard, their answer grabbing hold of me wether I was ready or not.
Within seven months of meeting, I’d be his wife, throwing a stick of butter his way in the kitchen. He ducked.
Thankfully he didn’t only talk about his height! We discussed favorite books, beliefs, our histories. I knew his mind before I ever saw his 6’1″ frame.
Our wedding night he leaned over and whispered in my ear, calling me his wife. Beneath our booth at dinner, he ran a hand up my leg. I promplty slapped it. “I’m not your wife yet! You can’t call me that! What are you doing?!”
“But you are.” And I was.
Buried in the logistics of his upcoming time away, a move, a new job and wedding planning, I had not taken time to notice that we were pretty much accidentally eloping. But this…this is a thoroughly ridiculous chapter all to itself. The whole wedding thing takes a little explaining.
We wed in a jail. It’s not likely to be whatever crazy thought you might have. Neither of us have been incarcerated or have a prison ministry.
Our honeymoon was hillariously awful. (Just plain awful at the time.) The whole thing was thwarted in more than a few ways.
We thought I might be sterile. (Despite the time John had to spend away for work, we quickly learned that I wasn’t.)
Just before our first anniversary, our son’s story began. Perfect and cherished, he was born without issue, and yet he was robbed. The most basic of newborn medical care was neglected. At 9-days-old our boy, was simply robbed of his abilities to eat, speak, sit, stand, hear, sleep, while being left with a very bright mind inside.
That night in the hospital, the tears nearly swallowed our faces. As we waited for the elevator to the ICU, the nurse clumsily told us that it was good that we didn’t have any other children. I know what she meant, how she meant it well. But her words? The thought? All the air went out of me. There would be no other children, not with this broadsword over our heads.
But there were. There are. 2 girls. Curly haired and vivacious, they fill our lives with more spirit than we can handle and they indeed are a part of our cup flowing over. 3 kids in a little over four years. My body might still be recovering. But they are getting older, much too fast.
There are days when I crumble, and where I have little enough oxygen for myself, let alone my love. And there are days and moments when those baby blues still capture me, where I remember how we’ve been reconstructed as one.
Our story, it’s not a sad one. Sadness is only one flavor in a much larger, very savory, dish. On the pages, or rather in them, we cry and we laugh, and we live…between botched plans and broken expectations we have found life, a very full life with some strong flavors.