Friday, August 10, 2007

17 Years Ago Today...

I met my husband! My friend's fiance was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, and she was frantic about the Kuwait crisis, and the possibility of him deploying. She decided, on the spur of the moment, to drive from our hometown in Michigan down to North Carolina. I had just quit my summer job, had some time on my hands before starting back at college, and thought that in her panicked state she shouldn't drive all that way by herself. So, I went with her. We left at 4am, and drove for about 13 hours. Fun, fun. All I wanted to do when we got there was collapse in a sodden heap and sleep for the weekend, read my book - I figured I'd be holed up in the hotel room while my friends spent some quality time together. We were there with said friend's fiance not 5 minutes when he said, "So, we're going out to dinner in about 10 minutes - hope you don't mind, Jen, but I set you up with a friend of mine..." I was SO not thrilled. I was definitely NOT feeling up to a blind date - any date at all, in fact. I'd sworn off men earlier that summer. In fact, the weekend prior to this I sat on our deck with my mom and gave her this big song and dance about how she better get used to the fact that she would never be a grandma, cuz there was no way I was ever getting married. If she had wanted grandchildren, she should have had more kids, cuz they just weren't going to come from me...You can imagine how dramatic I was at 19 years old! ;-) Anyway, I tried to get out of this blind date, but escape was not to be had and I soon found myself in a dark, dank corrider of a Fort Bragg barracks. It smelled of stale beer, pizza, and sweaty socks. I felt SO out of my element. I went to Smith, genteel women's college, after all - this bastion of maleness was NOT my thing. Friend's fiance knocked on a door, and a voice called out, "Just a minute!" Dh now tells me that HE didn't want any blind dates, either, and when he got the call from friend's fiance, he made arrangements to go out with another friend of his that night and was trying to get ready and get out the door before we showed up. So there I stood in this dark, smelly hallway, and then a man answered the door. He wore nothing but jeans and had the most gorgeous, muscular chest I'd ever seen. And, right at that very moment - I KNEW. I don't know how I knew, but I KNEW. It was, literally, love at first sight. Dh says it was love at first clear sight - he had to go back in and put his glasses on, and when he turned around and saw me, HE knew, too. We went out to dinner at a tacky Mexican place, had a great time. He had to get up halfway through dinner and use the restaurant phone (this was before cell phones, remember!) to call back to base. He was on a 2 hour "leash", and had to call in every 2 hours to make sure he didn't have orders to deploy. It was all very surreal, being there as the whole base prepared for war in the Middle East (the First Gulf War). But, when we were together, we had a *great* time. I was just immediately comfortable with him in a way I'm usually not with people at first. Not only was he gorgeous, but he was super-smart, kind, respectful, funny - just unlike any guy I had ever met. We saw each other one other time that weekend, and when I got home, I wrote in my journal that I had met the man I was going to marry.

He got deployed a few days after we left NC. I heard rumors that he had asked for my address, but I didn't get a letter from him for weeks. I finally decided to ask for HIS address and wrote him. We wrote letters all through the 8 1/2 months he was over in the war. We still have most of them! I was able to meet his plane when he came home - we actually have a picture of our first kiss! A year later, we eloped (and seven years later had our marriage blessed when we found our faith).

In our 15 1/2 years of marriage, we've had 4 kids, we've been richer and poorer (mostly poorer), we've had health and sickness (serious sickness), we've had better times and worse times. It has been an amazing, wonderful life together. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Love you, honey! So glad you answered the door that day, 17 years ago!

***See dh's blog for HIS version of what happened 17 years ago....

4 comments:

Megan said...

What a great story! You swore off men and now you live in a house full of them! If you want to hit some cheesy mexican place tonight, we'll take the boys!

Sarah said...

Such a cute story. My husband and I have a cute story too (we fell in love on a dare actually). Maybe we can get together sometime when the weather is cooler!

Shelly said...

Thanks for sharing your awesome story, Jen! God's Hand at work...

Kelly said...

What a fantastic story! Happy Anniversary Jen!