At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, I have now known him for almost half my life. I was fifteen and a sophomore in high school the first time I saw him. I was young, impressionable, and interested in many things. He was funny, older, and involved in leadership at the church.
The Assembly of God church is where I found him. Wednesday night Youth Group. Sunday morning services. Friday night bike rides around town. Our circle of friends became smaller and smaller. Somebody I barely new became the person I couldn't wait to see.
My high school English teacher, Mrs. Keeley, threw a fit. He's too old for you! Stop it right now! No, you may not email him on my computer! By that time, I was a senior and a teacher's aide in her class. Fancy way of saying that I got credit for grading her papers, except I never graded papers for her. Instead I sat in the back on her computer during 1st hour and emailed Matt. I'm sure she was worried. I mean, who wouldn't be? 18 years old and playing with fire. He was 25 at the time and by then we were more than just friends.
I went to college the next fall. He stayed home. As a freshman at KU, I partied hard. I clearly remember the incredible feeling of freedom. Nobody cared what I did. Nobody watched to see if I went to class. I didn't have to leave a note or call. I didn't have to hide and I had nothing to lose. My perfect, sheltered life expanded. Meanwhile, he took a back seat and watched. He let me make a few mistakes.
Mistakes that could have changed my entire future and cost me everything.
By the spring of my freshman year, I was much smarter. I was aware that I almost lost him and insisted that he come back to Lawrence with me. So he did. My sophomore year, he moved into a tiny, tiny apartment in Lawrence. After a night out with friends, he would come pick me up. He took me to class in the morning. I took him to Alpha Delta Pi date parties. We ate out, watched movies, and spent all our time together.
I didn't think it would happen. My sister is 11 years older than me. She was married and couldn't have a baby, despite the fact that she wanted one. My Mom had a terrible time. She spent her whole life trying and lost four babies. We were careless and immature and completely indifferent.
So it makes perfect sense that it would happen. He moved to Lawrence in August. I was pregnant by November. Simon was born in July. We married in August.
Thirteen years ago, I met the man that I would marry. The man who is kind, forgiving, and so incredibly (and sometimes annoyingly) patient. He doesn't hold grudges. He works harder than most and he loves me. He really, really loves me.
I am so lucky.
13 down, 17 to go. Almost half way!