Updated: Aug 11
Friday the 13th, 28 years ago I made the BEST decision of my life.
People thought we were crazy, some even thought it wouldn't last longer than a few weeks.
The first time we met, I opened my door to find him fixing my dresser drawers! 😂 After that we had only talked to each other briefly a few times over the next many months. I had seen him plowing snow, calking windows, painting walls...I admired his integrity.
One day, I was unintentionally (TRUTH 💯) walking past as he was working. I got half way down the steps to the cafeteria when I heard, "Hey Jeanie!" I turned around and looked up, surprised at his cute, goofy grin. He continued, "I dream of you!" 😳
I didn't know what to say! All my life before, OLDER men would sing "I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair" when they heard my name. It was always a funny...THING. But I didn't know what to make of the twist PS directed at me!
Back to the future in 1993.. that following summer after I returned to campus from a 6-week Let's Start Talking mission in Germany I learned that my parents had separated. (Actually I dreamed this while in Germany and found out it had come true when I returned!) I was depressed and afraid. I didn't know where I was going to go on college breaks. My parent's home had burned down right before I left for college. Dad now lived in a shack that was supposed to be the new home. Mom lived with her sister.
I sent an application to Harding University to transfer and study teaching, but I didn't really want to be a teacher. Maybe teaching kindergarten would be fun- joke on me now: I'm teaching 4 of them at the same time! I just thought it would give me another place to go when I graduated in a year with my Associate in Arts degree.
I settled in to a maintenance job on campus, and occasionally babysitting 3 sweet little boys. Sometimes I watched the Church softball games with them while their daddy played. PS was also on the team. A couple of times he joined us on the picnic blanket since he was also a friend of their family.
A good friend noticed I was bored, I think, and drove me to Meijer in his truck. I must have decided not to buy anything because when we got back to campus I didn't have anything to carry when little Andrew yelled my name and asked if I wanted to see his new bike. Of course I did! He showed me very quickly and then his mom got him to bring me inside. Guess who was there?! And the conversation turned to marriage and future kids. Hmm... I said 6, PS said 7!
I felt incredibly alone as I walked back to my dorm that night. I found myself on my face praying to God after tearing up my list of possibilities. I could feel myself becoming interested in PS and I was afraid. I tried to push my feelings back, knowing that I could not choose a future husband myself after all my mistakes. I also didn't want to end up like my parents. I asked God to choose for me, SOON, or else please prepare me to be single because it's really, really lonely.
One day some friends gathered to go see a movie. My pretty blond friend had 6 tickets available since she worked at the theater. We needed one more. As we sat in the car wondering who we could ask I looked out the window and saw PS walking in his bare feet on the grass. I LOVED walking barefoot in the grass. I pointed him out to my friends and they agreed I should ask him.
After I got back in the car we waited for like 15 minutes for him to join us!! He had to shower and shave first!! LOL! The movie was Jurassic Park, and yes, he did sit next to me, and whispered warnings whenever a scary part was about to happen. I can hear you laughing, but seriously, I don't just watch movies, I am IN them!
Ok, yes, the attraction was growing. Mutually! I made tacos one night in the basement of the girls dorm and invited several friends, including PS. He was not able to make it because of his side job, cutting grass, so I saved him some for later. That night we talked as he ate, and then we talked for several more hours! If anyone had been supervising I'm sure he would have been kicked out since it was WAY past curfew, and this was the girls' dorm. But it was summer time, so..
What did we talk about? Pretty much all our secrets. We both decided on laying it all out on the table. Each of us had already been through enough hurt, so we agreed that if our pasts were enough to scare each other away, then we would get that over with immediately. Instead of being turned OFF of one another, we enjoyed our time together so much that we had another taco night and long conversation soon after, and then he invited me to ride with him to church. We shared a songbook and didn't notice friends behind us watching! Then he invited me to lunch. His parents were coming! What?! We were not officially even dating, but I was about to meet his parents! Well, ok.. the cafeteria was closed, so..
I LOVED PS's parents so much! His dad shared his food, and even ate whatever I didn't want on my plate. They laughed, chatted, and treated me like family. I felt like I BELONGED. That night I called my mom to tell her about PS and his family. It suddenly occurred to me and I spoke it out loud, "I'm going to marry him!"
Normally whenever I told my mom about a boy I was interested in she would say, "don't fall in love with him.." I would roll my eyes on the other end of the phone and think she doesn't know him anyway, but she was always right. THIS time, though, she said, "OK." All I could do was laugh nervously. I could hardly believe what had just come out of my mouth, and that my mom was immediately on board - and he hadn't even asked me to be his girlfriend! hahahaha! Craziness.
After that night, though, we were together as often as possible. We ate food together - I was never able to eat in front of previous boyfriends. We even "fought" over chocolate. I laughed hysterically to tears during the first movie we went to alone, Rookie of the Year. Without a doubt, I was completely myself, and he was gentle, kind, accepting and encouraging. I would think of important things to talk about all day at work and pray about them, and then as soon as PS met me later, the first things he would mention were the very things I had prayed about. I lost count on how many times that happened.
So, basic timeline - About the 3rd week of July, 1993 is when that conversation happened about the number of kids we wanted. By August we knew we were meant to be together. He didn't get down on one knee to propose at some fancy restaurant or scenic location with a photographer hiding behind a tree. We sat in his Dodge truck under the light beside the girls dorm. It was already curfew but we weren't done talking. YES, talking!! LOL!
The security guard chatted with us a bit and said he would do another round and then lock up the dorm. I can't remember the details of our conversation, but at the end of it we had agreed on everything. PS said, "I think we should get married then." I AGREED, "OK". Spring would be the start of grass cutting for his business so we decided on the end of first semester to give ourselves more time for a honeymoon.
Since there was no ring, we went shopping together and found very simple ones for each of us. The importance was not on the size of the diamond, but on the meaning of the rings themselves. That we belonged to each other and would remain committed to one another until death.
The day we went shopping for our rings was Friday, August 13, 1993. Exactly 28 years from today.
Now you can throw out all superstitions about bad luck. As you have now read, Friday the 13th is a day the Lord blessed!
We were married 4 months later right after my final exams! I guess we lasted more than just a few weeks. ;D
Here is the photo my Mother in Law took of the two of us after lunch that first time I met her and Dad for lunch. I found out later the lunch planning happened on the phone something like this:
Mom: We're coming to visit and take you out for lunch on Sunday after Church
PS: Can I bring a friend?
Mom: Is it a girl?
PS: Yes, we're just friends, but she's pretty
Mom: We look forward to meeting her! (secretly "I'm bringing my camera")