WOW! It doesn’t seem possible but six years ago today, I married my amazing hubby. For those of you who know our story, sorry for the repeat but it is a true tale of unconditional love which lasted over time.
Rob and I dated the summer BEFORE high school – I was from OTHS and he was from Neptune. A strange mix during those years, I mean our schools were rivals. He walked into my house with a friend of the family and our eyes met. The rest was history. There are some pictures which along with some stories have helped me to remember.
Opposite schools, different backgrounds – not a great match. I caved under peer pressure and the desire to fit in my first year in HS. We broke up and never spoke again. He went his way and I went mine.
In July 2001, I received a note in the mail from him. He said after a year of searching, this was his last attempt to connect with me. The search for me started because of a roadside memorial said “HOPE”. He wanted to make sure it wasn’t me. The easy thing would have been to reach out to my dad but who does things the easy way, right?
When I saw the note, I smiled but then there was a look of amazement across my face. Belinda was like Who is this? Tell me more? She had no idea who he was nor did she know much about my high school days so she was curious.
I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I was content for it to be “Belinda and I” (or you and me kid) till she went to college. Little did I know, God had other plans for us. Rob and I emailed for over 3 months sharing all aspects of our life. I shared tales of my past as did he. We connected but I never let him believe we would be anything more than friends – I wasn’t interested. My heart was opening up but “love” just didn’t seem to be in the cards.
On October 12, 2001 after working the midnight shift, Rob drove to EHT to spend the day with me at a craft show. Yes, a craft show. He knew I would be there all day and it didn’t matter. He walked in the door and our eyes met – my heart skipped a beat. NOPE! I wasn’t looking for a relationship. The day was busy with lots of kids, I was making American Girl doll clothes back then. At the end of the day, he helped me pack up everything and we went back to my house for dinner. Belinda was spending the day with friends so we spend hours talking and reconnecting. He showed me a picture of me from the summer we dated which he kept all of those years. It was the first of many trips Rob would make to EHT over the next 5 years. He traveled to EHT to spend his days off with us every week. He traveled to cheering competitions, sat through practices, and went to craft shows.
One year later, at Christmas, Rob proposed and I accepted! Yes, we were engaged for almost 9 years before we got married. He was concerned about Belinda. He didn’t want to change her life as she was in high school – a competitive cheerleader, active in church and EHT was the only home she had ever known. They had their ups and downs. This was the first man in her life besides my dad and her best friend’s dad. He would give her the world. She is the daughter he never had.
When Belinda left for college, I sold our home in EHT and moved to Brick. Not an easy move for me, Miss Independent. I had been in my own home for about 20 plus years and had built a life there. Once Belinda became a resident of North Carolina and was in her final year of college – the wedding date was set. I was calm and just thought it would be a routine kind of thing. I mean could a piece of paper and a ceremony really make a difference?
I was a nervous. Why? It was a simple ceremony with a few close friends and family. As my dad started to walk me down the aisle, the reality hit. This was really happening – I was getting married. I almost passed out walking down the aisle and the pictures show the slight look of panic. It passed as I saw Rob, just as nervous standing with Pastor and Belinda smiling at me. It was an amazing day – the weather was beautiful, our families were there and we got to celebrate with those who mean the most to us.
I wouldn’t change a minute of the last 16 years. We have had our rough spots but we have worked through them. Health issues about the last few years have taken a toll on both of us. Rob’s unconditional love has helped me to grow as a wife, a mom and a person. We are definitely opposites but we do compliment each other – opposites attract, right?
Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, my hubby. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!