My Life With You

I was standing behind the teller station at the bank in a denim quarter length skirt, a blue button up shirt with a vest over top. My hair was down past my butt and newly permed. I had just gotten a new pair of fashion eyeglass frames – that I was rocking.

He walked in, his aunt walked across the foyer to hug him and send him over to the desk to open a new account. My friend Traci leaned in, that’s Josh – “isn’t he hot, his mom babysits my daughter” I was blushing because Traci was way more blunt than I was at the time. He was “hot” to my 18-year-old self, but way out of my comfort zone. He had on jeans with an excessive amount of holes in them with long johns underneath. A long sleeve long john shirt with his sleeves pulled up a quarter length just enough to show his biomechanical tattoo arm sleeve and a black hat that looked somewhat like a conductors cap.  Nevertheless he was cute, but even the thought of a boy with tattoos would make my religious family crumble to the floor. At least I thought.

Some time had passed and I really didn’t think much about “the out of my league guy” who strolled through the bank that day. His aunt (who I worked with) would tell me he asked about me a few times. A few weeks later I answered the door to a dozen pink roses being delivered. I figured they were for one of my step-sisters because they surely weren’t for me.

The card read, “To: Jess – Hi – From: Josh “From the Bank”

I looked at my step-dad and said “who the heck is Josh from the bank” and so began our love story…

I told my mom about this mysterious guy. I didn’t really know him except what my friends had told me. That he had an arm sleeve of tattoos which kind of turned me off. My mom said “now Jessi it’s not always about what’s on the outside, you might be the one who leads him to Christ.”

I was off and running after that.

Man, I fell head over heels for him, our first date he had me laughing so hard while he told the story of when he had a kidney stone and they gave him medicine to ease his pain. He said “I felt like Popeye eating spinach.” I had tears running down my face as I ate my baked ziti, the same baked ziti that he looked over at me and said “you got a little something hanging from your chin.” Traci & Travis made some jokes to help ease my embarrassment about the long stringy cheese dangling around but he just laughed. I was almost 19 when we officially started dating, little did I know this was going to be my future husband.

We dated for three years. In that first year he had an excessively demanding job. He would work 12-16 hour days, while driving back home two or three hours. He would come home shower, shave, eat and sleep. I would keep him company and then he’d be off again. He also had a child that was conceived before we met that was a surprise. He took me to lunch at Bob Evans to break the news that this child may be his and he was going to start the paternity process. I was stunned as I sat over my mashed potatoes while a tear ran down my face. “Please eat your food he said. If this isn’t the life you want with me I understand. I won’t be mad at you if you want this to end.” It was a few months later that the stress of all the countless hours of working, trying to keep our relationship alive, being a new dad, and his father passing away resulted in him falling asleep at the wheel and driving his truck off a thirty foot cliff. He was life flighted when I received that call from an unknown number while I was heading to the state track meet. “Babe, I am in Cleveland. I was lifeflighted but I’m ok. Can you come get me?” I yelled at him for lying to me until I realized he was serious and started pacing around the room and crying.

I obviously cried a lot that first year.

We dated for three years, those years were rougher then we like to admit and really don’t look back on much anymore. That part of our life seems like a distant memory, I stepped in to a life that was more than I bargained for and he married someone with polar opposite beliefs then he had. Our upbringings were a lot different: we know all that now. What we didn’t know is we were ying and yang and when merged together with stubbornness to the side we meshed seamlessly.

August 7th we will be married 8 years. We have three gorgeous children and as for the little one who had me shedding tears in my mashed potatoes years ago, he is the first half that made us whole. We have found Christ and created a home that is ours. I’m on the front porch of our home, sitting in the chair that Josh built me for our 6th wedding anniversary. Drinking my coffee, watching the breeze blow through the flowers that he works so hard to keep beautiful. He found a job that gives him more time home with us and I drive school bus, which allows our family more time together. Through the last ten years I have had the privilege of not only watching him grow in to a father but also in to a husband.

After a decade of life together I just wanted to write this article to say we made it love.

Happy Anniversary.

💜 Jess

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