It was an ice skating park that I met Joe. I was 13 years old, he was 14. Even though we were young, our eyes burned into each others. Puppy crush is what it really was. We lived about 3 miles away from each other and in the beginning Joe would find friends to share the bicycle ride over to see me. At 16, Joe drove by after getting his driver’s permit. I remember the day perfectly, he hung outside his car window gazing at me and said, “I’m going to marry you.” I said, “yeah right.” My sisters told him to give up on me because I was too hard to get. But there was just something about him that I didn’t want to start, because I didn’t want to hurt him. We remained friends through high school.
He always drove by and left roses in my car for me. I remember boyfriends that I had would say “I don’t want you talking to that guy Joe,” but I defended him, telling them “He’s my friend, and that’s that.”
In-between my short teen romances Joe was always there, often tracking me down wherever I’d moved to, and we would talk for hours and he’d often steal kisses from me.
He dated too, one girl in particular for a very long time, but never looked much in love. I had typically two-year relationships in my twenties, and moved around a few more times. After one of my breakups I called Joe, and asked him to spend time, but he couldn’t that day, and I went out to a club, met someone and two more years flew on by. That last relationship ended up hurting me a lot.
I stopped by his parents home as a goof one day really just to wish them well, (they always liked me). I remember that it had been awhile since he and I spoke, and I expected he’d moved on and gotten married. When his mother said just a minute while I get him. I was so shocked. I reflect like it was yesterday how I can see us standing in his parents kitchen in the dim light. We said not a word, he looked at me, and in his arms I fell, we embraced, at that silent moment in time I knew we would be together forever. A year later, at age 28, his prediction came true when I was up on the alter saying “I Do.” As I said those words, I thought about all those years ago, him gazing out of the car window at me.
We are going to be married six years in March. We have two beautiful children. One of which is disabled and very hard on our family at times, but my husband and I have such a strength and love that we can get through everything. After all this time, I love him so much. And he reminds me how he still can’t believe it’s true.