Start a blog they say. It’ll be fun they say. It certainly has been much more than fun for us. Jessica and I have thoroughly enjoyed not only writing the posts but also the wonderful comments from everyone. My initial intentions for starting this blog was to inform everyone of any updates we may have on my precious little Eliza. It seemed much easier than the redundant conversations we were having and the emotional toll that came along with each and every question and answer period. After my first posts (and by the way the response was nothing short of overwhelming) I realized that this blog is not only an informative tool, not only an outlet for Jessica and I, but also a way for me to speak with Eliza before she even gets here. That last part excites me. 🙂 As I wondered what my next post would be about, (as we seem to be in a holding pattern waiting on Eliza’s arrival) I realized that I haven’t posted anything about my beautiful wife except for how she has had to deal with all of the problems that we have encountered. Although she is dealing with everything in a way that is inspiring to me and many others, there is so much more to the woman that I love with every fiber of my being. She deserves for everyone to know what awesomeness resides in her heart and soul. Those that know her well already know what I am talking about. Those that know us both already know that there is something very special about the love that we share for each other. It truly is a remarkable love that continues to humble me everyday as I wonder why I was chosen as the lucky recipient of such a powerful, unyielding love. So in an effort to tell Eliza about the wonderful union that created her (and anyone else that wants to read it) I decided to chronicle our story.
I was 17 years old and I had just moved to a new town with my grandparents. It was the small town of Newton, MS with a population of around 3000 people. I was born and raised in what I considered the small town of Hattiesburg, MS but in comparison to Newton it seemed like a booming metropolis. I was not happy about the move and had no idea how I could possibly have anything in common with the kids of this hick town I now had to call home. On my first day of school I decided to wear a shirt that I thought captured my unique sense of humor (and maybe a little bit of my inflated ego), it simply read “Chicks Dig Me”. That decision probably didn’t win me many friends at first, but it managed to catch the eye of a girl that would eventually become my wife. She “got it”. She not only got it, but she also realized that we shared the same quirky sense of humor. We instantly became friends. In fact, she was one of the very few that I looked forward to seeing at school everyday. She made me laugh. Sitting behind me in Spanish class this adorable, chubby little freshman had managed to capture my attention by simply raising an eyebrow in an attempt to start a funny face feud with me. It wasn’t long before we had a standing agreement that I would come to her house every Tuesday (I think it was Tuesday) night to watch Beverly Hills 90210. We would sit on the couch watching our favorite show (well to be honest, I wasn’t there for the show) waiting for the coast to clear so we could sneak in a kiss or three. She was at all of my baseball games, cheering for me no matter the outcome. I knew that she was falling for me and deep down I knew I could fall for her if I only let myself do so. I’m not sure why I didn’t allow myself to go down that road. I would like to think that it was because I knew how vulnerable she was and I didn’t want to take advantage her. That sounds admirable anyways. Maybe it was because she was younger than me. Maybe it was because she was overweight. Maybe I was just young and stupid and lacked the experience to realize that she was one in a billion. Whatever the reason, I pulled back and stopped making my weekly engagement. I had made new friends and was too busy to hang out with a freshman. When prom time came around I contemplated asking many girls, but in my heart I knew that I only wanted to take one girl. I can still remember, very vividly, the excitement I had when I decided to ask her to the prom. It was too late to go to her house, so I asked her to sneak out and meet me up the street so I could ask her something. She came quickly (as she always seemed to do for me) despite the rain that night. After I asked her, we stood in the middle of the street hugging each other in the rain until she had to go. It felt so right to make her that happy (as it still does when I can make her happy these days).
We stayed very close throughout our high school years, although we never officially “dated”. I think we were both scared of messing up something that was so uniquely wonderful.
After graduation, I enlisted in the Army and signed my escape from the small town of Newton. A town that I was never supposed to be in anyway. I was driven to Jackson, where I would begin my military journey, by the two people I could truly call friends: Paul Tijerina and, of course, Jessica. As I left Jessica in tears, I knew that I was leaving something very special behind. I convinced myself that I would forget about my brief time in that small town and all the people that came with it. I hid my tears as I told myself to focus on the future and leave the past behind. That was the last time I would see Jessica for several years.
I remember the excitement that jolted my soul when my sister told me that she had seen Jessica at Sonic in Hattiesburg and that she was living here now and she had given Trish her phone number for me. I had had no idea where she was prior to that. After all, I had spent 2 years in the Army, suffered through a failed marriage and was living back at home with mom about to go work offshore. Life had tossed me around pretty good but I never stopped thinking of Jessica and wondering where she was or what she was doing. (This was in the “old days” before facebook). I immediately called her. It was literally as if we had just spoken the day before. We laughed and carried on for several minutes when she told me that she was living just down the street from where I was. I don’t remember if I actually took time to hang up the phone, but off I went and it wasn’t long before I was reunited with her and catching up on all we had missed. In this dark time of my life she was a shining light of happiness that thrilled my soul just to be in her presence. We spent many days together, when I would come home from the rig, just hanging out and enjoying the company of one another. As time rolled on, for reasons I am yet to understand, I withdrew from our time together and our visits became less and less frequent. I managed to justify my withdrawal by telling myself that I didn’t want to hurt her. You see, she loved me like no one ever has. She wanted so badly for us to be together and I knew that I wasn’t in any kind of position to give her what she desired. I was broke, driving a clunker of a car, and living with my mom. Not to mention, my heart was not completely committed…..until “that” night. It had been about a month since I had last spoken to her when I ran into a mutual friend of ours. He told me that she was dating someone that she planned on moving in with and thought that she was making a big mistake. My heart sank. I know I had never stepped up and asked her to see me exclusively, but I just took for granted that she would be there at my beckon call whenever I wanted….she always had. My heart ached as I thought of her with someone else. I knew what I had to do. I drove to the apartment where she lived the last time I visited her. I knocked on the door, ready to tell her how I felt, ready to confess my love for her and even fight for her if her new boyfriend happened to be there. I imagined her response as I waited, and couldn’t help but think back to the night I asked her to the prom. I hoped she would be just as happy. I waited and knocked and waited, but she never came to the door. I slowly walked back to the car where I sat in the driver’s seat crying harder than the rain on the windshield. What have I done? Why didn’t I tell her this before now? I had waited too long and now I was too late. She was gone again. I pulled myself together and drove home. On the way I told myself that she didn’t deserve to be taken for granted the way I had done. I told myself that she would be better off without me. I convinced myself that my feelings were selfish and I would not interfere with her life anymore.
Years passed by until once again we made contact. This time it was through the pioneer of social media… MySpace. Again, my heart soared with happiness to speak to my long lost Jessica. And again, it was as if we had just spoken the day before. Things had changed a lot over the years. She was married now and so was I. Speaking with her again brought back so many suppressed feelings that I just had to see her, so she agreed to meet me for lunch. It was a casual lunch where we just sat and talked about days gone by, but the chemistry was just as strong as it had always been. That part had never waivered. I made a decision that day that I would not let her escape again. I had lost her once but I wouldn’t let that happen again. I, soon after, left my wife in preparation for getting the girl that I had always loved. Not a day went by that I didn’t speak with her on the phone. I spoke with her on her drive home from work until she got home to her husband until one day she hung up and I didn’t hear from her again. Her husband had found out about our conversations and suspected much more. She did what any good wife would do and cut off our communications in order to mend her marriage. I couldn’t blame her. After all, what had loving me ever got her? A broken heart when I withdrew and left her wondering when she would see or hear from me again? After numerous calls to her that went unanswered and unreturned, I knew that I had lost her forever. The one person that had loved me without ceasing had moved on with her life and I was left kicking myself for all the mistakes I had made.
Several months later, I decided to go back to my wife who had moved to Denver, CO. I don’t think I wanted her back as much as I just wanted a change in scenery and what better place to do that than Denver? As fate would have it (don’t ever let anyone tell you that fate doesn’t have a sense of humor) as I drove across Texas on my way to Denver, I received a phone call from none other than my precious Jessica. The first call I had gotten from her since our abrupt end. She had decided that she had to see me no matter what problems it would cause in her life. I could feel the pain in her voice as I had to tell her that I was on my way to my wife in Colorado pulling a Uhaul behind me with everything I owned. It was just another heartbreak in her long standing love for me. She handled it so well, masking her emotions as she told me all of the things I should see while I was there (she had lived in Colorado Springs during the years we spent apart). I loved her more for that and I hung up thinking that it might be the last time we would ever speak.
A few years passed by and I once again found myself in contact with my Jessica. My wife and I had divorced and I was moving back to Hattiesburg so I knew that if I was ever going to let Jessica know how I felt about her, the time was now.
It was a cold night in January as we sat on the bleachers of the dark baseball field. Despite the cold temperature, my hands were sweating as I searched for the perfect words to tell her just how much she meant to me. I had to get this right. The more I talked, the more I wanted to say. The words came gushing from my soul in a torrent of regret, sympathy and confessions of my love. At some point during my profession, she stopped me mid sentence with a kiss on my lips and I knew that I had explained myself the way that I had hoped. I knew that she had been waiting on those words for so many years and she knew that I had been wanting to say them just as much. So there it was, out in the open, finally. It wasn’t long after that we were engaged and planning our life together.
There is much more to the story but I will save some of those details for us and maybe share a few more in later blog posts. For now, I will leave you with this. It is incredibly humbling to me to have a woman love me the way Jessica does. It is like she breathes love and I inhale it making me the man that I am. I would suffocate without her by my side. I will never know what I did to deserve her love, but I thank God that she kept loving me for all those years. I am blessed beyond measure to have her and now we get to share our love with our little Eliza.
I want to thank everyone for their continued prayers and support. Now, just pray that Jessica doesn’t hurt me for calling her “chubby” in this post. :))