In the spirit of ‘starting’ I thought it would be fitting to share how this country life of mine began… and its only fitting that I write about my love while he’s gone tonight. He’s working with his ‘like-a-brother’ Brian right now, trying to get their brand new house ready to move into… my husband is a helper. One of the thousands of reasons I love the guy.
Anyhow, this could be a very long story, but in the interest of keeping things simple (kind of a motto I have to live by), I’ll give the edited version. Mind you, I did write this story in great detail, into a 20+page book that I gave to Matt as a wedding gift…
I was 16 when I first layed eyes on my to-be husband, Matt. It was an unconventional introduction… in the form of his senior picture. Handed to me by my very well-intentioned Gramma Mary. She told me that she and my Grandpa thought this guy would be perfect for me and that we needed to meet. I’m sure I blushed, and assured her that it would never happen… I lived in Seattle and he lived 3.5 hours south in Oregon. As a 16 year-old, that was less than ideal for a budding relationship. But they loved him. He was the son of my gramma’s friend whom she volunteered with. He was like a grandson to them. And that’s saying something, because my grandpa was a tough guy to impress.
I tucked the photo away in my wallet, and there it sat (viewed occasionally), until 4 years later when the phone at my parents’ house rang. I was home from college on summer vacation and the unfamiliar male voice on the other end said “Hi, Lacey, this is Matt… Robert and Mary’s friend.” I was clueless. Clueless as to who the caller was, and clueless to the fact that this call would be the beginning of the rest of my life…
Turned out, Matt caught wind (thank you, Gramma Mary) That I may have been coming down to visit Grandpa for what was sure to be his last birthday. He had been diagnosed with ALS some time before and was nearing the end of his battle.
(My parents couldn’t wait for me to meet him, because they had already met him a few weeks before when helping move a bunch of stuff out of my grandpa’s shop. Even they thought he was amazing…)
The blessing that the Lord gave to me through Matt at this point could have been enough. Because of Matt’s invitation to meet, I did make the trip to Oregon with my mom and aunt, and was with my Grandpa, in his home, when he passed away.
Now, most guys coming over for a blind-date, and finding the girl mourning the death of her grandfather only hours before, probably would have turned on their heal and politely left. Not Matt. Grief-stricken I was, but awe-stricken as well… Matt was the best looking guy I’d ever seen and he was there to meet me. I watched as his beautiful face weakened when Gramma Mary told him Robert (my Grandpa) had passed. To ADD to the … gosh, I don’t know… craziness of the story, Grandpa was still there, waiting for the corner. Hmm. Not your typical first date.
That said, Matt was there. He listened, comforted, talked, even had an arm around my shoulder as they took Grandpa away. He helped me print out and mail the newsletter Grandpa had composed the week before, which was his final issue of his monthly ‘Gazette’. (He put the stamps on the envelopes, which is still his job come Christmas card time).
Matt and I ended up sitting on the tailgate of his truck visiting and laughing, talking of faith, family, friends, and life. He told me that as he drove down my grandparents’ driveway earlier that evening, he’d prayed that God would let him know if I was to be someone special in his life. And then he told me, that he knew I was.
Somewhere around mid-night my brothers arrived (they drove down so they could take me home the next day, since my mom had to stay to help with funeral arrangements) and met their future brother-in-law. I could have introduced him as that, but if the nights’ events hadn’t already scared him away, I thought that declaration may have.
In the wee-hours of the night (or next morning, I should say) we had to say good-bye and while those details will be kept between me and him, I will say that it was very clear that that would not be the end of our relationship.
I retreated to the room I was sharing with my mom and told her I was going to “marry that man”. She simply said, “I know.”
The next time we saw each other was at the funeral, where again, his presence supported me through.
As God would have it, I worked for Alaska Airlines that summer, so in combination with talking on the phone every day, I able to fly down every weekend that I wasn’t working. For free.
Two weeks into our relationship the love was shared, and about a week after that, we agreed we’d be together forever.
I had to go back to school at WSU that fall, furthering the distance between us, but I swear what they say about absence to be true… we wouldn’t see each other for months so all we had were our phone conversations and writing cards. As much as it pained me at the time, I am so thankful for our long-distance relationship. It forced us to TALK… a critical, yet surprisingly lacking attribute in so many relationships.
That December, six months after we’d met, Matt proposed overlooking the Puget Sound by my parents’ house.
I was able to graduate early from college the following December and we were married on January 4, 2003… (for those of you who remember codes used on pagers… our anniversary is ’143′, which means, I love you…)
Not only was I over the moon to marry Matt, I was THRILLED to finally live in the same state as him. Let alone the same house and to SEE him everyday… to be able to talk in person!
I moved from the big city into the little cabin he lived in on his family’s ranch in the country. And if you could see that cabin, you’d know JUST how blinded by love I was. Let’s just say, it isn’t a charming little place. It was tiny, freezing cold, and had mice. Did I care? Not a bit. (As a side note… don’t hold it against Matt for making his bride live there. He worked off our rent so that we could save and ended up building our dream home, also on the ranch, a year-and-a-half later. Plus, because it was tiny and freezing, it led to a lot of cuddling. And, honestly, I would have been happy anywhere he was.)
So, here we are, 8 years later. Happy as clams. I love this man so much and it is liberating to say that on the world wide web.