Life Lately: Anniversary Edition

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There are words that live forever in a memory. Big words, little words, sweet ones, and ones that sting. I can remember spending the whole evening smiling so hard my face ached, waiting for words that would seal my fate.

”Let’s do this again sometime!”

The cute guy I met online (which is still embarrassing to me, nor do I recommend online dating) sent my heart into relief mode. It was our first date. We closed down a coffee shop with our hours long chat, walked around downtown Hannibal listening to a live band after getting kicked out because we just didn’t want the night to end. I agreed that it was a great time and I’d love to see him again. He walked me to my car where he (get this) saluted me. Just a casual “see ya later” salute, but no hug, handshake, or high five for this guy. I forgive him now, but it still makes me giggle. Funny now how that phrase was the last time either one of us would have to agree to meet again. After that, all of our spare time went toward hanging out together.

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“I love you.”

Do you remember the first time you ever heard those words? I do. And I was mercilessly tortured along the way! You see, my blue-eyed darling decided it would be a fun game to taunt me. Over hundreds of quite minutes and distracted car rides he’d grab my hand, look into my eyes, and earnestly say “I llllllllllike you so much, Jessica, I really really like you.” With every dragged out “L”, I’d roll my eyes, half grin, and confess my “like” back. One day, though, I think in September, it happened. I grabbed us some Subway and agreed to meet him at his place for a picnic. It was a gorgeous day, severe clear, brilliant sunshine, perfectly in between fall and summer. He walked me down this trail where there were leftover decorations from a wedding the previous weekend. We sat on stumps and ate our lunch, admiring the day. Mid-way through, just like any other torturous time, he casually looked at me and said: “Jessica, I like you. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I love you. I really, really do. I love you.” He grinned a mischievous grin and took another bite of sandwich. My ears rang and felt numb. I’m sure I probably smiled like an idiot. I think I took a drink of Dr. Pepper and replied “Well, I love you too!” before chiding him that it was about time!

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“Will you marry me?”

Like any big moment that I’ve spent too much time mulling over in my mind and building up, the “big question” didn’t happen like it was supposed to. It was a cold December day, kind of dreary, and an otherwise crappy day at work. At the time, I was a barista, and it was too close to Christmas. People and their coffee orders are not very nice around the holidays. I had been texting Stephen during my breaks and in my tired, selfish heart, all I wanted to do was to see him after the day that I’d had at work. We had plans to watch a meteor shower the following evening, but I sent the text: “It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, let’s get together tonight instead.” Little did I know that it was the day. I sent that boy into a frenzy. I blew all of his plans with a simple text. That night, I met him at a local campground where it would be dark enough to take photos of the sky. He tried to light a fire in the fire pit to offset some of the cold, but couldn’t get anything to corporate with his shaking hands. Finally, he sat next to me on a picnic table, said some sweet things and asked me for forever. I said yes, slid on that sparkly rock of a diamond, and kissed him. Our first kiss. It was such a perfect “us” night. It wasn’t fancy or Youtube worthy, but it was perfect to me. The boy who introduced me to the beauty of a starry night in the country gave me a night filled with stars, the ring of my dreams, and the promise of a future together.

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“I do.”

The day had come. I don’t remember a ton of the details except that it was a gorgeous day for the middle of August. I remember seeing him for the first time. I remember trying not to smile too big walking down the aisle because I would’ve looked like an excited toddler if my face matched my insides. I remember hearing him say “I do.” I remember the big kiss followed by a forehead kiss (something he would and still does often, a precious moment to me). I remember driving away in my grandfather’s vintage convertible after the ceremony to take some photos away from the crowd. That private few moments were a dream! We were married! It felt like we were play acting. I remember driving away for the night and being pelted with paper airplanes. It, again, wasn’t a Pinterest worthy wedding. I’d redo about 70% of it if I could. But the marriage it’s left me with is beyond imagining.

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We’ve been through six years of words and phrases. We’ve both given and received our fair shares of blows and apologies. We’ve encouraged each other, spoken hard truth, had disagreements, and prayed through tears. We’ve heard a few “There’s the heartbeat!” and “Here’s your baby!” phrases (and even a “I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do”) . I’ve asked “When do you think you’ll be home?” so often that my phone used to auto-complete the sentence. He still texts me “Good morning, beautiful!” when he goes to work before I’m awake. I can only imagine what a book we could fill as the years go on. I pray that it’s many, many, many more. I’m thankful that this man chose me, chooses me, and still says sweet things. He’s truly my best friend. And to that I say, “Thank you, Jesus!”

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Jessica Rutherford