Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Month of Love: Jami & Brad

Let’s start with December. December 2011. December is probably the worst time of
the year to be single, you have Christmas coming up, New Years Eve just around the
corner and then Valentine’s Day just a hop skip and a jump after that. I had already
sworn off all men, after being widowed for 2 1/2 years and after dating some real
“interesting” men, I was starting to think it just wasn’t in the cards for me. So, I didn’t
expect anything different for twenty-eleven. No man to cuddle with on the couch,
while my little man opened presents. My lips would be lonely on New Years Eve. And
Valentine’s Day would be macaroni & cheese with the 5 year old and ‘Friend’ re-runs
on TV. I had single life down pat and I was comfortable with my life. I had amazing
friends, supportive family and a handsome son. I was living the independent lifestyle.
Not to say I wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to date a hunk-of-a-man, but, I was
good. I was okay.

Well, as fate would have it (of course!) I was given the opportunity to date that
hunk-of-a-man, just a few short weeks after I had sworn off the opposite sex. I will
never forget December 17 when my sweet friend, Janica, sent me a message
asking me if I was dating anybody. Now, before we go any further, you have to
know that Janica was my ex-boyfriend’s sister-in-law. Yeah. Chuckle away. We had
stayed in touch even though her brother-in-law ended things between us just a few
months earlier. So, after I told her that it was a big negative on the dating thing she
asked if I would ever want to go out with her friend Brad. I wasn’t ever one to turn
down new options ... besides after facebook creeping him, and discovering how
hunky he was, I was even more keen on the idea! I was probably in love before he
even had my number, Janica gushed about him; he’s in the military, he just
graduated from Ranger School, he was her brother’s best friend all growing up,
Return Missionary, good guy ... and he spends his morning doing service projects! I
was sold! But, I wasn’t so sure he would be so, I chalked it up to a close success and
left it at that.

The very next day I was getting ready to head to my family Christmas Party. I had
just taken the obligatory “single girl” picture, in the full length mirror, to send to all your
friends when I got a text: “Hey Jami! This is Brad, Jan’s friend!” I squealed (seriously,
I did), right there in my room, all alone. He actually was texting me! And I was
completely giddy about it! That night, we texted all through my family party. The next
day, we texted all day, too. In fact for the next two weeks, we texted every. single.
day. The tricky part is, he was only home visiting family (3 hours away from me) for
a couple weeks before he needed to go back to life in Georgia. So, I wasn’t willing to
get attached, but it was pretty nice to have someone ask how my Christmas was,
and to be genuinely interested, at that! The more and more Brad and I would talk, the
more and more impressed I was with him. He really was a great guy, he had a good
sense of humor, he was a hard worker and he was even kind of nerdy and quirky.
My perfect kind of guy.

We decided we would meet January 1st, 2012. (No New Years kiss AGAIN for
these lips ...) He would come to my place in Utah and we would see how the night
went. I was nervous as all get out! Rumor has it, that the moment he stepped out of
the car, he knew he was going to marry me. Rumor also has it, that when I stepped
out of the car and saw him for the first time, (and how attractive he was) I was so
nervous I was sweating bullets. (Okay, fine, I know that second rumor is true.) I met
his parents right then and there and tried to make a good first impression in the 3
minutes I was given. Then, we headed off to my house. It wasn’t ever awkward
between us. Not once! It felt like we had known each other for years. So, at my
house, we made dinner and he hung out with my little dude. I will never forget how
badly I wanted to touch him, hold his hand, something! You know when you’re so
close to somebody and you touch elbows and a surge of electricity runs through your
body? Yep. All night long. Well, during the cooking portion at least. Once we sat
down to eat dinner I couldn’t take it any more ... I slowly reached my hand over and
put it on his leg, he grabbed my hand and then looked over at me with his charming
twinkle in his eye. Right then and there, I knew this could be something wonderful.
After dinner, he helped clean up and even offered to do the dishes. (Could he get
anymore perfect?) And because he was a natural with my son (brownie points!) he
let him climb up and help. There they were, doing dishes, singing songs and having a
grand old time while I was in my bedroom, wiping away tears and cursing the
distance that was about to be put between us. I had no idea how a long distance
relationship would work. But, I knew that somehow, I wanted to try. After we
dropped the little guy off at a friend’s house, we were sitting in the car in a church
parking lot trying to decide where to go. When I asked what we should do he said,
“well, you could kiss me!”

So, I did just that. When we both pulled away with smiles
on our faces, I knew that was a good thing. After visiting an old friend of Brad’s (and
having his friend tell me I must be something special if BRAD was dating me...) we
sat at the local temple for hours and just talked and talked, about everything. Then,
we went home and talked and talked about everything else. We knew he would have
to leave soon, so we were taking advantage of the time we had. Finally, at 5:00 AM
(in the morning, before the sun woke-up, before I usually wake up!) we decided it
would be best if I took him to his buddies house. We had stayed up all night talking.
About what? I have no idea now. The only thing I remember is us both deciding that
we wanted to make the relationship work, even if we were going to be on opposite
ends of America.

Brad went home, to Georgia, that Monday morning. It sucked. I’m not going to sugar
coat it. I am a girl that needs her man close. Well, at least I used to be like that. Time
changes people. So, having him far away, was really hard for me. But, we talked a
lot and I think we both wanted to slip and say the “L” word a couple times in the first
few days after he went home. You know that stage where you’re saying ... “I really,
really, really (really) like you!”? Yeah, we were there.

Then, Wednesday happened. I woke up and he had texted me, “Hey, what are the
odds of you coming to Georgia this weekend?” Um ... at the time I was working as a
preschool teacher and I had a 5 year old to worry about. Yeah, I didn’t see how a trip
to Georgia was going to happen with only two days notice. Then, he said, “I really
need to see you.” Hmmm, okay, maybe I can figure something out. So, right then
and there - before I had my shifts covered at work and before I had somewhere for
my little man to stay for the weekend, I bought plane tickets to Georgia to see a man
I had only spent 12 hours with. I am pretty sure at the time, I was clinically insane.
Who does that?! Well, I do. After figuring out who was going to take care of my life
for 4 days, I boarded a plane to Atlanta, Georgia. At the time was the longest flight
of my life!! When I got off the plane, my cute boyfriend was jumping up and down in
the waiting area with a big old smile on his face. We were together! And I had
forgotten how good looking he was! *wink, wink*

That weekend was perfect. It was exactly what I needed, what we BOTH needed. I
found out that he knew he wanted to marry me. I told him, I couldn’t commit to
something like that. I freaked out. Then, he told me he loved me. I told him I loved
him. We visited an aquarium, and the temple. Ate some of the best pizza I have ever
had in my life, at the Mellow Mushroom. I exposed some of my insecurities to him.
And ... then, at church on Sunday, something changed. Before church I was terrified
of the thought of marrying him. I mean, I had only spent TWELVE hours with him.
How can you know that something so big, is right, in such a short amount of time?
He was so confident on the idea, and it scared me! But, during one of my classes,
something just “clicked”, for lack of a better word, and I walked out of that class, got
in the car to head home and said, “Okay, I want to marry you!!!!” I thank my lucky
stars he has quick reflexes and didn’t swerve into oncoming traffic as he celebrated!
When we said good-bye that weekend, we knew that it was okay, because at some
point we would become Mr & Mrs.

Being back in Utah just didn’t seem right without Brad by my side. Ever since deciding
to marry him, I knew we were supposed to be together, and being apart just felt so
wrong! Thankfully, he was feeling the same way. Tuesday (I got home Monday)
Brad was asking me a bunch of really random questions: “When do you work
Friday?”, “Are you going anywhere this weekend?”, “Do you have any plans?” After
assuring him that my social life was pretty dull, he surprised me by buying tickets to
come see ME that very next weekend! I was ecstatic! That weekend we spent a lot
of time with friends. I had to make sure I could handle his friends and we also had to
make sure my friends approved. Thankfully, my best friend, Kristin, gave her thumbs
up approval. We were good to go in the friend department! Monday, before he left,
we looked at engagement rings. Actually, let me rephrase that. We BOUGHT an
engagement ring. It’s okay, it seemed totally bizarre to me at the time, too. When we
bought the ring, we had only been together, in the same room, for roughly 6 days.
The rest of our relationship consisted of skype, phone calls, texting and several
hundred miles between us. Surely we were insane!

Saying goodbye that weekend was a piece of cake. See, I knew he was already
coming back the following weekend. No spontaneous trips this time! And, the reason
I knew he was coming back is because ... I knew he had to propose that following
weekend. Why the fast track you ask? The end of January, our long distance
relationship was about to get a whole lot more distant. Instead of being in Georgia,
Brad was about to accept his first assignment, with the Army, overseas, in Germany.
That next weekend was our last time together before the miles between us went
from hundreds, to thousands.

Both my parents flew in for our last weekend in the same country. Thankfully, they
hit it off. And thankfully, my photographer brother was willing to take our
engagement pictures, in the pouring rain, before we were even officially engaged.
And, thankfully, my dad gave Brad the permission to ask me to marry him. And
thankfully ... I said yes. We had been at temple square, in Salt Lake, where ironically
a wedding show was going on at the same time, and we were sitting in the cafe
drinking hot chocolate, watching huge fluffy snowflakes cover the ground. At the
time, I knew Brad had my engagement ring with him so I knew that technically he
could propose any time. Unlucky for me, he really likes surprises. A little factoid about
our relationship? I really liked to put my hands in his pockets. I would do it all the time.
Honestly, ever chance I got. So ... keep that in mind. Moving on, we were scheduled
to drive up to Idaho to see his family and we didn’t want to get in too late so we said
good-bye to my family and headed out. As we were standing next to the car, I put
my hands in his pocket, just like I always do. And honestly ... this is how our
conversation went down:
Brad: “You don’t feel it?”
Me: “Feel WHAT?”
Brad: “Your RING!!!”
Me: “WHAT?!” I then continue to shove my hand in his pocket and find my ring,
sitting there, in his pocket, where it had been ... THE ENTIRE DAY!!! That little punk!
But, I smiled, because I knew what was coming ...
Brad: “Jami, will you marry me?”
Me: “YES!!!!”
After a kiss (okay, a lot of kisses) and a lot of smiles...
Brad: “You can put it on you know...”
Me: “No! That’s YOUR job!”

So, he slipped the ring on my finger, we smiled and kissed a whole lot more. It may
sound lame and it may sound quirky, but it’s US and it fits us, and I wouldn’t have had
it go down any other way. Then we headed off to Idaho to spend the weekend with
his family. I won’t bore you with those details either except for the fact that his family
is amazing ... and I love them ... and I am a lucky girl to get a long with them so

Now, the next good-bye was miserable. Because, well, he was moving to Germany
for heavens sake! I think we both cried, or at least I did, he was being strong and
keeping it all in. My son cried, which made me cry even more. It was a rough goodbye.
I was pretty numb for a couple days knowing that I wouldn’t get to see him for
5 months. We had a plan to get married in June, over his block leave, and then I
would move to Germany with him and we would begin our blissfully married life
overseas. So, honestly, the next five months were filled with a LOT of skype, a lot of
texting, a lot of care packages, a lot of freak outs (mostly on my part), a lot of cold
feet (again, on my part) but, also a lot of reassurances that he really was the man I
was supposed to marry. The man I was meant to spend the eternities with. I couldn’t
deny it and I knew that regardless of the future, my life with him would be beautiful.
When Brad came home a week before the wedding, I was the happiest girl in the
world. My sweetheart was finally in the same zip code as me and I could finally hold
his hand, and touch him, and kiss him! My son and I made signs for him to hold at the
airport and we had balloons to make him feel extra special. But, the second I saw him
walking down the hallway towards me, I forgot all about the signs, dropped them on
the floor, and ran into his arms. We had one of those scenes that only happen in the
movies. We had a movie scene, starring us. Man, I wish it had been recorded,
because if it looked as romantic as it felt, it would have won an Oscar. I jumped into
his arms, felt his arms pull me in close to him, and right then and there, as if we were
the only two people in the entire airport, we kissed for the first time in months. He
spun me around and held me tight. At that moment, despite all the doubts and fears
of the last five months, I knew I was making the absolutely perfect decision in getting
married to that man in five days.

The next few days were filled with last minute wedding preparation. Nothing big, just
finding Brad a tux that would work, oh and shoes to match. Planning a wedding while
your groom is overseas is slightly challenging! After I almost called off the wedding
Tuesday night, because I was absolutely freaking myself out. And after Brad almost
called off the wedding Wednesday night, because he didn’t understand how any
completely sane persons would do what we were about to do. We made it to the
wedding day. (Thankfully! Honestly, I was quite tired of wondering if we were going
to make it to the wedding day! Sometimes, bad forces work against good,
wonderful ... amazing things, even! And we can attest to that!). I am about to get
real cliche right now. You can skip this part if you hate cliche statements. But, honest
to goodness, our wedding day was the most perfect day of my life. I couldn’t have
asked for anything to go any better. The ceremony was amazing. The love and
support we had from family and friends was more than I could have asked for. Our
photographer was phenomenal. My husband was dang hunkalicious! The reception
that I had worked SO hard on, turned out perfect. And honestly ... it was our perfect
day. I tell Brad all the time, I want to get married to him, over and over and over
again because very few things can duplicate the amount of love and joy I had on our
wedding day. Very rarely can I think of our wedding day without tears of gratitude
coming to my eyes. I have been given the greatest gift of my life and I am so blessed
to have him next to me for the eternities. Some people look at our relationship and
think it will never work because honestly, when you look at our story, it shouldn’t
work. When we were married, we had only been together, in the same room, for a
total of 26 days. Not even one month physically together, and we were married. It
seems bizarre to most people. But, to us, we know it was the best decision we could
have EVER made. He is my somebody, my better half, my best friend. He is the man
of my dreams and each day, I fall a little more in love with that man.

Don’t ever doubt the power of love ... it can accomplish amazing things when two
people are meant to be together.


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