Day 1: September 1st, 2008
We met in the parking lot of Case de Pico, in Grossmont Center.
Jenny and I had been talking on the phone for a little over a week, and the conversations kept getting better and better. We knew we wanted to meet, and soon. She decided one weekend that she needed to get out of town, and it seemed the perfect opportunity for her and David to come to San Diego.
We decided we’d get some breakfast, and then head over to the San Diego Zoo. David would be there, and we wanted our first meeting to be something he’d be interested in, because we wanted him to feel included in whatever was happening with us from the very beginning. At least, as much as he could be.
I told her to message me when they were getting close, and me being me, I got there early. I only lived about ten minutes away at the time, anyway.
I waited in my car and I remember getting more and more nervous. We’d been talking, and getting along awesomely, but what if it wasn’t like that in person?
What if I couldn’t talk, or said something stupid?
What if she didn’t like me once we met?
What if I didn’t like her?
When she pulled up in her car and got out, I remember the first thing I thought was, “well, she really is six feet tall.”
I think I said something like “Hi,” and then gave her a hug. I remember that she smelled good, and that I thought I could look at her smile for weeks.
David got out of the car next, and I remember kneeling down and shaking his hand (at 4, he was actually little then—he’s my big guy, now).
I wondered if he would like me, too.
We all piled back into Jenny’s car and started driving. I know we went to Denny’s for a late breakfast (or early lunch), but I couldn’t tell you what I ate, or a single word I said. I just remember being nervous, and not wanting to sound like a jackass. I am certain I fell victim to my “nervous talking” thing, which is awesome. There are times when my tongue goes completely apestuff, and I can’t shut my mouth to save my life. Maybe Jenny remembers some of the conversation, but I don’t.
Then we went to the Zoo, and I remember driving down Park and having to call my brother-in-law because I couldn’t remember how in heck to get there. My sense of direction has not gotten much better since I moved to Yuma.
But I digress.
We found the zoo, and I remember getting on the tour bus, and driving around the zoo with our arms just barely touching. It was like having my hand on one of those shock things at the nickel arcade at Disneyland. I badly wanted to put my arm around her, but I didn’t want to be THAT guy.
Again, I’m certain we spoke to one another in the few hours we walked around the zoo, but that whole afternoon is lost to me as well. I do know that it felt right walking around with Jenny and David at my side.
We walked around the park for just a little while, and took David on that little train that runs near the zoo. At the time, he was all about Thomas, and all things train-related, so he had a pretty good time.
And then the afternoon was over and we were headed back to Grossmont Center to pick up my car. Neither of us wanted the afternoon to end, so we decided to have an early dinner in Case de Pico before Jenny headed back to Yuma.
I know the conversation just flowed from one thing to another easily, and it was as if we’d always talked. I didn’t feel any of the awkwardness I expected to for a first date, especially one with a kid involved. David was so funny, and energetic, and not afraid to talk at all. We had dinner, and I remember looking at her across the table and just thinking that she was beautiful. What was she doing with this big, bald-headed slob from Santee?
We walked outside when we were done eating, and David climbed into his car seat (he was 4 at the time). We stood looking at each other for a second or two and then I think we both realized that however long it took for us to get together again was going to be too long.
“I’ll come to Yuma next weekend,” I told her.
Then she moved into me and I felt her arms cross behind my neck. I just held her for a minute, and then in the parking lot of Case de Pico, with twilight just creeping into the horizon and a dollop of guacamole drying on the front of my shirt, we shared our first kiss.
It was quick, and fairly chaste, but I realized right away I wanted another one.
Next weekend was an eternity away.
Day 2: October 12, 2008
I can remember the exact moment I “knew” with Jenny. The moment I realized that was it, and I knew there was never going to be anyone else for me.
Jenny had come to see me in San Diego, and we were saying goodbye by her car. We were fairly early on in our relationship, and we wanted to see as much of each other as possible, but our time together was restricted to weekends—and it was tough.
We alternated visiting between Yuma and San Diego, and this particular weekend in October we were in my neck of the woods, because a friend had an extra ticket for the Chargers vs the Patriots, which was a rare opportunity for me—professional football games were expensive.
So we spent as much time together as we could, but eventually, it was time to say goodbye—I had to get on the trolley to Qualcomm Stadium. And for some reason, on this day, my stomach was bothering me. I was fidgeting a fair amount as we stood by her car, because I knew I was going to have to sneak one out eventually.
I didn’t want to hurry the goodbye, but nature is nature, and unless I got back inside my house soon, she was going to experience a part of me I didn’t think I was ready to show her.
And because life is just ridiculous sometimes, there came a moment when we were just standing there, not talking.
And it happened. It came on like a freight train, and I was helpless in its path. It sounded a little bit like when a sailor on one of those old pirate movies jumps from a crow’s nest and stabs his knife into the sail, sliding down to the deck with a loud rrrriiiippp.
I just sort of stood there turning red, and I remember Jenny’s eyes getting really big. Then she just sort of threw her arms around me and started laughing almost uncontrollably.
I love my wife so freaking much.
So here we are now, working on our third year together. It’s been awesome, and such a blessing. And yes, I still let one go every now and again. Except now, it doesn’t embarrass me nearly as much. Who doesn’t like the smell of freshly baked cookies?
Let me also say one thing God has not changed in me over the years is my sense of humor. I still enjoy “bathroom” humor above all other kinds.
And that’s ok. My wife, my best friend, makes me laugh every single day. She gets me like nobody else ever has. She enjoys a good gas joke, too.
Day 3: August 24, 2011
I was thinking about those 2 days this morning when I was getting ready for work. Three years since our first date next week.
I’d done my daily reading and packed my lunch. I realized I’d forgotten the novel I was currently reading on lunch, so I went back into the bedroom to get it. I turned on the bathroom light and in the column of light from the slightly opened door, I watched Jenny sleeping for a second or two, and it blew me away anew that I’d been blessed with a woman like her. It was like that Brad Paisley song, “…and I thought I loved you then…”
Hard to imagine loving her more.
I thought about our baby sleeping in the next room, and David across the hall.
That moment was like a snapshot of perfect happiness. I might have a tough day at work, and a hot ride home, but when I got there, I really was home, with my family around me.
I am so lucky—so blessed.