This one’s for you sweetheart.
My wife, in my opinion, is the single greatest woman I know. Hands down, this is not a debate or a democracy. You don’t get a vote. This is the woman that I met shortly after my 19th birthday when I was a long haired rebel in a souped-up Nova, hell-bent on breaking every rule I could while rocketing down my path of self-destruction (for those of you that ever rode in that old Nova, you’ll agree that rocketing is a fairly accurate description).
At that time I was almost 4 years removed from watching my father lose his battle with cancer. I was just over 3 years removed from being transplanted from my native home of Jacksonville, Florida and plopped down in Monroe, North Carolina, which at the time, was Hickville, USA as far as I was concerned. (I mean, who puts a Walmart in the mall?). I struggled to adapt and make friends. I had 2 failed relationships behind me, and was stuck in the middle of a terrible one. But, in my defense, I was a teenage boy and we all know what rules the life of a teenage boy. I was a highschool dropout and I had one real friend. I did have a full time job, but my money went into my bad habits and keeping my hotrod blazing down the road. Ok, so I had two friends, because my car was always there when I was having a bad day. Which was a common occurrence in those days. It was nothing for me to hop in the car, crank up the hard rock, and drop the hammer. In fact, it was a near daily activity. Somehow the combination of obscenely loud exhaust, coupled with the scream of heavy metal guitar riffs, and the thought of all of those horses under the hood, waiting for their chance to stretch their legs, has a soothing effect on the mind. It also has a way of making you feel invincible. And you know what that leads to, right? No? Let me tell you then. It leads to pushing it just a little bit harder, a little bit faster. The next thing you know, you’re barreling onto the highway, oblivious to surrounding traffic, with the hammer down and no intentions of easing up until you outrun what’s eating you or you crash and burn (and not really caring which comes first). So, yeah, I was was headed down the highway to hell in a multicolored, rattletrap Nova.
Now, enter the girl, and suddenly the car that was quite nearly the death of me catches her eye (I can only assume it was love at first sound, because that car looked like something out Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory). The car inspires conversation. Conversation leads to discovering common interests. Then before you know it, the long haired rebel and the beautiful girl are best friends. Fast forward a few months and that friendship has become more. The car is no longer a demon, and the long haired rebel has been saved from his self destruction by an angel sent from above.
I knew almost from the beginning that I had found The One. She had managed to pull me back from the edge, gave me reason to be happy, and showed me that life was worth living. I later confirmed this theory when, as my 21st birthday rolled around and she bought me another Nova. Guys, ANY woman that’ll buy you a hotrod is a keeper. So, we got married. We bought our first home. And another Nova (are you seeing the trend yet?). And life was great. For about 3 years. Then we decided something was missing.
It was time for kids. The only problem lay in an irregularity in a certain female system function. So we went to the doctor and were told it wasn’t a problem. We were given a prescription for birth control, told it would help to regulate everything and in 6 months to a year, we would be able to try. Again, life was great. Until the birth control did more harm than good. Do you know one of the side effects of birth control? Blood clots. Do you know what the side effects of a severe blood clot are? Death. Now, don’t freak out on me. She didn’t die, but came very close. That was 2008, 6 years after God blessed me with an angel. I was fortunate enough to keep her, but it made the possibility of going back on the birth control impossible. So our dream of children would be just that, a dream, for 9 long years. 9 years of watching friends settle down and have kids. 9 years of seeing reports on TV of parents that didn’t want their kids abandoning them, or worse, killing them. 9 years of wondering, “Why not us?”.
Then it all nearly fell apart. Life hit the wall hard. There were major problems, hard feelings, even a separation. Things looked bleak, but we were determined to make it work. (In other words, she was willing to forgive me for being an idiot and give me another chance.). Right after I learned that I would be blessed with yet another opportunity to live life with my best friend, we learned of another blessing from God. That’s right, hello baby! It was tough at first, working out issues and preparing for an event that had been given up as a “never gonna happen”, but we persevered and we made it.
But there was still something missing. We had each other again. We had our wonderful son. But we still weren’t happy. She figured it out first. We had been blessed numerous times, but still hadn’t gotten the message. She heard the call first. It started as a desire to help veterans, a group of people that she, as well as I, have always been very fond of. She started making some calls, and meeting dead ends. But, she persevered (she may not believe it, but it’s one of her more prominent traits.) and eventually she found someone who would talk to her. That led us to the shelter we cook meals for twice a month. That contact led us to the ministry we help feed and clothe the homeless through. And it also led us to church, where we finally found what had been missing all along.
We had been blessed to find each other. We ignored the message. I almost lost her in the most serious way possible. We ignored the message. We almost lost each other. We were given a second chance and the blessing we had been looking for all those years. We finally got the message. We were ignoring our blessings and not giving thanks to where they had come from, but no longer. Now we are attending church, we’re helping out with the homeless and less fortunate, we’re trying to create a better environment for our son to grow up in. And most importantly, we are happy. We are now working toward living the life we should have been all along.
I know you’re reading this sweetheart, so let me say thank you. I am so grateful for the day that God put you on my path. Thank you for not giving up on me and letting God bring me home. Thank you for being a wonderful mother to our son. Thank you for all that you do for me on a daily basis, even the small things that I often forget to say thank you for. And finally, thank you for being the spiritual center of our little family. If you had not finally answered the call, we wouldn’t be where we are, helping those that we are, or be anywhere near the road that will take us where we want to go. I know you’ve been feeling down the last couple of days so I thought I’d tell the world, right here with God and the internet as my witnesses, that you are an amazing woman. I am lucky and blessed to have you. Our son is fortunate to have the best mother he could have asked for. And finally, because of your huge heart, you are being a blessing to so many people.
I love you angel.