Jim and I have been married for nine years. Below is "our story." I mostly wanted it documented some place other than our journals. Feel free to read it, but be warned; there are some gushy segments -- even from JIM (gasp!).
Eleven years ago I sat outside my dorm building at Utah State University with a group of other LDS peers. We were meeting as a ward for the first time, and our bishop and his counselors wanted to introduce themselves to their new flock. It was a casual meet-and-greet type scenario. I sat in the grass, next to my best friend, Abby (we were both accepted to USU), and scanned the crowd. I remember turning my head around and noticing a boy sitting behind me with the most striking blue eyes I had ever seen. They kinda took my breath away, but I was dating someone else at the time, so I thought, "I'll have to point him out to Abby."
A few days later I heard a knock on my dorm room door. I opened it and found this same blue-eyed-boy wearing a golf hat and holding a telephone. My floor of the dorms didn't have phones installed in the rooms yet. Mr. Blue Eyes volunteered to deliver the phones to all the girls' rooms. I quickly learned Blue Eyes not only had gorgeous oculars, but he was a huge flirt. What better way for him to meet girls, than to go door-to-door in the girls' dorms delivering them their phones. I soon found out the biggest boy flirt I'd ever met name was Jim.
A month or two passed and Abby and Jim, did in deed, start dating. Right around this time I had my first real heartbreak. The guy I had been dating wasn't at all who I thought he was. To be fair, I wasn't my real self either around him. The relationship was doomed for failure. And good thing it was. A few weeks after my heartbreak, I had been hanging out with a guy I thought was pretty cute. He wasn't relationship material, but a whole lot of fun to flirt with. One night this new guy dropped me off at the dorms and I saw Abby and Jim, and a few other people, climbing into Jim's car. Abby waved me over and invited me to come to Ogden with them to watch a USU vs Weber hockey game. I happily obliged and climbed into Jim's car for the very first time.
On the drive to Ogden Jim had everyone cracking up. He was goofy, flirty, crazy, and silly. At one point I think I cried I was laughing so hard. When we got to Weber, we all sat down to watch the game. A few minutes later I turned around and saw one of my ex's friends a few seats behind us. I told Abby and said something like, "I wish I was here with a guy so word would get to my ex that I had moved on." Abby said, "Why not use Jim?" What a good friend -- the best! Abby explained to Jim our plans, and a few minutes later I found myself sitting next to Jim, holding his hand, and staring longingly into his eyes. I knew it was all for show, but I also really liked the feel of Jim's hands in mine. But I knew it would never work. 1. Because Jim was dating my best friend and 2. Jim's name was Jim! My dad's name is Jim and my brother's name is Jim Jr. Too Freudian for my liking. So all thoughts of Jim and me EVER being a real item escaped my mind as soon as they arrived.
One day after the hockey night I hung out in Abby's dorm room with her. Amongst our topics of conversation she mentioned that Jim wanted to name his first daughter Tralee, after his favorite city in Ireland, where he served a two-year mission for our church. I fell in love with the name and the story behind it. Something deep within me wanted my first daughter's name to be Tralee.
Jim and Abby broke up after Christmas break. They left on good terms, and remained friends. I found myself at Jim's house he shared with some roommates a few times. There was usually a big group of people over there for Sunday dinner. Jim usually cooked blueberry pancakes served with orange Tang for his guests -- mostly girls. I ate a few of those famous meals, continued to date around, but mostly hung out with my roommate, my BF Abby, and some other girls in the dorm. I also had a few guy friends I hung out with. One of which, my roommate really wanted me to start dating. She said we'd be perfect for each other. Before anything could happen with my roommate's pick, it was time to go home and visit my folks for spring break.
After a week in Cleveland, I flew back to Utah and waited in my dorm room for my roommate to return. It was St. Patrick's day. One of my guy friends came in to hang out. We were talking, and after a little while there was a knock at my door. When I opened it Jim was standing on the other side holding a sour gumball. My guy friend left and. . .
I'm going to let Jim and my journals tell the rest of the story (we both kept journals during this time in our lives, so "our story" is well documented) Jim's journal entries will be in blue, mine will be in pink:
Saturday, March 24th 2001
". . . It was just Jim and I. As we were talking Jim put a sour gumball in my mouth and I made a sour face and told Jim it hurt my tongue. Then Jim's all, 'here, let me kiss it better.' WELL, Jim started kissing me, and I didn't really know what do do, so I kissed Jim back. It was kinda thrilling, because it was completely unexpected!!!"
Sunday, March 25th, 2001
". . . I found another girl who I, and all my friends thought was perfect for me! I thought everything was going perfect, we laughed, had a good time, and I treated her like a queen. Then she went cold and didn't return any of my calls. I could never catch her her at home. I ran into her best friend, Abby, the other night and she told me that Leslie wasn't interested anymore. She has me feeling just sick to my stomach. I am one crushed little Canadian."
Side Note: I was the only girl to ever break up with Jim. I did it for two reasons: 1. It got REALLY serious REALLY fast and I wasn't ready for that, and 2. My roommate wanted me to see how things would go with her pick for me. Nothing happened with that guy by the way, he was kind of clueless. A few days after I ended things with Jim, I found a sour gumball taped to my dorm room's door. Sad. Anyways, back to the journals:
Oh wait! One more side note. I wrote this next journal entry EXACTLY one year before our wedding day. Okay, continue:
Friday, May 11th, 2001
"I've been praying about my future husband lately and this morning, while I was on the airplane, I started thinking about Jim. I got the strongest impression that that's who I should be with now. The only reason I stopped liking him was because [my roommate] didn't like him and wanted me to date this other guy. Well ya know what? Jim is super awesome. I mean, he's silly, but he honors the priesthood. He goes to church, he's hard working, and good with kids. . . "
Friday, May 18th, 2001
"Wednesday night Abby came over. I told her my feelings about Jim. She said, 'I'm taking you over [to his house] right now!' The plan was I was gonna go up to the door and say, 'can I have another chance?' when he answered the door. BUT Jim wasn't there--so I left a note. . . "
The note said:
Just came by to see you. Gimmee a call
P.S. It doesn't matter what time. :)"
May 27th, 2001
"I was leaving for work last Thursday morning and I found a note on the ground that said something to the effect of 'I stopped by to see you, give me a call. It doesn't mater how late!!' It said heart Leslie on the bottom! So at noon on Thursday I gave the phone number a call and it was the Leslie that broke my heart!!! She wasn't home though. I tried her again before we left for Canada but she still wasn't home! So I took off to Canada."
Side note: I waited up all night for Jim to call. He never did, so I thought he wasn't interested anymore. He found the note the next morning on the ground, and when he DID try to call, I was at work. Then he left for Canada, and I didn't know it. A few days later I was at a mutual friend's house and found out Jim had gone on a road trip -- I still had some hope!
Tuesday May 29th, 2001
". . . I knew Jim was back from Canada --cause he called and I called and we talked. When I got home from work there was a note from [my roommate] saying Jim had called. He wanted to take me bowling. So, I hurried and got in the shower, only to miss his call, but he left [his roommate's] cell number. So I called and talked to Jim. He invited me over after he bowled to see his deck that he built. . . "
May 27th, 2001
". . . Much to my surprise she said, 'yes.' So sure enough we got home from bowling ad Leslie showed up! It was so cute how she approached the door. There's one step that is a bit higher than the others and she tripped on it and fell on her face!!! I couldn't help but laugh at her!! I brought her out on the deck and we stared talking. Well, pretty soon she was right next to me, we just kept getting closer an closer until I grabbed her hand. Then in the sweetest voice I ever heard she goes, 'Jim, I've really missed you!' That's when I looked into her beautiful brown eyes and I knew she was serious, so I kissed her!!!"
Wednesday, May 30th, 2001
"Jim's here right now. I have to give him a kiss or I'll just die!!!!"
June 6th, 2001
"Leslie and I have been together again since May 24th, two weeks tomorrow!! I've spent pretty much every free minute with her!! She is amazing, she's the nicest sweetest girl that I've ever dated!!! All she wants to do is make me happy and it's working really well!! She made me a CD with all the songs that remind her of me, she gave me some pictures, and she always worries about me!!! I've never felt like this with any other girl!! I know it's only been two weeks since we've been back together, but I think I'm falling in love!!!"
Tuesday, June 5th, 2001
"I'm in love!! I have a feeling this one is for keeps. Jim is absolutely amazing! I feel complete with him. The other day as we were looking at each other I started to cry. I was so happy! I've NEVER felt this way. Jim's absolutely brilliant, amazing, EVERYTHING! Last night we told each other that we love each other. It wasn't wrong or scary at all!! He tells me I'm beautiful all the time. He makes me feel like a queen!! The more I'm around him, the more I love him. We're made for each other!"
June 24th, 2001
"This week Leslie and I started talking about marriage. In the past, whenever the girls I dated would mention marriage, I'd get turned off and run the other way, but it's different with Leslie. I want her to be the one I wake up to for all eternity!"
I'll stop the journal entries there. But the story continues. . .
On December 13th, 2001 Jim proposed to me at the movie theater where we had our first date. He invited all of our friends, and before the movie started he excused himself to use the bathroom. All of a sudden our song started playing through the speakers and a slide show began of all of our favorite pictures together. At the end of the song, Jim came out of the door at the bottom of the theater holding a red rose, and tiny velvet box. I ran up to him as Jim got down on one knee, and said "Leslie, my life began when I met you. Will you marry me?" I answered, "Of course I will." Once the ring was on my finger, Jim picked me up, spun me around, everyone clapped, and we took some pictures with our friends. After all the pictures and congratulations, Jim and I left the theater to be alone. We went to the next place we also went on our first date: Sizzler!! I know, nothing but the BEST for us! (sense the sarcasm, but what do you expect? We were both poor college students!)
Actually, you should know something about our first date. On our first date, while at the fancy establishment known as Sizzler, Jim looked into my eyes and started singing Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl to me. I was completely shocked because I had a little secret thing with that song. When I was in high school a dumb boy looked at me and said, "You should have blue eyes because you have blond hair. I bet you'd look super hot with blue eyes." That dumb boy gave me a huge complex about my brown eyes. I vowed that I would marry someone who LOVED my brown eyes. In fact, I thought to myself (keep in mind I was a dramatic teenager), "the first guy to sing to me, Brown Eyed Girl, will be the one I marry!"--not kidding. So, when Jim sang, ". . .you're my brown eyed girl" to me on date numeral uno I think my jaw hit the floor. I had told no one of this secret pact, knowing full well of its sensational fool-hardyness. Leave it to Jim to be fool-hardy! That wasn't the only time in our courtship Jim left me speechless.
There was another day, when I served a party of 40 people, all by myself, for USU catering. It was a long, tiring process, and all I wanted to do was go home and relax with my boyfriend. Jim picked me up from work, and when I walked into my room it was filled with balloons, flowers, and a love letter from Jim. He spent the day working on this surprise, since he knew I'd have a hard day at work. But that's not all. . .
On March 17th, 2002, the anniversary of Jim and my first kiss, I left my job at the telecommunication center to find my car FILLED with sour gum balls. There was a card on the steering wheel which read, "Tis the luck of the Irish that brought us together, 'Tis the love of a life-time that will keep us that way. I'll always be there to kiss it better. Love, Jim." Again, I had to lift my jaw off my lap. I knew Jim was a keeper.
So . . . we made it official on May 11th, 2002. Jim and I were sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple. We were surrounded by family and friends, and it was one of the best days of my life. I remember staring into those bright blue eyes across the alter, knowing I was marrying not only the love of my life, but my best friend.
Another best day was January 23, 2007. We had our daughter, Tralee. Deep down I always knew Tralee would be mine. Actually, I kinda think our little munchkin had a hand in all this. Strange as it sounds, I have a feeling she picked us for the job of her parents!
My next best day happened when Hunter joined our family on May 8th, 2009. He wanted to join in all the crazy fun.
To be honest, most days spent with Jim are a little bit crazy, and a whole lotta stupid-silly. He still has me laughing so hard I cry, and those blue eyes still make my knees go weak. I still find unexpected cards from him with a little poem inside, and on occasion Jim will sing to me -- and now to Tralee -- "You're my brown eyed girl." Jim still goes to balloons as his favorite decor of choice, although it's mostly for the kids now. And every once in a while, I'll find a sour gumball taped to our bedroom door. Jim is everything I dreamed up for myself. He's not "the perfect husband" but we're perfect for each other. He and I, we've had some amazing days together in the last decade, as well as some doozies. In fact, there were moments when I contemplated a frying-pan-to-his-head as a perfectly rational way of dealing with a disagreement. Luckily for us, all of our moments of vagary have lasted about 2.5 seconds, and usually revolve around absolute ridiculum. It's not long before we're laughing again and our heated debate is all in the past.
Ups and downs, highs and lows, and all of it with my blue-eyed boyfriend by my side. I can't believe I've known Jim for eleven years, that we've been together for a decade, and married for nine! It still seems like just yesterday that I turned around and saw him sitting behind me in the grass. He took my breath away then, and he still does today.