Thursday, November 26, 2009

Once Upon a Time...

OK, it may not be a fairy tale, but it's "our story" and it began 14 years ago believe it or not! We are blessed to be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary tomorrow, November 27th! I know some of our closest friends have probably heard "our story", but I thought in honor of our 10 year anniversary, I'd post the story for others to read. And also to have it documented so that maybe my children will be able to read the story of how their mommy and daddy met. So, with that being said, let me begin...

Once upon a time...
In the summer of 1995, we spotted each other sitting in traffic and all I saw of him was this...

He smiled, I returned the smile...we spoke not a word to each other that day.

Then a year later, after softball practice and while still "sporting" my cleats, I met a nice guy at the shaved ice place. No more than that...he just fixed me my favorite strawberry sno-cone, and I drove off.

While collecting shaved ice for the co-workers at my 1996 summer office job, he asked for my phone number. I am sure I gave him a very strange look, so he said I seemed like a nice girl and he wanted to set me up with a nice guy (headed for med school that fall) who worked for him at the shaved ice stand. I agreed. He seemed pretty genuine. I went out on a date with the guy headed for med school. Nice guy, but no sparks between the two of us.

About 6 months later, while living in Memphis and halfway through my freshman year of college, my answering maching revealed a message left by Jan Hensley, "The guy from the shaved ice stand". My roommate knew him, but I barely knew him. All I knew was he was the one who served me my favorite strawberry shaved ice and tried to be my match-maker for some reason. There was something about him that I trusted, although I did wonder why he was calling.

I never returned that message he left. I went about busying myself with life, I guess.

Then, in April of 1997, I was at home in Covington preparing to leave for Hawaii to play softball with my teammates for a week when the phone rang. Jan had called me at my parents' house and he was asking if I remembered him. "Of course I remember you," I replied nicely. His next question surprised me a bit although I think somewhere inside me, I knew it was coming. "Would you like to go out sometime and get something to eat or see a movie?" :-) "Sure" was my answer, but "it would have to wait until I returned to town in a week or two, if that's o.k." I said I would call him when I got back, and I did.

We saw Wesley Snipes in Murder at 1800 on our first date. I don't remember where we ate, but I think it might have been J.Alexander's in Cordova. I thought he was nice and very handsome. I liked being with him.
We continued to spend more and more time together that summer of 1997 getting to know each other, weathering the "bumps in the road" that come with almost every immature relationship. I spent that summer wrestling with the desire to let myself love him and be loved by him, and I know he struggled to hang on to the idea of a relationship with someone younger and not so sure of what she wanted.

But then, at the very end of August, the end of a summer we would never forget, we both agree that we had "THAT MOMENT"...the moment we BOTH knew without any doubt that we LOVED each other, that this was REAL! I will never forget sitting on that stinky bus after white water rafting with him, and amidst all those people and the jolts and jars the bus gave us and the arguing between my best friend and her boyfriend, we looked at each other and it was like we were on that bus alone. I really can't describe how I felt, but I knew I had never truly felt that way before. (Call it cheesy if you like! I don't know if anyone else has ever had "that feeling", but if you have, you know what I mean!)

From that moment on, things were different. I looked at him much differently. I saw my future with him in it! Now, I am not gonna say things were perfect from then on because that would be a complete "fairytale". Besides, is anything ever perfect?

A year and 3 months later, he asked me to marry him under a tree out in the middle of a field in Cades Cove National Park. I wasn't expecting it that day, although we had talked about the idea of getting married. I cried, he cried. I thought it was the most beautiful ring I had ever seen!
We took our children back to Cades Cove just a couple of weeks ago, and we told them why we love that place.

We were engaged for a year, as planning a wedding and trying to finish college takes time, you know? The year flew by! As it turned out, several of our friends and family members got engaged and married that same year. Some of them teased us by saying, "First to get engaged, last to get married!" Our wedding took place on the Saturday that followed Thanksgiving, November 27 which also happens to be my brother's birthday! He didn't seem to mind that we picked that date. It was a beautiful service, I thought. We were surrounded by friends and family and had a great time celebrating afterwards! We spent our wedding night in Memphis at the Peabody, and then left for Maui a couple of weeks later. We covered every inch of that island while there, took the road to Hana, snorkeled, spotted blue whales, traveled to the top of Mount Haleakala for a breathtaking sunrise, and of course, pigged out at a traditional Hawaiian luau.

And now, 10 years later, we will return to the Hawaiian islands yet again, to celebrate where we've come in 10 year's time. 10 is hard to believe that in this time we have experienced so much change, but yet still remain mostly who we were when we first set out on this journey. God has blessed us with so much that I feel completely undeserving of. I look at my 3 children and try hard to think about the time in our marriage before they arrived. It's sometimes hard to do! I love that I can look at each of them and see my husband in them. I think I have loved him more with the birth of each one. I am thankful for each and every moment of life we have experienced together over the last 10 years. And I am looking forward to the next 10 years and more with him!

Happy Anniversary, Jan!
Thank you for 10 wonderful years! 
P.S. I am glad you asked me.


Jan said...

Thank you for saying yes!! I am the truly blessed one...maybe even a bit lucky!! I will never be able to express how much I love you in words or write as beautiful as you!! So here it is as simple - as I am!! I am thankful for you & our family!! Thank you for mothering our lovely children! I think they have your beauty! I love you & enjoy you!! I love you more now & my love grows for you daily! You are my dream of the perfect woman! I can only thank God for the blessing He prepared for me in you!! Thank you for being a wonderful wife, girlfriend, best friend, & mother! I am a blessed man! The 10 years of this marriage I view as just a beginning of a wonderful journey here on earth until death do us part...I am most happy about knowing that we are both Christians. Knowing this promises us both an eternal life that not even death can separate. So I am commiting past death do us part...I just hope God will allow me to continue our wonderful relationship in the after eternal relationship. Because I promise that my love does not stop with the heart. It is a true love from deep in my soul...Thank you God for the blessings & Thank you Nicole for saying yes!
Happy Anniversary!!
I love you!
Jan Wade

Laura Dawson said...

How sweet to get a response from him, Nicole! Jan, Rob said no more looking in rear view mirrors! Hope you guys have a wonderful trip! Happy Anniversary!

Amy said...

Nicole, you made me tear up...but then, I went to post a comment and now I'm bawling. Thanks Jan! LOL Happy Anniversary to you two! You have the most beautiful children and God has blessed you. We are blessed to have you as friends, and wish you the happiest day of all!! LOTS OF LOVE!!!

Christi said...

Okay, I'm glad I'm not the only one crying here! Jan and Nicole -- I love you both very much and am so glad you found each other. Just think, Jan, what if you'd never opened that shaved ice stand? Funny how life's steps lead us to great things that we'd never expect. It took losing my scholarship & my dad getting sick to get me back to Memphis. Then my boyfriend broke up with me....I wasn't sure how much worse it was going to get and then, guess who was living just around the corner?

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations on 10 years! What an accomplishment...and three beautiful children in the process! Hope you all have a wonderful trip and anniversary!