I remember I was fifteen sitting in the movie theater with you by my side watching, I don't even remember which one, a movie. I felt the the touch of your hand wisp across mine as you reached for your soda that rested in the cup holder between us. I can remember the butterflies I felt in my tummy as I held my breath in disbelief. The rush of emotions and well lets face it I am sure hormones that came over me in that moment. Could it be? Had I really grown feelings for this boy in the seat next to me?
You always pulled out my chairs, held the door open, gave me first pick, spoiled me with letters and gifts, even though there was no reciprocation. I would not have admitted it back them but I loved every moment of it. Admitting to it meant that you were right...let me explain.
When we were twelve you started writing me love letters and somewhere in that year you let me know that you would marry me one day. What the What?!?! Yeah, it still makes me double take. I was just a baby, it was a little much to take in. Just imagine two years from now a little boy telling Celeste that he was going to marry her one day. Again, what the what?!?! Anyways, I remember thinking to myself, "Tommy is crazy, and that is never going to happen. How could he know. now, at twelve years old who he is going to marry?"
Seventeen years old, you Tommy, my best friend in the whole world, were my first kiss. You were graduating from high school and I was a junior in high school. This was a very confusing time for I believe both of us. I loved you, in my heart I had always loved you. You were and still are my very best friend. I loved how for birthdays we would take a $1 and stick it in a gift card and even though it was nominal, it didn't matter. That tradition, so spoke a love language I didn't even know I had back then. You loved me in the way that being silly and looking silly in front of others didn't matter. You loved me out loud. You believed in me when even I couldn't believe in myself. I used to tell my mom when we would talk about boys, "Tommy is the only boy that I know, that if I asked him to, he would rope the moon for me". You offered no apologies for how you loved me, even when your love would infuriate me because I just needed space. Knowing how to be loved was not something I was good at when I was younger. Thank the Lord in heaven for healing, freedom and redemption.
So for the benefit of those reading that do not know the whole story, Tom and I dated for three years, off and on. Those three years encompassed moments of pure joy, love, dreams of the future, anger, pride, hurt, laughter, beautiful memories, funny moments, the tenderness of a first kiss, and our plans for a future together.
Somewhere in our nineteenth year we grew apart. There was a great divide, like the Grande Canyon, between us. We didn't speak for three years.....
Twenty-two years old, it was a late night in October. I was helping to decorate a wedding for some sweet friends of mine Jesse & Amy. Planning decorations and watching the rehearsal. I remember thinking to myself, "Lord, when or is this ever going to happen for me? When will I fall in love? Where is my forever?". All that week prior I had been thinking about Tommy, wondering how he was doing, was he happy. Knowing that I would never know the answer to that question, Tommy was never a factor when I was asking the Lord these private questions in my heart. I passed Tommy's sister in the hallway, who just happens to be best friends with my sister. I very hesitantly asked her about Tommy. How was he doing? Was he okay? Mind you it had been three years since we had spoken and the night that we parted ways was very painful. I was blindsided by words of rejection I never thought I would ever hear coming from Tom. Words that were sparked by his current girlfriend who at the time wanted space between us (me and Tom). She suggested I call Tom, his number was the same. My immediate reaction was, "Not a chance in hell!" (I thought to myself). Later that night I did call Tom, the conversation went something like this...
Jess: It's Jessica, listen I know you said you didn't want to hear from me, but please don't hang up. I just called to check on you and see that you are okay.
Tom: What? Why would I hang up on you
Jess: Seriously....(disgruntled, I thought to myself, "Is this guy for real?!)
It was after the wedding and I was up on a ladder taking down a hanging kissing ball (my back was to the door) when Tom walked in. In my knower I knew he was there, the butterflies in my tummy returned. He stayed to help me clean up and return supplies to their homes as I drove around Fort Worth. He followed me home to be sure I arrived safely and sat out in the street with me and talked for hours like we always had before. This was a guy that would take me to movies knowing I would fall asleep, but he took me anyways and would watch me sleep. He would stay on the phone with me all night just talking about everything and nothing. He kissed me that night and when he did, the stars aligned, the earth stood still and it was like having my first kiss all over again. It was in that moment ten years after the first time he told me he would marry me one day that I knew, he was right. I knew that he was the man that I would spend the rest of my life with and thought to myself, how had I missed it before.
We were engaged my Christmas that year and married in July. He is my forever friend and the love of my life. There are moments in our today's when I look at our sweet little ones, that I reflect back on when we were just little people and am just amazed at the beautiful blessing that our lives have unfolded into. The creases in our timelines made impressions upon us that propel us forward and nudge us sometimes violently and other times gently to pursue love for one another and to prefer each other over ourselves.
So, today on Valentine's I just want to say to you Tommy. I am ever so thankful for every moment of love, friendship, twelve year old boy annoyances that you have lavished on me. All those moments, every one of them has been raptured and culminate the beautiful love story that is ours and only ours. There are not many that can say they met their husbands when they were eleven. There are not many that can say they married their very best friend. I am so thankful for all of it, I am thankful for you. I love you, my sweet Tommy, my sweet man.
Forever & Always,
Below is the poem we had engraved on our unity candle...