It all started on Friday the 13th of June, 2014.
I was headed to hear a friend sing a local pub and had planned to carpool with my longtime friend Keith who told me that we would be riding with his friend, Huck. I had never met Huck, but I trusted any friend of Keith’s would be a friend of mine. Little did I know that this friend of Keith’s would become the love of my life.
I remember the moment I pulled up in my truck, got out, and started to walk up the driveway to meet the guys (as I type this there’s a huge goofy grin on my face; it happens every time I think about this moment)—I was taken aback by this tall, handsome, burly and bearded stranger. We met at Keith’s parents’ house, since it was closer to where the event was happening. I remember seeing how comfortable his parents were with Huck, laughing and joking around, and thought to myself: he must be a nice guy. We all walked down to Huck’s truck—which now, years later, holds such a dear place in my heart; her name is “Betsy” and I love her—and after Keith jumps in the back, I attempt to raise myself up into the truck (it’s lifted, of course) but with a pencil skirt on it’s, well, an interesting attempt. I look up and see Huck, already in the driver seat and having noticed my struggle, extend his hand to me with a smile—he’s tall, so the reach of his arm met me perfectly. I accepted his help and with the first touch of my skin to his came that spark. Maybe it was the warmth of a gentlemanly gesture that I hadn’t felt in such a long time, maybe it was the excitement of meeting someone new who I thought was “cute,” or maybe it was love’s first heartbeat. I know now, it was all of those things—mostly the last part.
We spent the evening dancing and drinking and talking while our friend sang on stage at the pub with her band. It was a warm summer night, and I felt more free than I think I had ever felt before. When her gig was over, our friend affectionately and playfully suggested that Huck and I grab a bite to eat before calling it a night—hinting, not so subtly, at her match-maker plans and our possible budding romance. We agreed, and that night Huck and I shared an impromptu first date at the local Waffle House (which now, the franchise and that location in particular has become a favorite spot for us). That’s where I first learned about his love for demolition derby, how he met Keith during his dirt bike racing days, and how, just months before, we had been at the same location at a party but had no idea. I know now that fate, or God’s plan, is a funny thing. We had crossed paths before, but it wasn’t until that night of June 13, 2014 that we were meant to meet.
The months that followed were a whirlwind of romance, adventure, and a discovery of love. It was also when we realized I was pregnant—that’s right, our second date was that good. It came as a huge surprise, but I will never forget his reaction—the biggest hug, some tears of joy, and lots of kisses. We were scared, sure (like any new parents, regardless of plan) but we knew one thing: we had each other, and with neither of us having ever experienced the kind of real and honest and true love we shared, there was no doubting that we were gonna make it.
Fast forward to 2019 and we have an almost 4-year old and another child on the way. As I type this, our little one is moving about in my belly and my eyes are welling up with tears. Not just because I am grateful to God for this incredible man in my life and this journey we are leading and home and foundation we are creating for our children, but because we did make it and we will continue to make it. We’ve had challenges, like any couple has, but with each argument or hiccup in our plans or unexpected turn we have leaned on each other and proven our promise to each other to show up. We’ve proven our promise to continue to strive to be our best selves. That’s not easy for me being a survivor of domestic violence and it’s certainly not easy for Huck being a partner to a survivor of domestic violence. We’ve navigated our way time and time again through the darkness by simply loving each other.
We’re stronger now than we’ve ever been, and we’re just getting started.