See, that's a hard lesson that I'm constantly learning. I feel like I always have to be there (wherever there is) or something won't get done. I even did this when I was pregnant with Harris, I wanted to be there until the last minute-like the school couldn't function without me. When will I learn that I'm not that important and life can very easily go on without me? You would think I would have learned it nine years ago.
My kinda-sorta-date was with this guy Jim. We met at a Bible study in Henderson. I knew most of the people there because it was in Henderson and well, at the time it was hard to not know most of the people in Henderson. Except this guy Jim. He talked funny. He was from Massachusetts. Going on a kinda-sorta-date with him was as close to sacreligious as I could get (yes, grandparents rolling in graves kind of thing). Before this kinda-sorta-date, we had talked within the group and someone mentioned TipTop Restaurant. I hesitate to even put Restaurant at the end of TipTop, but I suppose it's the proper thing to do. This guy Jim wanted to know more about it and other Henderson (oh, so many things) establishments. Being proud of my roots that I've sadly been so quick to forget and escape since, I quickly offered a tour to this guy Jim and any other foreigners. He was the only one to accept. Everyone had everyone's phone numbers because that's what you do in a small town Bible study so he called one day and asked about the tour. I was in Raleigh with my friend Kathy. We discussed another date, not date date, but date as in time and place for an event. This guy Jim worked in RTP so he got home around 4:30ish, right when I was leaving school (yeah, right) so we planned for a dinner on Sept. 6. Which just happened to be the night I should have been working on progress reports. Oh well, God always has better plans for our lives if we just believe.
We met at Pino's, a small Italian place in Henderson. We both get out of our cars (not a date, see) at the same time. He starts walking to the door. It's then I notice him walking differently. I hadn't noticed this before. Sidenote here-I had spent the better (much better) part of the summer with my sister, Candi and her now husband, Curt. Curt is an adorable goofball. He and his family are true classclowns who will try to make you laugh and will do silly things to get you riled up. Wearing silly hats or clothes or Grinch costumes is not uncommon for a Tucker. It's fun and exactly what I needed that summer and what I had been used to. Which leads me to my next dumb, thoughtless comment to this guy Jim.
Me: "What are you doing?"
Me: "Why are you walking like that?"
Jim: "I always walk like this?"
Me: "No you don't."
Jim: "Yes, I do, I have Spastic Paraplegia."
Me: "No, you're making that up."
Jim: "No, it's what I have. Why would I make that up?"
Me, inserting foot into mouth. Somehow I stumble into a seat in the restaurant and manage to order something while apologizing profusely. This guy Jim takes it all in stride (he's just that wonderful) and thinks nothing of it. Wow, if that were me I would be blowing off this chick and never looking back. See, from the beginning Jim's always seen more in me than I'll ever see in myself. Back to the kinda-sorta-date. We ate and talked and talked and talked. I had no idea I could talk to someone that much. I don't remember what time our date began, but I know we ended up talking until close to midnight. I didn't know where or if this was headed somewhere. Especially after the way my big mouth started the night. I do know I was on cloud nine. I am pretty sure I hopped into school the next day and every day after. My great assistant, Malinda, would be able to tell you that! I'm sure I drove her batty talking about this guy Jim.
Over the next few weeks and months our relationship escalated into this guy Jim becoming THE ONE. I would talk to my friends from college and say, "He's just so wonderful" and giggle. I think it was the giggle that caught most of them off guard. Certainly those closest to me that summer. Prior to meeting Mr. Wonderful I had dated and been engaged to someone for five years. I'm quick to say that's five years I wasted of college experiences and life. That's a lot of time for mistakes and things that I have spent too much time dwelling on-you must put the past behind you. I was broken, battered and bruised and spent much of the summer healing with family & friends and their prayers and my time (not enough) with God. I was stronger in some ways, yet still weak in lots of others. I wanted and still want to be a better person for God, a better servant for Him. I was never expecting to come across Mr. Wonderful in Henderson at a Bible study. Oh, how great are the plans of our Father. Jim has allowed our Father to use him to make me into that better person. More loving, giving, caring, and kind. Because that's who Jim is. He taught me about agape love which he lives out every day. He defines it. Jim loves me whether I have on a pretty dress or the same sweats for three days, makeup or he actually prefers none, does he even notice if my hair is brushed? He could care less if I lose 30 pounds or gain 60, he knows I would feel better about myself but to him he honestly doesn't care. He is going to love me because he loves me. I'm sure you've heard this song, if you haven't I don't know where you're hiding, but it makes me think of how Jim loves me. It's a lot like the way God loves me. I am so blessed.
You could say the rest is history, but it's so not. We've only just begun. We've promised each other 100 years. We know the road is bumpy-we've had some seriously high speed bumps in our almost eight years of marriage. He's lost both parents and we've got an angel baby. My grandmother passed away. His brother and his wife, whom Jim and I adored and looked up to, divorced. His family is in Massachusetts. We've also celebrated some pretty awesome things. We've got two incredible children with us on earth, good health, joy in our hearts and our dog is still with us! We've also celebrated one of my sisters getting married and having two children of her own. His sister got married. All of this is life and we're doing it TOGETHER. So today I'm celebrating that nine years ago I listened to a wiser woman and went on a kinda-sorta-date with a *gasp* Yankee who turned out to be wonderful Jim, my precious husband and father to our three children. Without him I couldn't even have this awesome blog about our two gifts from God!