Amazon, Netflix, and Long Distance Dates

July 28, 2018

with the cutest boy in the world.

Isn't he precious!


Eighteen years ago this November, this precious man showed up for our first date in a pair of Liberty overalls, his hat on backwards, and kissed me like I was his.  

We had mutual friends, hung out once, but never a date. We grew up in the same hometown.  He is eight years older and I never knew him growing up.  I was closer to his brother's age.  A mutual friend introduced made plans to introduce us and before I even met him, I told her I wasn't interested- he had two kids, was in the midst of  a divorce,  had two too many kids, one too many ex-wives, lots of too much baggage, no thanks.  And then, I met him.

He lived in Troy and I lived in Birmingham - a two hour drive.   I knew he would be nuts for a while after a divorce and tried to weasel out of it when he asked me out, but didn't want to let someone so cute and smart and funny get away. Single girls know what I'm talking about.

When he asked me out, I explained that I couldn't in good conscience go out with anyone married, period, even if he had filed.  He agreed with me, but the minute the ink was dry, he started calling me. We talked on the phone for hours each night leading up to our big date. We really had a great courtship because we knew one another before our very first date.  I fell in love with him long before he ever kissed me, or showed up in those overalls in the rain that night.

I was so nervous that November, that I locked myself out of the house in the pouring down rain.  Deciding to shimmy up the back brick wall of my house while standing on one cinder block, I busted my behind and ended up covered in mud from head to toe. I fell into the bushes.  I was skint up, dirty, soaked.  and had five minutes to change clothes before he arrived.  I threw on a black turtle neck and a pair of plain jeans.  

Remember that scene in Sleepless in Seattle when Tom Hanks said he took his wife's hand getting out of a car, and it was magic?  That's how it was the first time I met him- magic.  I was so nervous thinking maybe that was all in my head?  What would happen on a real date?

When I flung open the door, I was flushed, had wet hair, probably some dirt on my face still, and there he was in a pair of Liberty overalls, his baseball cap turned backwards, and boots. His hair was curled in ringlets from the rain, and just had a Paul Newman kind of thing going that made my knees buckle.  He stepped in from the rain, took my face in his hands and he kissed me.  I mean, he kissed me- 1940's movie star kissed me!  I felt my heart  skip a beat, my head was swimmy, and I knew right there and then that I would marry this boy- the cutest boy in the world!

For a year and a half, we dated living two hours away.  We made it work.  We commuted back and forth at least twice a week and every other weekend, and finally, he moved to Birmingham and we were married.  We rescheduled our wedding twice and almost didn't get married at all because we went to pre-marital counseling with our priest for 10 months. We wanted our things worked out before we merged homes, children and lives.  It ain't the Brady Bunch, y'all, that's only on television.

On the 27th Day of April in 2002, in a blue sparkly princess gown that I sewed and he put the boning in, and in a tiara I designed that was made in Ireland, I walked in with trumpets blaring and met him at the end of the aisle at the Cathedral of the Advent, where we made our covenant.  I made a covenant with him, with our children, and most importantly with God.  And that covenant, has kept us through things that would have wiped out most marriages, destroyed them.  

We've had career changes, we've raised teenagers together and so far, we are 3/3.  Everyone has a degree, a skill, a job, and in the end, I do believe that all three will have their Doctorates.  Each is working on that as we speak.  They were teenagers, each with their own freak flag to fly for a while, but they are awesome adults.  Good people, good friends, and people that I am proud that I had a part in loving and rearing.  I am really proud of them, they make my heart burst when I think of the challenges they have all endured and have overcome as well.  

Our children are all grown now, and since the last one left for college, we have been able to have different career options, and have traveled all over the country.  Since 2011, we have lived in West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Texas, and Alabama.  We've toured everything around and between those places that we could possibly see. 

This past year, I have been working for myself from home, re-establishing my design business and clientele, and Jimbo has worked from Texas.  That has all been great, except he works 6 days per week.   Most weeks, I also work 6 days per week, and that leaves traveling to a minimum for us since he has been on this project.  And I miss him- badly.  And he misses me.

So, we are back to how we began dating in the beginning- we stay on the phone for hours each night.  We laugh and tell stories and catch up on our days, and we probably spend more time together actually listening than we ever do when we are together and can tune out.  

We watch a LOT of Amazon and Netflix series together.  We synch our tv's, count down 3-2-1,  and press play together.  We give picture descriptions until we are synched and then we watch whatever it is we are watching, analyze the characters, laugh, and have movie night- just remotely.  It isn't dreamy, but we're in it, and we're doing it together.  And this gets us through to the next point in our lives where maybe one day, we can end up somewhere working in the same place again.  Maybe he stays in Texas and gets to a bigger city with his company and I go there one day?  With his business you never know, but he has a fantastic team and he is happy, and that makes me happy.  I am doing what I love and re-establishing my brand and that makes me happy, and when Mama's happy, everybody is happy.

The toughest thing about being apart is all of the little things that you do for one another that you take for granted.  I miss having him rub my back and my feet, bring me coffee or hot tea in bed without me asking.  He loves to go to the grocery store and I despise it.  He changes my oil, loves to fold clothes.  He forces me to eat healthier, lets me sleep in his lap at 6am during Squawk Box and enjoy my coffee lull and he rubs my hair while he listens to the market breakdown for the day.  There are a million more things, but I have learned how much I take him for granted by us being apart.
I schedule his appointments- doctor, dentist, you name it.  I do the major shopping and I cook fun things, I make sure everyone has gifts that are supposed to have gifts and cake, I help him write letters and thank you notes.  I make the punch lists, send him to Lowe's and we fix things together. I have his back and he has mine.

When we are apart, we have our regular lives, plus we miss all of those perks.  Those are the hardest things, and I think when we feel the most alone.  I have had Type A Flu for a week and have been home pitiful.  I said "whatever happened to in sickness and in health?"  He said "You were healthy when you got on the plane to come see me, you were sick when you got home, so...there ya go, sickness and health."

Marriage has seasons, and our lives have seasons.  And although I want to believe this is temporary, I do realize that this is our life, for now.  We have plans for  moving to the coast one day and growing tomatoes-  big fat, juicy, Big Boys that cover an entire slice of white bread loaded with mayonnaise and black pepper.  That is our crazy dream and maybe explains our obsession with overalls.

For now, we will just eat tomato sandwiches and watch Netflix, get on airplanes with a dog, and remember that covenant that holds us together.  One day, we will look back on this time as a blip on the screen  and be so thankful that we stayed true to our path and made our dreams come true.  And every day,  I pray that his day is easy to get through and so is mine.  When he has a day to take care of himself, like he did yesterday,  and do the things that I normally do for him, I feel guilty and sad and I hope that he can navigate the things that I think are much more difficult for him than they actually are.  Maybe I like to believe he needs me more than he does, because I know I need him more than he thinks I do.  

Don't take the beautiful, simple moments for granted.  Make them count and celebrate them!

Love Y'all,
Holly

And...just for the record.  When we went to Hollywood to the Chinese Theatre, his hands and feet perfectly matched Paul Newman's. 




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