Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Jeanette!!

Here is how we started!

I am sad to say I was unable to hijack Jeanette's blog and post this on her blog. (That was my plan). Here is what I was going to say:

I know that J has a lot of new CyberFriends who may not know "our story". Here it is.

Jeanette and I both have lived in the Houston area since we were very young. We literally grew up on opposite sides of the city. But Houston is a big town, and we never met.

That does not mean I was not looking for her. Ever since I can remember, even as a small boy living on a ranch in Colorado, I knew my special someone was out there. I could not wait to find her. I just needed to figure out who she was.

So I looked everywhere. Every time I met someone who I really "clicked" with, I would wonder "Is this her?"

Fifteen years later, I am in Texas. Another thing that everyone out there may not know is that Jeanette and I are both memebers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Shortly after high school we often will go on a mission for our church. We spend this time teaching people what we believe.

It is kind of expected for the young men to go on missions, but though the young women are encouraged to go, they are not expected to go.

Missions are hard. Seventy hour work weeks are the norm. Being away from home is tough. I served my mission in Florida and Jeanette served her mission in New York. I returned from my mission in December of 1993. Jeanette left for her mission in June of 1994.

Once again, I missed meeting her. That was about to change.

When I returned from my mission, I started going to school and dating again. I went on several dates with lots of different girls (but rarely more than one date). I would know almost immediately that my date was not the one for me.

In the fall 1994 semester, I met a girl named Annette Steward. We quickly became friends, ( though I never wanted to date her). She played basketball for the college I was attending, so I would go to her games to support her. Annette's parents would go to the games as well. Eventually, we would sit next to eachother and talk. I remember Jeanettes' mother telling me all about her.

This went almost an entire year. Though I was still looking for her, I had decided that I was just going to have to trust fate. My looking was not getting any results. I remember thinking, "Could this her?" I put it out of my mind and went on with life. One day, Annette tells me that her sister, Jeanette, is having a hard time on her mission. It was something I had experienced when I was on my mission. So I decided to write her a letter.....

She wrote a letter back. I wrote another one, and she wrote another one. This went on for a while, and then we started sending tapes. When I heard her voice, I really felt that I had finally found her. I was anxious though, because I did not want to get my hopes up.

Now, you may think, "Jim, you are a 22 year old man. You have plenty of time." Remember, I had been looking for her for more than 18 years.

Our communication continued from summer until November, when Jeanette's mission ended and she returned home. It was a very exciting time. I knew my life was about to change.

On November 23, 1995, I met Jeanette face to face. We went on our first date the night she got home. In LDS culture, that is odd. Most people have a little culture shock when they return home. She was as eager to meet me as I was to meet her.

When I arrived at her parents' house, I remember knocking on the door and seeing her for the first time in person.

We went out to eat and ended up back at the Steward home. We talked for quite a while, then it was time for me to leave. Jeanette walked me outside, but I just could not leave. So we stayed out and talked for quite a bit more time.

Jeanette and I disagree on what happened. Who made the first move?

I remember it happening this way:

Houston rarely gets cold. November is cool, and I had left my jacket. Jeanette was used to New York cold, so she was not even cold.

As I was saying good bye, I was a little cold. I shivered a little (not entirely sure it was the weather) and mentioned I was a little cold. Jeanette, still being a service minded individual, decided to help me by warming me up. She stepped forward and embraced me. At which time, she must have thought my lips were cold, because she warmed them up by applying her lips.

(By the way, Jeanette is going to refute some of this, but this is what happened to the best of my recollection).

This went on for some time, and then the next thing I knew, Jeanette's dad comes out and gets the paper. He looks up and sees Jeanette and me standing by my car. I worry that I am in trouble, so I really leave. (This is Thanksgiving morning). I go home and cannot go to sleep. I contemplate on the evening and the wonderful woman that I had just met.

I know I have finally met the woman I have been looking for literally my whole life. I get a cat nap and then return to the Steward house. We spend more time talking with the family, then we spend "talking" by ourselves. This is when I tell her that I love her and we should get married.

I officially proposed on January 22nd with the ring, and we were married in the Dallas Texas temple on March 15th.

Of course, our adventures since are different chapters in our book. We have since had times of great joy and also heartache. I would love to say we never had a fight in the 13 years we have spent together. In fact, we will probably have a fight about this post today.

I just want everyone to know how special she is. I know she is not perfect, but she is perfect for me. I have spent my entire life looking for her, and I am happier now than when we met.

You may say, "That's a great story, but what does that have to do with Jeanette's birthday?"

That letter that changed my life, the letter that started it all, that letter that I first wrote to Jeanette while she was on her mission was the first birthday gift I ever gave her. She received it 13 years ago today.


Happy Birthday. Thank you for making me so happy. I hope that you feel like a Queen especially today. I hope you know I would do anything to make you happy.

Your loving husband.



Jeanette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeanette said...

That note changed my life too, but it came at the perfect time too. I remember that time on my mission. It was a hard time and I didn't think I could keep going (on my mission). You gave me encouragement then and continue to do it today. I love you Jim for so many reasons...

lynette said...

How cute! I didn't know you received your first love letter from Jim on your birthday! What a great memory!

McKenzie&Kaylee said...

How sweet! I never have heard that story.

SuzanSayz said...

That is one of the sweetest things I have read in a long time. My son just wrote about how he met his wife on his blog and I enjoyed it a whole lot but then I had seen it all happen. Reading someone elses story though was really special, thanks for sharing.

Blarney Girl said...

"In fact, we will probably have a fight about this post today."

I can hear J now, "Jiiiiiim!! And then laugh and say, "I love you!" in a voice that sounds a little like Hilton to me. :-)

I think you're the coolest and I'm glad we're friends!

Russell said...

Like your daughters, I never have heard this story. It is very sweet. I wish we lived closer to hang out again. I hope our kids get to know each other someday.
With Love - your sister Tamara