So most of you all know mine and Bradley's love story. He asked, she said yes...the rest is history, right? So what is so special about today? Well, April 7th, 1999 is the day it all started. Yes, '99. Are you doing the math? Let me help you. We were 12 and in 6th grade. I had met Bradley approximately 9 months earlier when I moved to Lindsay at the beginning of our 6th grade year. By Valentines' I had become smitten with this chili-bowl styling, fast-running, super sweet blushing boy. We got to see each other often at track meets after school and on weekends since my dad was the coach and his two brothers were mega track stars. We were hooked on each other, though we weren't actually 'going out' yet. That's what we called it...going out. "Where are you going though?" My dad would often ask. *Insert preteen eye roll here*
April 7th, 1999, a group of us were playing tag on the playground as we often did during after lunch recess. It was a lame game as always that really should have been called, "Tag the person you love." I was running from Bradley, and let's face it...I was running slow so he could keep up. That's how I remember it anyway! :) He cornered me at the edge of the playground, the brick sign to my back and a street on either side. I wasn't getting out of it without the tag. Only he wasn't trying to tag me. Paused in a stalemate, an out-of-breath conversation commenced.
Bradley: So are we going out or what?
Joni: I don't know.
Bradley: Well, do you want to?
Joni: Yeah :)
And we took off running. I eventually slowed down enough so he could actually tag me before we had to go back inside to class. (I'm just sure that was how it went!) ;)
So when I say the rest is history...I pretty much mean it. We 'went out' for 4 years before we were actually old enough to go on real dates. We had a minor hiccup our freshman year of high school when I dumped him for a short period of time.(Let's just say I got talked into some things and regretted it...and he wouldn't take me back fast enough!) :) Both proms, every homecoming date, every 5th quarter dance...he was mine.
So here we are 15 years later. Can you believe it! So many of our friends have known us since we started 6th grade and been witness to the decade and half of being "Bradley and Joni." I feel sure that they would vouch when I say that we are pretty much a package deal. It has been a complete joy and honor being the only girl he has ever kissed or dated... and I can say the same for him. I could not have asked for a better best friend. I am as smitten with that guy as I was on the playground in '99.
I love my fairytale love story. I love that I have a prince that knows every single doubt of my heart, every insecurity, every personality flaw, and every pet peeve...and yet he loves me big and treats me like a princess.
I don't want to leave the impression that this has been all rainbows and unicorns for the last 15 years. We have kids...and don't they always make things (though better) a little more complicated? We have had some real struggles. We got married before either of us had a steady job. We got pregnant 4 months after that wedding...while both were in still in college and not working. We have struggled to pay bills while putting Bradley through law school, raise a baby while learning to be grownups and newlyweds all in the same year, moved homes, graduated law school, each got our first 'big kid job', had a miscarriage, had another baby with a scary and stressful pregnancy and still managed to buy our first home 2 weeks before delivery. It's been a rollercoaster...financially, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
(can you see the terror in our faces! This little person is OURS??)
I guess what I am trying to say is, that true love... it takes work. Bradley and I are both the type that would just go to bed mad, but we've learned (and are still learning) that when things fester...you lose perspective. We've learned that the crazy stories that have to tell (have you heard our honeymoon story??) are just ways that God has used others to show us his hand in our journey. We praise and glorify him for every blessing we have...and there are a lot!
Thank you for taking the time to read my mushy post. I am a hopeless romantic, and I love living out this fairytale. 'Every love story is good...but OURS is my favorite!'