Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Knight in Shinging Armor (only his horse was a Ram)

When you are in high school you are young and naive, or at least I was. I thought I knew it all and knew what was best for me. It only took me several years and lots of lessons to learn that I didn't. When I was a senior I met what I thought was a great guy named Mark. He was tall, cute, and was a whole three years older. Even better, he showed me lots of attention and my mom hated him. He was bad and she knew it. Of course being the teenager I was, the more she pushed for me to stay away from him, the more I went to him. The relationship started out great, but about 6 months into it great turned out to be a total nightmare. I won't go into details but over the next four years there was more than one time I covered for the bruises, cried myself to sleep, and feared for my life... literally. People always ask how a person can stay in an abusive relationship, they would never let anyone treat them like that! I will tell you that it is very, very, VERY hard to get out of those kinds of relationships because the bad guy is usually 1) very manipulative, 2) very forceful, and 3) has you so scared that you fear what will happen if you don't do what they want. In December of 1997 I finally decided that it was either get out of the relationship for good or there was no doubt that eventually my mother would lose a 2nd child because I truly feared for my life. I was determined to not let that happen.

I ended the relationship for the hundredth time and during the next few months I really tried to focus on me and not be manipulated back. I'd get phone calls from Mark, begging for forgiveness, telling me he's changed, and that he loved me. It was very hard. Your mind starts to remember the good times and pushes all the bad stuff way back in the dark corners so you don't think about them. I went out some and was finally learning to have have fun and confidence again. When my ex-sister in law told me she wanted me to go on a blind double date with her and her boyfriend I reluctantly agreed and came very close to canceling the date because come on, a blind date??!?! What if the guy was a total dork and I was stuck hanging out with him for an entire evening. Ugh. You can imagine what ran through my mind.

When the night came, I was actually pretty nervous. I had spent four years getting my self-esteem knocked down and although the last 6 months had been good for me I was still really unsure of my self worth. Little did I know that that night would change my future in more ways than I could ever imagine. That night was destiny.

When Jeff (ring a bell??) arrived he was so sweet and shy. I was amazed at how caring he was and how gentle he seemed. He was funny, cute, and a total gentleman. I didn't know guys like that even existed. I was swept off my feet and before I knew what hit me, I was in love. It certainly didn't hurt that he drove a Ram and I was in a total Ram phase! Over the next couple of weeks we went out more and more and couldn't be around each other enough. On our first "alone" date Jeff accompanied me to court to take care of a ticket that I'd forgot to send some stuff in with. I had assured him I could handle it, but since it wasn't in the best part of town he refused to let me go alone. I think that was just an excuse to go with me, but it certainly made me realize even more how caring he was. I can still remember sitting on the edge of my mom's bed and talking to her about how different Jeff was and that I knew he was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. That memory is so vivid to me, it was the first time I knew that for the rest of my life I would be safe because I would have him to take care of me. It was the first time I was no longer scared.

People always ask when you knew for sure that what you felt was the real deal. I know that exact moment, the moment I knew that there was no doubt I had something special. Jeff worked about 30 minutes north of where he lived. There was a young kid that worked with him that was married and had a new baby. This kid lived by me, which was about 20 minutes in the opposite direction of Jeff's work. Every morning Jeff would drive south to pick up this kid, drive back to work, bring the kid all they way back home, and then go back to his apartment. Every single day he went a good 30 miles out of his way to pick this kid up and drop him off. When I asked Jeff why he would do that he told me because he had a family to take care of and the kid needed the job. My heart was his, I was forever in love and in total awe.

There is also no doubt in my mind that without Jeff coming into my life I would have wound up back with Mark and most likely dead. I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but at this time Mark is in prison for shaking a 2 year old baby to death. So, I am not just being dramatic. I knew he was capable of such a thing and although I hoped that would never happen, I was not surprised when I learned about it. Sometimes I have guilt, like had I done something different I could have saved her. Truth is I couldn't have, but Jeff did save me.

On December 22, 1998 Jeff proposed and I said yes. We were married on August 21, 1999 and today we celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary. For the most part, the last 9 years have gone way too quickly and sometimes seem like a wonderful dream. The kind you never want to wake up from. I never thought I would have someone so wonderful, kind, and supportive in my life. He is a great husband and a perfect example of what a father should be. Without him, I would be lost. He is my best friend. We have faced some storms in our lives together, but all they have done is make us a stronger couple and proven that no matter what lies ahead, together we can make it through. I guess I'm the lucky one, I got to marry my soul mate.

Happy Anniversary Jeff, you are my Knight in Shining Armor. I love you!

***I am grateful for
1) 9 wonderful years
2) the best husband a girl could ever have
3) all the ways that my life is better because of Jeff being in it
4) the wonderful Daddy that Jeff is
5) all the wonderful years yet to come


kelley anderson said...

Happy Anniversary Kahla. I can remember sitting in the church and watching you two get married. (Yes, it seems like yesterday)

Myrannda said...

That seriously made me tear up. Congratulations on 9 wonderful years, and Happy Anniversary. It's still hard to believe that when I called to tell you I was engaged, you hadn't met Jeff yet, and you still ended up getting married before me! I couldn't ask for a more wonderful cousin-in-law.

Anonymous said...

Awwwwwwwwwwww....YAY JEFF!
I never get tired of that story!
He is one of the good ones! I would like to clarify you are talking about #1 and not #2 (wink).
Happy Happy Anniversary Kahla you have a real keeper!

Anonymous said...

That is BEAUTIFUL!!! What a glowing and loving tribute and what a joyful celebration of your love comes through!!! So happy for you both to have each other and wishing you a year ahead with healing AND many, many loving and happy moments!

Anonymous said...

I remember all the details to it all!! Happy Anniversay!!! Love you guys!!