Have you ever watched a talent show where the performer gets a standing ovation, or all 4 judges fight to have them on their team, or the opening act at a concert is amazing and you find yourself thinking “Wow! How will they follow that up?” Hey! It’s Courtney, remember me? I’ve been over here thinking how in the hell I can follow up Justin’s post. It’s not like it was the most popular post on the blog or anything.
I’m not salty. Not salty at all.
I’ve really been over here thinking how on earth did I get so lucky? How on earth did I meet someone like him? So how DID I meet him? Well…
It was a bright and sunny day. The grocery store was slightly busy, but not so much so that you were accidentally running into people around every corner. I had found just about every item on my list, except for my favorite granola that they never seem to keep in stock. My last stop was the produce section. I like to wait to get my produce last so that it stays extra fresh. I realize that 20 minutes spent in a shopping cart isn’t going to decay my strawberries, but I digress. It just so happened that my favorite apples were starting to show up in the stores, and I was a little overly excited to get some. I was distracted by my daughter demanding to know what the life expectancy of a cow was, so I quickly Googled it while shoving Honeycrisp into a bag. Distracted by the follow up questions, I was taken back when all of a sudden I felt a hand in the apple bin. I’m terribly socially awkward, and as my heart starts leaping out of my chest, I finally get the courage to look up. I’m instantly stunned by his gorgeous hazel eyes and I can’t seem to look away. After what seemed like an eternity had passed, I realized I should probably say something instead of just creepily staring at him. I open my mouth to speak, but the only words I can manage to get past my lips are “that one looks bruised.”
I’m kidding. I did not find him in the grocery store.
I had taken a hiatus from dating for a little while to focus on myself. I wasn’t so sure that continuing to date at that time was right for me. I put my focus on getting healthy and fit, and working hard so that my future was strong. I had even booked a solo spring break trip to the beach to get even more self-reflection time. I was driven, focused, and lonely. So, for shits and giggles I decided to throw myself back on the dating apps to see if the singles cesspool had changed. After a few days of sifting through the same old crap on one of the apps, I decided to get myself back on Tinder.
His name on his profile said Andrew, 29. Andrew had big hair and he was pretty cute. I wasn’t totally sure that I’d be swiping right just yet, so I read his bio. Now I can’t remember exactly what it said, but what I do remember was that the first sentence said his name was Justin. Confused, and slightly intrigued, I kept reading, and then there it was. He is a dad. He might be slightly struggling with his identity, but he’s cute and he’s a dad. Sold.
We exchanged a few messages and found out we have some common interests. Justin suggested we should go hiking sometime, but I figured we should save the alone in the woods thing for at least date number two. I quickly realized after only a few messages that his location was now farther away and I was cursing this stupid app for matching me with yet another person that doesn’t live close by. He told me that he travels for work, and that the office is close to me and he is there often. Okay, so at least he is here frequently, I thought. The only problem was that he had to go to several different states over the next few weeks, and wouldn’t be back in town for about a month. I was happy to have some adult conversation since I spent my days teaching preschool, so I figured I’d get to know him a little.
Over the next few weeks we talked all the time. He has the perfect southern accent and I pretty much melted into my bed each time we talked. (Remember my love of cowboys?!) There was something about his voice that just calmed me instantly. We could talk for hours and hours and never run out of things to say. We even face timed several times for hours getting to know each other. I’ll never forget the one night after talking to him for something like 3 hours with my friend, we hung up and she started telling me all these things he probably liked about me. I was hesitant, and slightly in denial so I was brushing them off. She kept going on and on to the point that it sounded like she wasn’t just coming up with these things off the top of her head. Turns out she was reading me the messages that he had sent her about me. After that phone call she was already sure he was my person. Way before I even admitted it to myself, she knew. I started to let my heart like him, just a little bit.
Never in my life had I ever looked forward to meeting someone more than I did Justin. The weeks had finally passed and Justin was coming in to town. I could finally meet him! To say I was insanely nervous would be a massive understatement. I had been on first dates before, experienced nervousness that I thought was pretty extreme. But, I was basically hyperventilating driving to meet him. I had my friend on the Bluetooth through the car and she was attempting to calm me down. She was giving me a pep talk, and I told her over and over again that I didn’t think I could do it. I was going to faint. I was going to puke. I eventually pushed the gas petal enough to make it to the hotel where he was staying. I parked the car but I still had her on the phone for some last few encouraging words, when he showed up next to the car. I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure my heart stopped for a few seconds. I was blushing, I was trembling, and there he was. Justin could probably tell you better what happened in these moments, because I was in full on freak out mode. I managed to stand myself up and he kissed me. Just like he promised he would. We walked inside and I told him I needed a minute to calm my nerves. I sat down on the chair taking deep breaths while he stared at me smiling. I couldn’t stop shaking. I think I apologized for being so nervous. Somehow I managed to gather myself enough to speak a little. I can’t for the life of me remember what I said. I promised my friend that I’d text her my initial reaction of him and this I remember clearly. “Omg. I love him.” I knew instantly he was amazing. Despite my nerves, he gave me such a sense of peace, just like he did on the phone. I felt something I had never felt before. It was almost as if my heart knew in that moment that this was game over. It was him. If I wasn’t 100% sold in that moment, I was about to be in the moments that followed.
We went to Top Golf for our first date. Something fun and something I’d be terrible at so as to showcase my awkwardness (if the hyperventilating in the hotel didn’t accomplish that already.) I drove us there and he just continued to stare at me and play with my hair and make me feel like a total puddle. I was talking about how the weather had been rainy all week when all of a sudden, he points out the window. There in the sky was a bright, beautiful, double rainbow. It took everything in me to not totally lose it. For those of you that know me personally, you know my rainbow stories. But for those of you that don’t, as silly as it sounds, rainbows seem to guide me. So many of my important events have included rainbows. Up until this day, I hadn’t seen a rainbow since the day X and I decided to officially separate and tell the girls. That day I saw the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen at that point, and I knew that I was making the right choice. There were moments when I was lost and confused during my journey and I actually begged the sky for a rainbow to guide me, but it never showed me one. I even remember saying that if I ever saw a rainbow when I’m on a date that I’ll know I’m supposed to be with that person. So you can imagine in that moment that my heart was doing backflips. I’m surprised I didn’t crash the car. I already really liked him from what I knew, there was a feeling that I can’t quite put into words when I met him, and now the most beautiful double rainbow I had ever seen in my entire life appeared. I had him take pictures. I sent them to my mom and this was her response:
Yes, It could.
From our (well my) awkward first minutes, to the day at the beach when I fell in love with him, to the moment he asked me to be his wife, and all of the seconds in between, I am eternally grateful that he chose to swipe right to me.
Justin you are silly, sweet, patient, honest, and kind.
I have no problem being completely, unapologetically myself around you.
You always look at me like I’m the only girl in the room, and constantly tell me how beautiful I am, even when I’m having an allergic reaction and resemble a blowfish.
You are always respectful and polite, even surprisingly so to crazy parking lot lady.
I love that you cuddle me while we sleep, and when I roll away you always find your way back to me.
You make me laugh all the time, thankfully I’ve made it to the bathroom in time so no wet pants just yet.
You’ve brought me rainbows, waterfalls, and hikes in the forest through the rain (and real actual camping so I had no choice but to pee in the woods.)
I cherish all the hours we’ve spent in the car together, singing all of the best country songs, stopping way too many times for gas, or to pee, or to eat, or to eat again.
You didn’t even hesitate when I asked you to be the Flynn to my Rapunzel, and spend the weekend in Disney together. But most importantly, when you took my dream and turned it into something even more magical and asked me to be your wife.
Justin, you are so much more than I could have ever hoped for. You are the man that I thought only existed in my dreams. Although it seems like it took me forever to find you, I am beyond grateful that I did.
I know it seems like it took me an eternity to write this. I’ve had a hard time writing over the past few months. Partly because writing was an outlet for me, and partly because I’ve been so busy enjoying the life I’ve been blessed with to even need to write, or to find the time to do it. Mostly though what I feel is so hard to put into words because even the best words seem insignificant. The thing about real, honest-to-goodness, feel it in your bones kind of love though, is that there are no words to describe it. You just have to feel it.
I’m so glad I waited. I’m so glad I got myself back on that ridiculous app. I’m so glad that I chose not to settle. I’m so glad I was strong enough to walk away from things that weren’t meant for me, even if that meant being alone for a little while. I can promise you that they are right when they say “When you finally find the love of your life, you will know why it was worth the wait.”