On Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking about my husband Jeff and how much I love him. We are living proof that love stories do come true. Here is our story.
Yes, I was always one of those girls that watched love stories, hoping that some day it would be me. I would daydream about just how I wanted it to be. My love story didn’t turn out anything like I had always imagined it, but ended up so much better. Real love is so much more beautiful than the kind you see in movies. Real love may not be glamorous, but it is deep and lasting.
I moved to Oregon in January 2005. I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing, but my heart kept pulling me towards Oregon, so I followed it. I started out in Portland- this is when I discovered that I wasn’t a city girl. I knew I wanted to leave Portland, but I didn’t know where yet. I started dating a guy who brought me down to meet his friend Jeff.
I immediately loved Jeff. He literally seemed to radiate light. He was so energetic and bursting with enthusiasm. I had never met anyone like him before. Laughter rippled out of him and he seemed to be dancing everywhere instead of walking.
Jeff was having a drum circle at his home in the woods that night. I was too intimidated to drum so I sat doodling on a piece of paper which always made me feel more comfortable. My boyfriend at the time was busy hitting on all the other girls at the party. I was talking with Jeff. He would say things and I would think “how does he know that?!” It’s like he knew me to my deepest core and I felt I knew him too. Our connection was immediate. We decided to be pen pals. I returned to Portland.
We wrote a lot of letters to each other. We both wrote and wrote and wrote. I guess we had a lot to say. I felt like I had found my long lost best friend. At the time, I was moving out of my apartment in Portland, I was going to move in with that same boyfriend (I wasn’t very observant those days, apparently.) He backed out at the last minute. I didn’t have an apartment. Where was I going to live?
I rode down with my Aunt to check out the college in Eugene. I tried to feel enthusiastic about it, but I didn’t. College was not calling to me, but I wasn’t sure what was. I called Jeff because I knew he lived outside of Eugene and asked him if he would like to meet me in Eugene for the day and hang out.
He happily came to meet me. We laughed and we talked and we talked and we talked. He said “Why don’t you stay with me for a little while until you figure out where you’re going to live?” My life wasn’t making much sense to me at the time. The only thing that made sense to me was being around Jeff. I felt like I could finally breathe when I was around him. I could relax. I felt like he was the only person in the world who didn’t have overwhelming, heavy expectations of who they wanted me to be (that may not be true, but it’s how I felt.) I felt like he was bringing a side of me out that I really needed to see. I felt like he wanted me to be myself and I wanted to know who exactly that was.
So I said yes. For a few days that is. I figured I’d stay for a few days and then decide my next move. We drove to his house in his camper- that was filled with wild swinging windchimes that would sing every time he turned a corner or we went over a bump. All I had was a backpack with some clothes and a journal for writing down my dreams every morning. I slept on the couch. Jeff and I were so busy talking all the time that he slept on the other couch in the living room. We would talk late into the night until we both fell asleep. We were completely inseparable. This went on for a long time. (We didn’t shut up for a long time.)
I planned on staying for a few days and ended up never leaving. Our friendship and connection seemed to deepen by the day. I loved being in the country. I loved it so much. Yep, I finally discovered I was a country girl. I loved the trees covered in moss and the opportunity to sit quietly outside and think. I felt like I had true space for the first time in my life. Space to be myself. Space to be silent. Space to let peace permeate every cell in my being. A retreat. I felt like I was in a cacoon and was slowly healing a deep wound that I had no idea where it came from. I connected with Joy in a way I had never experienced before. Jeff brought so many new things into my life. We danced and sang together. Our lifes weaving together moment to moment.
We began pouring our energy into fixing this place up. It was a pig-sty when I first came here. (That’s a really really nice way of putting it.) I am a Virgo, I like to have things clean, organized and neat. The extreme mess was not easy for me to live with. We slowly, but surely started transforming it into our idea of paradise.
We were friends for a very long time. But we loved each other from the moment we saw each other. We had a big age difference so we didn’t even consider being together. ……But eventually we had to admit to ourselves that we were in love with each other. Okay, we love each other (duh.) The hard part for me, was to tell this to my family. See, Jeff and I have over a 30 year age difference. I was very afraid of what my family would think.
I told them. They got used to the idea eventually. It was hard at first. Jeff and I were sensitive in the beginning, some people in the world said mean things and I was afraid of dirty looks in town. It seems so silly now. Every little thing people said or did hurt my feelings so much.
But a lot has changed since then. Now we are used to people thinking that Jeff is my father or even possibly my grandfather and it no longer upsets us. It just makes us laugh and we crack jokes about it. And my family met him, fell in love with him too (how could you not?) and completely adore him now.
It’s now February 2010. I moved in with him around April 2005. We’ve had almost 5 years of bliss together. And we were “officially” married July 11, 2008 under our favorite Cedar tree.
Sure, we might disagree on things from time to time, but we communicate and work it out. We know if the other person is grouchy to give them space. And we know laughter is the key in every home. We’ve created our dreams with teamwork, every step of the way. We respect, support and love each other.
When I met Jeff, a loneliness I’d always carried, just melted away. We peer into each other’s eyes and know the soul we are looking at with the deepest recognition. This is our love story.
Happy Valentine’s Day Jeff, I love you with all of my heart.