Today’s love story comes to us from the charming Trina of La La Lovely! A mother of four little ones, Trina has a wonderfully varied taste in design and a penchant for making everyday moments a whole lot sweeter. Continue reading to discover how she ended up with her Southern gentleman!
Love is a thief and we are its captives.
You never know when love might strike or steal. It’s usually when we aren’t looking for it that it finds us. I certainly wasn’t thinking of husbands and marriage at 14, but that is when, my now husband, Stephen stole my heart.
It was early July, 1992 and I was brooding over a bad breakup, as far as freshman break ups go. You know, typical end of the world, I’m never going to be happy again business that consumes your every thought. It was bad news, so i thought, and I certainly wasn’t looking to date anyone else.
On a humid Wednesday I packed up all of my angst, and my youthful confusion along with my umbro shorts and a can of Finesse hairspray and headed to a summer retreat with my youth group in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It was on this retreat that I met a junior from Georgia with a sweet Southern drawl. Stephen came to visit his aunt and uncle and attend the same retreat. Fate would have it that we ended up in the same small group (a group I wasn’t even supposed to be in, but got moved to at the last minute). I thought he was nice, but I was busy thinking about my about my bad breakup. Stephen and I hung out quite a bit that week and as I got to know him, I really liked who I got to know. There was something substantially different about him. Manners for one. Southern charm was new to me. But what really caught my attention was that he had a certain kindness about him and a gentle spirit that I just wanted to be around. And, I suppose I shouldn’t leave out that he was a tall blonde, handsome, quarter back, who really won me over by doing a flip flop for me on a warm summer’s night. I clearly remember walking back to my room and thinking, “I could marry this guy.”
Stephen went back to Atlanta and we exchanged letters, the hand written kind, throughout the year. I rationalized with my young mind and maturely told myself that he lived in Georgia and I lived in Illinois so likely nothing would ever come of us this. I let it go, but firmly held onto the idea of Stephen or maybe I should say the ideal of Stephen.
Another summer rolled around and another summer retreat. Stephen came back, but this year he brought his girlfriend. With many laughable moments and a few tears, I again tried my best to be mature and let it go. We talked occasionally that week and we were both grateful to still be friends. Off he went, and so did another little piece of my heart.
I tried not think about him. Only when there was nothing to think about … I thought about him. I wondered what he was doing, how he was doing, and if he ever thought about me, too?
Time went on, as it does, and I was now going into my senior year of high school. I had heard that Stephen was going to be attending college in my town. To prepare for his arrival, I tried to not care - or at least pretend that I didn’t. He came (still dating the other girl) and we awkwardly said hi on the rare occasion that we passed each other. Somewhere in that year he broke up with the other girl. He continued school and so did I. We just said our hellos, but also occasionally caught each others eyes from a distance. I was certain he was going to date this girl, or that one, and I resigned myself to be happy for him. For them. Only that wasn’t the way destiny had designed it. He didn’t date that girl, or the other one, or even the other one that told me she was going to date him. He dated no one.
Image via Pinterest
Then one cold winter day, I passed him in my car and we exchanged a friendly wave. We happened to be going to the same place and when we saw each other in person, he ignored me, entirely, and didn’t even say hello. I was sure, at that point, that he was a freak and I was done wasting my time even thinking about him as a friend. I sat down and started scribbling the words F-R-E-A-K in my journal (no joke), and when I looked up, the freak walked back into the room, sat down and nervously asked me to lunch. I forgot about the freak I was writing about and could only see the boy I always loved. I said ok to lunch without sounding too excited. I had to convince myself this was lunch as friends and that was the end of it.
Only it wasn’t the end…it was the beginning. We went to Olive Garden (big time, when you're 18 in a small town) where we had went together, many years ago, that first summer we met. In our conversation Stephen made it pretty clear that he wanted to date me and he thought I should know that he doesn’t date just to date but to marry. I may or may have not went home and fallen on the floor that day (you’d have to ask my mom for those details).
Completely in love and possibly not living on plant earth, we married a year and a half later. Still babes. 20 and 22. We thought we had it all figured out. Ourselves and each other. That is how you think when you are 20 and 22.
16 years and 4 kids later, a lot of life has been lived since 1997. Hard times, good times, sad times, memorable times and beautifully boring everyday times.
We know now that we didn’t have it all figured out. We had nothing figured out, really. And, we know now that the thing about love is that it’s beautiful and exciting, but it’s also work. Hard work, to be exact. The work of two very different individuals building one life together. It’s hard to see that when you are young and in love. Your eyes are all kinds of cloudy. Someone once told us we were looking through rose colored glasses. Maybe we were, but we liked our glasses that way. The glasses came off, as they always do. The honeymoon ended. And, we saw everything about each other. The good that we fell in love with, and the less than good that we were once blinded to. We saw each other completely. Every weakness that made us question each others strengths and, every fault that could cause falter was out in the open. It’s scary, completely. But, then you learn that this is where love is most true. When you accept someone for all that they are, the good and bad and you love them completely, it doesn’t get much truer than that. Yes, it’s hard work, but in the working is where you find the true. You may not always feel love but true love loves anyways. You may not always want to give but true Love gives anyways.
Today looks different than 5 years ago. And tomorrow’s will look different than today. That's the beauty of love.. it grows and evolves over time. Love is work. But love works.
I love our story because it is ours. Somedays I think about how crazy it is that I met my husband when I was 14 (my daughter is 11 - eek!). I think about how young we were. Our personalities not even fully developed when we were married. And, then I think of how lucky we are that we were able to grow up together. You never stop growing up, if you are growing…..and I’m glad we can do that together.
-- Trina of La La Lovely
A big thank you to Trina for sharing this adorable story with us! Be sure to visit Trina's blog for a dose of inspiration, clever gift guides and compilations of beautiful images!
PS: Our contest is still going on! Head over to our post to see how you can win a $50 gift card!