Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A December day in London that changed my life

A couple days ago, my husband wrote a blog post about the day we met. He did this in his usual British sense of humor using colorful words and phrases that make me cringe.

But, the bottom line message was so sweet and loving that it really touched me.

The thing is, I have been composing a post about my husband in my head for a couple months. Never really putting a solid theme or construction behind it.

In celebration of having met him 8 years ago, today is the day I put thoughts into words and words onto paper (well, blog).

Our first face-to-face meeting was in London in 2007. I was there with a couple friends on vacation because there is nothing more wonderful than London at Christmas time (and, umm... Spice Girls. But, I'll get to that).

However, our story starts about 18 months before that meeting.

We initially "met" online. No, not a hook-up website or dating website. Nothing like that. We had a shared love of soccer. I was one of the few Americans on this forum and I used the word "soccer" so, James put two-and-two together and thought "American". So, it was my Americanism that made him PM me.

We talked as friends for the next 18 months before we met. We were both in the dating game and would talk about dates, friends, soccer... just chitchat you'd have with any friend.

Sometimes we'd go long stretches without talking at all. Sometimes we'd talk well into the early morning and he'd get up and go to work without having slept because he was chatting to me.

He talked me off a few relationship ledges, too. He was there for me when I needed him. I knew he was a good guy but, I never thought of him as anything beyond a long distance friendship.

And then, the Spice Girls announced a reunion tour.

Hell. Yes.

Sure, I could see them in the United States (and did). But, what better way to experience an epic event (I mean, Ginger was back!) than right in London?!

So, I convinced Paul and Jen that we should head to London.

I sent James a message that I'd be in London in December - want to meet up?

Well, he tells that part of the story best (and, err... graphically) so, go check out his link.

After we met in person, I liked him right away. I started to think of him differently. We met up a few more times after that initial date.

Then Paul and I headed off to Belgium for a few days. While I was in Belgium (LOVE Belgium, will definitely take the kids there some day) I was texting James the whole time. I was falling for him.

From Belgium it was back to London but, only long enough to catch a plane back to the US.

When I returned home, I invited him to come visit. And, he did. Five months later we were engaged. We discussed where we'd live. USA or England? It had been my dream for quite some time to live in England and James was happy in England. He lived very close to his parents, owned a house, managed a soccer team and had friends he'd had since he was a toddler.

But, moving so far away scared me more than it scared him. So, he agreed to come here.

The next 18 months was filled with immigration paperwork, invasive interviews, thousands of dollars, a ton of trips to England and, finally, a trip to the United States embassy where James was approved to move to the USA.

He sold his house, nearly all of his belongings, walked away from a job where he was well paid and had a company car, said goodbye to family & friends and boarded a plane to a new country that he had only visited twice before.

He did something huge that I hadn't been brave enough to do and, he did it for me.

I suppose many would wonder if, had he insisted on staying in England, I would have moved there?

Yes, I would have. England feels like home to me and James' parents and sister had given me a wonderful welcome to the family. His friends were funny and also very welcoming so, I would have been fine, even happy, in England.

But, again, I wasn't brave and he was. Which is funny because, between the two of us, I'm definitely the more adventurous, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, carpe diem type of person.

Eight years, three kids, four cats, four addresses & some devastating events later... here we are.

James is a loyal husband who loves his kids and his wife. He works hard for his family and is ambitious in a way I've never been. He excels at his job, is well respected and his future is pretty well mapped out at his company.

I can't tell you how proud I am of him.

He moved to the United States on a wing and a prayer with no job lined up and had to work at Target for about two years just so he'd be able to contribute. It mattered to him.

He was a stay at home dad during the day, a Target supervisor at night and he did it all extremely well.

Even now, he still does the family laundry, nearly all the cooking, school drop off's... you name it. He's a hands on dad and I love him for it.

My life took a direction I never even had considered that day 8 years ago.

Now, I can't imagine it being any other way.
And, I'm pretty sure I really do have the best husband ever.

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