My husband and I are very different people. That being said, we complement each other so well in life that when one of us has to be away, we literally feel like half of us is missing.
I joke with Aaron that we would not have been friends in high school. He was a skateboarder who was friends with anyone he met, and everyone liked him. I was a shy girl who had my group of misfit friends, and wasn’t noticed by anyone else at school.
Aaron went to school in Washington state, where he grew up. His graduating class was about 500. I attended high-school from freshman year to the end of junior year in Hawaii—where my dad was a pastor. We moved to Alabama at the beginning of my senior year when my dad changed churches. My class was about 450+ in Hawaii, and it was 72 in Alabama.
Aaron has always had great self-confidence. He was very athletic his entire time growing up. He did wrestling, basketball, and baseball in elementary and middle school. He played baseball, tennis, and soccer in high school. He has always been a laid back guy, and always one to stick up for those with disabilities. The popular kids at school liked him because he was so confident, cool, and collected. The unpopular crowd liked him because he socialized with them and included them when he could. The jocks liked him because he was pretty much good at any sport and was an asset to any team. The art crowd liked him because of his natural talen, sans cockiness, when it came to art projects and assignments. Pretty much everyone in that huge school knew of him and knew he was a stand-up guy.
It took me a while to find my self-confidence. I had been a ballerina for seven years prior to our moving to Hawaii. Once we moved there, we didn’t really attempt to find a ballet class for me to attend. Being a minority race on a tiny island only aided in the middle school awkward years. We had a good size youth group at church, and many of them attended the same school system that my older brother and I did, but it didn’t always mean that the other kids and I matched up in our social circles.
Prejudice in middle school hit hard. Our very first day on the bus to go home, my older brother attempted to tell the bus driver we were new and where we lived, and she snapped at him and told him that she knew all the stops and to sit down. After she passed our stop, my brother scooted over into my chair and told me to get off at the next stop no matter what. We had to walk about a mile home that day. My brother was furious, which made my mom furious and she immediately called the school. The morning, the bus driver apologized and she never missed our stop again. I only attended the public school for my seventh grade year because it became evident to my parents that I was a target for prejudice—from teachers and students alike. The final straw was a teacher screaming at me in my seventh grade math class because I asked to be excused from lunch duty (after I had already done it about 5 times, and was told I wouldn’t have to do it again—where kids of the majority race had not had to do it at all). I had a history test that afternoon and was planning to use part of my lunch time for some final studying, and when I asked to be excused from lunch duty, the teacher (my homeroom teacher who was also my math teacher) flew off the handle and screamed at me for several minutes—all while a friend of mine watched from the doorway. She immediately helped me gather up some quarters and we went to the payphone to call my parents. That was towards the end of the school year, fortunately. In the eighth grade, my parents signed me up for a home school program through a Christian school in Florida where they’d send me videos to watch of a classroom and I’d complete the bookwork on my own. It was a lonely year, but I was much happier to be by myself than in the public school setting.
In ninth grade, I joined my brother at the high-school for our district and instantly bonded with a group of misfits. I tried to follow in my older brother’s footsteps by choosing band as my elective for freshman and sophomore year, but I wasn’t very good and in my junior year, I kind of found myself and chose Ceramics as my elective. I had much more self-confidence then.
Once we moved to Alabama for my senior year, I found another small group of friends and was an office aid for two periods of the day—their elective choices were much slimmer at this school, and office aid was pretty much the only choice I had and I didn’t mind! I had a lot of fun during my senior year, but it was all low key fun. I was never a wild and crazy kid—and neither was Aaron. So we had that in common.
I attended Auburn University the summer after graduating high school. Aaron’s mom & stepdad moved to my parent’s neighborhood the day after Aaron graduated high school. During that time, Aaron moved to Seattle with some friends and would travel to visit his grandparents about an hour away (by ferry) where he would work for his grandpa as a logger to earn some money, and then head back to Seattle until he ran out again.
It was not until the summer of 2007 when Aaron was visiting his mom that he and I met. He moved to Alabama in December of 2007 after the log market fell, and his stepdad offered him a job in construction.
We both attended the College & Career Sunday school class at the church my dad pastored—where Aaron’s mom & stepdad had chosen to attend. We went on outings as part of the Sunday School class, but we really didn’t start to get to know each other until fall of 2008. We started dating officially in January 2009, got engaged in July 2009, and married in October 2009. Sometimes, you just know, you know? We are absolute best friends and just knew that we were meant to be married to each other for life.
Lots of things are still totally opposite about us, and some things have become clear that we share in common. His love languages are Physical Touch (back rubs, and neck rubs are a way to tell him that I really love him!) and Gift Receiving (even picking up a Coke or a candy bar for him shows him that I am thinking of him and care about him). Mine are Words of Affirmation (when he tells me I’m doing a great job as a mom, or employee, or wife, etc) and Quality Time (he knows that sitting next to me on the couch and watching a show with me really shows me he loves me). We enjoy our separate things and hobbies, but we most enjoy being together. Our parenting approaches vary a bit since we were raised in different ways, but we are finding our way and what works best for us as parents.
Doing life with Aaron is such a phenomenal treat. Sometimes, I’m still in awe that a skateboarder with so many friends would be attracted to me—a shy girl who has two solid best friends and a pretty sheltered upbringing. God knew what He was doing though and I am so glad He does!
Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba