This is my husband and I a few years back as we were just about to head into our favorite apple orchard to pick apples with our girls, a fall tradition we started about 12 years ago when my oldest daughter was little. I love this picture of us because we both look so happy, relaxed and ready to tackle the world together. Our Love Story is pretty special in my opinion not without it’s trials and hardships by any means but still one that I wouldn’t change for the world. One I plan to share in time…but today just a teaser!
Once Upon A Time…
…there was a newly pregnant 18 year old girl, recently graduated from high school who was wearing a pretty brave face, acting like she was ready to take on the world but inside she had absolutely no idea what was in store for her and that terrified her to her very core. The details about how she got to this place are not entirely hers to share so out of respect this is where the story begins.
It was Halloween and instead of getting ready to go to a party with friends in a cute Halloween costume after wandering her neighborhood collecting candy (as she had every year in her childhood to this point) she was sitting in a training room at a local electronics store beginning a new journey as a salesperson in the camera department. She had absolutely no idea what she was signing up for with this new job but she knew she didn’t just want to be stuck behind a cash register, she needed some kind of challenge to keep her focused and she now needed a decent income, so she had asked for a floor position. She sat through training, smiled confidently through a few interactions with some of her new Supervisors during a silly ice breaker asking favorite ice cream flavors and then she went home and turned her sights towards Christmas making ornaments with her brothers girlfriend.
Just a few weeks into her new position she was starting to get the hang of things and gearing up with the store for her very first Black Friday in the retail world. She was familiar with the idea that the day after Thanksgiving was a big shopping day, it officially kicked off the Christmas shopping season and she had previously shopped most years with her mom after a relaxing post Thanksgiving morning before they would begin decorating the house with the family Christmas Treasures. This Black Friday however was new to her. The idea of working until 2 am the morning of Thanksgiving stocking the shelves in preparation for crazy sales and even crazier shoppers that would begin lining the aisles in just over 24 hours from then was completely insane to her, but they were paying her & she needed the money so alas she did.
She was grateful to not work the morning shift the day after Thanksgiving to first hand witness that insanity, as a newbie they probably knew better. She did have to be there Friday evening however. They had made a general announcement to employees not to plan to leave for lunch because the parking would be awful and instead they had food delivered in. She arrived for her shift at 4 that evening and was promptly told by her department supervisor to take her break and eat at 5 so that she was able to eat from the last food delivery, because she was pregnant and would be there until potentially 2 am again that evening. She would need a meal, she wholeheartedly agreed and so with no argument she headed to clock out and made her way to the back of the store to the break room. Upon opening the door much to her surprise she saw a table full of empty food platters with nothing but scatter lettuce shreds that had fallen of the party sized subs and empty sheet pizza boxes in the middle of a room full of guys sitting around laughing at the dumbfounded look on her face.
She slowly turned around and exited the break room realizing that she was not going to eat because she had left her money at home with no intention of needing it. Just as that realization had set in she walked passed the appliance department and “he” stopped her …
( ok so we need a side bar here. “He” is of course no other than my husband and at that point in time I only knew him as the Appliance Department Supervisor, one of those very same Supervisors I had inquired about ice cream flavors during that silly icebreaker I mentioned earlier. He looked to be a couple years older than me, had a calm confidence about himself and was certainly handsome in my opinion BUT I understood him to be a boss of mine in some capacity so to me he was off limits, I needed this job… resume story…)
Anyways, “he” stopped her and inquired about why she looked so bewildered. After she explained the situation he took the last $10 cash in his own pocket and gave it to her so she could walk to a place in the plaza for food because she had to eat. He wouldn’t hear of the pregnant girl not eating, and that was the moment he caught her attention… chivalry was in fact not dead and here in front of her stood proof of that, a real modern day Prince Charming offering this poor peasant girl “with child” some coins to trade for food. As taken by him as she was, her fairy tale had begun in her head,she knew she had met her Price Charming, but she didn’t know that fairy tale had begun for real though because in her condition all she could think was that no “Prince” in their right mind would want a “damaged” peasant girl like her…
Thanks to a little fall…
…their paths crossed again as the evening came to a close. Tired from a very long shift standing on her feet and talking to customers all evening she meandered her way towards the back of the store towards the restrooms & the water fountain. She had “front faced” her entire department & restocked anything she was capable of restocking and was just looking for a way to waste some time until she could leave. Even though her job was done, she had to wait to do something called a team close, basically the employees couldn’t leave when they were done they needed to find somewhere else to help, so her plan was to make her way back to the back using the restroom as her excuse and hopefully by that time everyone else would be finished. As she made her way to the back of the store she caught a glimpse of him in the warehouse so she wandered in there instead of towards the bathrooms.
Her “Prince” was sitting with another employee writing up an incident report because this other employee had apparently just fallen off one of the stock ladders while restocking the Home Audio departments top stock. She giggled to herself a little inside while they explained this to her, she knew it was wrong but she couldn’t help but visualize this little guy juggling stereo boxes while trying not to fall, she felt it may have been a lost cause. As she listened to their back & forth regarding the paperwork, she rubbed at her neck and shoulders, she had literally never carried this much tension there before and it was making her want to go home and get cozy even more. Her “Prince” must have noticed because he suddenly piped up sort of jokingly, “What’s wrong with you now?
“Oh nothing” she assured him, “my neck & my shoulders are just really tight.”
“Yeah?” He asked, “You should get home and have your boyfriend massage it for you then”
“What BOYFRIEND?!” she snapped back with more bitterness in her tone than she had intended. “Um, I mean, I don’t have a boyfriend so that’s not gonna work” she finished trying to soften her tone. After all it wasn’t this guys fault that she was single and that things had not worked out with her baby’s father, this guy was just trying to make conversation.
“Oh, sorry I assumed you had a boyfriend.” He replied apologetically “So what are you doing when you get finished here tonight?” He asked
“Nothing terribly exciting, I’ll probably go home and eat ice cream & watch Lifetime movies with my mom.” she responded possibly more pathetically than she meant to.
“Well that does sound pretty exciting.” He said as he took her hand with his, ” If you get bored though, give me a call” He finished as he wrote his number onto her hand and let her hand go.
Had this “Prince” just made a pass at her? He knew she was pregnant, obviously due to their previous encounter, and he still gave her his number and told her to call him. She immediately became flustered and after quickly (and probably awkwardly) telling them both to have a good night, she wandered back towards her department where she was given permission to leave for the night shortly after. She drove home in somewhat of a dream like state, replaying their interactions trying to make sense of it. He couldn’t possibly ACTUALLY be interested could he? She was pregnant, no guy just walks into a relationship with a pregnant girl in real life. I mean especially not one at the beginning of his twenties. “He probably just felt bad for me, I mean I had to have sounded pretty pathetic. Ice cream & Lifetime with my mom, knocked up and cliched, I’m sure that’s what he thinks. Probably just figured I could use a friend” She conversed with herself in the car as she neared her street.
When she arrived home she was greeted by her mother and cousin and immediately she gushed about her evening at work. Having no understanding of what had just happened and no idea how to proceed she needed advice. Upon her cousin’s recommendation she decided she would not call him that night, it might look too desperate…..even though she was pretty confident she already looked quite pathetic she didn’t want to add desperate to the mix. So instead, she changed out of her uniform into comfy clothes, mentally committed to call him tomorrow evening instead and settled into her favorite spot on the couch with her mom, her cousin and of course………….some ICE CREAM!