It’s not everyday that you meet a women as loved as I am. I meet and feel in love with the most amazing, good-hearted man I’d ever known. We were blessed to live in wedded bliss for nine long years and have two adorable, sweet-as-pie, babies and then suddenly that man was taken from me; he was needed in Heaven more than he was needed here.
My world was instantly shattered and my best friend was gone. My new best friend Patrick, with his everlasting patience and 200 years of wisdom, helped me pick up the pieces. He saved my life. It took LOTS of work and millions of prayers. I put my design business (DreamUp Studios) on hold and every spare moment that I wasn’t caring for my babies was spent caring for my mind.
I jumped hurtle after hurtle. I was strong and brave and pretty darn inspiring. I learned who I was. I learned countless other lessons too. I wobbled but my faith remained unwavering. I kicked butt and concurred. I got to a point where I was ready to move forward away from the gloom and despair. I wanted to have fun and live life in the moment because you never know what’s around the corner.
On December 11th I was at church and an event for ‘single’ people was announced. I looked over at my sister-in-law sitting next to me with a sly smile. Luckily she picked up the vibe and quickly offered to babysit so I could go. Go I did. I mingled. I shook some hands and said my name. I walked up to total strangers and did my thing. I caught a peak of a few guys checking me out which was flattering and super fun!
Then out of no where I looked up and there was this guy standing in front of me. I was with a small group of people. He introduced himself to them but his attention was on me and I knew it. He said his name was Anthony. He said it was his first singles event and I laughed (a little too loud) and told him it was my first as well. He gushed about his boys and his job. I could tell he was nervous. I could tell he was a nerd. But there was something about him. I told him I did graphic and web design and his nerves lessened as we laughed again, this time over words only designers could understand.
He asked for my number and I gave it to him. After he walked away the smile on my face did not disappear. One of the girls that was standing there, Holly, smiled back and said, “I picked up a little spark action there.”
From the moment we meet, even in it’s awkwardness, there has been nothing but magic in the Anthony and Ashley department. Even our names mesh well together. When I got home from the singles event I noticed that he had texted me. Twice actually, 30 minutes apart. He was thinking about me, repetitively, so I texted him back.
In the morning there was a text from Anthony waiting for me as there has been every morning since. It made me tear up. He had no idea, I’m sure, but that text meant the world to me. That day was the 12th. The five month anniversary of Dan’s death. I needed to feel cared for that day. I needed a distraction that day and texting Anthony did the trick. He was so sweet and kind and understanding. Talking to him was easy. It was fun. I felt the spark Holly had pointed out but I didn’t think much of it. I turned off my brain and decided to just enjoyed it.
Mid-day he asked me out to a movie on Friday. This was on a Monday which meant I would spend the whole week in anticipation. LOADS of distraction there. Bring it on!! In my excitement I texted Holly about my date and she suggested I invite him to a country dance she was going to on Wednesday so she could check him out and make sure he wasn’t a creeper. It sounded like a good idea so I asked him.
We agreed to meet there and have a contest to see who could get the most phone numbers. When I pulled into the parking lot and turned off my car I panicked. I couldn’t get out. I couldn’t go into that dance by myself. I texted him. He said he was already there and would meet me at the door and we could walk in together. I took a deep breath and walked. When I got to the door I saw him, his back was facing me. I wanted to turn him around and jump into his arms. But I just said hi. Instead of going in with him as planned, I let my panic overtake me and walked away. He followed me. He listened to me. He ‘got’ me. He helped me. We went in to the dance.
It was fun! I meet people. I laughed and smiled. I did well. I was proud of myself. Anthony asked girl after girl to dance. I was so proud of him too! But… I did notice that he kept coming back to me. He kept making sure I was okay. After a couple hours the super loud music and noisy people everywhere started to get to me so I went outside to continue enjoying the night. It was a beautiful night. The sky was dark, a cool breeze was in the air. I walked around for awhile thinking about nothing and everything and then I got a text from Anthony and it literately, slightly, took my breathe away. He asked if I had left and I said no. I sat down and he came and found me. With twinkle lights all around and bright stars above our heads we sat side-by-side, almost touching, and talked for a long time. I asked him why he was single and he answered me. Honestly. With emotion. In raw detail.
It was then that I fell in love with him.
He walked me to the car and then shyly asked me a question about Dan. I had already told him I was a widow. I felt like I could tell him anything so I answered his question without a second thought or a moments pause. I might have cried a little but that’s just what I do. He again sincerely said he was sorry for my loss. He whispered, “I wish I could hold you right now.” I wanted to whisper back, “Please do.” We said goodnight instead and reluctantly got in our separate cars.
I watched him drive away. The tears come down in abundance and I had to throw my phone out of reach to avoid texting him: COME BACK. It was then that I knew without knowing that he was exactly what I needed. I knew he was the man that Heavenly Father had prepared next for me and my babies. The spirit was all around everywhere.
We kept texting everyday, almost constantly, and then we had our date. He took me to see the new Harry Potter movie. We held hands the whole time and with each stroke of his thumb I felt shivers up and down my whole body. He kissed me after as we walked in the moonlight under more twinkle lights surrounded by people but feeling like the only two in existence. More magic. I keep using that word but it truly was magic in every sense of the word. I went to that singles event to have fun. I texted Anthony back to have a distraction. And them BOOM. Magic right before our eyes. Completely unexpected for both of us. Completely wonderful.
I told you, it’s not everyday that you meet a women as loved as I am.
My heart and my mouth are constantly sore from smiling so much. My past is completely full of love and now my future will be too. Tears of gratitude are streaming down my face as I write this and I can barely see the screen. I’ve gotten a sign from Dan that he’s happy about this. He understands and he’s proud of me. Proud that I was strong, that I survived this and that I’m thriving.
Everything fell into place so quickly and easily. It was like a dream. An amazing, better-than-you-can-imagine, kind of dream. Occasionally when the devil fights back (cause that’s what he does when things are right) I have a hard time believing it myself but yet I know. I know so strongly this is real. This is right. We are in love. Madly, deeply, spiritually, emotionally in love. Our personalities mesh. Our goals are exactly the same. It’s like we were made for each other.
Heavenly Father not only loves us but He knows us. He knows us better than we know ourselves and I feel like He saw each of our past experiences and heart breaks, He saw us for who we really are, and He put us together because He knows we are a made-in-Heaven match and He wants us to be happy.
Anthony is my happy now. I want to spend every second of every day with him. In his arms, grocery shopping, out with the kids. Everything. Big and small. Fun and boring. With him by my side I can do anything, be anyone. He makes all my fears and anxieties disappear. I’ve never felt so calm as when he’s embracing me. His smell and laugh. His cute nerdy self. The way he wants me back in every aspect. Together we have what everyone wants but rarely finds. A true, complete, no holds back – everlasting kind of love. He loves me intensely – just like Dan did and still does. Loved. I am so loved and so blessed.
On January 28th Anthony and I will officially seal our hearts together as one in holy matrimony. There will be magic in the air, cookies on the tables, dancing on the floor, and more kissing than people might prefer. ♥