I'm already a little behind on the reminiscing...my two, beautiful products of nine years of marital bliss are choosing today to tag-team me with tantrums, messes, and over-kill in the fighting department. Today necessitated motherly intervention. Did I mention how much I absolutely adore them?
I was 10. So was he. I had a bad home perm and purple glasses. He wore his hair in a side-spike and was quiet. We met during children's church. He was one of only 3 other kids in my age group...all boys. I would say I had first pick, but that's not really the truth. I still thought boys were gross and his first love was Topps baseball cards. Romance wasn't on either of our minds or hearts.
By sixth grade I secretly didn't think boys were so gross. Especially Mr. Jackson. But, there were other girls who didn't think he was gross either, so I kept my feelings to myself. I quietly listened to the other girls talk about how cute he was and decided I didn't have a chance. I will admit I had a moment one evening that I felt compelled to pray for Brent...I actually prayed that God would let me marry him.
It turns out he was keeping his feelings to himself too. Summer camp came along and we had lots of opportunities to hang out with our friends and get to know each other better. Bible quizzing, team-building games, Foosball, volleyball. I suppose I detected a hint of interest, but, was again spooked off by all the girls proclamations of, 'oh, he's so cute, and so nice!' Girls talk. But, apparently so do guys. Brent confided in his friend Chris. On our last day of camp, apparently Chris couldn't take the pressure of keeping the secret, and as 6th grade boys often do, chose to proclaim the secret for all to hear while we loaded buses to head home. It went something like this: "BRENT JACKSON LOVES NIKKI MCNALLY!!!!!" Followed by raucous laughter. Fortunately for Brent, I tend to be completely oblivious to my surroundings and didn't hear a thing (still am...he will point that out until the day he dies).
So, we travelled on through Jr. High and High school, each going our separate ways. My family moved to another town and consequently changed churches. We dated other people ran in different circles and ultimately forgot about one another. I even forgot about the prayer request years before.
He and his family came to my high school graduation party, and we politely exchanged congratulations on entering a new life chapter. And that was that. We went to universities four hours apart, got involved in campus activities and moved on with the life directions God had for each of us. I honestly didn't expect to reconnect with Mr. Jackson.
All that changed the summer of 1999...
The story continues HERE.