Saturday, October 17, 2015

Jason & Brenna - A Love Story {Part II}

See {Part I} here.

Where were we? Ah, yes. The breakup...

There are some important logistical factors to understand here. I am originally from Saginaw {east side of Michigan} where Jason was going to school, but he is originally from Temperance {southeast Michigan} and I was attending school in Grand Rapids {west Michigan}. There is a 2-3 hour drive between each of these places.

We had been dating for three months in the Fall of 2004. I was home for Thanksgiving break. He was home for Thanksgiving break. We were frustrated with the situation and with each other and the giant triangle between all our separate homes. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we were having a tense conversation about not seeing each other or being able to spend the holiday together. I had still never met his family and my family had very little opportunity to get to know him. Things just did not seem to be in our favor. I can't remember who brought it up or how the conversation actually ended up there, but we decided to break up.

Later that night I went to a friend's house with a group of people, including my roommate, Katie, who knew more about Jason and I than anyone. I told her what happened and confessed how much I hated it. I realized then that I wasn't ready to be done with our relationship, but didn't really see how it could work, especially if he was ready to be done.

I tried to sleep that night, but ended up awake watching Pirates of the Caribbean and crying about our breakup. Halfway through the movie, Jason called. 

We spent the rest of the night talking about how we both sort of regretted it coming to this, but also decided that we must have broken up for a logical reason, since neither of us were the emotionally dramatic type who would dump someone in the middle of a fight just because we were upset. We decided to continue talking, but to stay broken up so that we could figure out what we really wanted.

For the next month we tried to give each other space, but I'm not sure how well we did since it turned out we both just really wanted to be together. Jason had a wedding to go to right before Christmas and asked me to be his date. I of course said yes. I wore a Claddagh ring every day back then, which, when worn with the heart facing out means you're single, and if the heart is facing in toward your heart, it means you're taken. When Jason picked me up for the wedding, he gave me white roses and asked me to turn my ring back toward my heart. So, we were officially back together. {Whew! Aren't you relieved? I know you were worried...}

We spent the next three years becoming really good at our long distance relationship. I was kind of a stressed out mess in college and Jason proved to be my steadying ground, as he continues to do eleven years later. I filled my time with friends and school, he had baseball and his own friends and school. Looking back I recognize how being content in our own separate lives made it much easier for us to be content with each other and our relationship, too. We also accepted that keeping score was never going to make this work, so we tried our best to keep the tallies about visits and phone calls at bay. It definitely was not easy, but there was a whole lot of trust and a whole lot of patience involved to get us through.

Jason proved to be the master of surprises. One rainy night I had class late and missed the last bus back to my apartment, so I called Katie to come get me. Ten minutes later, Jason pulled up, all suave and stuff, as if it was perfectly normal for me to see him on a Wednesday evening. One year on my birthday, I got home from class to find him sitting outside my apartment. Those surprise visits were the best.

I tried my hardest to reciprocate them.  By year two I finally had a car and could contribute some weekend visits. On Halloween, my roommates and I were in Ann Arbor for the night. Jason was at his parents' house about an hour away and thought I was heading back to school the next day. Instead, I drove down in the middle of the night to surprise him and stay the weekend. Unfortunately, he was sound asleep and didn't hear his cell phone ringing 200 times when I arrived. My choices were: sleep in my car in the driveway and just see him the morning {but he was right inside!}, drive back to Ann Arbor and try again in the morning {I was broke and gas was expensive}, or ring the doorbell and hope he woke up before his parents {ugh. This seemed like the best option}. I'm still embarrassed about scaring his mom and dad out of their bed while Jason was sound asleep in the basement and I learned that I am not awesome at surprises.

When Jason graduated in 2006, he moved back to Temperance and started working while I still had a few semesters left to go. I studied in Ireland that summer and after living across the state from each other for two years, being across the ocean didn't feel that different {except that I was, you know, in Ireland}. By this point we had talked about our future and knew that once I graduated we'd be getting married.

In Summer of 2007, I was still living in Grand Rapids, finishing an internship and working while he was also working/looking for a different job {though options were limited and he started to consider going back to school. A story for another time}. In August Jason was coming for a visit to celebrate our 3-year anniversary. I was working in an office with my roommate, Kendall's, boyfriend, who had told me all about his plan to propose to her that weekend. I was so excited and kept telling Jason updates about it - "her ring is so pretty!"- and when he came to pick me up to go to dinner and my other roommates, Katie and Sarah, stood on the porch waving excitedly and breaking into some sort of tap dance, I was somehow oblivious to something else going on.

He surprised me {again with the surprises} by taking me to a swanky restaurant by the river in Grand Rapids. We had the most delicious, most expensive steak I've ever had before taking a walk along the river. As the sun was setting, Jason told me to turn around and when I looked down he had the ring out and he asked me to marry him. I said yes {did you figure that out already?} and, once Jason got over his fear of the ring falling into the river, he let me put it on. We spent the rest of the evening calling family and friends to tell them the news. Our parents already knew since he had driven to Saginaw to ask them for their blessing {my dad's initial response was, "you know she's still in school, right?" which remains one of my favorite stories ever} and his mom had found a picture of the ring he had saved up for that year. My roommates also knew, hence the tap dance as we drove away. And it turned out that Kendall and her now husband got engaged on the same day, which Jason knew would happen because of all my gabbing about their proposal.

I graduated that December and moved to Toledo, Ohio, down the street from Jason. For the first time in 3.5 years, we lived in the same town and were planning our wedding for October 18, 2008. Luckily, it turned out that we still really liked each other, maybe even more so, when we saw each other daily and didn't have to plan the next weekend visit. Yay, love!

No comments:

Post a Comment