I Got My Airplane Scene…

We hadn’t seen each other in seven months. And even when we were in each other’s company, I hadn’t really talked to him much. Here I was though, on Valentine’s Day, opening a package he sent me. It didn’t seem like something special to most people- a video of our missions trip to Ireland and a tape he made of some shows I could watch since my family didn’t have cable TV.

But I knew something was there because it was a thoughtful gesture. Most guys don’t put that much thought in a present for a girl they aren’t dating. I knew this guy was different.

So 16 years ago, I called a friend from college who lived near where Stephen went to school. Her family was gracious enough to let me stay with them (and of course visit my friend at the same time). So I bought a plane ticket and went to see this guy who sent me seashells from his home and emailed me everyday.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

When I told him I was coming, he was clearly excited. He wanted to plan my whole trip- meeting his grandparents and visiting him at school and going to soccer games and hiking and…. I had to remind him that I was visiting my college friend.

So I flew to South Carolina. Met him at a bagel shop and went hiking. We went on our first date at Macaroni Grill, where he just smiled at me the whole time. Ate with his grandparents, who he was living with at the time. Went to his soccer game. Walked in the park. Went shopping, even.

There’s just one thing about all this that was off- I had no idea where we stood as a couple. He never told me he liked me. Were we just friends or more than friends? Were we dating? Was there a future in all this? That is why I had come to visit. I didn’t feel these were things to discuss over the phone.

The night before returning home, my friend and I watched him play in a soccer game. After, we went to Steak n Shake for a snack, and then it was time to say goodbyes because my flight departed mid-morning and Stephen had classes.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Can I just say that goodbyes are always awkward for me? Do you hug or shake hands or just wave? Kick that feeling up a notch and that is where I was as we walked out to the parking lot. He opened his truck door and pulled out a gift and a card.

What?

“It’s just a thank you gift for coming to visit.”

At this point I wasn’t sure what to think. Either he liked me a lot and was too nervous to say anything, or this was a non-verbal declaration. I now know that since he is a man of few words, it was the latter.

In this pivotal moment, I was a little irked though.

“I don’t think I can accept this.”

Stephen’s face was in shock. I don’t know that I’ve seen him that shocked since then.

“Why not?”

“I don’t know under what pretense I am accepting this. You don’t normally give people a ‘thank you for visiting gift.’”

“I don’t know what you want me to say. I like you a lot.”

Hmmm. That made things slightly little clearer. He looked like a tortured soul who finally broke after water boarding. So what does this ridiculous redhead do?

“That’s what I needed to know. I like you too.”

And I got in my friend’s car and left him standing in the parking lot.

Yup.

That whole night, I barely slept a wink. I was leaving South Carolina in the morning with so many unknowns still. And I knew I had been an absolute jerk. Cell phones were still a luxury item at that point, so I couldn’t call him.

Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

My friend dropped me at the airport and left. I had a little extra time before leaving, so I didn’t go through security right away, but I was heading in that direction.Then I heard a man say my name.

It was Stephen.

He came to say a better goodbye and to elaborate on his confession the night before. We sat down at the gate, and he told me that he really, really liked me. That he knew I was special and he was almost for certain we were going to get married someday.

I was pretty much flying before I even boarded the plane.

Awhile ago, I read an article telling women that airplane scenes do not happen. And while I agree with the sentiment, that sometimes we expect too much from our guys and they can’t live up to our lofty expectations, every now and then reality can be better than fiction. It’s okay to enjoy the moment when it happens.

So many people ask how we met, and while that is a great story, the account I just shared is my favorite. It shows just a glimpse of how our lives would be, 16 years and 7 kids later. Sharing his feelings can be like a tooth extraction on a shark, but when he does- he leaves no question as to his love. And sometimes my true redhead tendencies come out in cruel ways.

And I share this with you, dear readers, because I want you to know something this Valentine’s Day: Despite all the jaded nay-sayers who rail on about Hallmark holidays, romance is not dead. Sometimes it is just as awkward and funny and sweet as the rom-com’s make it out to be.

Merry (Post) Christmas 2017

Can I just say I love getting all the cards and letters this time of year? I love hearing (and seeing) how your families are faring. I may still get something out to people, but I am waiting on my in-house graphic designer (ahem, Stephen) to make some tweaks to pictures.

Christmas found us on our own this year. We didn’t go south and my folks went to my sister’s house in MA. The littles got sick so we did not get together with my brother’s family either. I’d love to say that we were miserable, but we had a great Christmas together- making our own memories. It has been the perfect wrap up to our whirlwind of a year.

For starters, as most of you know, we rung in 2017 expecting…. later in January we would find out there would be TWO joining our family. After several stages of disbelief passed, we got ready for these two blessings. They arrived on May 2 (Natalie’s 13th birthday) and spent about a week in NICU, but have been so healthy ever since. Owen and Delaney turned our world upside down, but I cannot imagine life without them. The kids are so great with them, and they are the exclamation point to our family.

Natalie (13) is still playing soccer in season. She is such a hard worker and has really stepped up in helping me out. She loves to cook and spend time with friends and watching Badger football (On Wisconsin!). She is a diligent student as well. It is hard to believe we only have 4 more years before she moves on to college or whatever God has for her.

Meredith (11) enjoys baking and shopping and just getting out and about. She’s got a great sense of humor and an eye for fashion. She is doing well with her video classes for school this year. I love having her organize things…. she is really good at it.

Sophie (9) is still my free spirit. Life goes at a slower pace with this one. She has become a voracious reader this year, and while she’d rather chew glass than do chores, she steps up when needed. Her heart is so big and her smile is infectious. And if you need another player in a board game, Sophie is your gal!

Ethan (8) has his life planned out… it just involves legos and dirt and heavy machinery and not school. He loves having a brother, and for all his manly ways he is great at taking care of the twins. Behind the tough exterior is a tender heart and a goofy grin.

Evelyn (3) cannot stand to be in clothes longer than necessary. She still loves baths and watches these videos of people opening toys, much to our confusion. She loves to play and her laugh is the best. Evie gives us all a run for our money with her high energy and staunch opinions. She’s a great snuggler too!

Delaney (<1) is chubby. She loves being so and we have no intention of putting her on a diet. She is standing and wants to be big and makes very loud noises as often as possible. Her smile lights up a room. Laney will always win in a cage match with Owen. Always.

Owen (also <1) is a charmer. His bright red hair and chiseled features melt the hearts of all he encounters. He’s a content little guy, happy to play with a toy on the floor or sit perched on Natalie’s arm like a baby sloth. Anything Ethan does in his presence is a source of amusement and joy.

Stephen had a banner year at Able Signs and Lighting. He was able to do more custom design builds, which he loves. He still leads singing Sunday mornings and serves as a Trustee at our church. When he is home, he is usually taking care of a baby or washing dishes or maybe putting his feet up. He is just an amazing guy and I am truly blessed that he’s mine.

I am busy. Like, busier than ever before. Remember all those times I said I was busy? I really wasn’t. I just thought I was. Twins, a toddler and homeschooling four keeps me on my toes almost 24 hours a day. I also help with the family business doing accounts receivable. Sadly, I have had to hand over most of my church responsibilities at this time but only for this season of life.

With all the business in this household, I will add that we do love company. Our house is not ready for an IKEA cover, but it is fun. And there is coffee. And we always enjoy fellowship with friends and family who stop in. There is always time for people.

You know, Christ made time for us. He came from Heaven to Earth to save us from ourselves. I was just thinking that if Christ had not come, I would have nothing that I have today. Stephen and the kids, joy and contentment, peace and hope… all are because of my Lord. And while my life is far from perfect, every perfect thing I possess is because I possess Him. Do you?

MERRY (post) CHRISTMAS and have a happy, healthy and joy-filled New Year!!!

With Love,

The Franklins

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