Lauren Casper »

the real thing

I was a sophomore at ODU and he was a senior (1st classman) at VMI — home for Thanksgiving furlough. We met at a bar on Granby Street. I was there hanging out with several college friends and he was there hanging out with his buddy (one of my several college friends.) I thought he was handsome and seemed genuine and kind. I didn’t know what he thought of me. We all sat at a table chatting and he was glued to the T.V. that was playing some football game.

I wasn’t interested in getting involved in a serious relationship. Been there done that — didn’t go so well. I thought men my age were controlling and mean — not trustworthy. I thought they were jealous and overbearing and only after one thing. I didn’t trust so well. I didn’t think I ever wanted to get married. Somehow marriage came up as a topic of conversation at the table so I looked him right in the eye and said, “I never want to get married.” He looked back with wide eyes and said, “really?! I can’t wait to get married!” Stunned.

A month later he took me out on our first date and didn’t try to kiss me when he dropped me off at the porch. In fact, he’d kept his hands to himself the whole date. He’d opened the car door and every other door we came to for me. He was respectful and interested in the things I had to say. He called me the next day and took me out again.

A month later he told me he loved me and I knew he meant it. Ten months after that he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife and I said yes. Eight months after that we stood in the front of a church and pledged our lives to each other.

He’s stood by my side through every joy and every heart ache. He never left when things got hard. He’s proven himself faithful, trustworthy, kind, loving, and respectful over and over again through the years. He’s trudged through nearly eight years of infertility with me. He gently loved me through two miscarriages and carried his own grief through it all. He made room in his heart for two foster boys and showed them the love of a father for months and he wept in the front yard when they drove away for good. He fought tirelessly to bring home Mareto and Arsema.

And every day of every month of every year he’s hugged me and kissed me and told me he loves me at least a dozen times. He’s my forever Valentine and I am so thankful that I get to spend always with the real thing.


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