That’s her in the red dress. In the center of the picture. A location she deserves to occupy. Some things in life are so personal, but impactful that you can’t avoid sharing them. This is one of those.
It’s been about 40 years since we first dated. Here’s one of the first pictures of us as a couple. We had been on one date at this point. I was way cooler back then. 😉
We both claim instant love. And we’re not exaggerating. In about 3 years time we’d be married. This coming January 2nd it will have been 38 years. Like all old folks, we’ll talk your ears off about how time has flown. Speaking of ears, I once had enough hair to cover mine, but like time, my hair has flown.
But this isn’t about me. It’s about her. A girl with incredible character, integrity and industry. And determination. All the ingredients of virtuous girl hit my life in the summer of 1975 when that picture was taken. And it’s taboo in today’s world, but we were both virgins when we married because it was our conviction, our faith and our commitment.
She bore me a son in the summer of 1980, Ryan. He just turned 35. That’s him in that top picture standing to the right, with a little boy in his arms, Easton. It’s remarkable when your son has a son, but my son now has 2 sons (Cason was born last month) and 1 daughter, Kinsley. Her brothers won’t stand a chance come night time wrestling matches.
She bore me a daughter, Renae. That’s her standing in the sunshine to my right in that top picture. Her two sons – Max and Jake – are those two ornery looking boys up front, standing next to their cousin, our only granddaughter.
Our years together have rocked just as much as they’ve rolled. Rhonda is a person mostly unfazed by whatever life presents. Not me. I agonize. Fret. Get melancholy. Strategize. Think. Think some more. Talk it out. Try to talk it out some more.
Meanwhile, in quiet solitude Rhonda just grinds it out.
She’s still the girl of my dreams, the mother of my kids and now the grandmother that any kid would love to have. It dawns on me that the power of a man finding a virtuous woman impacts an entire tribe. That’s my tribe in that top picture. And it’s why she’s at the center of it all.
I love her. And I’m proud that she loves me. Still.