Note: I just finished writing this thing.
There's no way I'm proofing it #toolazytoproof.
So please just ignore any grammar mistakes :D
I think I take it for granted that people just kind of know all about the kids and my life now. I mean, I kinda just type whatever the heck is on my brain for the world to read… you’re welcome world. Hahaha. I just kinda figure everyone pretty knows all about us. But then I started thinking, I don’t think I’ve ever really dove into my married life. It was about an entire third of my existence, but I just don’t mention it much here. I’ve talked a little here and there, but nothing major. I have talked about divorce a few times. Mostly, I think that’s because I’m worried my family and friends will think I’m still heartbroken over Crissy. I’m not. Or still in love with her. Again, I’m not. Or hoping that we will ever get back together in the future. Again, again. I’m not. However, I would like to talk about my life and story about us getting while we were together. Not because I miss it or anything. The way I like to describe how I feel about my marriage now like a can of diet soda. At first sip and while you’re drinking it, the taste is refreshing and nice; however, the aftertaste is just disgusting. (Sorry diet soda fans). I mean, it was nice but after experiencing that aftertaste I don’t want another sip. I think it's easy for me to disassociate with my memories of that relationship, because the aftertaste (bad years) was just so gross. However most of those years (which were mostly awesome) played a significant part of my story. Not only during the marriage, but after as well. Most of my adult life was spend with Crissy by my side but I don’t believe many of you know about those years. So I think it’s time to bite the bullet and just start from the beginning. Hopefully as I go along you’ll kind of see my intentions of this post. My goal is for this to be kind of like an Origin Story of the person I am today. J Also, I figured I might as well type this up because I’m starting to forget more and more of this part of my life (not complaining), and one day the kids might ask about me and their mom together, so I can refer to this post as a refresher. I will try to keep it as short as possible, but it might be lengthy. Just FYI.
Crissy and I met a few times before we actually really “met”. We went to high school together. She was a pretty, popular girl. After high school, she started working at Applebee’s where I was already working. So I trained her. We got along well at work, but that was really about it. Finally, one day one of our mutual friends wanted to throw a surprise party for his girlfriend (who was also a mutual friend). So pretty much, he was just “I’m going to distract her today. You two just plan a party by tonight and I will bring her over to be surprised.” Hahaha. So there we were, just two new friends driving around town in my first car.
Anyways after that day we just started hanging out the time. Just friends that eventually evolved into best friends. We are pretty much inseparable. Neither of us had romantic feelings, just best buddies. Well, that kind of changed a few months later, when we took “The Road Trip”. Those few days were some of the craziest in my life. Seriously, I need to post about it soon. I think everyone would really enjoy it. But until then, I’ll give an ultra-brief summary. Our friends, Reed and April, Crissy, and I went on a road trip to the beach one summer. We all just kinda piled in the bus and went. On that trip, it kinda of just hit me. I was in love with her. It was a super strange and nerve wracking feeling. I didn’t say anything on the trip or for a while after. Finally, one day I just told her. She said she didn’t feel the same. I remember lying in bed that night being so heartbroken. Getting your heart crushed at 18 was no fun. L So the next morning, I drove out to her parents’ house to talk to her. She really didn’t want to hear what I had to say on the matter, but I was persistent. I laid it flat out on the table. “Crissy, what chance do I have of us ever getting together?” Her response, “I promise you that you have absolutely zero chance ever. That’s not going to happen.” I appreciated her honesty. I knew it was tough for her too. No one likes to lose a best friend. So I slowly trudged to my bus, got in, cried, and drove home. We kinda of quit talking or seeing each other after that. It was literally us hanging out together 24/7 for months and months to zero communication. It was hard on me, but I got through it.
A few months pass…
I was at work and my manager came and told me I had a phone call. (This is back in day before everyone had cell phones. Don’t you miss those days? :D ) It was Crissy. I was stunned. She asked if I wanted to come over after work. Of course, I said yes! So I went over there and she explained how no one treated the way I did and she missed me. I was happy. Suddenly, we were back on track spending all of our time together. Then one night while we were helping a friend move (Crissy showed up in overalls, a trucker hat, and a painted on beard to look like a “mover” hahaha), she kissed me. I’ll be completely honest. I was stunned. She kept kissing me, and I think my brain and body must have not been able to handle it, because I immediately went to the bathroom and puked! HAHAHAHA. I felt sick the entire next day. It was just a super intense rush of feelings and emotions. She kinda just hung out with me on my parents couch. We both laughed about how I got so excited from kissing her that I puked and had to just lay down for a day and soak all of this in.
So later that afternoon, we went back to our friends new house to help her unpack and move her stuff into her new place. It was very late before we finished. I remember the date. It was July 2, 2004. It was about 2am, and our friend moved by VSU so we decided to just go for a walk around campus. I could tell we both just “knew”. So during the walk I leaned down, picked a wild flower, and asked her to marry me. She said “Yes. Of course.” And that was that. J
We suddenly tried to think of how to explain this to our parents. She was 19; I was 18. How were we supposed to tell them that we were engaged?!? Also, I still needed to officially ask her dad’s permission. So we came up with this secret plan… We told both of our parents we were just dating, so they wouldn’t think we were crazy. Then after a few months, I asked her dad to marry her. He said “Nope.” HAHAHA. I remember sitting there in side by side arm chairs for about an hour trying to convince him to let me marry her. I literally drew little charts explaining how Crissy’s GPA and work performance had improved with us “dating”. Finally, he looked at me super serious and said “Fine, but she’d better not be holding a baby until after she’s walked across that college graduation stage.”
Yay!! I was delighted. This was October 2004. We immediately started planning this wedding. I rented an apartment to have a place for us to rent. That place was a literal dump, but it was all I could afford. It had six foot ceilings, and I’m 6’2. It was pretty much just a tiny, TINY one bedroom apartment. However, it was ultra-cheap and right across the street from the college. This was awesome because we were both in school full time. The day I moved out, my dad took me to the side and made me promise him one thing. He said, “Promise me, that you will both never sleep in that apartment, until you two are married.” I agreed and so thankful for that advice. My dad is such a wise man. However, we were taking all of our classes together and working all of our jobs together. So driving her 25 miles home every night in my bus (that had a top speed of about 40 mph) was just getting kind of old. We both decided we needed to bump the wedding day up. We sat down with her parents and said “Ok. We are moving the wedding date.” Her mom’s response, “THANK GOD!! You two need to be engaged for at least a year.” We both kinda looked at each other and laughingly cringed, replying “No, we are bumping it UP. We are getting married in January 2005.” Hahahaha.
So January came. We were both so excited for the big day. Our wedding was super fun and original I like to believe. It was a 1960’s theme wedding. On the invitations, we encouraged people to dress up if they wanted to. In the foyer of the church, we had face painting, hair wraps, love beads, and a station to leave your shoes so people could go barefoot into the wedding ceremony if they wanted. Crissy and I did everything pretty much from scratch. We tie-dyed sheets to hang in the church. Our friend helped us make the flower arrangements. It was just a fun event. Our friends dressed as pirates and were the door greeters. The ring bearers were some of our friends dressed in full costume as Scooby Doo and the Pink Power Ranger. That was just a really fun day. J
There we were two 19 year old married kids taking all of our college classes and working all of our jobs together (We typically kept about 2-3 jobs while in school to avoid loans and be financially independent.) We spend our free time volunteering around town together. It was some of the best years of my life. Crissy and I were inseparable. Most of our friends called us “Criss and Sethy”. Those super broke younger married days are the ones I always think of first. We were just living on love, and man we were in love.
Finally, when we were college seniors Crissy accidentally ended up pregnant; however, I did keep my promise to her dad. She did not walk across that stage holding a baby. She just walked across it 8 months pregnant. Hahahaha!! I was so excited to become a “daddy”. I always wanted to have kids. In March 2008, we welcomed our little Stevie Joy into the world. We kept her a surprise, but I was convinced she was a boy that we were going to name “Titus”. Crissy got a full time job working for Babies Can’t Wait. We built a house. I decided to go back for my masters. It was a time of big changes, but Crissy and I were tighter than ever. I remember once, I went out of town for a few days, and she called me every day of that trip crying. Not because she was stressed about having a baby by herself, but because she just wanted me to be there with them.
You can identify the child by my glasses frames :)
Months pass. We sell our house, and I graduate with my Masters. Soon we find out that Stevie is going to have a little sister. So in July of 2009, Neela Grace was brought into the world. I start looking for a job as a K-12 Library Media Specialist, but couldn’t find any for a long time. I remember becoming pretty depressed during this time. I just remember a thinking that a man needed to provide. The best I could get was a part time job at a local private school. The pay was hardly anything, but at least it was some actual experience. My spirits were really low. One specific thing that always comes to mind during this time frame was Crissy coming to sit in my lap, picking up my head, looking me dead in the eyes and saying “Seth. I love you more than you understand. I’m proud of you. Don’t stress over this job. Let’s just love each other, love people, and love Jesus.” It was such a tender moment that I felt truly so blessed to have her in my life.
Eventually, I get a job at Wiregrass GA Technical College (formerly Valdosta Technical College). The pay was minimal, but at the time I WANTED that job. I would have a REAL job. They called me into do three different interviews. I didn’t hear anything for a while after that, so I started to become depressed again, until I got the call!! I got the job, and we were officially rich! Hahaha. Soon after, I finally got my “Titus”. We moved into a little house that was formerly her granddads. Besides the crappy apartment, 603 E. Stanfill Street holds the fondest memories. We were just this little family that was completely in love with each other. I can’t really express how close we were then. We led a marriage group a church and were constantly asked for marriage advice from people. I just remember playing in our backyard and my heart feeling so full.
After about two years, we move out of our Hahira house and into my parents’ old house to help take care of my grandmother. They moved to Alabama but my Mimi lived in a mother-in-law suite attached to their house. This was also a fun time in our married life. We were just a family living on the farm and now expecting our last child, Olive!! The kids loved living there. To be honest, so did I. Then our life changed again when I was offered my current job at Valdosta State University. The pay was significantly much more which was exciting. So exciting in fact, that we decided to buy a second home from her dad. (He is a contractor and sold us both of our houses for very cheap. Her parents are such blessings still to this day.)
There we were. We finally made it to official adulthood. Both with good paying professional jobs, a little stair step patch of kids, and a brand new super nice house. I know what really happened next, but we kind of became a little more distant. I was working more and she was busy with her job (she worked two days a week) and being a mommy. We were still very close and happily married, but I think we could both feel something was off.
Time passed and she started going out with friends more and more at night, while I stayed home with the kids. This led to arguments, which resulted in marital conflict. We never had this happen before. I mean, we fought from time to time, but never like this. She started drifting off more and more frequently. Meanwhile, I was becoming more and more bitter about my wife leaving me all the time to be with her friends. We both made mistakes during this time. Not pointing any blame. There are always two sides to every story, but finally it came to the point that I was with the kids alone pretty much all of the time besides when I was working. That was a tough time for me. She started hinting for a divorce, but I always said that I would never ever agree to that. We loved each other and needed to build our marriage back up. The situation grows progressively worse. Days, weeks, months pass. By now I’m doing the kids solo and Crissy has moved out. No one knows anything. I keep up a social media appearance that we are still a happy couple. When we happen to see each other, things usually erupt. I’m just so broken and hurt that my best friend just left me. This is only escalated by the fact that I’m pretty much I total train wreck raising four kids on my own. Still, I hold on to the hope that this marriage would be healed. I’m constantly talking privately with a small group friends and counselors trying to work out my brokenness.
Then, one day I just feel this sudden peace. That was God btw. We stopped fighting. He molded me from an “interrogator” into an “encourager”. I was positive that I would be able to keep things together and protect her reputation so it was be a seamless transition into our happy harmony again. I was beginning to get the hang of being a single working dad/full time parent of four. Every single night, I would sit for hours and pray for her, our marriage, and our kids. However, it seemed the more healing I found, the further Crissy drifted away from the kids and me. We hardly saw her. Still I had peace and was able to show that peace to the kids. Remember, Crissy used to be the most legit mom ever. Having her fade away from their lives was almost too much too watch. However like I said, me and “my crew” as I started to call them found peace in midst of the storm. I learned little techniques to help them cope with everything that was going on. Soon, it was like she was kinda just gone completely, but we were still married.
Although I felt peace, it was still heart breaking. More and more people began to call me with “Crissy stories” and questions about what was going on. My fear of divorce slowly faded into an actual thought “what if it happened?” I began to pray more and more about this. Not trying to spread gossip, but Biblically speaking I had firm ground to stand on in the case of divorce. Then my worry was “What if I lose the kids.” Honestly, how many dads of four with full time jobs get custody? So I started praying. I felt God telling me to fast (not eat) for two days and truly put my whole heart into praying and listening for an answer. Then driving home from work (I remember the time of day and the exact spot of the road I was driving), I felt God tell me “You’ve done well”. I knew it was time to file. The process was so nerve-wracking. I lost so much weight from just being so overwhelmed that I literally never had an appetite. Those months were the most anxious times in my life. I was constantly worried that Crissy would get the kids. However in the end, she agreed that I should have primary custody and she would get every other weekend visitations. Praise God!! The kids and I had become so unbelievably tight throughout the past few years of walking through this together that I couldn’t imagine not having them with me. It was an answer to prayer. I was and still am elated with the outcome.
I just keep on keeping on. Just “living the dream” (my go to response for questions about life). Life became such a fun thing. I was living this incredibly unique gift of a life that was filled with the craziest stories of the most awesome kids in the entire world. Every day seemed to be an adventure. However, I did feel sad at times that I didn’t have anyone to share all of these crazy stories and silly experiences with. Then one night, I thought to myself “You know what? I’m not just going to sit around and wait for a wife to share this stuff. I’m gonna stuff putting this stuff online. If nothing else, it will be a fun way to remember things for when the kids grow up.” That was the beginning of the blog you are reading now. Yay! Fun, right ;)
So yeah, that’s my Origin Story. I love the person I am. I love my kids. I love the life I have. I love the God I serve.
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,