Bentley and I met on January 18th 2011 in an intermediate voice class at Cuesta College. I know the exact date because it was my last, first day at Cuesta. Not that I was counting down my time there, I LOVED Cuesta. But, I was finishing up my last semester for my AA degree and ready to move on. You see my attendance at school that semester was quite a miracle. My dad had fallen a month before and seriously injured himself. I mean serious, like broke his neck and became a quadriplegic for the rest of his life kind of serious. I was distraught to say the least, my entire world was swept out from under me. I wanted to stay home, help my family, and be there for my dad in the ICU... Which I was for a month straight, I basically lived in the ICU with him and made great night nurse friends.
Going back to school was a result of my strong-willed desire to finish something I started. My daddy asked me to go back and not put my life on hold. So I listened to his wisdom. I walked to class that first day with my chin up and my hert eager for anything other than grief. After the last month of my life I was happy to be away from hospitals, the beeping of life support machines, and all things medical. As selfish as it sounds I was relieved to have my own journey to travel. *Cue love story. I promise it's gets happier :) but to fully understand the off chance that Bentley and I would run into one another I felt the need to explain my family crisis making our first encounter that much more remarkable.
Bentley was scrambling to add classes that semester. I remember so clearly how jumbled but happy he looked. The first day the course add codes were scribbled on his arm, his shoes were no where to be seen, his hair unkempt, beard scruffy, school books and bible spread on the floor near his chair. He was definitely not together. Definitely not my type.
However, he was the most adorable, organized mess I had EVER walked into. Little did I know he was also walking in with his chin up longing for something a little brighter. He was married once before and his divorce although they had been separated for a year, had just become legally official 2 months before we met. I could see the weightlessness in his demeanor, and his passion for music was contagious. Bentley was a rejuvenating, possibilities are endless, outlook on life.
Even though everything we had recently and separately gone through was SO different it left us on the same page. We were totally not looking for love, and ready to get lost in music. Most importantly we were fully trusting in God with the direction of our lives in a way we never had before. Our lives had changed so drastically within the last month trusting him was all we knew to do.
To this day I can remember exactly what he was wearing- the image will be in my memory forever! To say it was love at first sight would be an overstatement- remember I wasn't looking for love in the slightest way. Plus his unorganized manner lured reservations. But I was definitely intrigued and wanted to know him. Badly. SO badly. His happiness and contagious passion for music was something I desired.
That desire was easily met over the following week. The next day we had another class together, and then the next day another class... and yes the next day ANOTHER class together. Was he following me and just adding all the classes I was already enrolled in? He clearly didn't have a set schedule and the thought of him adding my clases had certainly crossed my mind.
Later that same week when I ran into him AGAIN at a music academy in San Luis Obispo, not affiliated with Cuesta College I just about died when I saw him. I could not believe it. not to be so cliche, but it had to be fate. How could we have never seen one another in this "BIG-small" town before? (locals refer to SLO as a big-small town because it is actually pretty big in size and population but has that wonderful, homey, small town feel. You can go here to see more about this paradise we call home) And now we can't go a day without bumping elbows? By the end of the week I had called my mom and told her that as fate would have it, I had met the man I was probably going to marry. I later found out that Bentley had called his dad and told him the same thing. Despite how quickly it was, we just sorta knew.
"Are you lurkin on my class sched?" I finally asked to break the ever present tension and eye flirting. All of our classes were music related so I think he said something along the lines
"No, we must be very similar is all" with the most handsome smile to accompany his deep blues. Then he asked why I was enrolled in so many music classes and if I played any instruments. Once I told him I wanted my last semester to be nothing but fun and full of the things I love most, and that I play guitar and write my own songs, he said,
"oh, well, would you want to get together and collaborate?!" with a hint of blushing nerves... And that was how our first week ended.
ya know that line- The rest is history.... well i can now relate to that!
We 'collaborated musically' and really got to know each other. We became closer than I ever thought imaginable over such a short period of time. Like finishing each others sentences and texting the exact same thing to one another at the same time. SO crazy. It felt as though I had known him literally for years and just hadn't seen him in a while. We were just picking up right where we left off in our friendship, and soon to be relationship :) When I found out he was about 9 years older... it didn't even phase me. Which would normally have been a red flag for me (don't ask me why). Now I have a different perspective on age and love. I was drawn to him so quickly and captivated in his presence, I could not believe he single when we first met. But after I found out his age I was even more shocked! How? I wondered how could a man like this not have been snagged already!? And that is when I found out he had been married once before. It's not like I had to go digging for that or anything, he told me flat out before the invisible line between friendship and something more had been crossed. And I appreciated his honestly up front, as if it would change my mind about wether or not I would date him. Obviously it didn't! This isn't a blog about life after divorce, but it just goes to show that
although second chances are rare they are real.
And I really love them.
We started dating and crossed that line a without a moment more to waste. I brought him home to meet my parents in March, and I met his at the beginning of April, and fell even more in LOVE. His family, oh my goodness, I lucked out in that department!!!
April 23rd, he proposed on stage at SLO Brew. Yup in a bar at his graduation performance in front of a big crowd- my mom, his parents, strangers, and he even called my two best friends to make sure they could make the big show and celebrate! I never pictured a big public proposal. However it could not have been more perfect. People were oooing and awing, holding their loved ones close. For weeks to come people from the audience that night were asking me around town if I was 'that girl' that was proposed to on stage! My curly hair is undeniable and strangers recognized me on the streets. Secretly I loved it. I was just so dang happy and wanted to tell everyone!
September 3rd, we held a ring ceremony in our beloved city, San Luis Obispo, at Mitchell Park. A week later we were sealed for time and all eternity in the Laie, Hawaii Temple, on September 10, 2011 :) 9-10-11 at 12pm it just worked out so sequentially for us. It was a small gathering of just me and him, and his parents. My dads' condition made it so he couldn't travel and my mom had become his caregiver. I had always wanted to get married in Hawaii, that was what my parents did with no friends or family. They had a stranger as their witness on the cliff in Kona they got married on. Their wedding day pictures are the cutest, most untraditional wedding pictures ever. I admired that my whole childhood.
We honeymooned there for a week and returned to our own paradise in SLO!
I have been loving this man and learning from him every day since.