|on our anniversary - miami airport|
the first time i saw kerrie leigh haller, i was in 9th grade. it was toward the end of the school year, just before summer break. i was hanging out with some friends after school, waiting for my ride. she was a grade above me, and had come over to my school to change buses.
i saw her walking across the parking lot. her long, curly hair grabbed my attention. she was wearing a red shirt, jeans that were tight-rolled at the bottom, and red "sam & libby" shoes. not going to lie… i was staring. i asked my friends if anyone knew who she was. somebody told me that they thought she was new here.
on the first day of 10th grade, i was pleasantly surprised (thrilled out of my mind, actually) to see her seated in a desk when i walked into anatomy & physiology class. she was in the middle row, second desk from the front. with a confident swagger, i passed by her, said "hey", and took a seat in the desk right behind her.
my confidence would soon be swallowed up by the repeated denials she gave me as i asked her to go out with me. did she not know who i was? (haha) she must not have known that i was the man! did she not know that i started on 3 varsity sports teams as a sophomore? (she had to know… she was a cheerleader!) did she not know that girls never said "no" to me when i asked them to be my girlfriend!?
after countless strikeouts, i settled for being friends. soon we were best friends. we loved to laugh. and we could talk forever. in fact we got in a lot of trouble at school for doing just that.
later that year, she finally said "yes". but in hindsight, i'm thankful for all the times she said no. it allowed for a genuine friendship to grow - that has continued to this day. she's been my best friend for more than 23 years. and as of today, my wife for 18.
kerrie stood faithfully by me when i was lost, and jumped courageously with me when God saved us. our marriage hasn't been perfect, but her commitment to being a godly woman, loving wife and amazing mother has been. and now, as we continue focussing on jesus together, our love for one another grows as a result.
i love you kerrie leigh. you are beautiful & brilliant, faithful & forgiving, strong & steady.
sometimes i still catch myself staring at you, the same way i did in 9th grade when you were changing buses in the parking lot.