Thirteen Years

March 14, 2018


Our anniversary is a couple of weeks away yet. But this post should come now, in this moment, while I can say these things about my husband.

It’s been nearly thirteen years since we stood in front of God and fifty-eight of our closest friends and family and promised for better or worse. It’s been better and worse in that time. This man never falters or wavers. He is my rock. He is wise enough to understand me better than I understand myself, at times. He is a patient, wonderful father. He is always there waiting, when I need space. I don’t know what good things I did that the universe sent me Jared, but I will be forever grateful that we found each other.

The best decision of my life, without a doubt, was to marry Jared. He is the love of my life. It is a privilege to get to spend my life with him.


The First of the Season

February 3, 2018


“The first of the season,” Jared said, as he presented me with a flower a few minutes ago:

He never forgets the first one of the season.

We don’t have many yard flowers at the moment. In Iowa, the lady who owned our house before us had a yard full of flowers. He presented me with flowers from the yard near daily. At our Villa Rica house, it was the occasional rose from the Confederate Rose plant, the only one that survived of the batch I insisted we plant one year.

It doesn’t matter what the flower is. If there is one, he’ll find it. Today, Feb. 3, the first one of the season, for me. From him.

I’m a lucky girl.


My Own Wedding

November 17, 2017


With several weddings/ engagement sessions under my belt now, I got my own wedding photos out last night.

I love them even more now than I did back in 2005. I recently got to shadow Virginia at a wedding, and I am so thankful we’ve become friends.

For instance, right after we got married I would lament the fact that it was so windy that morning. I used to look at this picture and wish for everything I had that the veil would have stayed down. But now I know if that veil weren’t flying like it is here, I wouldn’t remember exactly how crazy-windy it was that morning after all that rain the night before. I can’t imagine the picture any other way now.

Of course, there are other things I notice about these pictures now, too. We were babies, at least I was. I look so young in these photos. I was 25 which I guess isn’t exactly a baby but I sure wasn’t emotionally prepared for what was about to happen, moving halfway across the country to live with someone I’d never spent more than a full week at one time with. I also think, based on how skinny I was there, that I must not have eaten the full year before Jared and I got married. I mean, I know I was doing yoga religiously every day back then but man. I’d really like to be that size again someday. Not sure I have it in me to do what it takes to get there now, though.

Everyone we knew had to think Jared and I were losing our minds when Jared and I got married.Β But it has worked out, for better and worse, and here we are twelve and a half years later.

It’s time for new family photos. The last time we had a family session, Oliver was six months old, I am pretty sure. I guess one of the downfalls of being a photographer now is that family photos that include myself are the last thing I really want to think about. It seems like a hassle and while I’ve always hated being in front of a camera, it’s a thousand times worse now.

This is still my favorite photo of Jared. It doesn’t matter what I say to him, I cannot get him to smile like that for me.

This is my favorite photo of the whole bunch, I think. I just thought it was pretty back in 2005, but now, there’s so much more. It’s a candid and those tend to be my favorites these days. It’s black and white, which of course speaks to me. You can see the puddles of water from the massive rain the night before. And Virginia was shooting into the sun, which made those beautiful flares. I didn’t even know she was shooting when she took this picture. I thought we were just talking as we walked to another shot location.

Looking back, I was so worried about the wrong things on my wedding day. I was worried about preserving a dress I’d likely never wear again– I certainly can’t fit into it now. So there are no beach pictures despite the fact that the beach is what I love about St. Simons. Kind of crazy. That’s me, though, when I get uptight and think I want to present a certain image to the world.

What doesn’t show, of course, in these photos is the crazy, messed up mind I had. I had such backwards ideas about romantic love.

These two crazy kids that got married back on April 2, 2005….we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Four pregnancies. Three boys. Health issues. Financial strains. The one constant that I can say through it all is that Jared has been my rock. He still looks at me much like he did that windy day twelve and a half years ago. He’s taught me so much about how to reframe what healthy romantic love should look like in my mind. I’m still learning that lesson.

It’s time to take more photos today of my own. Maybe I will take my camera to O’s school event today. Looking at these photos reminds me that I crave the click of the shutter for the click’s sake alone.


Skipping to the Good Parts…

September 15, 2017


(Because I can and because, predictably, I’ve gotten bored with the project. I’m skipping around with the transcription. The “I Love You” anniversary is coming up, which makes me want to talk about it and get to that part of the transcription.)

(So, a synopsis…partly for brevity’s sake and partly because I’ve discovered the chat transcripts end with July. πŸ™ Makes me sad. Jared may have them stashed away on one of his ancient computers, but for now, I don’t have them. Here’s the short version: )

(Jared and I talked through July and August 2003. Things were as serious as internet dating can be without actually having met someone in person. I was head over heels and hadn’t even met Jared yet. )

(Meanwhile, Jared was in the process of moving from Lincoln to Grinnell, as he’d gotten a new job. Β Here’s an excerpt of the email I wrote him the week he moved: )

From: Caroline Ellison <C’s Email>
To: <J’s Email>
Subject: > : D <
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2003 22:54:14 -0400

…I’d like to meet. As soon as possible. I want to know what your hand feels like, just as you described wishing for the other night. I want to feel your arms around me. I want to take that long walk, and I want to see the quaint little town you’ll be living in, and the adorable little house on Main Street that we both seem to be taken with. I want to see a few of the thousands of expressions your face takes on throughout a single day. I want to reassure you that not only are you “enough,” as you put it, but that you’re more than I’ve ever hoped to dream for. I hope that I am enough for you.

(I had season tickets to the Fox that year and had enjoyed taking a variety of friends to shows all summer. The end show of the season was Les Mis. I’d already invited another guy when I got the tickets months previously and I told Jared this–it was sure to be awkward.)

(Other guy came in from Tampa to see the show, which was Saturday, September 13, 2003. The show was amazing, the company predictable.)

(But as I said, the show was absolutely stunning. And, well, my screen name on that dating site was “Cosettecie,” after all, so Les Mis was pretty fundamental to the roots of my new relationship with Jared.)

(So, that’s the context of what was going on in September of 2003. Jared moved, I went on the awkward outing to the Fox with the other man, and then, I decided to see if there were tickets available for the next weekend, September 20, because it really was an awesome show. And, I wanted to see it with Jared. I think the arranging for that must have happened on the phone, because there’s no email record of it. Except: Β )

From: Jared Price <J’s Email>
To: Caroline Ellison <C’s Email>
Subject: Did I mention…
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 8:56:07

…that I’m excited about this weekend. *blushing*

> : D <

jared

To: <J’s Email>
Subject: Re: Did I mention…

As am I. > : D <

Caroline

From: Jared Price <J’s Email>
To: Caroline Ellison <C’s Email>
Subject: Time…
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 13:53:37

Caroline,

It looks like I’ll likely not get home until sometime around 8:30 to 9:00 (your time) tonight. πŸ™ I’ll see if you’re around, but if you’re not, I will understand. Talk to you soon.

jared

p.s. I’ll be airborne in 26 hours. πŸ˜€ Β > : D <

(He wouldn’t be home until late because he had to drive an hour and a half after work to an outlet mall to buy a garment bag for his suit. πŸ™‚ Β )

From: Jared Price <J’s Email>
To: Caroline Ellison <C’s Email>
Subject: πŸ˜€
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 10:25:43

See you soon! > : D <

jared

(The > : D < was the way you made an emoji on Yahoo! Messenger to make a hug. Except there were no spaces between the characters and I hate the emoji that has come of those symbols since those days. So we now put spaces between the characters. Jared showed up with a gift that first weekend he came to see me: a palm-sized rock with that symbol engraved. It still sits on my dresser.)

(Mushiness happened. I picked him at the airport after telling several friends and my parents where I was going and what route I was precisely taking to the airport. It was, indeed, confirmed love at first site.)

(I took the day off work and dragged him all around my favorite haunts in ATL. We went to the show. We held hands. We went to Panola Mountain before he left for the airport on Sunday, where he told me he loved me for the first time. He surprised me with that. I told him I loved him, too. That happened this precise spot, except picture it still green in September, instead of mid-November as the picture shows– I took the photo in November 2012:)

From: “Caroline Ellison” <C’s Email>
To: <J’s Email>
Subject: Thank you. > : D <
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2003 22:00:21

Jared,

Thank you so much for this weekend. I don’t know how else to say it, other than to say thank you. There are so many emotions that I’m experiencing right now that I simply can’t put into words. However, I can tell you that the feelings of serenity and stability have not vanished even though you’ve gone home.

The future is a much brighter place now that you’re in my world. I only hope I can return the favor. You’re an amazing man. To think of the seemingly random happenstance that brought us together is the frightening part now… though, to tell you the truth, I don’t think it was random at all. I think everything happens for a reason in due course. Though our time has to be separate for now, I know it is also for a reason. If something else is meant to be in the future, then we’ll find a way to overcome it.

I do miss you already, but I can still feel your arms around me, and your lips upon mine. I’ll savor those feelings for as long as I possibly can. I love you. Thank you for making the world a better place.

Love Always,

Caroline

From: Jared Price <J’s Email>
To: Caroline Ellison <C’s Email>
Subject: Always…
Date: Sun Sep 21 (printer screwed up the date printing. Don’t have the timestamp.)

Caroline,

The pleasure of the weekend was mine, indeed. >:D< I hope that you are sleeping as soundly as I suspect you are. I dropped you a quick IM, and called, though nobody answered. Zzzz… Happy Dreams. > : D <

Day by day, and over this past weekend, moment by moment, I am continually amazed to have such an amazing, wonderful, beautiful woman in my life. As I sat in my seat on the plane, I could feel your hand on mine. I can, even yet, feel the gentle touch of your lips. I can feel the strength and surety of your embrace.

I do love you. I don’t anticipate getting tired of saying that anytime in the future, either.

I’ll hope to catch you tomorrow, even if only briefly. Sleep well, deeply, and know that my thoughts are with you.

With all of my heart,
jared

> : D <


Wed 9 Jul 2003 6:02:07

August 28, 2017


From: “Caroline Ellison”<C’s email>
Subject: So so early in the morning… πŸ™‚
To: <J’s email>

Good morning, Jared!

For about a week, my schedule has been off-kilter because I’ve been sleeping way too late, but I decided to get back on track this morning, so here it is 6:15 am (my time), and I’m already (almost) conscious. πŸ™‚

Let me say once again how much I’ve enjoyed our time talking together; it really does pass much too quickly! It’s not difficult to see why you end up acting as “counselor” to many of your friends, as you seem to have a gift for putting people at ease (which is doubly amazing, given that all of our conversations have been through the sometimes cold veil of a keyboard).

It occurred to me that the note I sent with the smile at [dating site we met on] said something about asking me about what I pictured us doing on our first date, and I’d never actually said what exactly that was. Well, the truth is that I had absolutely nothing in mind at the time. πŸ™‚ However, for my part, it really wouldn’t matter what the activity was, just so long as there was the freedom to continue in person the conversation we’ve started online. Given that stipulation, I think visiting a park would be nice. πŸ™‚ Of course, I’m certainly not discounting the distance between us. Only daydreaming…

Hmm… well, I suppose the night was long enough for me to come up with a few more questions. Of course, always feel free to not answer anything you’re not comfortable talking about.

You said you’d never really had a pet before Murphy came along; what made you decide to make the plunge in becoming a “parent?” And now do you ever wonder how you got along without him? πŸ™‚

Tell me a little about Lincoln. It boggles my mind to think of more land being the only thing within easy driving distance!

I hope you have a fabulously productive (yet relaxing) day!

Sincerely,
Caroline


Unknown Date, early July (Missing a Page)

August 27, 2017


5:24 pm

maxtheape: Do I get bonus points if I can guess other things?
cosettecie: probably, though again, I think I’ve given you a better basis for making educated guesses
maxtheape: Perhaps. πŸ™‚ It’s a common “A” name. Popular, or not, I don’t know.
cosettecie: Adam?
maxtheape: Nope. Right number of letters, though. πŸ™‚ See, I’m helping. o:)
cosettecie: yes, thank you ever so kindly πŸ™‚
maxtheape: Any time. Glad to be of assistance. πŸ˜‰
cosettecie: Alex?
maxtheape: Nope. You’re getting colder. You were only two letters off the first time.
cosettecie: hmm…
cosettecie: Alan?
maxtheape: Ding, ding, ding… We have a winner, folks. How about a big round of applause for Caroline? *audience applause ensues*
cosettecie: Why, thank you. πŸ™‚
maxtheape: Oh, but of course.
maxtheape: Let’s see what else could I try to guess without freaking you out? Hmm…
maxtheape: Not sure…
maxtheape: The dangers of knowing way more than one should about two to find information…
cosettecie: So you’re saying then that you’re a stalker? ;-P Or do you prefer “good researcher?” Just kidding πŸ˜‰
maxtheape: No, not a stalker. I am often called upon to figure out information for people. That leaves me with a lengthy lis of resources to use for finding all kinds of information.
maxtheape: I don’t think I could make it as a stalker. It’s difficult for guys my size to be sneaky. πŸ˜›
cosettecie: okay, shoot…what else can you guess about?
maxtheape: Hmm… are you sure? I could be wrong. It’s happened before.
cosettecie: well, if you’re wrong, I’ll tell you
maxtheape: Does your father’s name begin with a “K”?
cosettecie: yes and no πŸ™‚
cosettecie: his first name, no
maxtheape: The name he goes by.
cosettecie: the name he goes by, yes. πŸ™‚
maxtheape: πŸ™‚
cosettecie: that wasn’t terribly difficult to find out, though
maxtheape: And the numbers 0299 are familiar?
cosettecie: maybe… hang on a minute πŸ™‚
cosettecie: Yeah, I think so πŸ˜€
maxtheape: Okay.
maxtheape: Thought they might be. πŸ˜‰
cosettecie: well, I tend to forget that number. I rarely use it.
maxtheape: And the name [neighbor’s name]?
cosettecie: that one I have no clue about.
maxtheape: Across the street.
cosettecie: [neighbor’s name] is their last name? I only know him as [neighbor’s name]
maxtheape: πŸ™‚
cosettecie: hehe
maxtheape: See, all sorts of interesting information. πŸ™‚
cosettecie: evidently.
maxtheape: Sorry if that was “freaky.” I certainly didn’t mean it to be.
cosettecie: So go on– you might be able to tell me more than I know about myself. πŸ™‚ Nope; all public information.
maxtheape: Hmm… Not sure what else I can tell… I might have to look a bit more to find more information.
cosettecie: hehe, it’s okay; you don’t have to look too much. Might dig up things I’d rather you didn’t πŸ˜‰
maxtheape: Then I shall leave things alone, if you’d prefer. I can’t imagine finding anything too incriminating, but those are the things that make for the most interesting stories to be told by the person who experienced them. πŸ™‚
cosettecie: I don’t think you’d find anything terribly exciting. No criminal record to speak of 8-|
maxtheape: Just one that you’d prefer NOT to speak of? /:)
cosettecie: Well, I don’t think I’ve broken any laws. Not any civil or criminal laws. Maybe moral ones, but they don’t arrest you for those are write them down. Well, I tend to, but you wouldn’t find them anywhere. πŸ™‚
maxtheape: πŸ™‚
cosettecie: And, by the way, since you know it, feel free to use the 0299 number any time you wish. Though, there is a much better one to reach me by πŸ™‚
maxtheape: I’m fortunate enough to have a clean slate, as well. Not even a traffic violation. πŸ˜€
cosettecie: me too πŸ™‚
cosettecie: well, I did get pulled over in Dekalb County once, because I didn’t have my lights on. The street lights were so bright I didn’t notice. But I only got a warning. :-S
maxtheape: Thank you for the phone invitation. I will tell you now that I quite dislike phones, but on rare occasion can be caught using one.
maxtheape: Warnings don’t count. Though I’ve never had one of those either. πŸ˜€
cosettecie: It’s okay, though, because I do too!
cosettecie: Normally my phobia only stretches to COMPLETE strangers, like having to order pizza or things like that, though. πŸ˜€
maxtheape: I have a little webcam around somewhere, if I can find it after packing it up for the move. Don’t remember whether AIM supports those, or not.
maxtheape: Well, between the two of us, we’d never order a pizza, then. πŸ™‚
maxtheape: I was the kid who would walk a mile and a half to the library to find out if they were open, rather than pick up the phone and call. :”>
cosettecie: And I’d never ask you do to do anything you’re uncomfortable with. Well, I HAD one, but it was a not-so-good one. Daddy’s king of getting things free through rebates, and my webcam was a product of that talent
maxtheape: πŸ˜€
maxtheape: Nothing wrong with that.
cosettecie: nope, not in the least πŸ™‚
maxtheape: Mine isn’t a great one, but it does the job. My friend up in Ontario and I use it from time to time when we feel like begin able to talk and see one another.
maxtheape: Then again, we usually use NetMeeting.
cosettecie: What did you think of Montreal? Was it a nice place?
maxtheape: It was a nice place to visit, but it was insane to drive there. I was just glad I never got lost. I’m not all that keen on such enormous metropolitan areas.
cosettecie: well, the insane part of driving there was choosing to do it without taking a night off in the middle /:)
maxtheape: Fortunately, I didn’t have to drive all that much while I was there.
cosettecie: That’s good. I hope you at least stayed 24 hours, to make our visit at least as long as your drive?
maxtheape: I was there for closer to 48, thank you very much. πŸ˜›
maxtheape: It had to be a “quick” trip, but I dint want to pass up the chance to visit before my friend headed overseas for the better part of a year.
cosettecie: that’s very good to hear. πŸ™‚ It would be absolutely silly to make a long drive just to have to immediately turn around and go back home
maxtheape: Yeah, but I probably would have done it anyway. πŸ™‚
cosettecie: It’s 5 o’clock, and I’d wager you haven’t gotten much done in the past hour or so
maxtheape: No, not a lot, but more than you might think. I’ve been writing PHP code in between messages. πŸ™‚
cosettecie: impressive. πŸ™‚ But I was also getting at that it’s time for you to go home
maxtheape: Oh, yes. That it is, I suppose. And time for you to be enjoying dinner.
cosettecie: soon, probably. I hope you have an excellent time with your friends tonight πŸ™‚
maxtheape: It says it would take 17 hours, 3 minutes to drive to your address from mine. About the same as Toronto. πŸ™‚
cosettecie: depends on how fast you go πŸ˜‰
maxtheape: Yes, you enjoy your evening, and take care. I’ll look forward to possibly catching up with you a bit tomorrow. πŸ™‚
cosettecie: I never trust Mapquest when it comes to times they give. Okay, thanks for the lovely conversation, Jared. Bye!
maxtheape: As my friend from Ontario says, “You drive like a Nana.” She’s very fond of calling me that.
cosettecie: hehe
maxtheape: Thank you. Talk to you later. It’s been delightful. –Jared πŸ™‚


Mon 7 Jul 2003 10:32:30

August 26, 2017


From: “Caroline Ellison” <C’s email>
Subject: A not-so “Manic Monday”
To: “Jared Price” <J’s email>

Jared,

I had a great time during our chat as well; the time really went by too fast! I did have a good visit with. my grandparents; though I’ve only lived an hour or so away for most of my life, they love having me ten minutes down the road, and I go several times a week to have dinner with them.

I look forward to hearing anything you’re willing to share about Jerusalem. I think the most intriguing thing I’ve heard from other people is visiting the Western Wall; the social dynamics of how strict they are about keeping the men and women separate fascinate me. But I’ve only heard the Jewish perspective on that; How does it work with the other faiths?

My absolute favorite song in the entire world is Josh Groban and Charlotte Church’s version of “The Prayer”… πŸ™‚ Their voices make an incredible combination.

Well, I’m calling it a short day at work today; during the week I do data entry, and I just can’t stare at the computer screen to edit our database anymore! It’s pretty deserted because lots of people are still on vacation. I love my job and the fact that it’s a flexible schedule, but the downside to that is that sometimes there’s little motivation to make myself stay all day!

I hope we can chat again soon,

Caroline


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