Although, I can’t recall the exact moment when I actually met Jason for the first time, I also can’t remember when I didn’t know him. We grew up going to the same summer church camp, so as far back as I can remember I’ve always known who he and his family were. But I do remember when and where our story begins.
I was 15 when we had our meet-cute. 13 years ago at Camp Nikao, we started “hanging out” together…or at least within the same circle of friends. To be a little more specific, my best friend Julia, with whom I went to camp with every year, met a boy–enough said. But to further elaborate, Julia met Danny, who is now her husband, which is how most love stories that happen at camp end–happily ever after in marriage.
But back to my original thought, I, being 15, younger than most everyone else at camp that year, was kinda left lonely and wondering what to do when Julia started spending most of her time with Danny. I was happy for her, but at the same time was feeling very much left out. I wasn’t outgoing enough to make new friends on my own, and had it not been for Grace and Julie, I probably would have spent the entire week in solitude. But Grace and Julie, who were older, felt sorry for me and started pulling me in with them their friends. That was when I first met Jason for myself, I guess you could say. Jason was a long-time friend of Grace.
I remember one morning in particular, we were hanging around one of the picnic tables in the shade just talking and laughing. And for some reason I decided to share the experience I had in the shower that morning — I was washing my face and had somehow managed to get the facial cleanser up my nose. This of course made me sneeze, and when I sneezed, I sneezed out bubbles. It’s a rather silly story, but it made everyone laugh, and it made Jason laugh. And it was just one of those moments that I can never forget. At that point, I hadn’t been the outgoing, fun, funny type person. I had pretty much been a quiet, quite shy girl, only socializing with my few closest friends. But there I was in a circle of older people, and I actually said something that made everyone laugh. It was a small joy, but a joy nonetheless that I experienced, and Jason played a significant role in it. And now that I think about it, this is a HUGE part of our story because laughing together, and making each laugh has become a very important staple of our marriage.
So at that time I was 15 and Jason was either 20 0r 21, depending on what week of June it was. Obviously, nothing came out of that week of camp except for getting acquainted with one another, and perhaps a little harmless flirting…He told me, and I quote, “I wish I was 15 [...] So I could ask you to the Banquet.” The Banquet was a big fancy dinner on the last night of camp that was notoriously known as the date night. I’m not even sure how it all began, but every year they would do a nice dinner for the last night of camp, and somewhere along the way boys and girls starting asking each other to go to the Banquet. Much like a school dance I guess, except this was church camp. And when Jason made that statement to me, I do believe he was asking me if I would go to the Banquet with a guy in his cabin who was to shy to ask for himself. I, not knowing this guy beyond seeing him across a crowded room, asked Jason’s advice, “Do you think I should?” And he assured me that he was a really nice guy, so I agreed. Of course, the whole thing is just ridiculous to me now, the epitome of teenage silliness. But I sat next to and ate the Banquet dinner with this guy, whom I didn’t know and didn’t even speak to I think. Luckily, Grace and Julie and Jason were sitting with us too, so it wasn’t too awkward. True Story.
So I walked away from that week of camp thinking that Grace and Julie and Jason were all very nice and so sweet for letting me hang out with them. To me, it was an act of sympathy on their part to boost the self-esteem of a 15-year-old girl. Which, for the most part, I think it was…but, there was definitely an impression made.
To be continued…