Written By: Rachel Hamm
Hey everyone, its Rachel here again! Hope you all are having a blessed day so far!
This post is going to be very different from my last one, today I’m going to tell you about my own love story, or the first part of it anyway. So let’s begin….
My story begins almost 22 years ago, when I was born in Moncton, New Brunswick. I was adopted before birth by my wonderful parents, a pastor and his wife, who had been waiting for a child from God for many years. I was their baby girl, their one and only. They spent every waking moment focused on making my life the best it could be. They taught me at home so I would have a wholesome, God-fearing education, piano lessons every Wednesday from the age of 5 to the age of 19, and anything else they could do to enhance my education. Mom retired from nursing when I was born, so every moment was spent together, going on day trips, doing school, learning about God together. Everything was wonderful, until one day the news came that our tiny country church would have to close it’s doors. We were devastated, and Dad needed a new job and fast to support his family. So, he began applying to church’s all over the U.S.A and Canada. In the end, he got called to a little town called Cottam, Ontario. And that’s the beginning of my love story.
We moved to Cottam in October of 2004, not knowing anyone or having anything. I remember how devastated my parents were to leave our home, family, and friends to move somewhere completely new to all of us. It was a hard adjustment for sure, but after our first Sunday at Cottam Baptist Church we knew that we had a new family now, and friends that would last a lifetime.
I actually have no recollection of actually meeting Matthew strangely enough. My first actual memory of him is on new years eve of that year, something about drinking the entire water fountain at church between the hours of 9pm and midnight with him and his sister. Somehow he was just always around during our early years in Cottam. I do remember spending a lot of time at his house due to the fact that they were the perfect babysitters, already having 8 kids at home at the time. What was one more? From day one, I was one of the sisters, and suddenly I had 5 brothers around to protect me (more like tease me to death), and 3 sisters! It was like I hit the jackpot, pardon the expression! My memories of Matthew were of tears and annoyance after he made the 5th red head joke of the night or whatever he chose to tease me about on that particular day. He was definitely the most annoying of the brothers. Apparently I’m being told now that should have been my first clue as to the fact he liked me, but I never had that feeling growing up myself! 😉
Growing up I was a bit of a loner, being an only child I longed to be around people but I also loved my space because that was my familiar place. Matthew was almost the opposite, he spent a lot of time alone reading growing up, but almost every waking moment was spent in the noise of his siblings around him. He longed for the quiet I had and didn’t want. He was a tease and I was serious. Complete opposites. Opposites supposedly attract right?
Then there comes the time where I remember spending time with Matthew more, with his siblings and our mutual friends. We began to grow closer as friends, and spend as much time as we could together.
Matthew’s sister Victoria began to take music lessons from my piano teacher, who was conveniently about 4 doors down from our house. Matthew began to come with her to her lessons and get dropped off at our house. We lived on a retired farm with a bush behind it, so we would go out for walks to the bush and look for places to build forts and such, it became a weekly ritual, one we both looked forward to. We became best friends fast.
I remember the first time he called me specifically at my house. He had just passed his G1 test so he could drive on his own now, and it was in a complete blizzard, no idea how he actually drove for this test! Anyways, I remember my mom coming into my room with the phone, eyebrows raised, saying “Matthews on the phone for you..” That was the beginning of daily phone conversations, and email chains, some over 200 emails long.
He still has all those emails..
Matthew started air cadets when he was 16 years old. His dream was, and still is, to become a pilot someday. So every Wednesday night I would rush my parents home after our kids club at church so that he could stop by on his way home from air cadets. We always had to have a steady supply of Reese’s puffs cereal for him, that was his staple at the time, something my mother never would have bought otherwise!
The first time we ever talked about us being more than friends happened on one of those walks back to the woods. We had talked about maybe dating for a long time, but nothing had some of it. So one day I just put it out there. What are we? Do you like me or not? He told me he did, and he wanted to be more than friends. That scared me sufficiently not having ever been in a relationship, so I said let’s think about it for awhile. So we started slowly, things like holding hands secretly, talking about what we wanted our relationship to be, little things like that.
The first time he told me he loved me and wanted to marry me was September 16th, 2012. We had been at a friends wedding about 4 hours away from home. His family drove home that night, mine stayed for a week at a friends house. We texted his whole drive home, I was up all night that night. They got home about 2 am, and after he said I’ll be right back, just have to unload the van, I almost fell asleep. When I heard a chime from my phone, I barely woke up to turn it on, but I’m so thankful I did, because the message said: “I love you Rachel, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you wait for me and marry me someday?” I felt so happy and in love when I read that message, it brought tears to me eyes. And there was no doubt in my mind. Of course I would wait for him.
Our first kiss was at a youth group even at our church. We were playing hide and go seek in the dark, which was a favorite among us kids. I ran down to the basement with some of my friends, we all hid in different spots, and he found me. As we stood there in the darkness, he leaned over and said, “I love you,” and kissed me. It was a beautiful moment, and from that moment on we were inseparable.
Matthew has worked pretty much full time from the age of 16 years old, he started as an electrical apprentice at the age of 18, which meant a full-time job sometimes 80-90 hours a week, with school 2 nights a week on top of that. It was a rough 4 years, his working so much we hardly got to see each other, and during that time I began nursing school. Long hours of studying and clinicals on top of him being so busy made it hard. But we made it! Lots of late night phone conversations and continuous texting made it easier, and the time we did have together was wonderful. We cherished every moment.
Honestly neither of us can remember what we did on our first date, but I do remember him going to ask my dad if he could take me out. My Dad told him he respected him for asking permission to take his daughter out in this day in age. From that time on, he asked basically every time we did something. Something so small, but so big for my Dad.
We spent lot’s of time doing things with my parents. Road trips on weekends, one year on my birthday, my parents surprised me with a trip to Toronto the night before my birthday. Matthew took me out to the Keg that night, and I was goodnight that night thinking about how sad I was I wasn’t going to see him on my birthday. The next morning when I woke up and came downstairs with my bag, he was there. In my shock, he asked me to count the tickets for our boat ride again. And this time, there was 4. I was so excited, we spent 2 days there with my parents it was beautiful. One year, he went to New Brunswick with us to visit my family, he had broken his finger badly and had to have surgery so he had 6 weeks off work, and it just worked out to when we were going. All our family and friends were so accommodating, making a space for him to stay so he could come with us, that was one of the best week’s of my life.
We started talking about getting married early as I mentioned before. Matthew always knew that we were getting married. He even told me probably 4 years ago, the next time September 16th(the day he first told me he loved me) is on a Saturday is in 2017, that’s our day. I laughed at him, saying theres no way! We graduate that year, we wont even have our lives together, there absolutely no way we’re getting married in 2017.
The Lord had other plans. He spoke to my dad in January of 2017, and on March 4th, 2017, on a whirlwind trip to Niagara Falls, he asked me to be his wife. I actually didn’t say yes out loud, I just burst out crying and laughing at the same time and put out my left hand for him to put the ring on it. I think my actions worked as a yes! So many years as friends, then best friends, then our dating years, and now we were in another completely different part of our relationship, Engagement! It was so surreal for so long, I almost felt like it was a dream after so many years of waiting.
And so ends the first part of my love story, the long part! On to part #2..