Five years and a handful of months ago, Jake and I sat on the blacktop at Parowan Elementary just outside of Mrs. Wilkey’s classroom door.
We looked at the stars.
It was cold, but I wore Jake’s jacket so we could stay out longer.
We talked and smiled for hours.
I still remember what it felt like to be with him like that.
I thought I loved him then.
We picked our wedding date under the stars, sharing Jake's jacket on that quiet Parowan night.
Jake walked me home and for one night, it was just our secret.
And it was sweet.
A stunning ring and beautiful wedding plans followed, and all of it was bliss.
I love remembering it.
Remembering us back then.
Jake is special.
For lots of reasons.
I’m reminded of at least one every Christmas season.
I got out our Christmas stockings a few weeks ago; handmade ones knitted by my Great-Grandma.
Each of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have one.
Jake is the only one to receive one without being an official part of the family.
I think GG knew he would need one.
My mom did GG’s hair every Friday for a long time. I loved coming home to see her in the hair chair.
She always had a hug and a kiss for me.
She’d ask, “Who loves you?”
The response we had all practiced always followed-
And we knew she really did.
Every time I came in she told me the same story.
She saw Jake at a ball game. He was so handsome and so kind and all she could think was,
“He needs to be with Maddie!”
The story made me laugh.
She never tired of telling it.
I never tired of hearing it.
Jake and I grew close.
He became so special to me.
Somehow GG knew.
One Friday morning after reminding me of my Jake, she told me she wanted to make a Christmas stocking for him.
We were all a little shocked.
GG reserved those only for her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and their spouses.
But GG felt like Jake needed one.
So she broke the rules for him.
She got to work.
She showed me her progress often.
I watched her knit a stocking just like mine with his name on it.
She even let me add the sequins on the Christmas tree behind Santa Claus.
We sent it to Jake while he was serving as a missionary in Montana.
I think she knew something even I didn’t know yet.
Jake needed to be part of our family.
Time went on.
Jake did join the family.
And he even had a stocking to match.
I hung that stocking a few weeks ago next to mine.
I couldn’t help but smile.
I thought of GG and what she knew about Jake.
He was special even then.
And now five years have gone by.
And I watch Jake in awe.
"He needs to be with Maddie".
I'm so happy GG was right.
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My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!