Joe amazes me in so many ways that I don’t know that I can even begin to explain who he is. It wouldn’t do him justice to give the typical platitudes…he’s funny, he’s handsome, he’s my best friend, he’s strong in mind, body and spirit and he’s an amazing father, a loving son and a good friend. All of those things are true. But Joe, or AJ as I call him, is so much more than what you see on the surface. He’s a thinker who examines any question, problem or situation from all sides before he tackles it. He considers all the scenarios and possible outcomes as well as those that will be affected and finds a solution or creates a plan of action that benefits everyone. I was impressed the first time I watched this in action. It was one of the first times he came to my house. We were just newly dating and I was at home on a cold night with my kids. Morgan smelled something strange and became hysterical when we figured out it was something burning. She is very afraid of fires and was convinced the house was burning down. With some sleuthing, I figured out it was a transformer that had shorted out but it was very hot and I was a little scared myself. I called my dad for advice but he lives 30 minutes away and it was 8 o’clock at night. He was trouble-shooting the best he could but I needed help right away! So, I called Joe. He came right over and figured out what the issue was and solved it easily by cutting the wires to the transformer. Then, he turned to me and said, “what’s wrong with Morgan?” She was still crying very loudly in her room, too scared to come down and I hadn’t been able to comfort her since I was dealing with what I thought for sure was a house soon to be burning to the ground. Joe asked, “Mind if I talk to her?” My first reaction was, “Huh?!?” What kind of guy hears a screaming kid, not his own, and wants to go TO her instead of covering his ears and getting out of dodge as quickly as possible? So, Joe went up the stairs. The crying soon stopped and not long after, Joe came down the stairs and not far behind was a smiling, bouncing Morgan. I asked, “WHAT did you say to her?” He simply said, “I figured out why she was scared, then told her what she needed to hear…that there is no fire and I found the problem and fixed it.” So simple, right? But at that moment, I was in awe. He saw the problem, made a plan, executed the plan and saved the day; and made a fast friend too. Morgan isn’t ever far from Joe. And now, I’ve come to trust his intuition. It’s one of the things that I love most about our relationship. I know that I don’t have to worry. He’s got it covered and I feel safe knowing he’s watching out for us.
Another thing about Joe is that he’s a people watcher. I’ve never met someone who can look at a person and have them figured out within minutes. This can be annoying at times, especially when I don’t want him to know what I’m thinking and he figures it out anyway but it is an attribute I’ve come to admire and trust. He doesn’t “people watch” for entertainment, although being at the mall or at The Twisted Lime (our local watering hole) with him and listening to him spin the story of someone’s life just by watching them is pretty hilarious. What he really does by “watching” is figure out what he needs to do to help the person or how to communicate best with them. He is taking the time to understand who they are as a person and then, he tries to meet them where they’re at. He has a compassion for people and an understanding of human behavior that truly amazes me. One of the best stories he tells is about the difference between men and women. If you haven’t heard him explain it, ask him sometime. It’s pretty hilarious and…pretty right on. He says women tuck things away in a metaphorical fridge like you’d save leftovers. Something happens in their lives and instead of getting rid of it, they tuck it away for safe keeping…they put it in the fridge. Then, when something happens later…say an argument with their spouse, they open up the fridge and pull out the leftovers. Unfortunately, food rots in the fridge and sometimes, when it’s pulled out of the fridge, it unfortunately Stinks!
I love his metaphors. In fact, it was a metaphor he told that really got me interested in figuring out who he really was. The first night we went out…it wasn’t a date, wink wink, he asked me if I was happy with where I was in life. I walked right into it and asked, “What do you mean, Joe?” He said, “well, you see, I’m a complete cupcake.” My response was something like, “ummmm…what?” And in my mind, I was thinking, “Dangit! A great guy, funny and intelligent and he’s gay. Just my luck!” He went on to explain that all the things that have happened in his life, good and bad, have made him who he is. Those experiences were the ingredients he needed to come to the place where he was happy with his life and who he was as a person. Then he said, “I’m a complete cupcake, frosting and everything. Now all I need is my sprinkles.” We now celebrate the 15th of the month as “cupcake day” in honor of his story. It’s also why we took a picture outside a cupcake shop during our photo shoot.
I’m glad Joe is a cupcake. I wasn’t when I met him. But he has challenged me, supported me, loved me and put up with my fridge to the point that now I love who I am. He accepts me and makes me truly happy. I don’t know why I get to be so lucky. Every girl should have the chance to know love like this. It really gives me the picture of the way God loves his children. Joe loves me without conditions and I have no question that he would do anything for me, my children and his children. I’m so glad I found him. I’m a lucky girl and I am better for knowing him.