It was the beginning of January. Ben and I were so excited to finally escape together for a weekend.
This weekend away was a celebration of our birthdays, Christmas, and Anniversary. We've always preferred experiences over gifts. Just how our love languages work.
The night before we were leaving, it happened. Puke. Everywhere. Our poor littlest had the stomach flu. Which then made it's way through the entire Eby family in vicious fashion.
Needless to say, we were bummed.
Thankfully, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort was kind enough to reschedule our non-refundable visit. This bumped the trip to the end of January, which fell exactly on our anniversary weekend.
The night before we left, Ben set out a little leather box on my nightstand. I stared at it. Not really sure what to do.
He told me to open it. So, I did.
Inside was the most perfect, elegant, necklace. Two circles entwined, forming one. He says the gold circle is him and the circle of diamonds is me.
This is the part where it gets awkward because, I'm pretty much the worst ever at receiving gifts. I fumble something like, "but, I didn't get you anything.". He laughs at me, knowing I'm a little stunted. Then says, "I never get to buy you anything special, I want you to have it."
I could cry. It is so perfect, in every single way. I've worn it every day since. A beautiful reminder of his constant love.
You see, Ben is the kind of guy who sneaks up on you. He begins as an amazing friend, but then something changes. The first time I saw a real glimpse of the man I married was in November of 2003.
"It always snows on my birthday." He says with a confident grin. We are college friends and colleagues at our after-study-hours office job. Just friends.
He invites me to his Ontario home over his birthday weekend. His friend, Jeff, is going as well. I eagerly accept. A road trip is excuse enough for me.
On the winding country roads he drives. We turn up Green Day's, "Time of Your Life". Our friend, Jeff, rides shotgun while Ben and I dive into life stories. No doubt our friend, Jeff, tires of our droning.
We enter a quaint farmhouse to a spread of food. I am pretty sure it glistens in the candlelight. We are soon college students weak with hunger.
Mom Eby enters the front door with Danny, Ben's little brother, shortly after us. They are returning from a book reading by author Robert Munsch. She vividly reenacts the reading while singing, "I love you forever". Ben is embarrassed. I am enchanted.
After movies, snacks, and a night full of laughter, we notice something. Soft snowflakes fall from the sky. We race outside, letting the flakes dance on our lashes. We scrape the ground forming tiny snowballs. We begin flinging them at each other in playful banter. Together, we scrape enough snow to make a tiny snowman.
Ben seems...different. Not just my office neighbor friend. He seems dreamier. Maybe it is the magic of a first snowfall. Maybe it is his cozy home. He is relaxed. I like relaxed Ben. I like him a lot. Could I ever..no, surely not.
Over a decade passes. I learn what I did not know that day.
I learn that he improves. Improves upon further knowledge. He is loyal, empathetic, considerate, loving, and funny. Not perfect (I mean, the guy puts ketch up on everything), but more perfect for me than I could have ever dreamed.
Here is a little glimpse into our time on Amelia Island. You guys, this resort is amazing! I love all of the coastal decor and even a whitewash headboard.
It was cold. Like, wool coat and scarf in Florida cold. But, that meant we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Which was pretty amazing.
The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort gifted us champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Which, by the way, were crusted in some kind of crunchy deliciousness. Yeaaaah, totally carbed out all over that treat.
If you ever need a little romantic getaway, this is the place. The perfect kind of calm and coastal I love filling our lives with.