The Boy who Loves Trains

We met in the summer of 1996. I was recently divorced and he was friends with my best friend’s husband. We met at their home in South Arkansas when I was visiting and my friend, always up to be a matchmaker, “set us up.” Although I lived over an hour away, we went on our first date on my birthday on July 27 and married on October 12, 1996.

We were young and relatively carefree. He worked his way up from working at a pipeyard in a supply business to becoming a wizard in IT while I had various office jobs, taught and subbed, and tried to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. We traveled a lot on the weekends, taking road trips and a few longer vacations. Two daughters came along and by 2003 we were a family of four.

We moved around quite a bit in the early years but had settled in Conway by the late 1990s and in Wooster in the fall of 2006. Life wasn’t always easy but it was good. We made time for our family and to do the things we all enjoyed. As the girls got older, school events became a focal point of our time during the school year. During breaks and summer, vacations became more frequent, whether it was a trip to Branson or another touristy area, or road trips to the beach or the mountains. Holidays, tradition, and time with both sides of our family were always important.

Raising children is challenging and home and work stressors can be difficult but we led a pretty charmed life until his mom had a heart attack in 2008. Although we had each lost grandparents, we had been fortunate to have both sets of our parents in reasonably good health, and that was one of the first times that I remember realizing how good we had it and how fragile life really was. Then in 2012, our world was shattered when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I doubt I will ever know how hard it was for him to deal with the emotional and physical strain of me being sick, but he was a rock. Never complaining, he was always there for me and the girls, while continuing to work and support the family.

That was about the time he discovered a love of all things railroad. Model trains, real trains, you name it. It was a welcome distraction for him to be able to go to Union Station and watch trains and forget just for awhile how difficult things were and how precarious our lives had become. What was an interest blossomed into a full fledged hobby and our garage has become his defacto miniature railyard.

Thanks to God and modern medicine, I am clear of disease now and life goes on. We have had our oldest daughter graduate high school, move out, and then back in and who is about to enter her sophomore year of college. Our youngest is now driving and about to enter her junior year of high school. Our parents are getting older and his mother, who has had to deal with various lifelong health ailments, is now battling cancer. I don’t know how to help, so I listen and I pray and I hope he knows I am here for him.

Through all that life has thrown our way, he has always been a great husband, a wonderful father, and a devoted son. I will be the first to tell you that I am not the easiest person to live with at times, although I like to think I’m getting slightly less sharp around the edges as I get older! And for his patience, for his love, and for his unwavering support, I just wanted to say thank you and I love you. Happy Birthday Trever. You’re the best.

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