Every year at Christmas, Jake and I travel back East to spend time with our families. This past year was our SIXTH Christmas spent together!! (I am still trying to wrap my mind around that.) For us, holidays are kind of complicated. My family lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and my husbands family is up in Western New York. Thankfully, I grew up celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve with my family, which means we are able to make it work to see both of our families on the day that is most important to each side. Unfortunately, it means that we have to wake up super early on Christmas day and travel 5 hours, but at least we can make it work! Traveling to New York not only means getting to see Jake's family but it also means getting to spend time with our grandparents. And when I say "our", I actually do mean our. My dads parents are as much Jake's grandparents, as they are mine. So much so, he calls them grandma and grandpa. And not because he married into the family. ;)
So here's the story and the answer to the million dollar question that we get all the time--How the heck did you find a New York husband? Did y'all meet in college? Nope. We've actually known each other since we were two years old! Yep, two. And it's all because of the two people below.
The year I was born, my dads parents (pictured above) moved from Pennsylvania to New York to start a Mennonite Church. (No, I am not mennonite). Ever since I was two years old, I would spend a week of my summer in New York with my grandparents. When my, **now husband**, was just a few years old as well, my aunt/grandma babysat him and his brother every single day while his mom worked. My grandma pretty much adopted them as her own grandkids. She hung their photos on the grandchildren wall, gave them the same presents as the rest of us and to be honest, probably--no definitely, spoiled them more than any of her real grandkids. ;) But it's fine, because most of her grandkids lived 5 hours away.
So each year, when summer rolled around, my parents found a way to get me delivered to New York to spend a week with my grandparents. And every year, I always knew that I could count on Jake and his brother to be there. We spent our days playing house, of course I was always the mom and Jake was the dad. I was bossy and demanding (see photos below) and Jake even claims that he remembers kissing me on the cheek once. It was kind of meant to be. We have countless memories together, most of which we unfortunately do not remember. When we were 11 (ish), Jake stopped going to my grandmas every day and well, I stopped going up to New York consistently every summer. We grew apart and to be honest, if you asked me even what his last name was, I couldn't have told ya. (I know, I know, a name like Dueppengiesser, how could you forget it).
Fast forward about 8 years, we were 19, I came across a photo of Jake and his family on my Grandma's Christmas card wall. Not thinking anything of it, I curiously asked my cousin if he had a Facebook, purely for the sake of just being Facebook friends with him. After bit of searching, I found him and wrote on his Facebook wall (because back then, writing on walls was the thing to do). Funny thing is, he didn't even remember me. Fortunately, after exchanging a few sentences, it all came back to him! We continued to chat on facebook for awhile and eventually he asked for my number and well, the rest is history!!
We dated through college, got married in 2016, and moved to 3 different states in less than 2 years! My life is turning out crazy different than I ever pictured it would be, but it's also more amazing than I ever imagined. I am so thankful that God chose Jake to be my husband!
The photo below was taken the first weekend we spent together after 8 years of not seeing or really even knowing each other! We decided to surprise my grandma and show up at her house together and the first words out of her mouth were, "I just had a feeling you two might end up together someday."
To say that she is thrilled that we found each other, is an understatement. :)
The next series of photos were taken out of my grandma's photo albums, hence the bad quality and beautiful shapes! ;) But I will forever treasure these photos and the way God so perfectly brought us together.
I am so incredibly thankful for our story and for the way that God has his hand in so many little details to make it that we would end up together forever! 6 years down and a lifetime to go!