I met Ty the summer after graduating high school thanks to my brother, Kevin Our first meeting was pretty unremarkable what with Ty being five years my senior and me being introduced as “oh yeah, I forgot. This is my little sister Rachel.” Let’s just say no sparks of interest let alone romance flew between us that first summer. I went off to Brigham Young University for my Freshman year of college while Ty stayed in Weiser, ID, working with his cows and haying business.
With one year of college under my belt and a good deal more humility/common sense in my head, I headed back to Eastern Oregon to spend my summer vacation living at home and working as a receptionist for my dentist. Ty and I met up again at church and my interest in him was officially piqued. He was so different from the guys at BYU. For one thing, he never said more than two words at a time. For another, he was tall, broad shouldered, and actually looked stronger than me. Caveat: not all boys who go to BYU are wimpy, I just happened to meet a large number of skinny, short, incredibly weird, though I’m sure wonderful guys during my Freshman year. Ty was–and is–the polar opposite of the BYU norm.
And he had zero interest in me. My pride and competitive nature turned my interest into a determined desire to go out with him. I tried everything I could think of to get him to ask me out. I sat with him, and my brother and all of my brother’s friends, during church, made a point to say “hi,” laughed at any of his jokes–not that he told many of them, remember how he didn’t talk much–and made sure I always looked my best with curled hair, a twenty-minute make-up routine, and a big, cheesy smile. When I ask Ty what he remembers about this part of our relationship he says he remembers me being “nice.” Nice. Not cute, not pretty, not interesting, and certainly not dateable. Just nice. So much for my womanly wiles winning him over. After consulting with my grandma as to what I could possibly do to get him to take me on one measly date, I gritted my teeth and bashfully asked my brother to help me out with my new crush/obsession. I don’t know that my motives at this point (two months into the summer) were out of attraction or annoyance that Ty wouldn’t take me out just once. I mean come on, I deserved one date, darn it!
Kevin, bless his persistent, completely annoying and frustrating tenacious nature, pestered Ty for a month about asking me out. He even arranged for me to ride with Ty to a church activity. Just the two of us in Ty’s pick-up for 45 minutes. I’m pretty sure I talked for 43 of those minutes. At the activity, Kevin, Ty, a few other friends were going 4-wheeling and I was not about to be left behind. I hopped on with Ty and our friend Ken and off we went. Honestly, not the funnest 4-wheeling ride I’ve ever had and by the time it was over I was covered in dirt. It was in my nose, in my ears, down my shirt, on my shoes, and coating my lips. At this point, I gave up on winning Ty over and decided to enjoy the company of other people at church and forget about my “one date” with him. He called the following week and asked me to help him put salt out for the cows. I should have taken that as an indication that our relationship would always involve livestock.
Obviously, I said “yes.” And I said “yes” to going out with him almost every remaining night of summer vacation. As summer ended, I knew that I liked this guy. Reeeeeeeally liked him. But I was in denial that I had found the man I wanted to marry in just a few short weeks. I headed back to Provo for Sophomore year and spent my first week at BYU totally miserable to be away from my cowboy. It only took two months to transform me from a committed college-student with plans for internships in Washington D.C., volunteer work in Peruvian and Romanian orphanages, and graduate school, into a twitterpated, sappy girl. Ty visited me a week after I got back to Provo and we spent the weekend shopping for engagement rings. He officially proposed, in the cab of a tractor, about a month later and we were married on April 27, 2013.
Henley was born the following year on November 28. She is the most amazing baby and we love her to the moon and back.
Adjusting to parenthood has been challenging. We just about had things figured out when we found out she has aortic stenosis–narrowing of the aortic valve–and were life-flighted to Portland, OR, so that Henley could have a procedure performed on the aortic valve of her heart. Talk about a scary experience. The procedure went well and now we wait to see how her heart does.
We hope and pray every day that her heart will heal and that she won’t need another catheter procedure or open-heart surgery. For now, we treat just like a normal baby. She is wonderful and I love being her mama.
We are excited for what’s in store over the next few years as we build our family and business. Though this is definitely not the life I imagined living, I am loving every moment of it. I feel so blessed.