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Story of Us | Part 1: Roller Coasters and a Facebook Message

Life with The Carneys

May 7, 2019

welcome to the story of us

I was getting seconds. Maybe a drink. I vaguely remember the reason for being in my parents’ kitchen. My girlfriends were right through the kitchen archway, snuggled up on the couch in the living room, enjoying lunch. My back was turned to the patio door. I heard the dogs bark and then it creak open. I remember my introvertness kick into high gear as I looked over my shoulder to see my older sister’s friend, Jon, step into the kitchen. I assumed he was on the hunt for something to drink or seconds as well. I’m so bad at small talk but I remember chatting with him for a couple of minutes on our plans for the weekend. The patio opens again and in comes my mom. She looks at me and before I know it turns to Jon and out pops “So, have you hit on her yet?” I wanted the floor to open and swallow me whole. I mean, WHERE THE HECK HAD THAT COME FROM?! I’d just met this guy today and my mom thinks he’s here to hit on me?!?! CUE TEENAGE MELODRAMA MUSIC HERE. Jon, to his credit, made some joke to my mom before casually heading back outside to where my sister and her boyfriend were hanging out. At least it was casual to my eye, I’d have run away screaming if I’d been in his place!!

You see, this was just a quick pit stop on my birthday weekend trip. On my actual day of birth, to be exact. My little brother’s high school open house stood between me and what every 22 wants on their birthday…a trip to Six Flags to ride some roller coasters. Okay, maybe that’s just me as a 22 year old, but whatever! I was looking forward to a fun weekend to celebrate my birthday. To enjoy the summer before the start of my last year at Purdue with my favorite people. Before I had to *GULP* be an adult figuring out life in the “real world.” I’d promised myself I was going to focus on enjoying every moment before my senior year was up. To focus on having fun instead of worrying about jobs, boys, graduation…all that adult stuff!!

Not long after that embarrassing moment in the kitchen, my girlfriends and I hopped into the car and sped off to Six Flags. I worked to shake off that crazy experience, not without some teasing from my girlfriends, of course. Soon we were at Six Flags, scaring ourselves on roller coasters, soaking up the sun, and gorging on delicious amusement park food. It was the perfect way to spend my birthday.

Fast forward to Sunday night and we’re back down at Purdue. I crack open the good old Facebook to see I have a new message. It was from Jon, hoping that I’d had a good weekend and that my mom had DEFINITELY embarrassed him with that crazy question. I confirmed that my mom definitely is crazy and that was pretty much the extent of that conversation. We did end up swapping phone numbers, but I was determined that it was going to stay just as friends. We chatted occasionally over the summer and I did see him again during another trip home to see my sister. She drug me out to the bars with their group of friends. There was booze, drunken singing, and a failed late night trip to the Main Street Cafe for some pancakes. Or was it sausage and gravy?? Anyway, I digress…I knew I was starting to have feelings for Jon, but I was determined to stay single for my senior year of college. After all, who knew what life held for me after graduation and I didn’t want to worry about having a boyfriend in that mix of things. So denial, denial, DENIAL was my best friend!

The end of summer rolls around and my sister, Kristen, and her husband, Chad, announce they’re moving to Texas. The move was going to happen quickly and I was crushed I was probably not going to be able to see her before they went. And being a poor college student, I knew a trip to Texas was far down the line in my travel plans. My sister mentioned a wedding they had in Wisconsin one of the last weekends before they left. I spent hours racking my brain on how I could make it up there around school and work to see her.

I’m worrying away about this, as I’m prone to do, when I get a text message from Jon. He’d heard through the grapevine that I was trying to get to Wisconsin to see my sister and offered to have me as his plus one. He even said he’d give me a ride up there, so I didn’t have to make the trek on my own. He was playing in the quartet for the wedding, so 5pm rehearsal time had us in a time crunch. So making the very adult decision to skip one of my classes, we decided I’d meet him at my parents’ to drop off my car before heading north. All went according to plan until…Chicago traffic. What should have been a 3 hour ride turned into a 5 1/2 hour trip. A car ride full of battling through rush hour traffic. Construction. Phone calls explaining there was no way Jon was making it to the rehearsal. Needing to stop for food. Road closures. Restroom breaks. The full gamut of all things that cause car rides to seem endless. We were kiss-the-ground happy when we finally arrived and we had the most amazing weekend celebrating Robin and Rob! More on that to come!!

I never would have believed that one simple car ride could change so much. The crazy traffic. Friendly banter over who gets to choose the music in the car. The awkward “where do you want to eat” game all couples play. Learning so much about each other. While Kristen and Chad love to take credit for us getting to together (and let’s be real, they were working hard at it!), but this trip with Jon clinched it for me. Life is fun and unpredictable. It’s never going to go as you plan it. You just have to sit back, open your heart, and enjoy the ride.

As I said before, a total shoutout to Kristen and Chad. They were definitely working hard at playing matchmaker, who knew they would be so right?! More on that coming in Part 2! For fun, here are a couple of photos of my mom and brother at his open house and all of us at Robin and Rob’s wedding!!

Much love friends,

  1. Julie Embrey says:

    Very interesting! I love your photography of the family and our family weddings.

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