Carly Carver, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
I said “yes.”
Last weekend, on October 17, my boyfriend, Jesse Stout, proposed to me.
The two of us, and my two children, and his two children, are already living together. We had just finished a family dinner when he said he had a surprise for each of us. I originally presumed this meant he had picked up dessert from the store, as I love to bake and typically make dessert for my family each night, so on days he wants to give me a break we do an “easy” dessert. He told me to go sit on the couch and relax while one of the children finished up eating.
After she finished, we were all sitting on the couch, when he brought out bags. Inside each bag was a small gift for each child. It still had not clicked for me at this point, as Jesse often brings home little gifts for the kids. He is always thinking of the children and me.
Then, he pulled out a little black box, and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I, of course, said yes. I do not know that it is possible to be happier than I am right now, but I have also been saying that every day since I have met this man.
When I met Jesse, I was a divorced single mother of two young children. I had been through a lot. My children had been through a lot. We were still going through a lot. By every definition in my head I was a broken person. But Jesse never saw me that way. He never saw my children as “baggage.” He just saw us as his other half.
It takes a special man to love a woman who has been hurt in her life, but it takes an even bigger man to love and raise children that are not biologically his.
Jesse and I met in April of 2018 at an Ashland Alliance: Young Professional’s Association luncheon. He asked me what I did for a living. I told him I sold organs on the black market. That was meant to deter interest, but instead apparently sparked interest.
I have always had a hand in nonprofit advocacy, specifically with my own nonprofit organization, the Ashland Foundation for Children with Disabilities. Jesse was genuinely interested in how he could help my organization and my passion for it. He asked if we could sit down and he could learn more about it. I agreed, we had coffee, and at the end he asked if we could meet again… on a date. Jesse asked me on a date three times before we finally had our first date in Downtown Ashland during First Friday in June of 2018.
We continued to have fun together and see one another for concerts and performances, and baseball games. Jesse asked me to “officially” become his girlfriend on July 28, 2018 at a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. He also told me he loved me for the first time at a Cincinnati Reds baseball game the following year on June 30, 2019. I do not know anything about baseball, but I can tell you I love the Cincinnati Reds and will never turn down a trip to a baseball game now. That ballpark has been a big part of our love story.
Another big part of our love story has been music. We have attended dozens of concerts and performances throughout the past two years together and attended every show possible at the Paramount Arts Center. Jesse loves music. And I love Jesse.
I never put much thought into music lyrics before Jesse. But he does. He breaks down every song, every verse, and truly listens to the music and pays attention to the lyrics. He always tells me that the popular poetry books I buy is not the only form of poetry, but that music itself is another form of poetry.
I have made so many amazing memories with Jesse at concerts. One of my favorite memories was at a Shooter Jennings performance in Huntington. Jesse sang “Belle of the Ball” to me. And then he looked at me and asked, “Do you think I’m a good influence on your children?”. I knew then that I wanted to marry him. He loved me. He loved my children. We loved him.
Jesse said that before he proposed, he asked the permission of my children, and his children. They all said yes. His sweet children have been so loving and so welcoming of me. I love them so much.
I am so grateful the children said “yes.”