Every love story has a beginning, it’s always unique but generally unexpected. For Mercedes and Jonathan, their beginning took place on a basketball court. They weren’t the ones playing though.
Instead, they were just sitting in the bleachers watching their sons play. Malachi and Jayden were close enough in age that they both got to play on the team that Mercedes’ dad was coaching. After several practices and games, Jonathan started to noticed that the pretty girl with the beautiful smile and curly hair was always coming to the court alone. Unbeknownst to him, Mercedes was noticing the same thing about him too. Why was this guy, who was obviously a great father, always there alone?
Over the next several months they learned more and more about each other in addition to their status as single parents. Finally (6 months later!), it was time for their first date: the local bowling alley with one of Mercedes’ friends and her boyfriend. It was there that Jonathan got Mercedes to try her first “Washington Apple” drink. She must have enjoyed it since there were many, many dates to come!
Eventually, it was time to get serious. After a year of dating, Mercedes knew that Jonathan was put on this earth to be her husband. Even when she wasn’t around him, her feelings made it clear that this was real love. Thankfully, Jonathan was thinking the same things. They had developed a strong foundation by taking things slowly. Jonathan recalls that 6 month friendship period as their “no judgment zone”. They talked openly and honestly, and discussed many things that he’d never talked about with anyone. Mercedes was obviously sent just for him.
So, on May 9th, 2015 (Mother’s Day), it was time for Jonathan to make it clear that he didn’t want to be with anyone else. Since they were moving to Tennessee soon, he gathered several of their friends together at their favorite restaurant, Harry’s, under the rouse of a “goodbye dinner”. After dinner though, what should have been a somewhat sad occasion became a wonderful celebration as the waitress brought out a box of cupcakes that Jonathan had made for Mercedes. Written on the cupcakes? “Will you marry me?”
After a 16 month engagement, it was finally time for their wedding day. Out of the whirlwind of activity that took place at the Carnegie Hotel that day, they both remember their private moment of prayer as one of their favorite things. It took place before the ceremony, with Jonathan blindfolded so that he couldn’t see Mercedes in her wedding gown. She says that his reaction just to her touch that afternoon was like a reassuring sign from God that he was meant to be her husband. For Jonathan, he was glad to get the blindfold off! When he saw her walk down the aisle, he says it was like the world had stopped. There was no noise at all and all he could see was his glowing bride walking towards him.
From there, the rest is history. It’s one year down the road and Jonathan and Mercedes are loving the fact that they’re married to their soulmate. Even on the bad days, they make each other laugh by telling stories about the past or even having a normal conversation. (Apparently, Mercedes has picked up a little bit of that Tennessee draw since moving up here. Jonathan thinks it’s cute though.) Over the next 10 years, they’re looking forward to spending more time together, watching their children grow up, and buying another house. (They’re also adding a little sister to the mix in a few weeks!) But most of all, they want to simply enjoy being together, to appreciate each other for what they bring to the marriage. Jonathan loves Mercedes’ work ethic and devotion to their family. Mercedes appreciates Jonathan’s positive personality and his big heart. Together, they bring light to any room they walk in. They’re down-to-earth, caring, compassionate, and optimistic people. I’ve never met a couple so driven to create an amazing life for their family. Put simply, they’re some of the best.
In fact, in all the years I’ve known them, they’ve only disagreed on one thing that I’ve witnessed and that was when I asked “Would your spouse be a good fighting partner in a zombie apocalypse?” Mercedes wasn’t so confident here. She’s pretty sure that Jonathan would just try to talk to the zombies and reason with them instead of fighting them off… Jonathan however has no doubt’s about Mercedes’ zombie killing abilities! When answering that question, he said “Heck yeah!!! She doesn’t play any games! I will fight with her until the wheels fall off!!” And that’s the best possible way to end this part of their love story because that phrase, “until the wheels fall off”, is something I’ve heard them say since I met them. It’s even engraved on Jonathan’s wedding band. So cheers to you, Jonathan and Mercedes, may your love story grow, chapter by chapter, until the wheels fall off!