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Relationship takes flight in paper airplane contest

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I suppose I should have seen it coming.

It was on a chartered bus in 2005. I was one of the chaperones escorting about 200 incoming freshmen and high school students back from a Christ In Youth “Move” discipleship retreat in Florida. A few of the students were getting cramped sitting on the seats, so they stretched out on the floor.

I happened to look down at my daughter Chloe, who was lying at my feet, and noticed she and a young man (about two seats back) named Michael Tillman were making what is scientifically called “googly eyes” at each other. Chloe was 13 and the same little girl who had told us she was never going to get married because boys were gross. The same little girl wore her favorite light blue bucket hat for three summers in a row.

They first met during the paper airplane flying contest in Mary Smith’s second-grade Sunday school class. Chloe was 6, and Michael was 7.

In seventh grade, under the watchful eye of Chloe’s dad, who was their youth leader and junior high Sunday school teacher, these two kids helped build bunk beds and put on a vacation Bible school at an Arizona Navajo Indian Reservation during a summer mission trip. Chloe was 12, and Michael was 13.

Chloe said she remembered walking back from the Little Painted Desert to dinner with Michael: “We walked 6 feet apart and didn’t say a single word to each other.”

Not long after that our family went skiing in Colorado with friends Bob Behnke and daughter Emily. Bob happened to be Michael’s Boy Scout leader. And guess whose family also was skiing in Colorado at the same time? — yep.

So you see, a mom should have seen it coming.

They officially started dating when they were high school seniors (different schools). I probably referred to Michael as “Chloe’s friend who happens to be a boy” for a little too long. Michael became a comfortable part of the family at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter; and all of Chloe’s young cousins became enamored with him.

You see, I should have seen it coming — that Michael was the best friend and godly Christian husband that we had prayed for Chloe since she was a toddler.

Janet Hommel Mangas, the third of seven children, grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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