In 1995, when Shawn was 16-years old, he met the love of his life. After the state of Missouri deemed him a licensed driver, he found her for sale at an old shop somewhere.

“You are so beautiful.”

His words were tender as they tip-toed off his lips ever so carefully. In the 20 years I have known him, Shawn never expressed such raw emotion. Appreciation filled his eyes, as his hand slowly moved over a silky surface.

I tapped him on the shoulder.

“Uh — sorry to interrupt,” I said.

He jumped ten feet in the air like he’d been caught in a tawdry affair. Truth is though, I have known about her for a while. He sneaks out of the house late at night to see her, and buys her pretty things.

Sometimes when I am talking about all the important stuff I talk about – I can tell he is thinking about her instead. She is pretty and curvy in all the right places, but even worse, I truly think he loves her. I mean, they have quite a history together.

In 1995, when Shawn was 16-years old, he met the love of his life. After the state of Missouri deemed him a licensed driver, he found her for sale at an old shop somewhere.

A 1959 Ford Fairlane. He calls her the ‘59.

She was a rusted version of her turquoise and white glory days, but Shawn saw something in that old car and knew she was worth restoring.

Of course, the problem is that when you’re young and working for minimum wage, buying hard-to-find car parts isn’t exactly affordable. So, Shawn’s first love was just parked in the grass. Through storms, winters, and under the hot sun, she waited on her destiny for 26 years.

And little did that old ‘59 know that Shawn never forgot her.

Every time we drove by, his gaze wandered to her overgrown place in the grass. The upholstery ripped from weather and off-track windows sagged in the door, her body was becoming more rust than color — but he still saw her beauty.

He never stopped seeing what she could be. In fact, he loved her so much that he built her a house — a garage in our side yard just for the ‘59 (and his ‘69 Mustang, a whole other love story).

And on the day the ‘59 came home from the farm, Shawn watched her arrive on his stepdad’s trailer like she was a soldier returning from battle. Standing beside him were our two boys, and by the twinkle in their eyes, I saw they were just as enchanted by the classic beaten-up beauty.

Work began almost immediately. Shawn and Connor, and occasionally Logan whose interest waned a little when he realized how much work would be involved, spend evenings sanding and painting, and Connor learned to weld.

They come inside for the night exhausted and usually paint covered, and once in Connor’s brand new school shirt which they both heard about all through supper.

But now as they stand back and look at the ‘59, they see the reward of blood, sweat, and tears shining in the chrome and smooth turquoise and white body. And if she is finished in time, the ‘59 might just chaperone Connor or Logan to the prom (only seven short years away).

Yep, the old ‘59 still needs a lot of work, which is done as the money allows. There are a couple of flat tires and a few cracked windows. Plus, she still needs seats, and basically all the stuff under the hood that makes her go.

(As you can see, I haven’t taken this as an opportunity to learn anything about cars myself).

Shawn has taught the boys so much, though. They talk car-talk at the dinner table. They go to car shows together, and point out their favorites and discuss what’s under the hood. And even though I don’t understand most of it, I love the language of father and son.

This old love of Shawn’s has now become a shared passion, and it is teaching them not only valuable skills and a strong work ethic, but that you can build something with your very own hands. Building cars, building dreams, and building memories that will last forever.

So, it’s true. My husband is in love with someone else. But that’s OK — because I love her too.