It’s a rare gift when a 5-year-old lets his parents sleep in on a Saturday morning. It was about 9 a.m. when Jessica Cofsky opened her eyes, savoring a quiet house as the significance of the day washed over her. By the next morning, she would be Jessica Lynch.
The wedding was small, but elegant. A friend offered to host the ceremony in their backyard, which overlooks Eagle Mountain Lake outside Fort Worth, where she lives. Ribbons and foliage adorned white chairs to create a classic, rustic look. Jessica’s stepfather helped her build an arch covered in green vines and white flowers that frames the happy couple in every picture.
The couple has been together for seven years, and they share a son, Brody. Their second child is on the way. Still, Jessica wanted to make absolutely sure they were right for each other before tying the knot.
“I was always afraid of getting married,” Jessica says. “I’ve seen so many people get divorced and my parents were divorced, and I’ve just always told myself that I would never, ever go through a divorce.”
Once he was old enough to notice, Brody started asking why his mom had a different last name than he and his father.
“We were just like, ‘Okay, we have a family, we should really make this official,’” Jessica says. “We’re going to be together. We love each other.”
On March 2, she donned a white lacy dress and walked down the aisle, accompanied by her brother.
A little more than a week after the wedding, she celebrated her 30th birthday.
As far as the proverbial checklist is concerned, Jessica has a lot crossed off. In addition to being a wife and mother, she recently became a college graduate. And she’s putting her degree to work as an accountant for a family-run company that installs home entertainment systems.
“I definitely feel like there are a lot of major life milestones I’ve accomplished,” she says. “I feel good about where life is headed for sure.”
It’s a life she couldn’t have imagined for herself just five years ago, when she was unemployed and pregnant with her son. Her partner, now her husband, was struggling with a long-held opioid addiction. He didn’t have a steady job, and what he did earn “wasn’t being spent well, to say the least,” Jessica says.
She fell into a depression that persisted throughout her pregnancy.
“I felt like I wasn’t ready to be a mom,” she says. “I felt like, ‘Oh man, I hope that we’re doing the right thing. I hope that this all works out.’”
Her doubts vanished when Brody was born.
“I realized I do have everything it takes to be a good mom.”
Jessica’s husband, Jaron Lynch, says watching her become a mother was “amazing.”
“She knew right away that it was her responsibility to raise that little boy, and every single day she strives to be a better parent,” says Jaron, 36. “She loves that kid more than life itself.”
Jaron hoped having a child would solve all of his problems and force him to grow up. And eventually, he says, it did.
He was 16 when a wakeboarding accident left him with a compound fracture in his leg — where the broken bone pierced through the skin. He was first prescribed opioids to help manage the pain. Afterward, he underwent two knee surgeries and continued using the drugs for pain management. Soon, he was addicted.
“I tried to get sober when Brody was first born,” Jaron says. “I was successful for four or five months, then I gradually got back into it for two or three months. Then I tried to get sober again, and I was sober for about eight months.”
It went on like that for years until finally, nearly three years ago, he entered a 30-day rehab facility. When he left, he made the difficult decision to move into a sober home.
“During that year that I was in the sober home, I went over to Jessica’s apartment every night to put Brody to bed,” he says. “I was there every weekend, and I did that for one year straight. So, for him, it was like I was there.”
He says it was the toughest thing he’s ever done. Through it all, Jessica stuck by his side.
“She always wanted better for me and could see the good side of me,” he says.
After her wedding makeup was applied and her hair was affixed in two loose braids that joined together to resemble a crown, Jessica’s mother handed her a letter.
“My dearest Jessica,” it read, “I have watched you grow into a beautiful, caring, courageous and sensitive woman. … You took care to become the kind person that you are. I watch you carefully and take note of the words you choose to use and how you choose to treat others. … You have inspired me to become a better person, to be more tolerant, to stop and think before I fly off the handle.”
“I’m always open to hear other people’s points of view,” Jessica says.
When it comes to politics, she says she voted for President Trump in 2016 and plans to vote for him again in 2020. Though she disagrees with his stance on some social issues such as abortion, she — like many Texans — is concerned about illegal immigration.
She says she’s not worried about her safety but believes it’s an issue of fairness.
“Everyone should have to play by the same rules,” Jessica says. “If you’re going to go to the schools and go to the hospitals, then you too should be documented and paying taxes under your own identity.”
She says people often assume that she is a “bigot” when she says she voted for Trump and that she wishes people were more open-minded. “I don’t agree with everything he does or says, but I agree with protecting our country,” she says. “I would love for everyone to be able to hear the other side and perhaps gain some understanding on both sides.”
Jessica says she feels hopeful as she looks toward the next decade of her life. Soon, she’ll welcome a new baby and looks forward to watching both of her children grow.
Jaron’s successful new roofing company will allow her to stay home with the baby, at least part time, which wasn’t financially possible for them when Brody was born.
Eventually, she might start her own business and create something for herself. She isn’t sure what the future holds, but she says she plans to stay true to herself.
Her mother’s letter sums up where life at 30 has brought Jessica: