Home for the Holidays

I know I’ve mentioned several times that Ryan has been working out of town for the past two months, and that has been really tough. But, as of the first week of December, my husband is HOME!! Just in time for the holidays!

To say that I’m excited is an understatement.

Having Ryan home has been exactly what I needed after wrapping up a rather tough, busy season in my life. In the short time he’s been back, we’ve already done so many Christmasy things—pick out and decorate our tree, watch Home Alone, and go to the Holiday Festival of Lights on James Island. I love Christmastime, but it’s so much better now that Ryan is home. We’ve already attended his company’s Christmas party, and mine is coming up soon. So much to do, so little time!

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Sampling the Holiday Punch at Millers All Day, one of our favorite Charleston spots. 

A few days ago, I was reflecting on how grateful I am to have met and married Ryan. If you know him, you know that Ryan is quirky and a little goofy. But, he’s also the man that works 60-70 hours a week, often coming home late and exhausted. Ryan can—and will—cook and grill often for us. He actually enjoys cooking! (I simply can’t eat his “soup”, though; I have to draw the line somewhere. Sorry, Ryan.)  Ryan also doesn’t hesitate to come shopping with me, he understands when I’m diving into a long, serious writing session, and he can always reach the things on the top shelf for me.

All of this made me think about the first Christmas that Ryan and I knew each other. For those of you who don’t know our story, I’ll make it as brief as possible. Maybe I’ll post the whole story sometime later on…

A mutual friend introduced me to Ryan in August 2018. When I first met Ryan, I honestly didn’t even think about him in a romantic sense. In fact, I had a bit of a crush on the mutual friend! But, in the several months that followed after we met at El Sombrero in Statesboro, we spent a lot of time together. I fell in love first, but it took Ryan a little longer to realize his feelings for me. By the end of the semester, we both knew that we had something special together. (It definitely took us a long time to reach that point—including some moments where I was convinced we would never end up together and actually went on a couple dates with someone else, trying to forget about him.) When we returned from Thanksgiving Break, Ryan and I spent every possible minute leading up to Christmas Break before we’d spend a month apart between semesters.

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At the Lighting of Sweetheart Circle with Ryan in December 2012.

Before we left for the holidays, Ryan invited me to come visit his family for a few days after Christmas. He said he wanted me to meet them before he officially asked me to be his “girlfriend”. I had never been invited home from college to meet a boy’s family, and I wasn’t sure what to expect at all!

That Christmas,  the “plague” swept through my family, meaning  half of us were felled by a terrible stomach virus. I managed to avoid it somehow, but I remember crying because I thought I was going to get sick and I wouldn’t be able to go visit Ryan. I missed him so much, and we talked every day. That was the same year that my Uncle Gary bought me my first iPhone, and then Ryan and I began Facetiming every single day.

I visited Ryan a few days after Christmas. I met a lot of his family, including his parents and brother. He showed me his family’s farm, introduced me to his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins… It was a lot to take in, but I instantly fell in love with the entire Woodham/Dunbar/Whyte clan, and that only made me love Ryan more.

The entire time that I was visiting Ryan, I was waiting for him to ask me, “will you be my girlfriend?”, but he never did. When I finally left his house and headed to Savannah to spend New Years with a friend, I texted him and asked him about it. He said that his family  really liked me, and he did want me to be his girlfriend. And that was the “official” start of our relationship.

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Just a couple of babies here, October 2012.  We were celebrating my 21st Birthday this night. Also, look how blonde my hair was here… I want to get back to that blonde!

 

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Yet another throwback to 2012, when Ryan & I were “friends” who hung out ALL the time.

 

At the time, I was frustrated that Ryan didn’t realize his feelings for me sooner, but it all worked out in the end. I think God was trying to teach me patience, a lesson he’s still working on every, single day!

 

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So here we are, almost SIX years later. In six years, we’ve been through A LOT, including graduating college together, doing the long-distance thing for nearly a year, and of course, getting married. Also, sorry this picture is a little blurry. It’s been quite a ride, but I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it.

Bye y’all,

Emma

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