Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'll admit, hearing Christmas music on the radio the other day completely caught me off guard.  I had to stop and remember what day was for a minute, and then it dawned on's November.  Where the hell did the year go??  Realizing that the world is officially in "holiday mode" reminded me of two things...I really need to get a head start on my Christmas shopping this year, and secondly...this is my favorite time of the year.

Why is it my favorite time of the year?  Well, for obvious reasons...time with family, being thankful, warm fires, and all things Christmas...but there is also another reason I love this time of year.  It's when I fell in love. 

Growing up I always assumed I would fall in love one day, imagined what it would be like and who it would be with.  I actually thought I would fall in love many times...knew I would have my heart broken too, but I looked forward to experiencing those feelings that I have read about, seen in movies, and heard stories of all my life. 

But having gone through all of my college years with only minor flings and certainly no boys to write home about (why are boys such idiots around this age??), I started to get a little worried.  In the years after college, I dated everyone.  Everyone.  I kept my hopes up that my person was out there still and eventually the timing would be right for us.  Most of the men I dated were nice guys, some of them even great guys who I had strong feelings for.  But I knew even during my best days with them that it was not love.  That didn't stop me from being devastated when things ended with some of them...and it certainly didn't stop me from being annoyed to jump back into the dating pool either. 

By my mid-20s, I started to wonder...What if I NEVER fall in love?  Or more specifically...How will I KNOW I'm in love?  Has anyone else wondered that? 

By the fall of 2010, something happened.  This boy who had been in and out of my life for years...who at one time I could almost picture my life with him....who had broken my heart many times...was trying to find a way back into my life.  I tread carefully...very carefully...through the fall.  It was filled with late night text messages, (second) first dates, and lots of answers to questions about our past and what went wrong.  By November, I knew things were different with this boy than they ever had been before, and even though I had feelings for him since the day I met him, I still worried about whether I would know if this was love.

Call me crazy, but I always thought falling in love would be fireworks and hot pink, and undeniable, and without a doubt...and I thought I would know the second it happened.  I think that's what we've been taught.

But by November of 2010, all I knew is that this guy made me really happy.  After agreeing that we would not be seeing anyone else but each other (a first for us in our 3 years), I immediately left for New York City on a girls trip in mid-November.  In one of the most amazing cities in the world, I longed for Lexington, KY and more time with him.  Funny how that happens.  When I turned on my phone after our plane landed on our return flight, I had a video from my was of him playing a Jason Mraz song that still resonates with me to this day.

It's funny how sometimes a song or a lyric can perfectly capture a feeling..."All I really wanna do is love you, a kind much closer than friends use...but I still can't say it after all we've been through..."  Maybe he was wondering the same thing as me.

I was only home for a week before I promptly left for Atlanta for Thanksgiving...another week apart.  I longed for home again, even surrounded by the people I love most in the world.  Maybe that was a small clue.  But I still wasn't sure.  I made the drive from Atlanta to Lexington in near record time after Thanksgiving and spent the next day with him, running errands and putting up my Christmas tree together...another first.

I helped him pick out Christmas gifts for his family and he begrudgingly watched Love Actually, and It's a Wonderful Life and The Holiday with me.  And he agreed to spend Christmas day with me at my parents' house...which in the land of relationships is a big freakin' deal.  With his job being the way it is, he had to work Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, which meant we couldn't drive up together. 

We decided that he would drive up on Christmas Eve after spending some time with his Aunt and Uncle after work.  Unfortunately, mother nature was not cooperative with our plans and it snowed furiously that evening.  I sat with my family wondering what time he would leave his aunt and uncle's house, and if it would be early enough.  I worried about the weather and if he would change his mind about coming and I'll admit, I was already planning on yelling at him if he called to say he wasn't coming.  That night, the hour and 15 minute drive to my parents house took him over two hours.  I waited up for him long after the rest of my family had gone to sleep and greeted him when he arrived after 1:00am.

Later that morning, we opened presents, and he got to know my family (he had already met my parents) and take part in our holiday traditions.  Having him there felt right to me.  He later admitted that he had never been so scared driving before as he was driving through the winter storm that Christmas Eve to see me.  On Christmas night, we ate dinner and relaxed together and around 9:00, he said he had to drive back.  I watched him pack his things and begged him to stay the night (he had to work early the next morning), but he couldn't.  Even though I would be home in another day or two, I felt devastated that he had to head back so soon. 

After he left, he sent me a text message that said, "I think I'm crazy about you" and I cried. 

It wasn't fireworks, and time did not stop, but that was the moment I can trace back and vividly know that I was in love.  It didn't happen overnight or in that one moment.  It was a collection of things...going to a basketball game, eating dinner together, watching a movie, opening his poorly wrapped Christmas gifts, greeting him at the door on Christmas Eve and watching him introduce himself to my sister and brother-in-law for the first time in his pajamas. 

It's a bunch of silly moments like that which stick out in my head and remind me why I love this time of year more than ever...I get to relive our love story.  This year I am more thankful than ever though, because after 5 years of friendship, dating, not dating, being engaged, and now married...we will finally get to spend out first Thanksgiving together.  A long time overdue, don't you think?

Our second "first date" to a UK basketball game

Out for drinks with friends a few weeks before Christmas

At my grandparents' house on Christmas day

New Year's Eve

Do you have a holiday love story?  Did you struggle to realize what love was and recognize the difference? 


Bre said...

Not gonna lie, I got a little teary with this one. I blame hormones...and your beautiful story-telling.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story. Quite a few parts really resonate with me. I may not have a holiday love story, but I feel that the moment I knew was very similar to yours. The holidays are even more special when you have someone special to share them with. Enjoy your Thanksgiving with your guy!

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