It all started in the 4th grade. I was nine, Ryan, ten. He was a transplant from another local elementary school and he was the talk of the playground! I was smitten without saying two words to the boy but an older gal (those darn 5th graders) had snagged him up pretty quickly. I knew it wouldn’t last; she didn’t seem like his type (no really, I remember feeling this). Like a lot of typical young girls I thought, “He would never be interested in me.” Sad, right? Well imagine my surprise the day after returning from our spring break when he stopped me right before boarding the bus and asked me out! I’ll never forget it- it was a very casual conversation like 4th graders have. I said yes, and then we both just kept walking and boarded the buses to go home! I was ecstatic.
That would be the same place for the next year and a half that Ryan would give me a peck on the lips before boarding the bus each day. It became quite the spectacle! In 5th grade, Mr. Galentine told us we could not do that anymore- I was mortified (later that same spot is where he would propose to me)!
|The proposal at our former elementary school! (Yes, that sign behind him has his face on it!)|
In 6th grade we split up (i.e. I dumped him), and we went our separate ways but still hung out all the time. He dated some of my friends briefly and vice versa but we always had our eyes on each other. All the girls would always tell me how crazy I was for not dating him because he made his feelings for me quite clear. I wasn’t ready. Again, like a lot of young girls (and women!) I wanted the bad boy. Ryan was so nice to me. Too nice I guess. In eighth grade we gave it another go for awhile before I dumped him right before the Christmas dance! We went anyway and we had a blast (I know I’m horrible!). Well it didn’t stop Ryan from chasing me the rest of the year, and even writing in my yearbook that he was going to in fact, find me when we were in our 20s and marry me. In a way, I kind of took comfort in that a little. I liked that I knew he would always be there for me. And he was.
In high school I fell off the wagon. I hung out with bad people and did bad things. I was a typical rebellious teen. I ended up going to a different high school and I didn’t see him for a couple of years. After high school, I saw Ryan at a party. Smitten again! He was with his high school girlfriend of three years. Ouch. Suddenly, the tables were turned. I left without seeing him for another couple of years but I always thought of him. And I’m not kidding, I still have the dream journal where I recorded all the dreams I had about him. I even went to Europe for a year and while I was in Ireland I noticed the drain systems on the street said, “Kavanaugh” on them (the Irish spelling of his last name). Wherever I went he was there (I later stated this in our wedding vows to one another).
My father died shortly after I returned from Europe. I was devastated. Out of the blue, Ryan called me after reading it in the newspaper. Again, he had proved himself as always being there when I needed him.
Fast forward again, two years later. I’m finishing my bachelors degree in Nashville when I get the opportunity to dance at the Country Music Awards to Alan Jackson’s, Good Times. I, of course, pimped this out all over Facebook when his best friend called him and told him to check me out on TV. Ryan rushed home from the grocery store to turn on the TV and poof, there I was! He asked his friend (later, the best man at the wedding) to get my phone number and then the next chapter of our crazy life began! What happened next is a story for another time.
Check out our actual save the date we sent out when we were engaged. That’s a picture of us from the 5th grade!
Year two of our marriage was easier than the first and I believe that despite the challenges that marriage brings, we will continue to grow as a couple and fall in love many times. And like I said in my vows, I’m not sure when we fell in love because I don’t recall a time when I wasn’t in love with him. Sappy but true.
Stay Chic and Travelin’ Mamas!