I photographed Ashley and Ryan a few years ago and in the time since, they've adopted Remington (the bow ties!), Ryan overcame his fear of heights to snag his first buck with my husband, and we all laughed at that same husband for puking his guts out when Ryan took him fishing. I have to give Ryan an extra special shout-out for remaining his friend after that incident. God love you.
A modest amount of Facebook snooping told me that Ashley and Ryan had family all over, in Maryland, in New York, in Colorado. I know that's tough because my family mostly lives within an hour or so and sometimes that feels impossibly far. So cheers to Ashley for arranging a family session when everyone could be there! I know pulling that off (plus coordinated but not matching outfits - #winning) is a task and I'm grateful to have spent an hour with your sweet family!
Enjoy the sneak peak!
In case you missed Part One, you can read it here!
After our first date and the subsequent meltdown I had sitting on the edge of my Mom's bed, I decided not to call him anymore. He was nice, and I didn't want to lead him on at all, so I thought it would just be easier to drop him off cold turkey and expect him to get the message.
Two days passed and I felt irritable and confused. That is typical you, Brittany! A super sweet guy who is easy to talk to and you were enjoying his company all week and then what? You get all crazy! You have too many feelings! You better get a dozen cats and call it a day! I should take this time to tell you all some truth - I used to have a terrible anxiety problem. I would get stuck in my own head for hours at a time, rehashing the same thoughts over and over, considering every possible "What If" scenario until I had knots in my stomach and found myself back at Square One. I can tell you that God healed me of it over many, many years of prayer and learning to trust Him. That's not to say I don't worry, because I do, but that paralyzing fear that comes from being trapped in your own mind too long is in the past.
Our first date was on a Sunday and by the following Tuesday afternoon, I hadn't heard from him. I knew he was too polite to be blowing up my phone with texts and we weren't even Facebook friends yet. I wondered what he was doing. No, you don't need to know what he's doing. You're not interested, remember? I pulled my phone out a few times only to put it away. I went to a meeting where I sat, zoned out, debating if I was calling this thing off too early. I mean, we could be friends, right? We could just get to know each other without deciding if we're getting married right out of the gates. I was being ridiculous.
When I got back to my desk, I texted him something like, "Can I text you while you're at work? Don't want to bother you if you're busy." I wish I could remember what he said in return, but I do remember my stomach dropping when my phone beeped with a reply a few moments later. We sent a few texts back and forth and he asked if he could take me to dinner the next night when I got off work. I had a moment where I thought it was a bad idea, what if I got all flaky again? He didn't deserve that. I took a deep breath, slapped myself across the face, and told him I was looking forward to it.
I was a nervous wreck when he picked me up. He parked outside of my office and I wondered who might see me getting into his truck and oh my gosh, the more people who know about this the more I will have to explain if it doesn't work out! We drove to a barbecue restaurant in Frederick and started to talk, after a few minutes I slid my feet under the table and into his lap and there it was - peace. My head wasn't clouded with a million thoughts, I wasn't racking my brain for what might happen between us in 6 months or 50 years, I was just there with him, eating a meal and enjoying his conversation and finding the smell of his cologne very, very nice.
After dinner, we drove across the street to Starbucks just before they closed. We don't like to be "those people" who linger in restaurants way past closing time, so we sat in the truck to talk. It was warm, woozy warm with coffee and the car heater, and I wanted to kiss him. I thought it could wait, I could see if he made a move, but you guys - I can't even tell you how good he smelled. That he is a phenomenal kisser. That it was never awkward or over-the-top and I decided being ladylike was overrated in situations like these and I was gonna lay one on him.
He had to work the next day, so he drove me back to my car and I went home, dizzy and happy and wondering what on earth happened in that restaurant that made everything switch so instantly. What was I thinking before? I had to have this man. I could relax about it, sure, I didn't have to know if we'd get married or if we'd be together in 6 months. But I had to have another date, another kiss, another conversation with him.
And really, he was thinking the same thing.
Part 3...coming soon!