Last Christmas was the first time I’d been at home for the holidays since 2006. That alone made it the best Christmas in years. But what really made that day, as well as Christmas Eve, special was the beginning of a relationship that has changed my life for the better.
At that point, the girlfriend and I had been flirting for a while through Facebook posts and messages. That all started in September 2010 when we both attended a football game at our high school alma mater. That wasn’t the best time for me, though, in her words, she knew she had me.
Fast-forward a few months, and our exchanges on Facebook were playful enough that family members took notice. Family members I grew up with and who taught me in high school. I’m sure it was very awkward when we first started dating.
After a few weeks of “catch me if you can,” the girlfriend finally realized I wasn’t very bright. That is, I really had no clue she was interested in hanging out. Yes, I’m dumb. Anyway, I remember getting an email that included her phone number. It still didn’t register.
We didn’t even exchange text messages until Christmas Eve, when she asked if I’d be interested in stopping by to see her family in Burlingame. I didn’t go. Again, I’m dumb. But we did spend three hours on Christmas Eve exchanging text messages.
As has become tradition when I’m home, I stayed at my brother’s place that night, with my niece and nephews sleeping around their favorite uncle on the couch (insert “awwwww” here). As my niece and nephews passed out, dreams of Santa delivering presents in their heads, I lay on the couch, with a cover over my head to prevent the light from my Blackberry waking the kids up, texting her.
We exchanged more texts on Christmas. The first thing I did when I got home that night was send her an e-card from Hallmark for her birthday, which is the day after Christmas.
Less than two weeks later, we had our first date. Of course, she had to ask me out for a third time. Finally, I got the message.
Nearly a year later, I think of all the wonderful things that have happened since we became a couple. The new – and better – job. The weight loss. I’ve lost about 40 pounds and six inches off my waist since Jan. 8 (our first date). The new outlook on life. Until the last year, I’ve been a pretty negative person. Not the case anymore.
I realize the changes are the result of my hard work, and I’m proud of that. I also realize that it wouldn’t have happened without having some amazing people in my life, from my parents to my brother. And, yes, of course, the girlfriend.
As it turns out, she’s the best gift I received last year, and I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am and how excited I am to spend this special time of year with someone so special.