Autumn and Ryan

How We Met

Ice skating around in circles with 2 of my best friends. I’ll never forget it. I had broken up with my high school sweetheart and was devastated that in my second year of college, we weren’t together anymore. I had wallowed around my house, lost my appetite as well as weight, and just simply didn’t want to go out anywhere. This was the first time I had honestly been out in months for something that wasn’t class related. I was able to forget about the pain and actually laugh. Laugh at a joke or smile because I was honestly having a good time and not just putting on a brave face. But then I saw him. He was standing in the middle of the ice with a bright yellow jacket on. He had light brown wavy hair with curls tucked on some of the ends. I remember that smile. A smile that immediately made my stomach do flips. I knew that I wanted to know more about Ryan as we casually talked about this and that on the ice. We started to see each other more and more at school, whether it was by accident or on purpose, who knows?

Soon he was meeting me and walking me to class, sitting in the music lounge so I would conveniently see him (yes, I did the same haha). All I knew was that I wanted to be with him. To tell him what was on my mind. Retell a funny joke I had heard just to see his reaction and further, hoping to see that genuine smile. The seasons were changing and winter turned to spring. I decided to study abroad and Ryan told me he’d be here waiting when I got back. And he was. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m very driven when it came to my school work. As spring started to feel like summer, Ryan and I both decided to skip class and drive to the beach. We laid out in the sun, talked, and people watched. By evening, I drove Ryan back to his apartment. I’ll never forget how Ryan said, “I really want to kiss you, but I don’t want to rush anything since I really like you so I’m just going to leave.” He turned to get out of my car and, with one eyebrow raised, I said, “You won’t…” Ryan turned back around and we both stared at each other for a few beats as I sat with a huge grin on my face. To this day, I still think about the passionate kiss that ensued and feel butterflies all over again.

How He Asked

Being a first year teacher, I had a mixture of emotions as my first year of teaching first grade was coming to an end. I was excited and sad coming to school that day since my kiddos were having their end of the year party. Ryan told me he wanted to come in and help and, honestly, this wasn’t out of the ordinary for him. He occasionally took off from his work during the school year to come help me in my classroom. We had an ice cream sundae themed party with crafts and games planned by my room parent committee, and I was excited when I looked up and saw my mom in the mixture of parents coming through my classroom door as our party was about to start. Many people have asked me if that was a sign that I knew something was up, but honestly, no.

You see, my mother is a teacher as well and had told me all year that she was going to take off work to come see me in my element and meet my students whom she had heard so much about. I was excited thinking, “Wow! She was finally able to get off work!” My sweet babies ate ice cream, made an ice cream shaped book marks, and completed a few other tasks when one of the room moms came to me saying it was time to go outside for our relay races. I got my class lined up and quiet, ready to listen to directions from our room mom, when all of a sudden I heard Ryan talking. Now mind you at this point all I could think about was how he was going to get my kids rawled up and I was starting to become a little irritated.

I noticed he was saying, “I don’t know if you guys truly understand how important this year has been for Ms. Bailey, but it has been amazing to watch her teach you. I would like to make this year even more important for her and ask her a very important question…” A wavy of shock, panic, excitement, and nervousness swept over me since now I definitely knew what was going on but couldn’t believe it was happening in front of my class, their parents, and my administration. Ryan walked towards me and bent down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

I teared up as my children and their parents started to gasp, smile, and cry. Immediately, I said yes and hugged and kissed the man of my dreams. The one who’s been there for me these past four years through thick and thin.

Who mended my broken heart and taught me not only to love, but to trust again. He was supportive of me and my choices throughout college, and continues to do so all the way to my current career choices. I often wonder how I got so lucky, but remember that this man was my best friend. I had met and fallen in love almost immediately with the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time.

Special Thanks

My Assistant Principal | 
Photographer