Hi, Little Girl,

I want to take you back to 2013 when I first met your mother.

It was February and I was living in small town Brenham, Texas—a town you’ll come to know as the home of Blue Bell ice cream.

I was at a weird spot in my life: 24, in my third year as a small-town journalist busting my ass to reach the next step in my career, and lost somewhere between a workaholic and borderline alcoholic (kidding—kinda. There’s only so much you can do in a small town where you don’t know anyone.)

It was just me and Abbott living in a small one-bedroom apartment I could barely afford on my pitiful small-town journalist salary.

February was a busy time for work. It was the beginning of the spring semester for high school and the busiest time of year for high school sports. My schedule would be filled for the next two months with covering games for eight different sports.

But the strangest thing happened: I had a random Friday off that happened to fall on me and your mom’s first date.

Let me back track.

Small-Town Living

That small one-bedroom apartment had an eerie way of getting too quiet at night. It was September and I had just broken up with my girlfriend at the time and was living on my own. It wasn’t so bad at first because I was working all the damn time, but work and Xbox can only cure the quiet loneliness for so long. So I convinced myself I needed to get a dog—much to the dismay of your grandpa. I adopted Abbott Sept. 9, 2012, and those first two weeks I was convinced I made the wrong decision.

He pooped. A lot.

He howled throughout the night.

He fried my computer when he ran into the table and knocked my drink over.

Through all his young beagle faults, he brought life to our small home that wasn’t there when I lived alone.

He was such a cute pup that I created an Instagram account for him and posted pictures of all the cute and ridiculous things he did—sleeping halfway on his pillow and back, how he shredded his toys, how he acted all cuddly after he got in trouble.

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Abbott when he was a puppy.

Somewhere along the way, your mom found that Instagram account and began following us. When I noticed this pretty girl following my page and liking Abbott’s photos, I did what any self-respecting guy would do: creeped on her page and photos.

I was instantly smitten. Who was this gorgeous girl and why was she following me? For months your mom and I subtly flirted by liking each other’s photos—mature, right?—before I finally made a move.

In my oh-so-suave manner, I commented on one of her photos acting surprised that I just figured out she lived an hour away from my small town (I knew that months before, but was too nervous to say anything. What kind of creep would that make me?) Luckily your mom didn’t get the creeper vibe and after a night’s worth of talking, she agreed to a date: Feb. 22 at Hurricane Harry’s in College Station for a Josh Abbott Band concert.

It just so happened that concert fell on a Friday.

And it just so happened, by some stroke of luck, that Friday fell on the one Friday I was off.

And it just so happened that your mom said yes to a date with an internet stranger.

Sometimes in life you get lucky.

The Date

Before we get there, I have to admit something embarrassing.

I’d only talked to your mom through online and text messages. I’d never heard her voice, which I hadn’t thought about until she called me as I drove to meet her for our date. As I stared down at my phone, my mind raced on what I should do if she had a terribly annoying voice (think: Janice from “Friends”) or worse, she had a manly voice, or worst of all, she actually was a man! I figured I would keep on driving back home. I hesitantly answered and to my surprise this beautiful voice ran through the other end of the phone. I breathed a sigh of relief and continued my drive to the restaurant.

We met at Chuy’s, a Mexican food restaurant off Highway 6—it was National Margarita Day, after all. I stepped out of my, gave myself one last check in the window, and walked towards the restaurant looking for this girl I’ve never met. Your mom spotted me first and walked up and gave me a hug, which totally caught me off guard. The hug sent shockwaves throughout my body. I could only think, “Who is this girl?

Before I realized it, your mom was already walking towards the front doors as I stood there like an idiot in the parking lot. It was in that moment I knew your mom was someone special.

A few highlights from the night:

  • Chuy’s was WAY packed, and we left and found another Mexican food spot, Ozona, to celebrate our love for margaritas.
  • Your mom sucked down margaritas like it was nobody’s business.
  • Come time to pay, the waitress took my card and lost it when my card flew out of the holder and under a booth. The manager was nice enough to comp our meal (which was awesome because I was poor and trying to figure out how I was going to pay for everything and still show your mom a good time).
  • The downside of not having my card was I only had a couple bucks in cash on me and could only buy a few rounds of drinks during the concert. Luckily your mom doesn’t believe the guy should have to pay for everything and offered to pay, too.

The concert was, to this day, one of the best times of my life. I was with the most beautiful girl in the place, seeing one of my favorite bands, drinking beer with a girl who was so out of my league.

The most magical moment of the night came when your mom and I went out to the packed dance floor, found a spot and sang to Josh Abbott. I nervously put my arm around her and held her against me, and we sang to ‘Oh, Tonight’ and ‘She’s Like Texas’ like we were the only two in the place.

When the night ended, I drove your mom back to her car and said goodnight.

I could only hope I’d one day see her again.