I could not continue writing this series without making a tribute to my other half and number one; my best friend; my husband. I have waited until December 31st to release this post because today marks a special one for the two of us: the day we began our courtship after seeing each other at the Palmer House in Chicago on New Year’s Eve 5 years ago…
For those of you who don’t know Eric, let me introduce you…
HA! Alright a little time has passed since this adorable picture was taken but that little face says everything. Can you tell he was a troublemaker?
I met Eric briefly in college but there wasn’t any immediate connection. He had a girlfriend at the time and I had just transferred to Miami. Everyone was a new face for me. I was overwhelmed by his large personality, confidence, and chatter. Could one really talk so much?!
I’m quite a goofy, loud person myself. Emotional and dramatic, too. But eager and excited quite easily. You might say ‘colorful’. My friends and family predicted the type of guy I would end up with would have to be quiet and calm to balance my energetic personality. Who knew I would end up with such a social, vibrant, and charismatic guy?
Eric is one of six through a blended family. Born and raised in the Dayton area of Ohio, he grew up with his brother Zach and sister Shannon, stepbrother Ross and half sister Kaitlyn, and frequently saw his older stepbrother Jeff. He was a firecracker kid from an early start. He didn’t believe rules applied to him. Talking back was his forte and he loved to disobey. I found this hard to believe because he was such a sweet, charming guy when I met him. He spent Sundays taking customers to Church and weeknights cooking at home (AH- the side of ourselves we first present in a relationship! ;) ) But then a home video surfaced and I saw little Eric in full, hysterically irritating, force. What a little devil. But the cutest, of course.
E was just one of those kids who had to learn in his own way. Carve a path for himself that HE declared. He didn’t like to be told what to do. At the age of 8, his teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he replied that he just wanted to be paid to talk. WELL. Crazy how some things work out…
As someone who was driven to determine his own destiny, Eric started working at the age of 15 at quite a variety of jobs. Target. Kentucky Fried Chicken. The local car dealership where he was fired twice before quitting the third time? True story. He worked as a dishwasher in college and spent one summer at a steel mill. He was always driven to make money and take care of himself.
He paid for the majority of his college and moved to Chicago after graduation. After another job fell through, he started working at Command Transportation, and all the pieces started to fall into place. After working hard in the working world and figuring out his incredible talent in sales, he and his friend Matt started their own logistics company and that’s the reason we now live in Austin.
I don’t mean to sound sappy but the moment I met Eric was a pivotal one for me. I had always been a happy kid but something sort of broke in me toward the end of high school. A cloud formed and even with help and love of my family and friends, I developed an unknown, unreasonable sadness. Though I made wonderful friends and memories in college, that emptiness always weighed on me. I didn’t feel that joyful happiness I should have felt while in college. I felt alone and misunderstood. The moment of happiness came with the independence of graduation. And then I met Eric. Just three weeks later. Eric looked at me and SAW me. My goofiness, my energy, my moods, my idiosyncrasies, my talents, my quirks- ME.
I think what I love so much about Eric is his ability to make people feel like they matter. He’s the one you had a conversation with three years ago at a bar and he sees you now and asks how that grandmother in Cleveland is doing, because when you were telling him that story about her, he was actually listening. He has a gift. He engages people. He connects. He cares.
I just want to share a few more things about E before I wrap this up. Just a few fun facts that make up this vibrant guy :)
- I’ve never bought an article of clothing or changed my hair without E picking up on it. He notices everything. I once thought this was a fault (can I get away with anything?!) but my, what a blessing.
- He love love loves following college basketball. He doesn’t support a specific team but loves to know whats going on. He also follows college football, NFL, golf– oh wait, he follows just about every sport ;)
- He has the best head of hair. Presidential, actually. I mean LOOK at it!
- He is the most thoughtful guy I know. Definitely a Grant Dunigan trait passed down :) Like father, like son.
- He loves to try new restaurants and travel. Two things that I also love doing, very much. We’re so lucky to be able to do these things and share these experiences together.
- If he is in an extra good mood, he’ll turn on a jock jams song from the 90s and start dancing (occasionally singing). Typical roll of the hips side to side, but dancing nonetheless.
- For someone who had average grades, he happens to be one of the smartest people I know. He finds value in self-education and spends his free time researching and reading articles.
- If he doesn’t know the answer, he will figure it out. I’ve never met someone so outgoing and hard-working. I think that’s why I didn’t think twice when he said we might be moving to Austin. If there is one person I can go through life taking big risks with, it’s Eric.
Thank you for being everything that you are, E. I love you so much!
HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS!