I can't believe I've never posted this story on here.
Probably because I initially started this blog for a VERY different reason almost 4 years ago. But today, it serves as my diary for my life, one that my daughters can read through when they're in their 20s and get a glimpse into what their mom was like when she was younger, thinner and still cool.
The day that Jon asked me to be his wife will always be one of the greatest days of my life. From start to finish, it was the perfect day, and if Dr. Emmett Brown gave me a Delorean and asked me what day I'd like to revisit from the past, this might be the one. It was that amazing.
Saturday, May 10th, 2008 was shaping up to be a huge day. Not only was I graduating with my Master's degree, but I was turning 24. I have always loved my birthday and, unlike New Year's Eve, it always lives up to the hype. Even if it's super low-key. I don't care about presents, I just like having a birthday. And I liked that it was 5-10. I'm weird with numbers. Anyway...
I woke up early that morning and got ready for my graduation ceremony. My family came to celebrate, and it was awesome to finally get that diploma!
Here we are, squinting in the sun:
By the way, excuse the quality of these pictures. They were taken with ACTUAL FILM, developed, and then scanned onto my computer. HA! How times have changed! ;-)
From there, Jon took me to lunch at my absolute favorite sushi place in Akron, Ohio (my hometown). If I could only ever eat at one place every day, it'd be here. After lunch, he said he had something to take care of, so he instructed me to go pamper myself at the salon and he'd be home in an hour. (I found out later this is when he went to have 'the talk' with my dad to ask his permission to marry me). I knew Jon was planning "something" because he had always made a big deal out of my birthdays before, but he downplayed it so much that I had no clue a proposal was coming. From the way he described it, I thought we were going rock climbing(?) Needless to say, I was very thrown off.
Fast forward to the evening, and we got dressed up to go wherever we were going. A true sign that I didn't know what was happening because had I known I was getting engaged that day, I probably would have done my hair a little nicer and worn a different dress. Hindsight.
After about 20 minutes of driving, we pulled up to the grounds of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. This is a historic site in Akron that I love and had loved since I was a kid. Jon said we were going to go to dinner, but since it was a nice night he thought it'd be pretty to walk around the grounds since it was early spring and the flowers were just blooming.
So we walked around for awhile and I remember talking about how happy we were that I was finally done with school. We were living apart at the time, but by the end of the summer, Jon was going to move to Columbus (when he was done with his Master's in August) and we'd be back in the same city after 8 months. Life was pretty much perfect.
We rounded the corner of what's called the "English Gardens" and I see a big white box on a bench.
"Is that for me??" I asked. Duh.
I slowly opened the box, and at that moment, time and space and movement and everything just went still. Inside the box was a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino wine.
About 6 months earlier, we were at a wine shop when we happened upon a bottle of this delicious stuff. But at $125/bottle, it was more than our grad school budget could afford for just a random Saturday night. So, Jon says, "Let's save Brunello for our engagement night." We knew we'd get married someday, so this suggestion made sense.
So when I saw the bottle of Brunello inside, I knew that's what this was. Our engagement night. I don't remember speaking at all, just shaking and staring and tears filled my eyes. Jon led me over to the bench so I could sit down. I wish I remember more of what he said, but as most girls will tell you, the actual moment that you are proposed to goes by like a blur. I only remember that he said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and he pulled out the most beautiful and perfect ring I had ever seen. He says that I didn't say yes, but I think I at least nodded my head like an idiot, and that was that... we were ENGAGED!
The night could have ended right there and I would have been in heaven. But after we drank our wine, Jon informed me that there was one more thing on the agenda. I wasn't sure how anything else we could do would top what just happened.
He led me back to the entrance of the grounds. I swear I think I floated instead of walked. Everything was so surreal. I couldn't stop starting at my hand and my fiance. We started walking toward this big white tent. They have weddings here, so I remember saying "Oh look how cute! Someone is having their wedding here!"
All of a sudden I hear our song playing.
I turn to Jon and freak out "Oh my God honey, that wedding is playing our song!" And he gives me this look and then I knew it wasn't a coincidence. He lead me, still floating, into this white tent. No one was inside, but there were tables, flowers, candles, and food set up.
We walked into the room attached to the tent, and what did I see?
ALL of my family and ALL of our friends! He had invited them to what they thought was a surprise birthday/graduation party, which ended up being a birthday/graduation/engagement party! I was shocked and overwhelmed at how much thought and planning went into this day. The love of my life had asked me to be his wife, and now everyone I loved was there to celebrate with us.It will simply perfect.
Even in our hardest of times or during our stupidest fights, I try to never lose sight of what happened on this night. The love I had for Jon on May 10th, 2008 is only a fraction of the love I feel for him today, and at the core of everything is knowing that we were meant to be. We chose to spend the rest of our lives together, so even though the magic of our engagement night only happened once, the promise that we made that day will be part of our story forever.