Monday, October 29, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012 ("The Proposal")

“I don’t think we should get each other gifts this Valentine’s, let’s just make each other something or write each other a letter, you know, something special,” he said.

See Andrew knew that I am a sucker for sentimental gifts, especially if he was offering to write me a letter, which are rare treasures considering writing is one of his least favorite pastimes. Little did I know that this was the first of many tricks he had up his sleeve leading up to February 14th, 2012. Our first Valentines together was to be celebrated the weekend before, due to Valentine’s Day falling during the week and our current circumstances that had us living in towns 5 hours away – me in NE Mississippi for my last clinical rotation and him at home in Louisiana. Celebrating Valentine’s Day early was no big deal for me, just another one of those things that come as a result of having a long distance relationship. I got to work making him a scrapbook, taking seriously his suggestion for our homemade gifts - all while he was planning to buy me a more expensive one.

That weekend before Valentine’s Day was perfect – as most of our time together was extremely precious during those days, considering we saw each usually every other weekend. We had a romantic dinner at a quaint little Italian restaurant in the heart of downtown and I remember some of our discussions turning toward the subject of marriage – we often talked about marriage, referring to it sometime in the future but not discussing specifics. That night, Andrew joked that when he did decide to propose to me, he wouldn’t be able to tell my parents any details because he didn’t believe they (mostly meaning my mother) would be able to keep it from me. However, by this time my mother knew all of the plans for how our proposal would unfold, and unbeknownst to me, it was just days away.

After dinner, we exchanged “gifts” – I gave Andrew the scrapbook I had made and he gave me a handwritten letter , the longest letter he has ever written me. I should have sensed then that something was up, but our weekend eventually turned into goodbye and I made the long drive back to NE Mississippi without a clue that my life was about to change.

“Don’t make any plans for tomorrow night, I’m going to take you and your mom out to dinner for Valentine’s,” my dad said. This was Monday night after a long day working at the hospital – and maybe because of sheer exhaustion or because I contributed it to being back at home after years away at college, but I thought nothing of this. You have to know my dad, but he is not the romantic type, and although suggesting Valentine’s dinner wasn’t completely out of his character, it should have sparked my interest in the least. It didn’t though, and Tuesday was just another day on 1 West at the hospital – although I did receive some beautiful tulips from Andrew. I called to thank him for the flowers and he told me that he was working on a job that would have him tied up for most of the afternoon and evening. I told him that it was okay, that Dad was taking us out to dinner and commented then on how unusual that it was but that I was excited anyway.

That night at home, my mother & I were getting ready for our Valentines dinner. Now if you know me, you know I dress up for everything. I am the girl in your freshman college class who probably wore high heels on her first day. I wear dresses to football games and fix my hair for work. That is just me. For whatever reason though, on this night, I decided that I did not feel like dressing up. I put on jeans and a somewhat dressy, somewhat casual top and boots. I know my mother was dying to try to get me to change clothes, but bit her tongue as I’m sure she had at many other times in my life. Anyway, we headed to downtown, but instead of continuing to where our restaurant was, my dad took a left toward City Hall and a beautiful area downtown with a jumping fountain, which attracts many local kids in the summertime. My dad claimed he had to drop something off at City Hall, which at first wasn’t a suspicion since he works for the City at times. But when I realized there was no one at City Hall – after all it was around 7 o’clock in the evening, I began to ask questions. I still had no clue what was going on, just that something was a bit off. My dad got out of the car anyway and after he disappeared somewhere, my mother – who remained facing forward the whole time – told me to get out of the car and walk to the fountain. I can’t really describe what I felt then, something close to my heart dropping from my chest to my stomach. I didn’t really put it all together at this point, though I’m sure I suspected what was going on. For a second, I refused to get out of the car – I guess I was hoping my mother would tell me what was about to happen so that if Andrew wasn’t really there, I wouldn’t be disappointed. All of it happened so fast. Somehow my mother convinced me that getting out of the car was in my best interest at that point. The walk from the car down to the fountains was all of about 20 yards. To me, it seemed like 20 miles. I so badly wanted Andrew to be there at the fountain, but in my mind I kept hearing him say he was working on a job out of town and busy for the evening. One of the images that will always be clear in my mind, is of Andrew sitting on a bench looking at the fountain and turning to look at me as he heard me walking up.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, or maybe exclaimed is a better word.

“I came to see you on Valentine’s Day,” he said, calmly. For a moment I thought maybe I was wrong, that this wasn’t a proposal. Maybe he simply came to see me on our first Valentine’s Day that we thought we were missing.

We hugged and seconds passed as he stood there looking at me for what seemed like forever. Finally, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a black velvet box and got down on one knee. Maybe Andrew can tell you more about this part, but it’s all a blur to me. When a girl realizes that all her dreams are about to come true, it’s a little bit hard to soak it all in. I remember being giddy, kissing the most wonderful man I could have ever imagined spending my life with and a beautiful diamond ring. I guess at some point he must have asked me to marry him and I must have said yes but those details escape me. Andrew will tell you that I took the ring out of the ring box myself and put it on my own finger, though I can’t confirm if that was really how it happened. I’m guessing I probably did and I have apologized since, but a girl can’t be held responsible for how she acts in those moments. Oh those moments! Life happens so fast doesn’t it? Sometimes life throws things your way that there is no way you could have been prepared for. Whether good or bad, our lives are remembered as a series of moments. Some we cherish, some we try to forget, but all of them make us who we are and tell the story of our lives. This is only part of our story. Thank you for sharing in it with us.

 Originally posted on our wedsite,, in July 2012