Jackie and I met in July 2006 at our friend Stephanie and Dwayne's wedding in Anchorage, Alaska. That day I saw the most beautiful girl in the entire world walk into my life. From the moment that I saw Jackie, I knew that I had to talk to her. Of course, my plan backfired with what Jackie would call, "The Worst Pickup Line Ever!" - "So, when do I get your number?" Yes, I admit that it was the first thing I said to her, and in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have decided to be clever. But I do know that at least I got her attention, even though Jackie will never admit to it. Over the next few weeks, Jackie and I ended up seeing each other more and more, and immediately began talking and getting to know each other. Although Jackie will try to tell you that she had no interest, we all know that's not true because look at where we are now. Interest was definitely there.
The next year saw some changes. I left Alaska for Georgia in October 2007. But through many letters, emails and phone calls, Jackie and I stayed in touch with one another and developed a strong friendship before we would meet again. Even with not knowing when that day would come. But the old saying is true, absence does make the heart grow fonder. As soon as I arrived in Georgia, I knew in my heart that I had to make it back to Alaska somehow. I would do anything that I could to return to her. In May 2008, my wish came true when I was reassigned once again to Alaska. I'll never forget the day that I told Jackie I was returning. She was speechless! I knew I had her attention once more. Upon arriving back in Alaska at the beginning of 2009, I immediately deployed to Afghanistan. While times were tough and very lonely, I received strength and support from the girl who was starting to become my best friend.
When I returned in February 2010, Jackie and I immediately picked up from where our friendship had left off. It was the first time in a very long time that we had seen each other, but we both knew that what we had was very special. Our journey's together have taken us all over the United States, including trips to Hawaii, Las Vegas, Massachusetts, with a unforgettable late night trip to Connecticut to hang out at Foxwoods, and Napa Valley/San Francisco where we cemented our relationship for the rest of our lives.
One of the most special aspects of our relationship is our mutual love for baseball. How many guys can say that their fiances perfect idea for a date is a game under the lights with a hot dog and a beer? Of course our love for the game also comes with very serious debates such as who's team is better? Her Braves or my Red Sox? While we all know the answer, Jackie will insists that the Braves are a better team and she's a better player. But on May 25, 2012 she had no idea what kind of pitch was coming her way.
After checking in to our San Francisco hotel room and getting upgraded to a giant top floor suite that we literally could play baseball in, Jackie and I decided that we should do just that. One early morning before breakfast we decided to throw the ball around. So after playing catch and talking for a little bit, I decided to make my move. I grabbed the ring out of the suitcase without Jackie noticing and instead of throwing a fastball to her like I normally would, I threw her a curve, in the form of a diamond ring. Our early morning game of catch in our hotel room ended up with a proposal which leads us to where we are today.
Although times are difficult with me once again having to deploy, the love that Jackie and I share with one another is what gets us through these tough days ahead and will continue to be the strength that defines of our wonderful and amazing friendship. I've never in my life met someone that makes me so happy just being around. I couldn't imagine spending my life with anyone but my girl. She truly is the love of my life. I'm lucky and blessed to have her in my life and pray that God continues to bless us everyday during this wonderful journey that we will begin together.
I love you Jaquleyn, and can not wait to spend the rest of my life playing catch with my best friend!