.::Ashley said YES!::.
- Last updated on March 20, 2010 at 5:36 pm
- 61 comments
Background: I lost my father when I was four in an accident, and my mother passed away in February 2009 after a long battle with cancer. He was so amazing through everything, and he knew exactly how to comfort me because he lost his mother in an accident when he was in high school. I was in law school, so losing my mom during such an intense time during my education was extremely difficult. John and I decided to take a cruise in July 2009 to clear our minds and relax. While we were in Grand Cayman, John surprised me and took me ring shopping. He let me pick out this gorgeous 1.3 carat loose diamond and an 18K white gold halo setting with .75 carats pave diamonds on three sides and a milgrain finish with antique designs on half of the band (wedding band also included). He bought the ring but on the condition that he could plan the perfect proposal.
The Story - March 20, 2010 (TOTALLY worth the wait): So I've been hoping for this day for a VERY long time. I had a fairly good idea that it was happening on Saturday, so I couldn't sleep at all on Friday night it was like Christmas! On Saturday morning, I woke up at 8, got ready, and then he tried to throw me off by saying that it wouldn't be happening until I came back toSaint Louis for my birthday. I was so sad (and a little mad!) My FSIL sent me a text saying that she wished she could be here for me today (like I was for her on her engagement day), so I cheered back up and hoped that he was just kidding. He said he had to run a few errands and came back a little while later with 10 envelopes and told me to get my purse, camera, and get in the car and open the first envelope. So I did, and this is what it said:
Letter 1 - Saint Margaret of Scotland
Pull into the parking lot and look up at the school. This is essentially where I grew up. I spent my childhood playing sports on the playground, learning reading, writing, and arithmetic in the classrooms, and annoying the girls in my class for no apparent reason. Try to imagine a curly haired little kid with a kinda funny looking hand running around the playground and up and down the halls. I may have been on the cute side, but I couldn't tie my own shoes until I was almost seven!!! I didn't realize it at the time, but my days at Saint Margaret of Scotland helped to make me into the man I am today, the m an that wants to spend the rest of his life lighting up your life. Next, drive to Compton Heights Baptist Church. I love you.
I didn't really get it at first. I didn't know if I was supposed to be looking for things or what. On top of that, he didn't give me ANY addresses! Luckily I had my GPS. :)
Letter 2 - Compton Heights Church
Park in the parking lot and read this note. I know the church doesn't look like much, but this is where I found my faith and reinforced my strength as a person. This is also where my mom and dad were married. As a child, I sat next to my dad and listened to Wendy talk about such things as commitment, dedication, sacrifice, strength, and love. I took many of those things with me each Sunday as I left, and then shared them with my friends and family. I love sharing my faith with you, and I really look forward to spending the rest of our lives growing together in Christ. I love you. Now drive to my mom's old house.
Well this is a place I've avoided the entire time we've been together and not because I wanted to avoid it. His mom died in this house in a firewhen he was in high school. I lost it here. I mean, hello black lines down face. I totally should have worn waterproof mascara!!!
Letter 3 - His Mom's House
Park in front of the house. This is where Greg and I grew up, living with my mom. This is where an incredible woman taught me most of what I know about life. When I was older, I would stay up at night and talk to her about anything. When I was younger, I climbed up and down the bunk bed, played with the turtles we kept in the basement, and played sports in the backyard. I fell in the middle of the street and knocked both of my front teeth out. This is also where Dutchess, Tootsie, and Quackers called home! Those sound like really bad stripper names. Anyway, back to the point. I had some of my most vivid memories inside and around this house. It will always hold a special place inside my heart. I want you to know that my mom would have absolutely loved you. She would have just seen how much you light up my life, and she would have wanted to share in what we have. You're an incredible woman, and you make me very happy. Sometimes I wish you and I could have shared our childhoods together, but then I realize that we never have to truly "grow up" and that we can spend at least another 40 or 50 years being "big kids." I love you.
At this point, I'm just sitting in the middle of the street crying, and I have no idea where to go next, so I had to call him! He said, "open the next envelope, silly!"
Letter 4 - Shaw's Garden
Park in the parking lot and head into the garden. You'll have to ask someone where the maze is, since I am so terrible with directions. Walk to the maze. As you make your way there, look at all of the beautiful scenery, and think of all of the amazing things that you and I have already, and still will see together. I loved sharing the Grand Canyon with you, and can't wait for what the future holds. Walk through the maze, and try to find your way without me. It's ok if you have some trouble.; Once you escape the maze, walk up into the lighthouse building right next to it and look into the maze from above. Look at all of the twists and turns that might have confused you or thrown you off track. Isn't it so much easier to navigate from this point of view? I want to be your lighthouse. I know that you've been through a lot already in life, and that we still have many challenges ahead of us. However, I will always be here to protect you and to help you find your way. I love you.
I was such a mess when I got there that I had to show the ticket guy this letter, and he just smiled the most genuine smile I've ever seen. It was kind of a let down though because the maze was only about 3 feet tall instead of 6!! Still, a grand gesture. I hopped back in the car and opened up letter 5. Oh, so I DID get my sushi he promised and bailed on last night. ;)
Letter 5 - Lunch at Chi Sushi
I didn't want to break my promise of having sushi before you went back to Alabama. Find a parking spot, head into the restaurant, and use this $20 to have a nice, relaxing lunch. Think about the first few meals you and I shared here: my first time trying sushi. However, I didn't think twice about it. I knew how much you enjoyed it, and I wanted to share that with you. I love you. After lunch, get back in the car and head over to Barnes.
So it was a little weird eating alone. I never eat alone. But it gave me a chance to call my aunt (who is like my mom now). She bawled as I read the letters to her, and I did again, too. So there I am, alone, eating sushi, crying. Such a wreck. But the problem was, I knew that letter 6 was going to be awful. Barnes is where my mom died last February.
Letter 6 - Barnes Hospital
Drive to the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes Hospital. Park wherever you can find a spot that will let you sit and think for a few minutes. I want you to think about the tough time that you and I made it through last February. I want you to realize that that is about as hard as it gets, and that I was by your side for the entire time. I want you to think about your mom. I have spent much of the last few months thinking about her, too. She was an amazing person, and I credit her for much of the strong, beautiful, independent woman that you see in the mirror today. I wish that I had the chance to ask her and your dad for your hand in marriage, but I have already promised her that I would take care of you. I know that they want nothing more than for you to be happy, and I will make sure that you are the happiest woman on the planet for the rest of your life. Now drive over to Forest Park. If you need to talk you can call me or Lori on your way over there. I love you, and I love how you love me.
HELLO WATERWORKS! Please turn off. Kthxbye.
Letter 7 - Forest Park Baseball Field
Just drive by the Forest Park baseball field. I'd rather if you didn't try to read this and drive at the same time, though. As you're driving, think about all of the hours you spent watching me and my friends play baseball at this place. I realize that you didn't necessarily love coming out to the games or going out to Calvary Church with us, but it meant a lot to me that you did. I really love playing sports and spending time with the people I care about, it's what will keep me young (for much longer than you expected). Now time to head over the SLU campus make your way to Gries Hall. I love you.
SLU is where we met, and the hilarious thing about this drivewas that I ran into him heading to the gym! He called me and was like "are you stalking me?" I said, "No, just opening letter 8."
Letter 8 - Gries Front Desk
Park on Laclede and put some change in the meter. Don't worry, I included some for you. Head up to the front desk of Gries Hal (yes, I still refuse to call it by its ridiculous full name.) Remember the first time Alicia introduced us during that summer. Remember how much you didn't like me at the time!!! I was a little intrigued by you, but I had absolutely no idea what was in store for us. Remember how much time you and I spent in this building, shaping our relationship into what it is today. All of the amazing experiences, and all of the challenges. I credit this environment for helping us to find each other. Remember the "it's official roses?" Head across Grand to the BSC. "(almost) official." I love you.
He had sent me a dozen red roses to the front desk when I was working to ask me out that just said "it's official" on the note. I always thought that he might propose by just putting a note saying "it's official" on a ring and leaving it for me. Haha!
Letter 9 - Busch Student Center
Walk into the BSC and walk past ABP. Remember when we used to grab lunch or dinner here? Walk down the hallway towards the student mailbox spaces. Walk to where Salsarita's once was...I'm not too sure what's there now. Either head inside or have a seat outside and reminisce about the excitement of that night we had dinner for my birthday. That was the first time that I realized that something special may have been happening between you and me. I was slowly falling for you. As you can probably tell by now, I am completely head over heels for you...and tonight is going to be very special! Come home and kiss me now. I love you.
Salsaritas was the first "date" I guess you could say. I took him there on his 21st birthday and paid in flex points. Super romantic. At this point, it's only about 2pm, and dinner wasn't until 6:30, so I called him and he said to head to the spa for a mani/pedi. Such a nice touch! I had a hot stone pedicure and a quick manicure before heading home to get ready for dinner.
Letter 10 - Dinner at Carmine's Steakhouse
Come back home and get ready for dinner. We have reservations for tonight, and we still have to get to Sarah's for poker so I can show you off! I will always love you.
The Actual Down-on-one-Knee Proposal - The Arch
We headed to Carmine's Steakhouse in downtown Saint Louis at 6:30. (Of course, we got there the minute Kansas lost!!) We had a fabulous dinner before heading out. Carmine's is about a block away from the Arch, so we walked over to the base of the Arch where he put his arms around me and told me that he wanted to do this in a place where I'd think about it every time I came back to Saint Louis and because it was the essence of where we were from. [He said a bunch of other really romantic things, but I just couldn't believe it was happening, so I can't remember ANYTHING else he said!] He got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I was bawling at this point, fell to the ground and put my arms around him, and said "yes, of course!!" He kind of just handed me the ring...or I guess I took it from him. He took it back and put it on my finger.
We're FINALLY engaged!!!