I’ve certainly dropped the ball when it comes to blogging! I’m months behind since I posted last. It’s very shameful, but with a new year comes new goals, so I’m going to make it a resolution to be better at blogging in 2014! I have so much to catch you up on, but I feel anything career related is secondary to a huge milestone in my personal life: I’m engaged! Clay and I have been dating for two years now and we began using the word “when” instead of “if” when it comes to talking about our future for a while now. But it wasn’t until before Christmas when Clay started talking about ways to ask my dad for my hand, he kept saying he wanted my parents blessing before he even began looking for a ring. Of course, I’m a very proactive person, so I arranged for him to come home to Virginia with me for a long weekend. I did that specifically so he could have an opportunity to ask my dad in person, so we could get the ball rolling on this whole marriage thing! Clay had grabbed one of my small camcorders before we left and said we should document our trip, I didn’t think twice about the suggestion. I said, “Yeah! Let’s bring the wireless mics too so we can have good audio for our documentary!”
When we were flying from Louisiana to Virginia, I was under the impression that we were on step 1 of getting engaged, at the very beginning of the process, but little did I know Clay had an engagement ring in his coat pocket the whole time. He even had to pull the TSA agent aside to let him know he had a ring in his pocket and didn’t want me to know. Of course I was oblivious and didn’t notice a thing! He kept suggesting we take out the camcorder and film things, little did I know he was covering up for the fact that he wanted the camcorder there to film the proposal. The second day we were there was Friday, that morning my dad announced he was taking Clay golfing. I had a feeling that golf outing would lead to Clay asking for my hand, so I tried to not ask too many questions. When they got back I noticed Clay acting a little anxious, but I tried to turn a blind eye to it, in case he hadn’t had the nerve to ask my dad yet. I wanted to stay out-of-the-way to make sure it happened! My mom was throwing a Christmas party and since I would only be in town for a few days, I invited some of my friends and Gamma Phi Beta sisters I hadn’t seen in a while, to see everyone at once and use that opportunity to introduce them to Clay. For much of the day, I spent the day cleaning the house and Clay spent the day in the kitchen helping my mom cook dinner and bake treats. We didn’t spend too much time together, so I didn’t notice him acting nervous or anything, which he later told me he was.
The evening rolled around and guests started to arrive. I was so distracted catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while that I didn’t notice anything strange or anybody acting off. My college roommate and sorority sister Jenn is in school for her masters degree and told me she had to leave to take an online quiz, so I made sure to take a picture with her. I told my mom that Jenn had to go and my mom’s face froze and said, “Jenn, you can’t leave!” and rushed her into the bathroom and shut the door. I took note that was pretty bizarre, but my mom can be quirky sometimes so I brushed it off. But when Jenn came out of the bathroom, she didn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave at all, she walked into the living room and sat down on a chair. I noted that was strange, but there were so many distractions. I was taking a selfie on my phone with one of my best friend’s 4-year-old daughter, when my friend Paola walked in with a huge box. My first thought was, “Oh crap! I didn’t get presents for anyone!” She told me it was a Christmas gift for me and how she appreciated our friendship over the last 12 or so years. I did notice that all of our guests were in the living room watching me open the present, I thought that was weird.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw my brother was pointing the camcorder at me, but again brushed it off. I opened the gift and saw it was a chalk board that said, “Does this ring make me look engaged?” Immediately, my hands started to get clammy and even shake, but I stared at it puzzled, “Am I missing an inside joke?” I asked myself. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder and as I spun around, my peripherals noticed everyone had an iPhone out and pointing at me. Clay was kneeling in front of me, I was so surprised and bewildered! Certainly, he couldn’t be proposing, we were on the first step of the process! Weren’t we? But then he took my hand, he started by saying, “Things don’t happen by chance. God works in mysterious ways and there is no way, it just so happened, a girl from Virginia came to Monroe and completely changed my life.”
Then he pulled out a ring, opened the box and said, “Will you marry me?” I gasped! “What?!” I thought in my head, wait is this happening? How did he have a ring already? Was everyone in on it? The only words escaping my lips as I was trying to figure it out was, “What? What?” I even wondered out loud, “Is this real life?” We had a very engaged crowd of people, clapping and ooing and ahhing at the right moments and while poor Clay had the box out waiting for my response, somebody behind me said, “Say yes!” Suddenly I snapped back into life and said, “Yes! Of course! Yes!” We kissed and the crowd hooped and hollered! I was still in shock though, I was just so surprised! I went around the room showing off my ring, then as I scanned the crowd I saw my nearly 90-year-old grandmother who I love dearly, my brother who just got off a 2 year church mission, my aunt, my sister and her family, my parents, friends of my parent’s who I’ve grown up with, my closest friends, most of whom were wiping away tears, and I looked at Clay, the love of my life, and realized what a special moment he had orchestrated for me to be in my childhood home surrounded by my family and friends, it meant so much. Suddenly a wave of emotion hit me and I looked at Clay and realized, he was mine and I muttered through tears, “I get to keep you forever!” He hugged me and kissed my forehead and I knew at that moment I was the luckiest girl in the world. That’s also when the water works started and didn’t really stop as it all sunk in.
Luckily, Clay made sure that everything was caught on camera, so just a few days after we put together this video to share with those who couldn’t be there, especially all of his (mine now) Louisiana family!
Once our good friend Kaylynn, who was watching our dogs for us, heard about our engagement she and her mom dressed up our dogs to celebrate with us from 1000 miles away! I almost cried when I saw the photo! Technology is so great, it connects people from any distance, even our dogs so they could be in on the occasion!
Here is the video of our proposal:
Of course we also had to share our happy news with our whole viewing area in the Ark-La-Tex!