Friday, January 4, 2013

The Day I Said Yes to My Best Friend

It was December 7, 2012. My Friday morning started out like any other. The only difference was that I had a text from Braden, which wasn't completely out of the ordinary, but it was a witty little poem asking me to FCA's tacky sweater shag that evening.

"I love you Jess, what more can I say
I guess I'll show you in a romantic way
I'll pick you up around 5:45
So that we can celebrate all the good in our lives
Dress nice because we will start our evening
at one of your favorite restaurants in Greenville
But this is just the start of our night,
Will you go to the tacky sweater shag tonight?"

I got excited and spent the day trying to figure out where we could possibly be going in Greenville. I have quite a few favorites and I couldn't settle on one! After class I started getting ready for our date that night. I had trouble picking out an outfit because I had no idea where we were going. I settled on a black and white dress with a red scarf that my wonderful friend Brinley let me borrow.

As promised, Braden showed up on time with 20 beautiful red roses in hand. He has only brought me flowers on one other occasion, our one year anniversary. He handed the flowers to me and said happy 20 months. At that point I didn't see any red flashing signs, because he is quite the romantic anyway. 

We got in the car and headed to downtown Greenville. We chatted like normal on the drive, but he mentioned that he had some exciting news for me once we sat down to dinner. Naturally, all I could think of was what this "exciting news" could be, and why did it have to wait until dinner? We pulled up at Nantucket Seafood Grill, one of my absolute favorite restaurants that I've only been to one other time on a date with Bray. I knew it was a fancy date night when we had the valet park the car. We were seated by the window where we could see people ice skating, it was such a beautiful backdrop for the evening.

We went all out, ordering an appetizer of crab cakes, huge seafood entrees, wine, and dessert. As soon as we ordered our drinks he finally found an appropriate time to tell me the exciting news. Braden has been co-oping at BMW Manufacturing for the past year, and that night actually marked his final day as a co-op. That was huge news and extremely exciting. The only time we had been to Nantucket prior to this night was right after he got his first pay check at BMW, how fitting right?

After dinner we were stuffed and felt the need to walk it off a little. We walked past the ice skaters and ran into Santa Claus, yes, I did say Santa Claus. I've got to admit that running into SC himself and seeing his sleigh made my night. 

We headed back to the car because it was so cold outside. I had no idea where our next stop was, but as soon as he pulled up at McPherson park downtown I knew something special was about to happen. This park is special to us, because this is where we first said I love you on July 15, 2011. At this point, I was thinking "okay, maybe it's about to happen here" thinking I had figured out what was going on. We got on the swings and he asked me if I remembered what happened there. I said of course, it's the exact place where he told me he loved me. Right after that moment, he jumped up and got on the rocking horse and pretended to be a jockey.. we can only be serious for so long!

We started walking around and after a few more minutes we went back to the car. I felt a little disappointed because I thought I had solved the mystery. I was sure that he was about to propose in the park. Well, I was wrong. When we got back in the car he asked if I wanted to head to the tacky sweater shag. With a disappointing sigh I said "sure." The drive back to Clemson was a little quieter, my mind was wandering trying to figure out when on earth he was going to ask me to marry him.. and the fact that I did not want to go to the tacky sweater shag!

We pulled up at the Madren Center, which has held many FCA dances during our relationship. I didn't think much about the Christmas lights on the dance floor, because I figured the Madren Center had held an event there. I'm one of caution, so when we started walking towards the dance floor framed by lights I thought we were somewhere we shouldn't be. He plugged his iPod into the speakers that had been set up earlier in the day. I figured out then that he had already planned this, and it was no coincidence that the dance floor was set up for two.

We shagged and danced to "our songs," three of them. As soon as Rascal Flatts "When the Sand Runs Out" started playing, he started dancing much slower. At this point, I could tell he was getting a little emotional. The song says "I want to be running when the sand runs out," so he asked me, "Do you want to keep running with me?" At that moment he dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was overtaken by surprise, excitement, and emotions so those few moments are a blur to me. All I can remember saying is "IS THIS REAL, is this really happening?!"

As soon as he proposed, my two wonderful friends Annabeth and Jen came out of the bushes, they had been taking pictures the entire time! Braden grabbed my hand and we ran towards the lake. Before I knew it, fireworks started going off over the lake. Talk about a perfect moment, I was still in such utter shock that it was hard to pay attention to the beautiful display going on in front of us! All I could do was look up and smile at him so big, I still had to keep asking "is this real?!"

We danced for a song or two and enjoyed the giddiness that had overtaken us for the past few moments. Once we got our bearings he said that we could leave. I wanted to call my mom, but he convinced me that my sweet friend Brin would want to see me call her and hear my moms reaction over the phone. Obviously not thinking clearly, I agreed, under normal circumstances I would've thought that was kind of random. We pulled into where Brinley lives and Braden started distracting me, he kept telling me to look at my ring and telling me about it. When I looked up we had pulled up to the clubhouse. I don't remember what he was saying, it's still all a blur, but the next thing I knew he had opened the door and all of our family and friends yelled SURPRISE!!!

We spent the remainder of the night celebrating with friends, taking pictures, and basking in the fact that we were finally engaged. I floated on cloud nine all night long, I hardly slept.

The moment I woke up I looked at my hand, it still didn't feel real.

It STILL doesn't feel real. I am marrying my best friend, the biggest blessing I could ever ask for!

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