Remember when Facebook Notes were a thing? Hahaha, I do. I bet it would be hard to find someone around my age or younger who doesn’t have at least one note buried somewhere on their profile, mostly likely with a title like “My A to Z Favorites,” or “Sixteen Random Facts About Me,” or “My Detective/Spy/Stripper/Superhero Names.” (If you want an image of late-teen Laura, feel free to take a stroll on my Facebook profile and have yourself a good laugh.)
All things considered though, Facebook Notes gave me an outlet (albeit, a small one) for my writing. And now, because of Facebook Notes, I will forever have access to a very excited 21-year-old Laura’s version of the proposal story, written just five days after it happened while it was still fresh and new.
That “Best. date. ever.” I wrote about occurred four years ago today.
And if you’ve never heard the story before, then buckle up, buttercup: it’s about to get super romantic up in here.
THE SETTING: the lakefront at Wintersmith Park in Ada, Oklahoma (Romantic Capital of America, obviously). It is Friday, July 15, 2011, around 6:00 pm. Cue Disney-esque storytelling music.
“It was a warm, sunny evening– ”
Okay, no. It was HOT. Like, we were both sweating. A lot. So much perspiration.
“It was a hot, sweaty but nonetheless lovely evening. Daniel and Laura were all set to hang out after a long busy week for a Friday night picnic date. The plan was for Laura’s brother Corey to drive Laura to the park after working at Falls Creek, then drive home to Perkins for the weekend, and Laura and Daniel would follow after their picnic. Daniel looked very cute in jeans and a striped shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Laura, who barely had time to shower after working on an outdoor ropes course all day, looked like a homeless person with air-dried wavy hair, rushed minimal makeup, rolled-up jeans, and a horribly bright orange t-shirt from OBU’s last Whole Milk 2-Mile Run, which YES in fact DID feature a silhouette of a person throwing up on it.”
Lololololol….oh man. If I could insert the “laughing/crying” emoji here, I 100% would.
I guess in retrospect, I probably should have been prepared. First of all – Daniel asked me a month in advance what I was doing on that particular Friday. Not suspicious at all. But I didn’t think too much about it because he would probably plan his Fridays five years from now if he could. (Actually, he already has. We’re going on a date to Buffalo Wild Wings on July 17th, 2020.) Regardless, he told me he wanted to go on a picnic! Before that day, we had only been on one picnic, and that one was very special to us. It wasn’t for an anniversary or anything, but it was a really meaningful time we got to spend together, and a lot of growth in our relationship took place there. Although Ada may not be the Romantic Capital of America, it’s halfway between the towns we lived in while dating and engaged. Nearly all of our dates – affectionately dubbed “Ada dates” – happened there. He could have asked me anywhere, but I love that he asked me there.
After Corey and I finished work at Falls Creek that day, he took me to the park to meet Daniel. I remember pulling up next to Daniel’s car, watching him lean against his car door as he waited for me to get out. He hung the picnic basket over his arm and smiled at me, and I thought, Gosh, he looks so nice. And I look so…hmm. Corey drove off and we walked down to the spot where we picnicked before, a pretty little stretch of grass right in front of the lake.
We laid the blanket out under the tree, watching the ducks investigate our every move. Daniel said he tried to time it perfectly so that the sun was going down as we were eating. We watched the water and the sky and fed the cute little ducklings who were literally a foot and a half away from us, just staring into our souls and begging for crumbs. In the back of my mind, I wondered if he was going to propose, but I decided he wasn’t. I had an inkling that he was going to talk to my parents that weekend when we went home after our date, and I knew he wouldn’t ask me without asking them first. I knew it wasn’t happening that night, and I was okay with it.
We talked about life and work and us, nothing we hadn’t talked about before. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life, what I wanted to be, what I wanted my life to be about. I answered and then asked him the same. We lay back on the blanket and looked up at the tree as we talked. He asked me why I chose him, and I told him. Then he told me why he chose me. It brought little tears to my eyes because it was so sweet and because I knew he really meant it, and we sat up to watch the last bit of sunset fade behind the horizon. He sat behind me and I leaned back against his chest.
He told me that he loved me. He had told me before, but never quite like that. His tone was so tender – I’d never heard him like that before. This was memorable enough because Daniel is about as tender as a cattle prod. (Huge rabbit-chase moment right now – we were talking about baby names about a year ago, and I told him I liked one particular name I found for a girl because the name meant tender. His response: “………..like a steak?” *facepalm*)
Anyway. Back to the mush.
In the 6 years I’ve known him, I can count on one hand the number of times his voice has been that gentle. I felt so safe with him. Treasured. Appreciated. Loved.
Then he said, “I have a question for you before we go.”
I was oblivious. “What?”
His arm came around in front of me with the box and he opened it.
“Will you marry me?”
My heart stopped.
I could barely stammer out “OH MY GAAAAAASH” before I started laughing and crying at the same time. I remember thinking, “Darn, he’s not in front of me on one knee and can’t see my face,” but that thought was immediately dominated by another thought: “Oh my gosh am I glad he can’t see my ugly-cry face right now or he might change his mind.”
I finally managed to nod yes, and he slipped the most beautiful ring on my finger (I wouldn’t take my eyes off of it ever again).
Suddenly, a third thought struck me.
“Did you ask my parents??”
Daniel proceeded to tell me that he had already talked to my parents a month before. We had been in Perkins visiting my family, and Corey and I needed to go to the bank to deposit our Falls Creek checks. Daniel said he would just stay at the house, at which point, they told me later, my parents knew that he was about to ask them if he could marry me. Halfway to the bank, Corey got a phone call and answered it with, “Hey, Daniel!” *Double facepalm* Instantly, I wondered why he called Corey instead of me. And then Corey goes, “Yeah, we can do that. Is something wrong?” By this time, I’m kind of worried, like…is the house on fire? Is Daniel sick and doesn’t want me to know? But no – Daniel had been telling Corey, “Dude, you gotta stall, you gotta come up with something to keep her away for a little while longer, because I’m talking to your parents!”
Let me take a moment to point out – both sets of grandparents lived within 5 minutes; there was an antique store across the street from the bank, a clothing store down the street, and several restaurants like Sonic and Subway nearby…and Corey’s solution to keep me away from the house was for us to go to the drugstore. Haha, what a guy. :) It worked though – I never suspected a thing!
That day 4 years ago was such an sweet day, and I love that all I have to do to remember it is look at my left hand. I took this picture last week when I went in to get my ring cleaned – it blows me away that they can make it look so shiny and brand new every time! And every time I get my ring cleaned, it reminds me of how important it is to polish up and maintain our friendship too. Cheesy…I know…get over it.
Daniel: Besides my highest calling to worship God, being married to you is the most important and most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done. I think it’s impossible for me to love you more, but every year that goes by proves me wrong. Thanks for meaning what you said when you promised to stick with me at my best and my worst. And even if you weren’t joking and my ring really is cubic zirconia…I guess I’ll stick with you too. :)