March 23, 2019
Dan was home for the weekend. At the time, he and I had taken our relationship long distance as he was working in Georgia about three hours away. Our time together was more valuable than ever before. I was looking forward to seeing him and having a fun weekend together. That Saturday, he told me that some of our friends were going out in Riverside (Jacksonville) and invited us to join them. We decided that we would go get a late breakfast at our favorite local spot, Metro Diner in San Marco, beforehand. During breakfast, he told me that our friends had changed their minds and wanted to go out to the Jacksonville Beach area instead. So, changing directions, we drove back towards that area of Jacksonville. On the way there, we were getting ready to pass the exit for UNF, which is the university that Dan and I both graduated from together. He surprised me by turning in there, and told me that he wanted to go for a walk at the nature trails since it was such a nice day out. The nature trails are special to us because it holds so many memories of getting to know each other there. When we first started dating, we spent a lot of time out there just walking and talking about anything and everything. It had been a while since we had been back, so I was looking forward to being there with him again. We got out of the car and began walking, holding each other's hand. He took me to this beautiful clearing by the lake, and he stopped me. He looked at me and said, "You know we're going to get married one day, right?" and I replied, "Well, yeah, I know that." Then, he said "Good, because I have a big question to ask you." He got on one knee, and asked me to marry him. That moment is honestly such a blur for me but I remember being overwhelmed with pure happiness. I couldn't contain my smile, or my tears. I said, "One thousand percent, YES!" The ring was absolutely stunning. I was so happy I didn't even notice that he had hired a photographer to be there to capture the moment! After taking a few pictures together, our photographer left and we sat there for a few moments, just taking it all in. Time stood still in those moments. What I didn't know, was that the surprises weren't over yet. After a while, I learned that we were, in fact, NOT going out to the beach! We went back to our apartment and when we arrived both of our families were there to celebrate with us. They surprised us with champagne, cake, and gifts, and we will always treasure those hugs and that time spent with the people we love most. We facetimed all of our good friends to share the news with them, and went out to dinner later that evening all together as a family. The day could not have been more perfect!