5 Years Ago Today…

17 Mar

…was one of the happiest days of my life.

Let me start from the beginning.

The Mr. surprised me with a trip to Chicago over Spring Break our senior year of college. This girl was ecstatic! I’d never been to Chicago. Heck, I’d never been to a lot of places (nothing’s changed there), and to top it off we were flying. I’d never flown before. Ecstatic and scared. I hate planes.

Of course we’d been dating for a while and the thought that maybe something could happen on this little trip was sitting fore-front in my mind. I’d known since the day I met him that he was The One, and I’d only been dropping major hints about rings I liked for the last year and a half. Only. So, while packing for this trip, it only seemed natural that there were a few “Do you think’s?” and “Could this finally be it’s?”

Brandon was sneaky and never let on that anything could potentially happen. And believe that I was watching him like a hawk. He was very calm and collected during our talks about things we wanted to do and see and answered any question I threw his way. I purposefully opened random bags and stuck my hand in pockets to see if he’d freak out. No luck. And yes, I’m that girl that will ruin it for myself instead of waiting for the joy in the end. I HATE waiting. I’m not patient. I know this. I struggle with it. I’m working on it. Moving on.

Fast foward to Saturday, March 17th, 2007- We woke up Saturday morning with a plan to attend Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, the “dyeing of the river”, a visit to the Bean, and some sight seeing. It was such a beautiful day. A little chilly, but beautiful. And Chicago’s such a wonderful city. I could live there. Honestly, I could.

Later in the afternoon we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Brandon told me we were going out for a nice dinner. I didn’t think much about it until I was getting ready. In fact I think I was drying my hair when the realization hit me, “He planned this dinner. THIS could be it!” I still remember my wide-eyed look, staring at myself in the mirror.

I don’t know how I was still breathing at this point. I was so sure it was going to happen. I was a shaking mess, and I know it was nothing short of a miracle that I was able to walk in heels. Brandon grabbed his jacket and we turned to head out of the hotel room. Not before I took a quick survey of his pockets, though. Yes, I was looking for a ring box bulge. Pants pocket, jacket pocket, everywhere I could think to put a ring box. Nothing. My heart sank. “Got everything? You don’t want to forget anything. Wallet? Keys? Phone? Room card? Anything else you might need for the night?” <— I’ve never claimed to be smooth. Or sly. Brandon replied with a, “Yep. Let’s go.”

Even though it was literally only about 15 steps from our room to the elevator, it was the longest walk of my life. I remember waiting on the elevator and it taking all I had in me to keep from crying. I so badly wanted him to say, “Oh, forgot something. I’ll be right back.” But as the doors closed and the elevator went down, so did my hopes for this evening turning out to be the beginning of a new chapter in the rest of our lives together.

We ended up at the Navy Pier and walked around a bit. I decided to let go of  my disappointment and just enjoy this night out with Brandon. I honestly enjoyed looking at everything, walking around with Brandon, but I was starting to get pretty hungry. After asking where we were going to eat, Brandon points to a small cruise ship right in front of us. I was surprised, and curious, and eager. It seemed like fun! We walked on board and I was even more surprised. It was beautiful inside. Elegant table settings, big windows with views of Lake Michigan, soft music playing. It was all just very nicely done. We had a wonderful meal, complete with before dinner cocktails, appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts. A band played music and during the meal the ship left the dock and slowly cruised the lake, offering amazing views of Chicago’s sky line all light-up at night. Brandon kept commenting on how he wanted to go up to the observation deck to look at the view. I, on the other hand, knew it was going to be freezing, and kept wanting to put it off. I finally caved and told him we’d go up before dessert came. We enjoyed conversation, the music, and the food. Did I mention that already? It was just a great night. We finished dinner and had a little break before dessert so we headed to the observation deck. Thinking that it would be freezing was an understatement. Mid-March on Lake Michigan is not warm, people. I was instantly shaking with every fiber of my being. My little jacket was doing nothing to help the situation and I started cursing myself for deciding on the little black dress I was wearing. Brandon wrapped his arms around me to offer as much warmth as he could. The view was breathtaking, though. And it was so peaceful up there just Brandon and I and the water, enjoying the view. We took time to take it all in.

And then Brandon started talking, and I started thinking he was being weird. He was saying things like, “I’ve enjoyed our trip so far” and “I want to take more like this with you”.  I was thinking things like, “yeah, so have I” and “Yes, so do I, but why are you being so weird” and “what in the world is going on?” And then he says, “and in order for that to happen you need to be my wife”.


I spun around to look at him and ask him exactly what he meant by that, to find him on one knee holding a ring. And there were tears instantly. My vision was so blurry I couldn’t see a darn thing. Not him, not the ring, probably not even my own hand. I grabbed for him and there was lots of hugging. I was sobbing, mumbling. All I could do was mumble. Who does that when they’re proposed to? I’m pretty sure I never said ‘yes’, but I didn’t have to. And I didn’t see my ring until about 5 minutes later. We stayed on the deck, hugging, me crying, hugging some more, and shaking uncontrollably from the cold. After heading inside, I looked for the nearest bathroom to clear my face of the mascara streaks I was sure were there. I walked in, cleaned up my face, and finally got to see my ring. The man done good! But that wasn’t all that important. What was important was how in the world he snuck it by me!!!!!!! Where did he hide it?!?! I looked everywhere. Where did he have it all night?… I’m kidding. (He had it in his computer bag. The one place I never thought to look. And he took the ring out of the box and put it in his suit jacket pocket, so no ring box bulge. Duh!)… The most important thing to me was that we were able to finally start that chapter in our book! And the fact that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me! Squee!

The rest of the night went like this…dessert, wine, and dancing. But really, I just kept staring back and forth from my hand to my fiance! I was a lucky gal! And I consider myself even more lucky because the proposal didn’t go anything like this, “So, you wanna get hitched or something?” For that story, go here.

Post ring and tears.

 Five years ago today, I was made ridiculously happy. 


4 Responses to “5 Years Ago Today…”

  1. Tylie March 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    Such a fun story! I remember getting the call that spring break!!! And I think it is sweet that you cried so much! :)

  2. jodi March 18, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    Oh Afton! That is THE sweetest story ever! You two are adorable and I never knew how you got engaged. Loved how you wrote it!

  3. Brandon March 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Love you!

  4. Terri March 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    You guys are too cute!!

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