Jefferson and Joelle have been together since fall of 1996 when they were in 9th and 11th grades. (Well, okay, not the whole time...)  On December 23rd, the day before Joelle's birthday, when he proposed to her, she was truly surprised.  It shows in this photo, don't you think?



Then a few weeks later on January 19th, the newly engaged couple and their parents met to celebrate the upcoming union.


How did Jefferson and Joelle get engaged?  Of course they each have their own version.


We had been dating for a long time so I knew I had to surprise her.  A few days before our trip to Australia I got the keys to Joelle’s apartment from her rommate Ann.  Over several hours I placed 3x5 inch cards throughout the apartment with notes on them.  Each note had hint or puzzle about where the next note could be found, and some of them had a short note or hint about the “birthday present” she would get at the end of the search.  There were maybe 30 cards or so placed all over the apartment, but the final 10 were all in the same room so I could keep her there while I set up in another room.  As she read the final 10 cards, each one got progressively more serious.  While they still had hints about where to the next card, the messages got longer and talked a little about our past but even more about our future.  The final card told her to shout “are you ready?” because while she was reading the final cards, I was in the other room uncovering and spreading dozens and dozens of daisies (her favorite flower) all over her room. 


Being a Christmas Eve baby, there never is a true birthday celebration. Knowing that, I volunteered myself for a triple shift at work. Jefferson responded by saying that we would celebrate the day before after I would get done with my shift that day. However, he was going to need to go back home for his family’s Christmas right after we celebrated. At the time, I had begun training for a new position, so I was quite stressed out and I was trying to cram too many things in.

December 23rd came quickly. I worked my direct care shift and came down stairs to where I live to find that Jefferson had gotten in somehow. I instantly new he had done something nice. He isn’t one for surprises. I thought he had simply prepared something very sweet for my birthday. He handed me some balloons that had daisies on them with “Happy Birthday” across. That gesture confirmed my thoughts of a birthday surprise. I was frazzled from a long day at work and I knew I still had another meeting that would most likely interrupt us if we started to celebrate. We waited for my next meeting for quite sometime and came to the conclusion that they weren’t going to show. So, he handed me the balloons again and pointed to a small note card tied at the bottom. I didn’t even get a chance to glance at the note before the door knocked.  The persons for the meeting had arrived. The meeting seemed to drag on and on. I knew Jefferson was waiting for me and that we needed to get going back to Annandale to meet up with his family.

Eventually, I came back and we were able to begin. (There were a few more glitches but they are not worth noting other than there were more than one or two interruptions before we could complete our celebrating). He again handed me the balloons with the note at the bottom. He had created a game of clues to lead me around to a prize. I was very excited. I knew he had put some work into his idea. Yet, at the same time, my brain was not into the hunt because of what was going on with work. It wasn’t until six or seven cards in (of over thirty) that I realized what an absolutely amazing job he had done in putting together a birthday present for me. Along the way, I was laughing at times and crying at times. I mostly found myself in awe of the situation. As I got farther into the notes, they became sweeter and more serious towards the end. Jefferson went through the hunt with me at the beginning. He needed to give me hints – many hints as I didn’t always catch on too fast to his clues. Then towards the end, he disappeared. I assume he went to use the toilet and thought nothing of it…until the last card. I found myself in tears, sitting on my rocking chair, not knowing how to respond to the amazing things I was reading. The last part of the note told me to ask if he was “ready.” It took me some time to do it because I was in tears but I did it. I was then suppose to go to the other room to meet him after he had replied by saying “yes” and requesting I come into where he was. I slowly walked to the door of the room and stood outside for two full minutes before I reached for the door to open it. My mind was racing but it was no match for the pace that my heart was racing. Most of me still thought it that he was going to just give me a birthday present. I really had no idea what he was preparing on the other side of the door. I slowly opened the door and there he was kneeled down before me with dozens of my most favorite flower all around him. He began to speak. Within just a few words, he got choked up and then I lost it too. When, he finished asking me if I would marry him, I knelt down to him with an embrace and replied, “It would be my honor.”