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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.”