WE’RE ENGAGED! Our Proposal Story

This post is about a month late, but we just got the photos back from the photographer who was at our proposal, and so now I feel like it’s the perfect time to hit publish on this post! (Not sure why they’re coming out blurry though – sorry about that!) I actually wrote this on the plane ride back to the States from Ireland. Our proposal story is going to be my favorite story to tell for a long time 🙂


We’re engaged!!!


If you didn’t know, then I’ll point you over to the post I shared on my Instagram.  I also saved a short version of the engagement story to my highlights with some really special pictures! But for now, I’m hitting the keyboard for the real version.


This is already sounding so cheesy. Can you tell I’m sleep deprived?


I want to start from the beginning for two reasons: 1) I never want to forget that day, and blogging about it is a great way for me to look back on everything. Also, 2) it’s a looooooong flight. So grab a snack and let me share our special day with you!!


To start, a little background for those who don’t know: Cam and I have been together for almost 8 years. Yup. 8! And if you’ve done the math, yes – that means we were 14 and 15 years old when we started dating.


On my first day at Cy Fair High School as a wide-eyed freshman, I walked into 3rd period Spanish and found only one familiar face – a friend from middle school. As I sat with her swapping stories about summer travels and comparing class schedules, a cute boy walked in. I was immediately smitten, and I’d love to say the rest was history, but it was a bit more complicated than that. (Winking emoji.)


I had a boyfriend, I didn’t even know Cam’s name, and he was a sophomore. But after a couple months, a Facebook friendship resulting in several back and forth IMs, and an unfortunate (or fortunate?) breakup with my old boyfriend, Cam was asking me out outside of Mrs. Cordt’s room before the first bell.


And then the rest was history.


Fast-forward to when I was standing in St. Anne’s rose garden, staring at Cam down on one knee, and the next 7 years briefly flashed before my eyes. Homecomings, football games, Cam tutoring me in Pre-Cal, applying to colleges, eating microwave pizza in the dorm room basement, traveling together for the first time, tons of Zoe’s cookies, etc. etc. and then there we were.


Ready for forever.


It sounds simple when I write it out, but living it was a lot of twists and turns, holding-your-breath-moments, happiness, sadness, and everything in between. It’s a lot to do life with someone, but it’s really great when you’ve found the one who makes life so fun.


Cam and I have always wanted to get married. Always. We both knew it a long time ago, but of course – we were wayyy too young, and knew it was best to focus on studying for midterms and learning how to cook rice without burning it. After college, I’d say we were pretty antsy to get engaged. (As two people are who have been together for 7 years and are still stupid in love.) We are each other’s people/lobsters/other halves, and it only feels right to be together.


I got sick around the time Cam graduated college (he’s a year older), and while he began to navigate the waters of post-grad/new-job life, I sought help for my eating disorder. It was a trying time for us both, but we caught a glimmer of hope as I began to get better and stronger that summer. Unfortunately, I had a relapse in October, and got sicker than I’ve ever been. (A different story – but you can read about that here.) Slowly but surely, everything about our future (and mine specifically) got blurry. Like opening your eyes underwater and not being able to see the edge of the wall. I was fumbling through each day – just hoping to make it on to the next. For a while, we weren’t sure if I would need more intensive care, and the idea of inpatient treatment was floated around. If I went, it would mean putting school and graduation on hold, and I’d have to quit my internship (which I was really hoping would become a full-time job). Even though my doctor and the rest of my treatment team felt it would be best to go to treatment, I decided to work hard in outpatient. Thankfully, I pushed through and really hustled in recovery for a few months to weight restore and get better. I graduated, accepted a full-time job with Mad Meg, and Cam and I were walking hand-in-hand through the “adult” world.


Going to Ireland was something else we’d always wanted. Back after his sophomore year, Cam studied abroad at University of College Dublin. He fell in love with Ireland and the city of Dublin, and his eyes lit up when he told me all about his travels. I knew I wanted to go some day.


Having an eating disorder makes it physically impossible to really travel. When I was really in it, I restricted so much that I barely ate throughout the day – and what I did eat was “safe” and “clean”. Most things I wouldn’t be able to get in an airport terminal or a foreign country. I was constantly dizzy and light headed and my migraines were raging war against my entire body.


So, Ireland – like an engagement – was put on hold until I could get better.


In March, when I was just a couple weeks into recovering from my relapse, we went to Boston. We’ll always look back on this trip as being so special as it was incredibly life-giving and played a huge part in my recovery. Getting out of my normal schedule and having to eat what was available really helped me get past some restriction and rigid food rules. Towards the end of our trip to Boston, the wanderlust set in and we began to think of the best time to finally make the pilgrimage to Ireland.


Early fall seemed perfect – enough time to work and save up after graduation and get settled in my position at Mad Meg. The business at work with a couple projects on Cam’s end would wrap up or at least settle down, and we could pack up and log off for a few days time. (Plus, I was much healthier!) We bought the tickets, made the Airbnb reservations, and then on September 21st, our out of offices were on and we were off!


The first day there felt like sleepwalking. We were jet lagged and confused, but we wandered around in awe at all the sights and sounds. We stayed at the Iveagh for the first two nights and were in a great spot to hop over to St. Stephen’s Green, the Ivy Gardens, and Grafton Street. (I’ll be doing a post on all that we did and saw soon!) Before we finally crashed into bed that night, Cam and I talked about plans for the next day. That was a little odd, because we’re pretty spontaneous on trips. We usually keep a running list of things we may like to see/do/and eat, and then just see what we’re feeling each day. But for the next day (Sunday), we planned for Mass at 11 at St. Theresa’s, then lunch at Hatch & Sons, and then wandering around a few parks and Dublin Castle.


We started the day at Café Bliss (fitting name) for breakfast just a short walk from our hotel. And then Mass was absolutely beautiful! For lunch at Hatch and Sons I had the best salad with free range chicken and brown Irish soda bread croutons, followed by the best brownie. After that, we caught a taxi to head to St. Anne’s Park just a bit out of the city.


I’m sure some of you are wondering if I was expecting it. I made myself – for months – not think about getting engaged. I knew Cam wanted to surprise me, so I never tried to sit and wonder “when is it?” I will say, things were a bit fishy as we got to the park 🙂


Cam was walking slow and on his phone a lot, typing. I figured he was just trying to get us to the spot to see the roses. The park is pretty big itself, but once you make it towards the inner ring, that’s where the rose gardens are. And that’s where Cam wanted a “selfie” of us since we didn’t have a lot of the two of us. “Maybe we’ll even ask someone to take it of us!” he had said.


As we made it closer to the rose gardens, I noticed two girls who looked around our age, maybe a bit younger, begin following behind us. If we stopped to look at a flower or point out a dog, they lingered. That was when I really started to suspect something….they each had cameras 🙂


Cam was definitely acting weird by this point – nervously squeezing my hand, checking his phone, walking slow, searching for the perfect “picture” spot. (All the awnings were exactly the same! I was like “It doesn’t matter?!!??”)


Then Cam asked if I wanted to take off my jacket for the picture. I was wearing a big, oversized blush pink “jumper” over my dress since it was really chilly and windy! So that was weird because normally Cam wouldn’t ask for me to shiver in my boots just for a selfie “_

As soon as Cam turned to me and took my hands, I knew we were definitely not just taking a picture! The girls who had been following us started snapping pictures, not bothering to act aloof anymore. Then Cam spoke the sweetest words to me and I of course started crying because this was it.


I don’t think I can explain that moment. I think it must be really special for everyone and anyone. No matter who is standing across from you, no matter what they’re saying to you, no matter how long you’ve known each other or whether you expected it or not. It’s a threshold from the now into the forever and as you’re standing right there you can see clearly in both directions and you also know you’ll never share that exact moment ever again – and it’s so happy.


I said yes, of course. (Really. I said “Yes! Of course!”) Then, Cam put the ring on my finger and said “Oh, by the way this is Ayesha,” with a gesture towards the photographer who had come with her sister. Cam had found her on Instagram and asked her to photograph the moment. Through our tears, we smiled for a few more pictures. I remember thinking “I make shot lists as part of my job and I have no idea what pictures I should ask for right now, I just want to squeeze Cam!!!”


After thanking Ayesha for being a part of our day, we made our way out of the park and I demanded Cam tell me everything about what he had been hiding for the past several months!


Cam and I had picked out my ring in November of the previous year – Almost 11 months ago!! I had never seen the ring all together, but I picked out the diamond with its shape and size and the band size and color. But then I got sick, and we put the whole thing on hold for a while like I said. Seeing the ring I fell in love with almost a year ago on my finger was so special! Cam told me that the ring was finished in January. I thought back to that time – I was turning 22, I was so malnourished and sick – in the absolute worst of my eating disorder. In the next month, I’d lose more weight and drop around 90 pounds. My heart would almost stop and all of my dreams would grow fuzzy. It was sad to think that Cam had something so special to share with me and I almost missed it. I felt so thankful for recovery right then. I felt so thankful for my fiancé who helped me so much to get better.

He told me when he talked to my Dad (over two weeks before) and who he had told that it was going to happen (Angela, my sister Caroline, our friend Jill who took me to get my nails done the week before, a couple people at Cam’s work and some other friends.) I kept shaking my head in disbelief and staring at my ring. It was just all around amazing.


And then we did what Cam and Cristina would do on a beautiful day – we went to the grocery store.


We loved wandering around Lidl while we were there. (Sister store to Aldi.) It felt so us to wander up and down the aisles looking at the produce – grabbing water and cookies and chocolate. We spent a couple more hours exploring the city in all our giddiness before heading back to the hotel. Cam hadn’t told my mom that he was going to propose (though she definitely suspected it!), so he wanted her to be the first person we’d call to tell the news. We Facetimed her and Caroline in our hotel room, followed by Cam’s family, all his brothers, my family, and my Mad Meg ladies. Then we headed out for a fancy dinner at the Ivy!


We had fancy (strong) cocktails and expensive dishes and couldn’t stop smiling. After filling our bellies, we skipped on home to call more friends and didn’t go to bed until midnight!


But oh yeah – I’m forgetting a big part! We didn’t post it anywhere for almost an entire week! Seconds after it happened, Cam said to me “I think it would be fun if we waited to post.” I was like “sure!!!” I thought he meant a few hours or until after dinner. But he said he was thinking Saturday!!! At first I thought he was crazy, but then the thought of having uninterrupted time to let it soak in with my new fiancé sounded really sweet, so I agreed. With the few people we told, we asked them not to post yet. The next morning, we got to head out on the rest of our trip – our “engagement-moon”  🙂


We spent the next week exploring Ireland as newly engaged people. Happy, in love, and just giddy over everything. The trip was amazing and something we’ll never forget, but we were itching come Saturday night to finally post and let everyone know! The response has been so amazing and sweet. We sometimes forget how long we’ve been together and how many people we’ve gotten to meet along the way. The kids who sat with us at lunch in high school, my sister’s old friends, old friends from church, girls who have been reading my blog since 2014….getting to share that with all of them – all of you – was amazing.


Thanks for making things so special, Cam.


Thanks for loving me.


Thanks for loving us, everyone!