How We Met
We were freshman at Huntingdon College. I was from Cut Bank, Montana, and knew no one, and he was from Tupelo, Mississippi, and was already the best tennis player at HC. In late fall of 2011, I was in the dining hall when I saw Zac sitting at a table with the rest of the tennis team. He had really long shaggy hair, an infectious smile, and a really loud laugh. He was (and still is) the cutest guy I had ever seen. I instantly had a crush on him, but like a celebrity crush. You know how you crush on Ryan Gosling with full knowledge that nothing is ever going to happen? That was the kind of crush I had. I ended up becoming really close friends with a few of his suite-mates, which slowly led Zac and me to a great friendship. We dated people throughout college, and even dated each other’s friends. When those relationships ended, we started spending more time together. One night during our first semester of senior year, after binge-watching our fourth or fifth show together, I asked him what he wanted to do now. I turned my head, and he kissed me! We dated the remainder of our undergrad. The honeymoon period abruptly ended when I started law school in Birmingham, and he started PT school in St. Augustine, FL, 405 miles away.
For two and a half years we saw each other on the occasional weekend, Christmases, and almost a week in October of 2016. We drove to see my mom who had just been given news that she had one year to live. He helped me keep it together and smile for my mom. When he left the room, she leaned in, looked me directly in the eye and told me not to let him go, that he was my person. She had always made it very clear that she loved Zac, and hoped we’d end up together. She stole moments when he would leave to get her ice cubes or go to the restroom to tell me what she wanted to see me wear on my wedding day or what kind of ceremony she imagined. My mom and I were best friends, and she knew me better than anyone, so I promised that we would go dress shopping and plan as much as we could in the year we had left. We all prayed together, and then Zac and I had to return to our classes. Zac and I started to think about just eloping at a local church so she would be able to see. It seemed crazy, but we were considering any option. But then a year was cut short, and only 20 days after hearing the news, my mom entered eternal life. Zac helped me, and continues to help me heal every day. Through all of this it became crystal clear that Zac is exactly who I am supposed to spend my life with.
how they asked
So we were 405 miles apart for two and a half years. That ended on December 7, 2017 when Zac became a doctor of physical therapy. I drove 8 hours to St. Augustine in the middle of my finals week to watch him walk across the stage. While I was there his mother (semi-forced) me to join her during spa day. I hate spa days. I had to study, and I begged Zac to talk to his mom and explain that she should just let me be. He said, “Just get manicures then! It will appease her and you’ll be able to get back to study.” I fought him a little, but it was clear that his mother was not taking no for an answer. So we got our gel manicures, and then went to the graduation. It was a great time with his family, and my dad was able to join us. Fast forward to my last final. I finished my final and Zac and I drove from Birmingham to his family’s home in Tupelo, Mississippi, where we were spending Christmas.
My first day in Tupelo, his family told me that we were going out to dinner, and his mom said that I should put some makeup on. That was a little weird. She NEVER told me to put makeup on, but I put some on anyway. As Zac and I were driving around Tupelo we stop at the Tupelo Humane Society. Zac had told me he wanted to get me a dog. My family always had dogs, and they make me happier than anything in the world. When we stopped, I was shocked. I had no idea that we were getting a dog right now. I was so excited! Zac’s friend helps run the shelter there, and she was working so she offered to give us a tour. As we walk into the building, a photographer is standing there and says, “Thank God! Please tell me y’all are looking to adopt! I’m trying to do a story on the new shelter being built (which is 100% actually happening) and I wanted to include photos of people adopting, but no one has come in today!”
We tell him that we are definitely looking. He gets our names, and we start looking at dogs. We eventually find the perfect little dachshund/terrier mix puppy. We are signing the paperwork, and Zac’s friend comes out, and the puppy now had a collar with a little pouch attached. I turn around, and Zac is on his knee, saying and stumbling through my obnoxiously long full name, “Amanda Lynne B-butterworth Wineman, will you marry me?” I was stunned, and I went from being overly excited and talkative to being speechless. I said yes, and now we have the beginnings of our perfect family.