How We Met
Joe always tells me that he’s known who I was years before we officially met. However, we both specifically remember a time about 10 years ago where we first locked eyes. We were about 15 years old and at a golf match with our schools. It started raining heavily so all the teams went into the clubhouse and I couldn’t help but notice Joe from across the room. We both locked eyes and smiled at each other and I was left wondering who he was because I felt a spark from all the way across the room. At some point, Joe found me on Facebook sometime later since his cousins were close friends with my brother, but I never put two and two together that it was the boy from the golf course.
A couple of years went by and we never reconnected until I posted something on Facebook and Joe reached out to me and said that he saw me in the mall a few days prior and that he thought I was looked so pretty. After that we talked for hours on end, days actually, and it was going really well. He wanted to take me to a baseball game and even had the perfect date planned out. However, I recently got out of a relationship and I didn’t want to dive into anything serious at the moment and I could see where this was going. So instead of telling him that, I (very meanly) “ghosted” him for about 2 weeks (he still brings that up to this day lol). Although I did that, Joe kept messaging me and kept asking me to go on a date with him. He reminded me of how great our connection was and that he didn’t want to lose something so rare. Eventually, I agreed with him and we went on our first date, which we agreed to something a little more casual than a baseball game.
Joe and I are 6 months apart, so at the time I was the only one with a drivers license since I was 17 and he was 16, and it a very new driver’s license at that. I picked him up and we went to the mall first and after that, the plan was to go see Scream 4 at the movies. The date was going so well and we were chewing each other’s ear off so much so that when I went to pull into a parking spot at the movies, I was distracted and lightly tapped the car to the side of me. I immediately got out and luckily there was no damage to either car, but I was so freaked out being such a new driver and that this was my first “accident.” I was so upset and didn’t want to go to the movies anymore so Joe and I just sat in the car while I calmed down and collected myself. Joe immediately took this as an opportunity to awkwardly hug me and comfort me and then he suggested we just go back to his house and watch a movie instead. So that’s exactly what we did. Joe put on “She’s Out Of My League” and during the movie was when we shared our first kiss. I couldn’t be happier that the boy who gave me butterflies from across the room at 15 years old didn’t give up on me. We also made it to a baseball game shortly after our first date, which is where I asked him to prom written out on a baseball.
The rest is history and here we are 10 years after we first locked eyes and 8 years after we first started dating sharing a home and engaged to be married. Joe and I have been through everything together including all the ups and downs of adolescence and adulthood. We went through some of high school together, our college years together, he’s supported me through nursing school and I’ve supported him through law school, and everything in between. With all our mistakes, achievements, and failures, we’ve always found strength and support in each other.
Back when we first met, we really were only just kids. Just two kids in love not knowing what the world had in store for us or where we were headed. We’ve both grown and changed so much over the years, but luckily everything that we’ve been through has taught us one very important lesson: although time keeps moving and the world keeps changing, the one constant and solid thing that will never change is the love and friendship we have in each other.
How They Asked
It was our 8 year anniversary and Joe and I had plans to go to a rooftop for happy hour and then a nice dinner. We spent the morning and afternoon in our apartment together until it was time to start getting ready. I went in the shower and when I finished and turned it off it was eerily quiet. I called out to Joe with no response. I dried myself off and walked out of the bathroom still calling for him. I was very confused when I found a laptop on our dining table with a note “Play Me ❤️.” What started playing was a long video montage of pictures and videos of us throughout the years with love songs playing in the background. I started crying because it was so beautiful. After the montage, a video of Joe cut to the screen. He gave me detailed instructions about a scavenger hunt that he planned for me for our anniversary. He told me that there will be 8 clues for the 8 years that we’ve been together and the one rule was that I was not allowed to contact him during this time or ask him any questions.
Clue #1: In this video, he left me with my first clue, which led me to my best friend Alyssa’s house around the block. When I got to Alyssa’s house, she told me that she would be my chauffeur for the scavenger hunt, which was a relief to hear since I didn’t want to do this alone.
Clue #2: Alyssa gave me the second clue, which was a little wooden box that has a golfball and a note inside that read, “To start this journey there is no better place than to go to the spot where I first saw your face. I still love the sport, although you no longer play, because you blamed me for beating you, hat more could I say?” I knew I had to go to the South Shore Country Club Golf Course. This was the place where joe and I locked eyes for the first time about 10 years ago.
Clue #3: When I went inside the clubhouse, the man behind the desk handed me my third clue which was written on the back of a scorecard. It read, “After I saw you I knew, there was simply one thing left to do; We chatter online for hours on end until I asked you for a night we could spend. Your next stop on this journey Cait is where we ALMOST went on our very first date.” I knew we had to go to the Atrium Cinemas movie theater, where I accidentally hit my car while trying to park and we never actually saw the movie.
Clue #4: When I went to the movie theater, I went up to the ticket booth and asked if there was anything for me. I gave my name, and the young teenage girl squealed in excitement, “OMG! It’s you! Here you go!” That made me laugh through all of my happy tears.
When I opened the envelope, I found a movie ticket for Scream 4, dated April 26, 2011, and a faux traffic violation ticket also for the same date for “leaving the scene of an accident.” I could not stop laughing, Joe got beyond creative with this one.
On the back of the traffic ticket, he wrote, “Where you must go for clue number four, is to visit the only other creature you adore. You always say you love me the more, but his furry paws are hard to ignore. Although he’s not home he left the clue, in the mailbox he left a picture for you!” I knew I had to go to my parents’ house to visit my dog, Teddy.
Clue #5: Joe told me after the fact that he had originally planned for me to physically see Teddy and tie the next clue on his collar, but he was still at my Aunt’s house because they were watching him while my parents were on vacation and they didn’t get home until that morning. So instead I opened the mailbox and there was a picture of Joe and Teddy together on the couch. On the back, the next clue read, “the next spot you must go see, is the place you ultimately earned your degree. Walk straight down to the gazebo, it is there where clue #6 will show.” (Joe made a few typos on some clues but I ultimately got what he was saying hahaha). I knew I had to go to Wagner College.
Clue #6: It was pouring rain so Alyssa has a slight change of plans. Instead of us walking all the way to the gazebo and then handing me the clue, she parked as close as she could to it and handed me the clue in the car so we could stay dry, I sincerely appreciated that lol. Inside a manila folder was a copy of my degree with writing on the back that read, “Dear Caitlyn, There are truly not enough words I could say, to tell you how proud I am of you today. You’ve managed to achieve your goals and become a success, despite being faced with every difficult test. Every single day you are the best nurse that you can be, and I know that isn’t difficult for your patients to see. I admire your intelligence, courage, and drive. In the face of every obstacle, you have been able to thrive. I am the luckiest man in the world and then some! To have seen you grow into the woman you’ve become. The next stop is the tastiest one, but I promise you’re ALMOST done! To get to the next clue, you must drive all the way down, to the one true Bakery of the Crown. Ask for the order under your name, and open the box to keep playing the game.” I knew I had to go to Royal Crown Bakery.
Clue #7: When I asked for the order under my name, I was pleasantly surprised with a box full of my favorite rainbow cookies. As Alyssa and I took a small break to snack on the cookies, in the box there was a clue that read, “I’ll never forget baking cookies with you seven years ago today. I was then and am now the happiest man on earth. Two more stops you’re doing great, I won’t keep you waiting ‘cause it’s getting late. Head to the place where you took me to prom, you’ll find a memory there, a new clue, that’ll tell you the last thing to do.” I knew I had to go to Vanderbilt South Beach.
Clue #8: When I got to the Vanderbilt, I asked the lady at the coat check if there was anything for me. She handed me a square cube with a baseball in it that said “Prom?” I immediately started sobbing, as this was the baseball I used to ask joe to prom 8 years ago. I could not believe he still had it. On the opposite side of the ball, joe wrote “Come Home” … and that’s exactly where I went.
I couldn’t wait it see Joe. I was crying and full of emotions, I just wanted to embrace him and never let go. When I got home and opened the door, the stairs were lined with candles and rose petals and “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain was playing in the background (this is the same song that was playing when he surprised me on our first anniversary with a night of baking cookies and had all the ingredients perfectly laid out.. we danced to this song in his kitchen and it was a moment I’ll never forget). As I walked up the stairs, I followed a path lined by rose petals to a huge heart of rose petals that had Joe standing in the center in his suit and tie. Right before the heart was tea candles that read “4/26/19”. I stepped in the heart and joe gave the most beautiful speech and then asked me to marry him. I could not contain my emotions and I was crying and I kissed him as he was down on one knee. I could not picture a more perfect and intimate proposal in our first home. I love him more than anything.
After we let it sink in for a little bit and called our loved ones, he told me we would still be going out to dinner and thank god because I was starving. Little did I know, when we got to the restaurant our family was already there waiting for us to celebrate with us. I cried again. It was such a perfect day. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I cannot wait to marry this man ❤️