How We Met
I moved on my birthday in 2008 to a small town called Dawsonville. I had a tough time at my previous school, so I was happy to have a start fresh. My parents convinced me to go to a basketball game to make some new friends and as soon as I walked in, I saw Charlie, a guy from my previous school, and I thought I’d never see anyone from there again. I always loved Charlie and he was always a good friend. I started asking him why he was there, and he said, “My cousin Kaleb plays on the basketball team.” I said, “Never heard of him”.
Fast forward a year and our love story truly began as many do these days: on Facebook. I messaged Kaleb and ever since that day, we have talked every single day. Our first date was a game of tennis and depending on who you ask, I won (just don’t ask him). Months went by and our love for each other grew. It wasn’t long before the first big test of our relationship would happen.
I had been battling health problems for a while, but it really hit its peak in October of 2008. I was admitted to the hospital shortly after Kaleb and I officially started dating. I felt like I was missing out of so much, but Kaleb continued to love me through it. One of my favorite stories that my future mother-in-law tells is that Kaleb came home one day and said he wanted to visit his girlfriend in the hospital and they, of course, agreed to go with him. They started heading in one direction and Kaleb said “no, no, no. It’s in Atlanta”, which was an hour and a half away. They probably thought he was either crazy in love or crazy. Lucky for me- it was the first of the two. He came to visit me, and the doctors made an exception to let him in after visiting hours. It was the best I had felt in months. He was with me the day that my disease went into remission, and he was there when it came back, and fortunately, I have now been in remission for around 9 years. He has held my hand through every step of the way.
Our love continued to grow through high school. He was the all-star athlete and I was the choir nerd. We were (and continue to be) polar-opposites. High school was a total roller coaster, but our love for each other always remained. When it came time for Kaleb to go to college, he decided to go to South Georgia College for baseball. I was devastated at how far away it was, but I visited with his family often. I went to college for about three hours from his, so at least we were a bit closer. In 2013, Kaleb was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. We knew at the time that we both had big dreams and we didn’t want to get married quite yet, so Kaleb gave me a promise ring, that when the time was right, he would ask for forever, but for now, it was just a promise.
Kaleb and I ended up attending the same college for two years and it was one of the best times of my life. We supported each other in following our dreams and became closer than ever before. After college, we both landed our dream jobs in Atlanta. We moved into our first apartment in the fall of 2016 and he supported me in my decision to pursue my Ph.D. in the fall of 2018.
We have been through every major life event thus far together. Graduating high school, moving to college, losing a loved one, graduating from college, moving across the country, losing a friend, losing a job, getting a dream job, moving away from home, and beginning our lives together. And the best part is, I know that our love story is just beginning!
How They Asked
There are three things in this world that my fiancé loves. Family, God, and Georgia Bulldogs football. We made plans all week that on Saturday, we would eat lunch at our favorite restaurant, Park Tavern, grab something from the grocery store to put on the grill, and be in front of the TV for the world’s largest cocktail party at 3:30 PM sharp.
I woke up that morning as if it was any other day. I had a conference call with an international colleague, so I got dressed and ready early. When I was done with the call, the gift card that my sister got me for my birthday was burning a hole in my pocket, so I was determined to go shopping. I originally went to get an engagement gift for one of my friends but as soon as I walked in, I saw a sweater that was calling my name, so I ended up buying the sweater and not a gift (sorry Amanda!). The sweater even matched my nails that I had gotten done a day prior with the gift card that Kaleb had gotten me for my birthday. I was so excited to be all matchy-matchy and wear red for the Georgia game.
When I got home, we got ready and went to Park Tavern. We sat with the perfect view of the park and had a nice lunch. I noticed that he hardly ate, but we had a big breakfast, so I didn’t think much of it. I also noticed that as he was signing the check, his hand was shaky, but I thought he was just cold. It was chilly outside, so I immediately felt bad that I was sitting closer to the fire. When we got up to leave, he mentioned that we should walk around the park, “just a quick lap since it’s so nice out”.
Ever since we moved to Atlanta, my favorite spot in the world has been at the lake at Piedmont Park. There is something so magical to me about seeing the skyline with trees and water. It reminds me of my hometown with the outdoorsy feel along with the majestic skyscrapers. We go to this spot often, especially with our dog, so it wasn’t out of the norm that Kaleb suggested that we go take a selfie there. As soon as we got there, there was a large group of people that asked me to take a picture. I took their picture and then asked Kaleb if he was ready to go. He said that we should take one more selfie because it was so beautiful outside. We did and as I turned to walk away, the love of my life pulled me back and said the sweetest, most precious words I’ve ever heard in my life. He finally turned his promise into reality.
Cue the tears. I was SHOCKED and in total disbelief. I had waited over a decade for this moment and it was so incredibly intimate and perfect that I was at a loss for words. I didn’t even notice the photographer until she was right up next to us. Then I cried even more. I will forever treasure that moment and to know it was all captured on camera was completely unreal. The photographer took a few more of us and I just could not keep it together. I was so happy. It was my dream proposal with my dream man and the day just couldn’t get more perfect.
There are three things in this world that I love more than anything. Family, God, and my dog, Lumen. A few days before the proposal, my parents told me that they were going on a hike. So when their phones weren’t picking up, I didn’t think much of it because I figured they wouldn’t have a signal in the mountains. My mom and dad had to be the first people to know and I couldn’t reach them!
We drove home and of course, I cried the whole way looking at the gorgeous ring that my fiancé designed himself. At this point, I was still in total shock. To the point that when we walked onto our porch, I missed the tape that was across the camera on our Ring doorbells.I walked in and called out to our dog that we were engaged and when I came around the corner, there stood my mom, dad, and sister as well as his mom, dad, grandmother, sister, and her husband.
I couldn’t breathe. To be honest, I still can’t. This man planned everything so perfectly. He brought together everything and everyone that was important to me. We ate, drank, and all said FINALLY all day! I will forever be thankful to my future husband for continuously leaving me speechless. I can’t wait to marry you, Kaleb Holbrook!