Chris and Maddy
How we met
We both had been studying seemingly non-stop for a month and just finished our first round of medical school exams. On a warm summer evening in south Texas in 2009 it was time to celebrate and I already knew Maddy was the cute, funny, smart girl I had to get to know better. We had crossed paths a few times in the library, haphazardly stumbled into mutual group study sessions, and exchanged some smiles. I had asked around about her but, hadn’t really gotten to know her at all. I was so nervous and excited to try and impress her when the whole class went out. I played it cool though and didn’t walk right up to her immediately so as to not seem like a total dork…which I was and very much still am. Of course, she had the attention of several other guys almost immediately and I was kicking myself for waiting but, as luck would have it, a well placed inebriated friend and some good timing would provide me with a second chance. Enter good ole Dan who loved to party but who was hopelessly unable to keep any of his good time in his stomach and not on the floor. As fate would have it he lost his lunch right next to Maddy and the guy she was talking to causing her to evade the projectile matrix style and effectively putting an abrupt end to her chat.
As she turned around to get away she saw me and could tell I had just witnessed the entire episode so we started talking about how close she had just come to an epic party foul. We exchanged some good laughs about it and started to chat as we danced. All the normal first conversation with a stranger stuff like: politics, religion, and classical music…those are normal right? It was so easy to just fall into conversation with her and so natural. Even now, she’s the easiest person to talk to and we have so much in common. Needless to say we wanted to continue talking and getting to know one another and haven’t stopped since that night. I couldn’t have actually fathomed that this beautiful, talented, spark plug was actually digging me. I was so clueless as to what I had. At the end of the night she even had to say, “you’re not actually going to leave without kissing me, are you?” That was the first of many kisses to come. I knew within weeks that I had met my best friend and wanted to be with Maddy forever.
how they asked
It happened in a moment on Federal Hill in Baltimore as the sun set over the harbor on a cool Spring evening. It was a moment a lifetime in the making. Maddy has moved multiple times in her life but she always forged close bonds with wonderful people and has quite the collection of amazing friends scattered all over the country. Friends in Austin from high school, friends from college in New Orleans or Philadelphia, or Colorado, friends from medical school in Washington DC, and friends from residency training in Baltimore. Through all the moves her Mom was her rock though and they have always been very close. Maddy has a way of finding those seemingly rare, genuine people that come into our lives and I knew I had to find a way to include them all despite how scattered they all were. So, I thought about how I would go about getting all these special people together for the first time.
I, a stranger to most of them, asked in early January if they were free for a random weekend in March to come to Baltimore for a surprise for Maddy. Without hesitation or even a request for more details, one by one they started responding absolutely. I never thought I’d actually be able to pull it off but, of course Maddy was so important to everyone that they would drop everything to join us… I should have known.
With everyone on board I set out to present Maddy with a cascading timeline of the special people in her life. First and foremost had to be her mom, Judy. The morning of the big day I booked a spa session for Maddy at the Four Seasons.
When she arrived her mom, who flew in from Austin, was there waiting to join her. Maddy was so surprised and elated to see her. The spa day started with manicures… Pretty clever on my part if I don’t say so myself! Pedicures and a much needed chance to catch up followed. Maddy had no idea Judy was just the first of many surprises. When Maddy and Judy asked for the bill in it’s place was a gift certificate to Maddy’s favorite Baltimore oyster house with instructions on when to be there. That’s when I had Evelyn, Maddy’s best friend, surprise her. Evelyn who traveled from New Jersey, gave Maddy a huge hug sending her bursting into tears of excitement. If Maddy wasn’t already suspicious about what I was plotting for the day, she certainly was now.
The trio now left the spa and walked along the waterfront to the oyster house fully expecting me. Instead, a table for six waited for them and a rather confused Madeline turned around to find Amy, Sam, and Stefani waiting to embrace her. Amy had traveled from Philadelphia and had been close with Maddy since high school. Sam was a dear friend from college in New Orleans and made it via Colorado Springs. And Stefani, who was pregnant no less, made it up from Washington DC and had been Maddy’s best friend from medical school. That must have been about the time when I got a text from Maddy that simply read, “you”. As the six of them sat for lunch I asked the wait staff to give Maddy another surprise. It was a simple little wine glass with an address of a nearby wine bar and a time etched on it. After lunch the group made the short walk over to the wine bar and waiting for them there were all of Maddy’s close friends from Baltimore. There were several bottles of wine to share and the final clue of where to find me. As an avid puzzler I had a custom puzzle made of a Baltimore landmark made for Maddy. The completed puzzle showed the area next to Federal Hill and read along the top, “Meet me at sunset.”
Right on cue the whole group, now around twelve, arrived just as the sun was setting over the Chesapeake bay. Maddy ran right up to me and gave me the biggest hug and had no doubt about what was about to happen. I held her hand, said a few sweet words, and got down on one knee in front of her closest friends and family to ask her to marry me. Neither of us could really get through it without crying and of course she said yes.
I wasn’t just done yet though. I couldn’t waste this opportunity with all her friends in town so, I made reservations at a fun little restaurant near Federal Hill.
We had an impromptu engagement party where we celebrated, called all our family and friends, and I finally got to spend some time with all these wonderful people I had heard so much about. The evening ended with Maddy and I spending the night in a beautiful suite at the Four Seasons overlooking the water. The best day of my life… So far.