How we met: In 2008 I was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia after a year of intense pain, doctors, hospital visits, and even taking a semester off at the University of Illinois. During that time, my Disney obsession grew even more and took my mind off of my daily struggles. It remained a positive influence in a time of negativity and questioning if my dreams would ever come true. It had always been my dream to move to Chicago and an even bigger dream to fall in love and live happily ever after with that man.
After spending a month at Cleveland Clinic’s Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Clinic, I learned how to better control my pain, though I would have to live every day with it. I was finally able to get my life back, finish college, and move to the Windy City. To help me in my search for love, my mom suggested I join Match.com.
Following a year of being on the site and a countless number of dates (off and on using the site), I finally met Dan. My mom was actually the one who noticed him while we were scrolling through profiles. To this day I thank her for her impeccable taste.
Our first date was at a bar down the street from my new apartment and the hours just flew by. We had the same interest in music and movies, but what really drew me to him was his adorable awkwardness and sarcastic sense of humor. It wasn’t often that I met a man who could keep up with my sarcasm. It didn’t hurt that he was very attractive, too. Months later when we were especially close, I actually revealed to him that there were a few moments during our first date when I zoned out while he was talking because I couldn’t believe how attracted I was to him.
After our second unbelievable date which included a speed boat and fireworks over the city, I knew that this relationship was going to change my life. Though at the time I didn’t know just how spectacular he would make my life, I knew that he would somehow impact mine. What really amazed me was how he reacted to my fibromyalgia. To this day he knows just what to do when an attack comes on and he never pushes me past the point my condition will allow.
Every day is a struggle with my fibro, but it is easier to live with knowing I never would have met Dan if I hadn’t graduated a year later than intended, moved to Chicago a year later than intended, and joined Match.com later than intended.
how they asked: My obsession with Christmas is just as massive as my obsession with Disney (I love the princesses). My friends and family always joke about how easily I get excited by presents, surprises, and everyday things. So if someone surprises me with anything related to Disney or Christmas, I freak out. I freak out more than a normal person, that’s for sure, but I can’t help it.
Here’s the video, and the story below:
Every year my family and I go to Disney World, but this past December was the first time we were able to visit during Christmastime. My excitement level was already peaked. The plan was that my family and I would go for an entire week, but Dan would meet up with us halfway through. I believed that he was joining us that Thursday, but as usual, he was filled with surprises.
Without my knowledge, Dan and my parents made a lot of calls months before and finally got in touch with Disney event organizers at the Grand Floridian and explained to them my ongoing battle with fibromyalgia. One of their organizers, a wonderful young woman named Becca, helped him plan the perfect surprise Disney proposal.
I thought that my family and I were going to the Grand Floridian that Wednesday to see all of their phenomenal Christmas decorations. When we arrived, a female employee, Becca, approached us and asked if we would like to take part in a scavenger hunt. I attempted to control my excitement when I opened the first clue she gave us and my favorite princess, Belle, was on the inside cover with a clue written in her handwriting. Yes, I’m a huge nerd and know what all of their handwriting and signatures are in the parks.
Becca helped us find the areas around the Grand Floridian where the clues led to. Each clue had a different princess and carried us around the entire hotel so that we could really take in all of the Christmas decor. I found out later that the various cast members who play some of the princesses heard about our story and Dan’s plan and wanted to not only sign the clues, but write them out so they would look authentic to the characters.
The last clue sat on a pedestal with a rose atop it right next to the Grand Floridian’s band and a few beautiful Christmas trees. As I picked up the clue, I found Cinderella on the inside with a note that read: “I found my Prince Charming. Now here comes yours.” I had no idea what that meant at first. I even wondered if they were going to bring out the Prince Charming character for a photo or something. Who emerged behind a large group of onlooking employees that had suddenly appeared, but my own Prince Charming, Dan. My screams of enthusiasm drew people around the balconies as he wrapped me in a tight hug. I realized that as he came out of hiding, the band began to play the song we have always planned to dance to at our wedding, “So This is Love.” Dan told me all the reasons why he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. When he got down on one knee I went from smiling to crying in under a second. The epic sight was what I had wondered about since I was little. I never imagined it would be so perfect, though. As he put the ring on my finger, applause erupted from the onlookers around us.
A Disney photographer was there to capture the entire thing, as well. I can never thank him enough for arranging to have photos and a video of the entire event that I’ll always be able to look back on.
Everyone was worried the size of the surprise would bring on a pain attack, but thankfully no intense pain came on. I did have to spend an hour freaking out in our hotel room with my family and Dan since I couldn’t stop shaking for over an hour and was hardly able to stand! That level of happiness is indescribable, but I know anyone who has been surprised with an engagement from the love of their life knows that intense feeling.
The rest of the day was spent with drinks, more of my random squeals of excitement, and a private viewing of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from the Contemporary Resort. It all felt like a dream.
And the next day I had the perfect shirt to wear that my mom had made for me before the trip!