How We Met
Michael (Mick) and I met on the first day of orientation at our college, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. We were all nervous, excited and scared to begin our new journey in Daytona Beach, Florida. I had just moved 8 hours away from the place I had called home for 17 years. I am from Garner, North Carolina, a smallish town right outside of Raleigh. My hometown meant everything to me. Leaving Garner meant leaving behind my friends, my family, my dog and the land I grew up on. I was so excited to start studying at my dream school but terrified for what the next 4 years would hold.
Once my parents had finally moved me in and we were starting to get my things unpacked, I decided to walk down the hall and meet some new people. As I walked to the end of the hallway I walked passed a room on my right filled with a group of guys and girls watching a movie and talking like they had known each other for years. I remember walking by and feeling intimated because these people already seemed like such good friends after only knowing each other for a few hours. I realized that I would just find my own group of friends and began hanging out with other people on our hallway.
As the semester went on I began getting involved in my own actives around campus. Joining greek life, getting involved in clubs and slowly getting to know the people at the end of the hallway with simple “hello’s” and “How are you’s”. I was beginning to feel comfortable in my new life. I soon started to have a crush on one of the guys at the end of my hall. I started hanging out in his room, playing racquetball, going out with friends and getting to know him a little better. As I got to know him a little better I also started to get to know his friends better (the group that all hung out on the first day). I began going down to the end of the hall more and more. I started spending more time and started to develop genuine friendships with the group I thought I would never hang out with.
When second semester came around I had found where I belonged. I enjoyed school, I enjoyed my group of friends and I was enjoying the crush I had on the guy at the end of the hall. Through this crush I began to get to know Mick very well. We started talking about his girlfriend at home and my crush on his good friend Ben. We began to form a very good friendship that included a lot of heart to heart talks. I remember one night in particular I received a text at 1:30am asking if I could come outside and talk (yes I was still awake, I was a freshman in college trying to balance academics and a social life).
I remember this talk so clearly because as we sat there, I realized this is the first time I had a guy friend ever cry in front of me. Mick’s grandma had just found out that her cancer had come back, and it was aggressive this time. During this heart to heart talk I realized that my crush was no longer on Ben. My crush was on this guy pouring his heart out to this girl he had only known for a few months. I would say this conversation was a defining moment in our relationship. From that moment on I knew I wanted to know more about this guy. I wanted to meet his grandma, his family, I wanted to see his hometown – I wanted to know everything there was to know about him.
When things between him and his long distance girlfriend didn’t work out he began to see and feel the same things. Once the year ended and he left to go back home to Pennsylvania for the summer and I was heading back to North Carolina we were unsure what our future would hold. It wasn’t until halfway through the summer when I flew up to visit him and see where he was from when he asked me to become his girlfriend. Fast forward to February 13, 2016 (two and half years of dating) we attended his fraternity’s formal where him and his fraternity brothers serenaded me and Mick gave me a necklace with his fraternity letters on it. For those of you unfamiliar with this, here is a little definition: “Lavaliering is the act of a fraternity man presenting his significant other with a lavalier of his letters. It symbolizes a strong commitment and love, and is usually accompanied by a ceremony by the fraternity”. This moment was very significant for me because I was only the second girl that had ever been lavaliered by his fraternity and for me it was when I knew he was as committed to this relationship as I was.
O In these amazing four years we have gone on countless adventures including skydiving and studying abroad in Italy with some of our best friend. In May we both graduated from our dream college with the same major. We moved halfway across the country to Dallas and began our careers in the aviation industry. Since the moment I received that text message at 1:30 am, I knew without a doubt that Mick would be the man I would spend the rest of my life with.
How I Asked
Flashback to Summer 2016, I get a call from my mom back in Pennsylvania: this is the one, we found it. Lets go back a little further in time so I can explain. When my mom was younger, she used to work in a jewelry store for one of her longtime friends, Randall. As my mom moved on with her career, the two continued to remain close friends and my mom would always refer friends and family to Randall’s store when they were looking for something nice. As soon as I knew Jordan was the one, I started doing my research. We had some minor discussions here and there about how she didn’t want to go ring shopping because she didn’t want to see the proposal coming. Perfect. I’m flying blind on the biggest decision of my life. Enter Pinterest, my savior. Thankfully for me, Jordan had pinned a few rings that she liked and better yet, there was consistency: cushion cut center stone with a halo around it. I let my mom know and she relayed the information on to Randall. Some time passed while he kept his eye out for something. One two stones were made available but I didn’t pull the trigger, they weren’t quite right.
Aaaaand we’re back to Summer 2016. I get the call from my mom. She sends me a picture and instantly I know that this is it. A beautiful cushion cut solitaire on a white gold band. So I pulled the trigger and did the deal. The next few months were spent trying to find the right size diamonds for the halo and other miscellaneous tasks. By the time it was all done it was a few days before Christmas, which was perfect because Jordan and I would be visiting my parents at that time, so I could pick the ring up in Pennsylvania. So now we get to the “how”. Jordan had once made a comment about how she had dreamed of getting proposed to by water, since she had grown up around it (her dad owns a lake and pond management company and they also visited the beach often when she was younger). Knowing how much family means to her, I had decided that popping the question near a body of water in North Carolina was what I wanted to do. Luckily for me, I knew exactly the right spot: the dock at the pond on the land that she grew up on. On February 3, 2017 I woke up with big plans on my mind. I wasn’t sure how many opportunities I would have to be back in Garner, but this time we were back for her sister-in-law’s baby shower the next day. The agenda for the day was to go and visit Jordan’s grandma,who lived a little over two hours drive time away at the beach. Having her grandma be one of the first people to find out about the engagement was such an exiting idea for me, I knew it would be for her too.
As we were getting ready in the morning I slipped the ring box into my pocket, trying to hide my excitement. I let her dad know the plan (and yes, I had already asked for his permission!) so he could try and record the proposal, or at the very least see it for himself. We left the house and started heading towards the truck so we can visit her grandma. I had noticed that there was a new part of the dock at the pond, and I knew that was my opening. “Hey Jordan, lets check out the new dock quick.” As we walk over towards the dock, my feelings are about to boil over. I’m about to ask the woman of my dreams to marry me and I cannot wait. I walk out to the end of the dock, reciting what I’m going to say to her in my head one last time. I turn around to see that Jordan has only taken a few steps onto the dock. “Babe, come on out here with me!”, I say a little anxiously. She responds with – “No, you’re going to throw me in!”. This is going exactly as I planned… not. I walk back to grab her hand to lead her to the endow of ethe dock. As we’re walking out, she says “Why is my dad over there taking our picture?”
“YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!” – myself screaming in my head. At that moment, I realized I just had to make it happen. We got to the end of the dock and I turned to face her and smiled. It all started to hit her right about now, as she smiled and the tears began to roll. Dropping down on one knee, asking the love of my life to marry me, and being able to put that ring on her finger are the happiest moments of my life. Those precious seconds will live with me forever and will be stories that we share with our children and our children’s children. Jordan Lee soon-to-be Saukaitis, ti amo!