Kayleigh and Seth

Image 1 of Kayleigh and Seth

How We Met

Our story begins about ten years ago when Seth and I met, as freshman, at a small private high school in New Ulm, Minnesota. I am often told, when I tell people the shortened and condensed version of this story, that Seth and I’s relationship could be a romantic comedy. I just laugh and say that whatever is meant to be will always happen; you just have to let go and let God.

When telling our story, I like to start out by saying that I always said and thought that Seth was the cutest boy in our freshman class. Seth will always say I had the best smile and laugh. Though we met at freshman orientation, we didn’t start dating until the summer before our sophomore year. However, at freshman orientation, Seth was not very subtle about his attraction to me. Let me set up the scene for you; large gym, rows of tables, and a podium where the principal and teachers were to introduce themselves. Seth and I were sitting about two tables away from each other, with my back to him. Neither of us knew each other at freshman orientation, but had seen each other walking in and finding a seat in the gym. I was sitting with my family and my grade school friends and Seth was sitting with his family.

Image 2 of Kayleigh and Seth

I have a very loud, some may say, obnoxious, but contagious, laugh. Later on, Seth will tell you it was me laughing that made him stare at me, but I think he was being just a creepy little freshman boy. Every time I would scan the room, something we all do when we’re bored to tears, I would see Seth looking at me. It went on this way for the rest of the day; when we went to get pictures taken for the year book, when we went to find our new lockers. Every time I would find him staring at me. Being the awkward, self-conscious freshman I was, I felt somewhat flattered, but also found it slightly off-putting. If only I knew then what I know now, maybe I would have thought it love at first sight.

Image 3 of Kayleigh and Seth

Our freshman year progressed and we both went on to date other people, but established and maintained a close friendship by sitting in the back of the science room laughing and flirting with each other. We never really hung out before dating due to Seth living about 45 minutes away from me all throughout high school. Seth was always so sweet to me, always making me laugh, giving me hugs in the hallway when he said I looked sad, and being a constant source of comfort during a period of heavy change and development. Though I thought he may have liked me freshman year, my friends told me otherwise. They told me that Seth was just an overly-friendly kid and that he acted that way towards all the girls in our freshman class. I agreed with them, due to Seth being a very personable individual. He was a flirt and I assumed that he flirted with me the same as he flirted with other girls. Seth and I began to talk via MSN and texting during the summer before our sophomore year.

Then on June 28th, 2008, a Monday, Seth asked me to be his girlfriend over text message. Since I did think he was cute, I said yes. However, at the time I saw our relationship only being a summer fling and dying out shortly after due my longest relationship, up to that point, being three weeks long. Seth also had the reputation of being a bad influence; the rebel, the “bad guy” kind of kid. None of my friends liked the fact I was dating him, my parents didn’t like the fact I was dating him, and I didn’t really see us being together for very long. I never, in my wildest dreams, saw us lasting for another four years. We did though; we started dating at the age of 15 and dated for the remaining three years of high school and a year into our college careers.

These four years were filled with ups and downs, the typical high school drama, but also filled with immense love and growth. Though it is often hard to love another person when you are not even able to love yourself, Seth taught me how to love myself and therefore I grew to love him. He was not only my boyfriend, or my person as I called him, but also my best friend. He would support me in everything I did and would go above and beyond to make me happy. He would spend hours rubbing my back as I struggled through my math homework. He would open my locker for me every morning since I was always late to school. He would come to almost every softball game he could and cheer loudly from the bleachers. Our friends used to tell us that when we looked at each other, it looked like we were making babies with our eyes because of the amount of love we had for each other.

Image 4 of Kayleigh and Seth

Seth and I had the kind of relationship where we were able to tease each other, laugh with each other, cry with each other, and be completely open with each other. Seth was the only person outside of my family who took the time to get to know me and all my interesting quirks. Seth took the time to learn how to communicate with me efficiently and effectively; he could get me to open up after I had shut down and always knew what to say to talk me off my ledge. Though we had more good than bad, our relationship did come to an end the summer before our second year of college. I felt I needed to grow as a person outside of our four year relationship and I was struggling with the fact that our long distance relationship went from 45 minutes to six hours since I had decided to pursue my college career in Wisconsin and Seth was in Alexandria, MN. So with great difficultly, we called it quits.

This was not an easy decision and it hurt us both to our core. We were losing a best friend, a companion, a source of comfort, a source of strength, someone to talk to, someone to ask for advice, someone to make you laugh, someone to hug, a hand to hold, and essentially a part of ourselves. Seth coped with the breakup by starting a new relationship six months after our split. I coped by spending most of my free time sleeping and crying. I had never intended us to be apart for more than a couple of months, but as most breakups do, it got vicious and out of hand. We hurt each other on purpose and so the riff between us grew to the point were we stopped having contact all together.

Image 5 of Kayleigh and Seth

After two long years of no contact and watching the only person I had ever loved be with another person, I found out through social media that Seth and his recent girlfriend had split. I, completely on accident, while snooping on his page, sent him a friend request on Facebook. Anyone who knows me personally knows I have rather large thumbs and so am always accidentally pressing things on my phone screen. Seth will always claim it wasn’t an accident, but on my heart it was. From there Seth contacted me, we started to get reacquainted and after a year of learning of working through our breakup, Seth’s recent breakup, and learning to trust each other again (all while living two hours apart) Seth asked me to be his girlfriend once again on January 2nd, of 2015. Our year or so of rebuilding our relationship (before becoming engaged) were rocky, it took effort and patients (something I have very little of).

Image 6 of Kayleigh and Seth

But I knew in my heart of hearts that Seth was the only boy I had every loved and could ever love. I was willing to do whatever it took to be in his life again. When he asked me to be his girlfriend again, we both knew that this time it was for real. That this was it. We would eventually get married. Our relationship had been destroyed, rebuilt, and was now stronger than it had ever been. We both knew we were ready for the next step. So I just had to wait for the day that Seth would ask me to be his forever. As I mentioned before though, patients is not my strongest characteristic. Therefore, this made our engagement slightly more interesting…

Image 7 of Kayleigh and Seth

how they asked

Seth and I are at that age (in our early 20’s) were is seems like everyone is getting engaged. Every time I would be on social media I would see someone else had gotten engaged, even some people who I had no idea were even in a committed relationship. This would irritate and upset me because I wanted to be engaged, I knew we should be engaged, and I was sick of being stuck in that awkward stage of not being able to take the relationship to the next level because we still were not engaged. I knew Seth didn’t want a long engagement and at this point, I still had about two years left of school until being able to graduate with my bachelors in Social Work. With all of these factors adding up, there was tension and as a couple, being stuck between a rock and a hard place; where can we go from here? Seth had been, and still is, successfully living on his own for the past two to three years. He started living on his own at the age of 20 in the small town of Tyler, MN and was able to sustain himself by having a full time job as a crane operator. This job allows him to own his own house, his own vehicle, and so on.

Though he was (and still is) doing very well for himself, Seth has to be smart and budget his money so as not to get behind in bills. During the winter months, business slows down and Seth is not able to put in the 60 to 70 hour weeks like he does in the summer, therefore would not be able to afford to buy me a ring until the summer. Or so he told me. Even though I was under the impression that Seth would not be buying a ring until summer, we went and looked at rings around November of 2015; a little less than a year after officially starting to date again. I had no idea what I wanted in a ring, but I knew that once I saw it (as in the ring) I would know that is was the ring I wanted. We only went to two different jewelry stores, the second store being the one where I found my ring. The sales associate told me that I should go look around at other things while her and Seth talked about “the finances” as she put it. Seth had told the sales associate when walking in that he would not be buying a ring and so I believed that they were simply talking about the cost of the ring and if he were to come back and buy in in the summer how much it would cost to do so. We left the jewelry story with me completely oblivious and Seth devising his plan.

I had told Seth that he had to first ask my parents for permission to marry me before we could get engaged. I liked the idea of keeping the tradition of having the parents approval, though at this point, I knew that they loved Seth almost as much as I did. They often called him the “Kayleigh Whisperer” since he had such a large, positive, impact on me. Around Thanksgiving, Seth and I were at my parents house when Seth asked my parents for permission to marry me. I was not there when he asked and so had to hear it second hand from my parents. They said that he was so nervous, stuttering, babbling, and simply not getting his thoughts out in a coherent manner. Mom told me it seemed like Seth had this whole speech planned out, but instead he blurted out, “can I marry your daughter” or something to that extent.

Even after my parents had said yes, he went on talking telling them how much he loved me and didn’t want to marry anyone else. My mom said that it was all together very adorable. What they didn’t tell me was that at the time Seth asked my parents to marry me, he also told them his plan of how and when he was going to propose to me. My mother is terrible at keeping secrets, but was able to keep this one by asking me every time I would come home from spending a weekend in Tyler with Seth, if I was engaged yet. Every time I would reply with no, you know that Seth isn’t even able to buy a ring until summer and its in the middle of winter right now.

Seth’s birthday is in December, a week or so before Christmas. I love birthdays and I love to make a big to-do about birthdays. This year was no different. In fact, I had planned a surprise birthday party for Seth that year. The day before his birthday I cleaned his house from top to bottom. I cleaned everything, I even wiped down his T.V. screen. After Seth got home from work that day, he began to freak out when he saw I had cleaned the house, asking if I found anything or if I had seen anything. I assured him I hadn’t, not understanding why he would be so upset about me cleaning the house or what I could have possibly found. Little did I know that he had hidden the ring he had bought me back in November in the same drawer where he has the wipes that are meant to clean the T.V.

He had hidden the ring in that specific drawer because that is his movie drawer on his entertainment set. Seth loves action movies and I do not, so I would never have a reason to go into that drawer because I would never voluntarily watch a movie of his. Luckily, I had been so focused on cleaning the house I wasn’t paying attention to what was in the movie drawer. The next day, his surprise birthday party was thrown and we all had a blast celebrating his 22nd birthday. I had planned to stay in Tyler until about Christmas time and coming back before New Years due to it being winter break for me. I had planned on to be around so that on January 2nd, we could celebrate our one year of officially being a couple again. However, Seth had other plans.

When I returned to Tyler after Christmas, it was only a couple of days before New Year’s Eve and we were tying to plan where we would be celebrating the coming of the new year. The previous year we spent it with some of my friends in Tracy, MN but Seth said that he wanted to spend it somewhere else that year. I told him that was fine with me and told him I would let him plan our New Year’s Eve. The night of the 30th, the day before Seth planned to propose, we got into a huge fight about us not being engaged yet. I had come across, yet another individual, who we went to high school with, who had just gotten engaged. I was angry because she was about three years younger than me and I didn’t even know she was dating someone. Seth had also been kind of distant and weird that day by placing a lock on his phone, which he never does, and spending a lot of time texting people, which he doesn’t do when we’re together. I had finally had enough and just shut down, not wanting to talk to him anymore.

He then got angry because I wouldn’t talk to him, therefore not being able to work out our fight and why I was so upset. Our fight went on until we both fell asleep, not talking to each other, with our backs facing each other. The entire time we were fighting, Seth was thinking that the ring was a couple of feet away from his bed, in his gun case (where he moved it after the whole movie drawer incident). He said he had wanted to get up, take the ring out and throw it at me so that I would stop being so argumentative and unhappy. The next day we were still a little sour at each other, but went on with our New Year’s Eve plans. Seth had planned for us and two of our friends to go look at Christmas lights in Sioux Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and eat out afterwards. So we got dressed up and left for Sioux Falls, which is about 45 minutes away from Tyler.

Image 8 of Kayleigh and Seth

When we got there, we walked around, looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights. The park was gorgeous, there was snow and lights everywhere. We walked around the park and stopped at the water falls near the center of the park.

Image 9 of Kayleigh and Seth

We stopped to take a couple of pictures, which I thought was nice of Seth to do because he’s not a fan of taking pictures.

Image 10 of Kayleigh and Seth

After taking a couple of pictures, I was about to walk away from the falls when Seth grabbed my arm and said, “wait, do you want to take a few more pictures?” I replied with an uncertain “…sure…?” since I knew Seth doesn’t like taking pictures. He smiled and said that he had something to ask me anyways and as he was saying that he got down on one knee. He almost fell over since the ground and snow were uneven, but recovered and pulled out a ring box and asked me to marry him.

Image 11 of Kayleigh and Seth

I was so excited, happy, in shock, and in disbelief that I kind of blacked out. I don’t even remember if I said yes or not, but I do remember trying not to cry so I didn’t mess up my makeup I had spent two hours doing. I also remember when he got up and gave me a kiss, I kissed him back cried for like for another 3.5 seconds, slapped him on the arm and then I called him an asshole for pulling one over on me. Seth isn’t usually the type to be able to keep things from me, but I had no clue, not even the slightest inclination that he was going to propose on New Year’s Eve.

Image 12 of Kayleigh and Seth

The first person I called after getting engaged was my mom and before even saying hello I said, “Mom! You knew the whole time! You lied to me! How did you even keep this a secret!?” She just laughed and said it was really hard.

The rest of the night was beautiful; spent celebrating our new engagement and the new year with friends and family. We drank, we danced, we laughed, and we ended 2015 and started 2016, brimming with joy and anticipation for what the new adventures the new year would bring for us.

Image 13 of Kayleigh and Seth

The next three photos featured are from a mini- engagement session Fall of 2016. Though the photographer was not there for our engagement she did capture the love and the excitement we felt when we first got engaged.

Image 14 of Kayleigh and Seth