How We Met
Dean and I met at a Christian summer camp in Canoe Cove, PEI – Camp Keir – and in the beginning I didn’t think much of our relationship. We didn’t speak much during the first little while, the details as to why are not completely clear but it could have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t think a guy like him would ever be interested in me. We hung around with different groups of people during that first summer but he still managed to leave an impression on me. I wrote about him in my diary, completely obsessing over the little conversations we did manage to have. It wasn’t until the following winter months that things started to spark. He had invited me to go to the movies with him and some of his friends one day and, after countless hours of talking myself up, I did. “Best day ever” so my diary says. But my head and my heart were in a battle. See, Dean lived forty-five minutes away from me and being the age that I was at the time, I wasn’t sure that kind of relationship was for me. We still kept in touch through MSN (old faithful) but our hearts had gone separate ways – or so I thought. We both dated other people and grew a lot in the time that we didn’t see each other but we were still talking. He was always on my mind, even while dating other people Dean was part of my thoughts.
After a little over two months, the relationship I was in came to a close. Dean was there for me; I immediately leaned on him. Our conversations continued. I spent countless hours on my dial-up internet chatting about random topics with him and sending him those emoticons that moved (remember the fist that popped up and knocked on your screen from the other side? Yeah. I sent those to my crush). I remember thinking about how funny and kind he was and the more I got to know him, the less time I spent worrying about the long distance part; I began to realize that he was worth it. We had gotten to see each other a few times that spring; believe it or not we were both band geeks so the annual music festival that our school bands attended actually allowed us to hang out. I wrote about the first kiss he gave me, it wasn’t even on the lips yet I was totally and completely overcome with this giddy feeling! That’s when I knew. I knew right then that this was something way more than a High School fling. I couldn’t get him out of my mind; my diary was filled with “Dean, Dean, Dean” and I’m sure my friends were tired of hearing about the MSN conversations we had.
The following summer I had applied to volunteer my time at Camp Keir. I was super excited about it not only because that camp was a second home for me but a significant part of me was just excited to spend an entire week with Dean in the same building. My volunteer week was one to remember. I learned a lot about the Lord, brought home valuable life lessons, and in between got to know Dean a little bit more. He had a heart full of faith. He believed that everything happened for a reason, that things would follow through the way they were meant to and that made him all the more attractive to me (he was pretty muscular too which didn’t hurt). He picked on me that whole week: stole my flip-flops, called me “Hank”, and aimed for me in every game of dodgeball we played. I tried my very best to get back at him for those things but it usually ended up with me getting hurt (A.K.A. making a complete fool of myself).
The last week of camp that summer I spent as a camper. It was a bit weird with Dean being my counsellor – the whole “camper-counsellor” relationship wasn’t something that was supposed to happen or looked upon lightly. But it was pretty clear he didn’t care too much what other people thought. On the second last night of the week the entire camp was sitting around the camp fire during our canoe trip. Some campers were telling their stories of how they came to know Christ and others just listened, spending time in their own thoughts. As this came to a close, Dean leaned over and asked me if I would go pray with him. I said yes and he took me by the hand, led me towards a nearby tree, and we sat facing each other. We held hands as he prayed. He thanked God for me. I was moved to tears; I had never felt more loved or wanted than I did in that moment. After he said “Amen” I opened my eyes just long enough to watch him take my face in his hands and he kissed me. The rest is history.
how they asked
Dean was acting a bit odd one week in February. He cuddled me more than usual and gave me a kiss every five seconds but I didn’t think much of it because sometimes he has his “lovey dovey” moments. I was on my way over to his apartment from work on Saturday when I had gotten a phone call. I had entered to be in a contest called Island Idol (PEI’s form of American Idol) and the call was from one of the administrators. My chance to sing was this coming Monday. Naturally I was super excited, called my mom, and then ran in to tell Dean the news. He was super excited for me. The administrator had told me that they needed a headshot to use during my performance but I didn’t have access to any of my photos from Dean’s apartment. I suggested to Dean that we go to my house to take a photo and send it off before it was too late. He had taken a quick shower and then off we were.
On the way out home, my mom had texted me asking if I could help her out at my home church with something. I told her that Dean and I were on our way out home to grab a headshot and then I would be able to help her. After a few pictures, I decided I would just use an old picture instead. I remember telling Dean that if he wanted to wait at my house until my mom and I were finished that he could but he decided he wanted to go see his Aunt and Uncle. They lived just up the road from the church so I suggested we all take one vehicle. Dean suggested that wouldn’t work because he didn’t want to end up stuck at his Uncle’s place if my mom and I were going to be a while. I remember thinking that was a good point and then Dean left – he didn’t even really say goodbye which was odd but again I thought nothing of it.
My mom and I drove out to my church, singing along to the song I planned to perform for Island Idol until we arrived. Mom, being the kind hearted woman she is, left me in the warm car while she unlocked the church’s basement door. We walked in and she continued to explain to me that she wanted to sell the Vacation Bible School packs we had in the church but wasn’t sure how many we had. So she asked me to count them while she went upstairs to see if there were more. I counted 5 and then I heard my mom yell my name from the sanctuary part of the church upstairs. She had asked me to “Come upstairs for a minute” and so I did. I remember turning the corner from the stairwell and seeing Dean. He had one hand behind his back and I traced my mind for some special date. A lightbulb went off in my head – tomorrow was Valentine’s Day! I assumed flowers and chocolates were waiting behind his back. Then it happened. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It took me a while to process what was going on – hence the whale calls in the video – but of course I said yes! I cried tears of joy for almost the rest of the day; I had my graduation pictures taken that night so I had to hold the tears back for my makeup’s sake.
After crying uncontrollably and realizing how completely oblivious I was to the whole thing, Dean and I got into his cleverly hidden car to tell the rest of my family. I had asked Dean why he picked my home church to propose in. He mentioned that I often talk about how much I want to get married in that church and how in love I am with it’s many details and the memories it holds. But in recent years the church has seen better days – the roof needs work, and considering it’s age, there are likely some other issues we don’t yet know about. When he had taken all this into consideration he decided that, in the case that we can’t get married in that church, the least we can do is get engaged in it. I could not have asked for a more perfect and personal proposal.
Little did I know, Dean had originally planned to propose on Islander Day but as soon as I told him I was performing that day he had to quickly improvise. He somehow got away with contacting my mom before jumping in the shower and grabbing the ring from his roommate’s closet without me noticing a thing. I am still having a hard time dealing with how out of tune I was with my surroundings that day but, given the chance to go back, I wouldn’t change a thing.