How We Met
Canaan and I met in the 8th grade at Stuart Middle School in what I recall to be Math class, and what Canaan recalls to be English class. We’ll let you know if we ever figure out who’s right on that one. He had just transferred from the local private school, and I was, well, a miserable, hormonal, 13-year-old with frizzy thick hair. We stayed friends…acquaintances, honestly through high school. It wasn’t until senior year that our circle of friends started to get closer and we saw more of each other. Mostly in the library before the school bell rang. He was and still is always early. Canaan would be there at the same time every day while I came running in sweating and shocked that I had gotten there before the bell had even rung.
I was nominated for Homecoming Court to represent our Student Government Association as President and needed an escort. My first ask said no (rude), and Canaan was my second. I still regret not asking him first. This is when I got to know Canaan better than I ever had. If you know me, you know I’m very Type-A and that I have a way of doing everything. Canaan went shopping with me at Dillard’s to find the perfect ties and bow ties to match my dresses and didn’t once flinch at any of my many, many requests. He brought me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers on the day of the parade and a corsage that matched my dress (and his new tie) to walk the field on game day. It was October 18, 2013. We had won the Homecoming Game and headed to a post-game staple, Miller’s Ale House, with our closest friends.
I was 17 and had decided to “grow-up” and tell him how I really felt not caring how he’d respond… yeah ok, Lily. I had never been treated with such love, and kindness, or tenderness by any other boy in my life. I was always the hot girl’s sister. (Love you, Hannah!) It was senior year and I already had a plan to meet a beautiful Australian man in college, so why not, right? I really liked Canaan and the chance to tell him was when it was just the two of us as he drove me a mere 4 minutes from the restaurant back to the parking lot of the high school. I told him everything. (And, as you can probably guess, I’m a talker, so to get all that out in I’d say 2 minutes because I needed the initial 2 to hype myself up, was a huge accomplishment!) In the most gentlemanly way he could of, and I still remember telling people that in the days that followed, he wanted to stay friends. He didn’t want to ruin the friendship we had built in this time together. It sucked, but I had this newfound confidence for saying something SO CRAZY, that I was proud, and drove home.
Before I go any further because I know she’ll be pissed I didn’t mention her…our 12th-grade science teacher had a big hand in our love story. I spent the next month leaving my incredibly lame and boring 1st-period computer class that had a permanent substitute to go to “the bathroom.” Then, go upstairs and hang out in Mrs. Lucas’ class with all my friends, and her… and Canaan. (I call her Crystal now, but I refuse to change her to that on my phone). I knew he wanted to be friends, and I respected that, but as I write this out now, let’s be honest… I went there every day for a month because I didn’t want him to forget about me.
Something must’ve changed in that boy because I remember seeing him sitting in the audience of my choir’s Christmas concert. Oh, the butterflies in my tummy went crazy!!! I have been performing since I was a little girl, and now do it professionally. I feel the most loved when someone supports me on stage. He came over to my house that night with a group of friends. He held my hand on my couch for hours, just the two of us, as our friends goofed off on the back deck, giggling as they periodically checked in on us. In the days to come this history nerd helped me “study” at Panera Bread for an exam, I was super worried about. (In case you were wondering, I got a B!) We flirted and he carried my textbooks and I was living my romance meets Disney movie dreams.
Canaan and his family spent Christmas in New York City and we texted while he was away ice skating in Central Park and all the things one does in the city at Christmas! I recall saying we missed each other, too. He flew back home on the 26th and came right over to my house where we exchanged Christmas presents underneath my tree, but oh dear, I do not remember what I got him or what he got me. Oops! My sister was throwing a party in the back, and similar to the night he first held my hand, we were only able to focus on the two of us.
I walked him out to his car at the end of the driveway where he asked to make us “official” and we shared our first kiss. We will have been “official”
for 8 years this December 26, 2021. 8 years… some long distant in college or for work, but many spent living and traveling together in different states and countries.
The night before I left for college, back on my driveway, just 8 months after we had started dating, we cried so hard. As we hugged so tight, he told me he loved me for the first time, and I have loved him ever since.
How They Asked
Where do I even begin… God KNOWS how long I have been dreaming of the day I’d get to write this out. Eeeppp!!! I think the setup of this story is important, so bear with me…
After landing his dream job with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, Canaan, and I moved to Cleveland, OH from Washington, D.C. just over two months ago! It was a tough decision to leave what we considered to be “our city,” where we were established professionally, had all our closest friends nearby, and our favorite food spots of course, but it was definitely the right move.
Our best friends from college (Corey, Collin, and Alessandra) came to visit us in our new city to see me perform in ELF The Musical and go to a Cav’s game. They got in super late Friday night and after breakfast Saturday morning, we walked them around our neighborhood to see the sites! Corey brought his camera from D.C. which I thought was odd because he’s more of a food photographer, but I also knew he was super excited to tour around Cleveland and had been practicing more lifestyle/scenic shots. Needless to say, I didn’t think anything past that. They saw my show, went to Canaan’s game, and that was Saturday.
I had another matinee on Sunday and the plan was to get up early to show them my favorite spot in Cleveland, Edgewater Park, before our brunch reservation around the corner from our house. It’s right on Lake Erie and is just a beautiful spot to see downtown and a great place for Collin and Alessandra to run their pup Rebel! Well, for someone who runs consistently late, I was ready at 10:00 AM for that plan, as planned. I really wanted to go. My schedule was tight that day and I know I always try to cram too much stuff in, but they just HAD to see this park, and I wanted to see them see it! Earlier that morning as I got out of bed, I told Canaan to shower while I did my make-up in the bedroom, to which I was surprised he said no to. “Take your time, babe!” He’s definitely more chilled out when his friends are around, but no one had any urgency to get to this park. Now it’s 10:20 AM and Canaan decides to shave. “WHY!? We’re going to the park!!!” I am pissed at this point.
Yes, I know I’m petty, but we had a plan and no one seemed to care. We’re all just about ready to leave, (FINALLY) and Alessandra makes me change my shoes. Again, weird, but she wasn’t wrong. I don’t know what I was thinking about my initial choice. Thanks, girl. The shaving…the shoe change…the stalling…and I didn’t pick up on any of it. Great, okay, our reservation is at 11:00 AM, it’s 10:30 AM now, we’ll just go there real quick! Well, Canaan pushed back saying there was not enough time and we’d be late for our reservation. Oh, now you want to be on time? We went back and forth for a few minutes as our friends awkwardly left the house and he apologized profusely… almost too nice.
The compromise was walking to the park down the street. Fine. Corey brought his camera again and we were going to take a few cute couple pics of Collin and Alessandra, and Canaan and myself. We tested the lighting on a few different sides of the gazebo in the center of the park, and as Corey shot Collin and Alessandra, I was coaching him with angles based on the lighting, (I like to think I always know what I’m talking about.) Hindsight, I kind of set up my own proposal without knowing it? Now, it was mine and Canaan’s turn! It was a chilly-to-the-bones kind of day so I tried a couple with my coat and then some without, deciding the photos looked best without the coat. As we posed, and with Canaan’s arm wrapped around my back, he said, “Now the reason I brought you to THIS park is…” And that’s when I knew IT was happening. Cue the video. Cue me screaming. Cue all the questions I had!!! That’s why Corey had his camera this whole time!!! I’ll spare the details on how it unfolds as the video says it all…and I think I blacked out a little too.
Oh, Canaan. Your plan was perfect. It was everything I could have ever dreamed of and MORE. And I know you know what I dreamed of. I told you many times. A surprise, a photographer, a beautiful ring, and you, of course. You got me so good, and I know how proud you are of that.
And because I know I left you on the edge of your seat…the brunch reservation was for 11:30 AM not 11:00 AM. Canaan lied so we’d have enough time to snap photos of moments, celebrate, and call all the people, just as I would’ve wanted.
I love you, Canaan Campo. You and me.