How We Met
Mitchel and I met our freshman year of high school at McAuley Catholic High School in Joplin, MO when his family moved there from the neighboring town of Neosho, MO, but we didn’t start dating until the beginning of our senior year after a rapid chain of events that started with our lockers being placed next to each other. Mitchel texted me one day early in the year asking what our homework was for Personal Finance even though he knew that I was not in that class with him (smooth…). We haven’t stopped talking since I received that text, except for some short pauses for his summer training. We have supported each other from the beginning. I attended every football game our senior year, he came to every soccer game he could when he wasn’t working, I would bring him coffee at the tool shop where he worked, and we attended mass together whenever we could. You could say our shared Catholic faith has been pretty important to us.
Our senior year, Mitchel received an appointment to The United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. I actually knew he was getting the appointment before he did. His mom called me into the office at school (she was the secretary at the elementary school next door at the time) and told me their family wanted me to come over that night and be there when he got the phone call. I skipped around school beaming and trying to avoid Mitch all day so I could keep the secret.
We knew this would mean 4 years of being 1,000+ miles apart, but it didn’t really phase us. We were committed to our relationship early on and knew we would be getting married someday. We used the time we had left in the same zip code to grow closer with each other’s families, something that has been very important to us since we knew that our days in Joplin together were limited. We took swing dancing lessons, something that we still enjoy doing to this day. We went on weekly dinner dates. We attempted new sports together (fun fact: neither of us are good at tennis or golf). Mitch even tried to share two of his hobbies: watching old movies (yawn), and drinking too much coffee. One took, one did not.
While Mitch has been in New York, I have completed 2 years of an education degree to get my substitute teaching certificate. When I completed that, I was offered a full-time job as the daycare teacher at the pre-school/Pre-K where I attended elementary school as a child. I loved attending the Joplin Area Catholic Schools, and I have found so much joy in taking care of those 3-5 year olds and spending time as a teacher there. It has been a true blessing in my life. After school and during breaks, I help out with the cottage bakery that Mitch’s mom started last year. (If you haven’t checked out “The Occasional Bakers, LLC” on social media yet you are missing out…shameless plug.) I love helping bake and decorate the cookies, but most of all I love spending time with her and the rest of the family.
how they asked
Still in excited shock that I’m even writing this story. It’s a long one. Deep breath, annnnd go!
Mitch and I had been planning on getting engaged over spring break 2016 for years. When January 2016 rolled around, we booked a trip to San Antonio, TX and started planning our trip. I was so excited, and I told Mitch I would like if he could come home just to visit for President’s Day/Valentine’s Day weekend in February. He said that he would see if he could make it work, but not to get my hopes up. After that he always seemed to change the subject whenever I would bring up that weekend. I was slightly suspicious but I didn’t say anything.
I woke up on Saturday February 13, 2016 to a text from one of Mitch’s roommates that said Mitch’s phone wasn’t working, but he wanted me to know he got back to his room safely the previous night. I officially let go of the hope that Mitch was coming home because I didn’t think there was any way he would go into that much detail if he was going to surprise me.
I started to get ready for an all day symposium out-of-town with my mom (who was currently at “an active shooter drill” at the hospital) when I got a text from Mitch’s mom, Susan, asking if I could deliver cookies to our priest, Father J, ASAP. He needed to leave town earlier than expected, Mitch’s dad, Mark, had taken a car to meet a friend for breakfast, and Susan needed to finish cleaning the house before her granddaughter Caroline arrived.
I agreed, and I quickly finished getting ready. Before I left I asked my younger brother, Ben, if he wanted to come along for the ride. He said he would, so we hopped in the car and drove the block to the Wears’ house. We picked up cookies, and Susan stressed that I need to call Father J when I am there because he didn’t know if he would be in the rectory or the Church. When Ben and I arrived (Oops! I invited my little brother to my proposal on accident!), we called Father J, and he met us with the secretary in the alley between the Church and the rectory.
“It’s good you’re here, Ben,” he said, “We need help moving something in the rectory. Lucy, your check is in the back of Church. You can go get it.”
“No, no! We wouldn’t charge you for cookies!!” I replied.
“Well, then go into Church and say a prayer for me real quick,” he said.
“Yeah!! Go in there and pray for him!!!” Rose, the secretary, agreed. (She cracked me up. She was clearly so excited!)
So we parted ways, and I walked into Church. As soon as I walked in, I saw Mitch kneeling down in the front row, praying a Rosary (I found out he was on lap number 2 of the Rosary) and wearing a suit (he always said he would be wearing a suit when he proposed). I was so shocked that he pulled off the surprise and getting to Joplin, MO without me knowing that I started cracking up! I didn’t even let him get up from kneeling before I hugged him, and laughed and cried tears of joy on his shoulder. Despite having waited for this moment for years, I still could not believe that we had reached this stage of our relationship.
Eventually I calmed down enough that he could get out of the pew, and, in true Mitch fashion, he genuflected towards the tabernacle before pivoting around to me and proposing. When he asked me to marry him, all I could muster for a second was an eager nod, and “Mhmm,” to which I quickly corrected myself saying, “I mean, yes!!!”
We enjoyed a few minutes laughing together while he filled me in on all the scheming that had been going on. Things like his dad had not taken the car that morning, he had hidden in the bedroom. My dad wasn’t working that morning, and my mom wasn’t at a drill. They were both at breakfast with Mitch so he could ask their blessing. They gave it!
He asked if I had seen the letter. Turns out, there was an envelope in the back of Church, but it wasn’t a check. It read: “Love, I couldn’t wait until spring break. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. Meet me inside. I have something to ask you.” Needless to say, I forgave him. I framed the letter, and it now sits on my dresser.
My mom and dad were waiting outside. Together we all went into the rectory where Ben was waiting with Rose and Father J, and we had my ring/our engagement blessed. This was something I had mentioned briefly to Mitch a year or so ago, not even knowing if it was a real thing, so it was extra special that he remembered and arranged this little detail.
We spent the rest of the day celebrating with both of our families. Not only did they all keep a secret from me, but they spoiled us all weekend! We are so blessed to both have such wonderful, loving families.
We are so excited to be husband and wife. June 10, 2017, we are ready for ya!