Jenna and Devin
Michael and I met through mutual friends in Tampa, Florida while I was home for the summer. We had instant chemistry and our first conversation consisted of me making fun of him for wearing cowboy boots everywhere (which I secretly liked) even though he was clearly a city boy. Our conversation then drifted towards our similar backgrounds growing up in the church, along with stories about our friends, families, and even our mutual love for dogs. I soon came to the realization that this handsome man had everything that I had been looking for in a guy: A strong love for God, his family, and his friends. Later that night, I found myself talking nonstop about him to my friends. The more I talked about him, the more I let my skepticism with guys from past relationships get into my head. “Was this too good to be true?” I could tell by the looks my friends were giving me that they were skeptical too. However, this didn’t stop them from convincing me to send him a friend request on Facebook. Unfortunately, this all took place towards the end of my summer home and it was time for me to head back to Gainesville, Florida for my last year of grad school at the University of Florida.
Although life got busy taking Master’s classes and having a full-time teaching internship, I was still constantly thinking about him and looking at his Facebook page (which I later found out he had been doing the same). A little over a month later, I received a Facebook message from him telling me that he was going to be in Gainesville for the Ole Miss football game and that he wanted to meet up. Our conversation then lead to small talk about our week and eventually resulted in him getting my number. I remember seeing his name pop up in my text messages and getting instant butterflies. However, my skepticism soon returned as I put my guard up and assumed the possibility of us not actually meeting up that weekend.
I spent the morning before the game tailgating and enjoying time with friends who were visiting from out of town. I received a few text messages from him about meeting up, but I was so busy spending time with friends that I honestly didn’t think much of it. I eventually responded and he met me at a tailgate I was at right outside of the football stadium. The moment he walked up left me weak at the knees and any sort of doubt or skepticism I previously had was now gone. Our conversation was fun and effortless and it picked up right where we left off a month ago. This lasted for about an hour until it was time for us to part ways and go into the stadium for the game.
The next day, I received a call from him asking if he could drive up to Gainesville later that week to take me out on a date. At this point, I had come to the realization that this was getting serious. My skepticism slowly started to fade as I realized that this wasn’t just another guy who was trying to play games. Here was someone who was willing to drive 2 hours on a week night just to take ME out on a date? I remember thinking it was crazy, but I obviously wasn’t complaining.
Later that week, he showed up at my door looking handsome as ever ready to take me out on our first date and the rest is history… Now here we are just a little over a year later making plans to spend the rest of our lives together!
It was an early Saturday morning. Michael and I were meeting with his business coach, Mike, who is in charge of the marketing for the gym that he owns. The meeting went great and the plan was to meet back up with Mike and a few other business owners later that day for a happy hour at the Hard Rock Café in the Tampa International Airport. It made sense to meet here because Mike was flying out of this airport later that night.
On the way to the airport, I asked Michael if we could go up to the top of the parking garage to watch the sunset. This had been our spot ever since I permanently moved to Tampa. Something about it made us both feel like we were on vacation and we swore it was the best spot in the city to watch the sunset. However, Michael claimed that we didn’t have time because he didn’t want to risk us being late, especially with all of the business owners in the fitness industry that we were meeting.
We were sitting outside of the Hard Rock Café waiting for everyone to show up when Michael received a call from his business coach saying that he was running late. Michael asked what I wanted to do while we waited and I got excited knowing that we now had time to go up and watch the sunset at the top of the parking garage.
We got in the elevator that you take to the top of the parking garage and as soon as we got off the elevator I heard our favorite Eric Church Song “Carolina” playing in the background. I said, “Babe do you hear that? It’s our song!” We then walk out of the sliding glass doors and I was completely shocked to see all of our friends and family forming an aisle that led to our favorite spot at the top of the parking garage.
I instantly started crying and couldn’t believe the amount of our friends and family that were there. My heart was bursting and I couldn’t stop crying and screaming as I walked by loved ones who I hadn’t seen in so long, including those who had flown in from out-of-state just to be a part of this magical night. Michael held my hand as we walked through the aisle and everyone followed behind us as we walked towards our favorite spot.
We were standing in our spot while looking into the eyes of one another as I’m smiling and crying and filled with all sorts of emotions. Not to mention, the sunset was the most beautiful one we had ever seen there. He then began telling me how long he had waited for this moment, and how he knew from the moment he met me that he was going to marry me.
He went on to give the rest of his speech, followed by getting on a knee asking to marry me. I cried and screamed “YES!” as he put the most beautiful ring on my finger. I look over to all of our family and friends as they began cheering while wiping away happy tears.
Michael then gave a speech in front of everyone who was there by thanking them for coming and then went on to tell them about the first time we decided to spontaneously drive to the airport.
He told them how we got to the top of the parking garage and all of a sudden I had this feeling he was going to propose, but I was freaking out because I was in workout clothes and my nails weren’t done. Since then, it has always been our joke, and for that reason I thought it would be the last place that he would ever propose.
He then tells me to close my eyes and put my hands out. I remember thinking this was strange and that maybe we were going to pray or something. Next thing I know I feel a wet nose and furry face against mine and open my eyes to see him holding a PUPPY! I instantly started crying and screaming “OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH!” I couldn’t believe that before my eyes was the man of my dreams holding a white goldendoodle puppy in his arms.
Michael has a 2-year-old goldendoodle named Henry and we always said that one day in the future we would get another puppy so that Henry could always have someone to play with. Well it turns out that this puppy came from the same mom and dad as Henry so this wasn’t just any puppy, this was Henry’s BROTHER! A puppy, a ring, and a fiancé all in one night?! My heart couldn’t handle it. All I knew is that I was living in a dream that I never wanted to wake up from!
We ended the night with an engagement party at a restaurant Michael had rented out for all of us. This party was full of laughter, tears, and reminiscing on sweet memories with our family and friends. I woke up the next morning still in awe as I realized that I get to spend forever with my best friend!
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