Mandy and Parker

Parker and I met through a mutual friend in December of 2001.  We began to spend time together on a regular basis and became great friends.  We were close for a long time, even when I lived in Chicago for two years for school.  After moving back, and still being so close, Parker asked me to be his girl.  I said no.  I knew I loved Parker, and that he would do anything for me.  But I saw our differences in faith as too much of an issue for us.  Our friendship faded soon after.  We rarely spoke over the next few years, and hardly ever saw each other.  I did think of him often, and missed him terribly.  After dating a few other people, and becoming more mature, I began to reevaluate my priorities.  I was always holding men to the standard Parker had set, and no one else came close.  I wasn’t sure if my chance had passed, but I knew I had to try to get Parker back into my life, and that if I could, there would be no obstacle too great for us to overcome.

It was March of 2010 when I asked him out for a drink, and after several hours, when he had walked me to my car, I knew it was a “now or never” moment.  I told him how I missed him all the time and that if there was any chance for us to get back what we’d had before, I was willing to work for it.  I started to cry and he held me for a long time.  Being as selfless as he is, he managed to make me laugh at the situation, said he’d have to think about things and I went home.  We were able to hang out two more times before he had to leave for a month for work.  We were able to reconnect with phone calls and texts, and when he came back we started dating.

The proposal: It was nearing the end of the Summer (in 2011), and we’d still not made it to the Botanical Gardens for one of their free music nights.  So I planned our night, packed the picnic blanket, and even bought wine and snacks.  We met some friends at the Gardens, but Parker wanted to go on a walk.  Since we hadn’t been there all year, that didn’t seem very odd to me.  I thought it was cute how he kept holding my hand as we walked all the way to the other side of the lake and back, but he’s often cute, so I wasn’t suspicious.  On our way back, it started to thunder, so we were all told to go inside the main building.  Since we hadn’t had our picnic yet and didn’t want to wait it out, we said goodbye to our friends and decided to leave.  It wasn’t raining, so we went to a nearby park.  After setting up the picnic again and hanging out for a while, he was laying on my lap and started to say all sorts of sweet things.  He said we hadn’t had much time together lately, with just the two of us.  I started thinking of what I could do to schedule more real dates for us, since I wasn’t catching on to his hints at all.  Then he held up the ring and clarified, “I haven’t had the chance to give you this.”

My first response was “what is that?!”  He replied, “it’s an engagement ring, will you marry me?”  And to that I asked, “Are you serious?”  I, of course, knew he would never joke about it, but I was in such shock that I wasn’t thinking strait at all.  With tears in my eyes, I asked for the ring (I basically grabbed it out of his hand), and put it on myself, amazed at how sparkly it was.  After a few moments, I realized I hadn’t even answered his question!  I laughed at myself, and he laughed at me too, and I said yes.  I guess we hadn’t had much time together lately, because he’d asked my dad for my hand two weeks prior, and he’d had the ring in his pocket for about 4 days, waiting for the right moment.

Photos by Hawes Photography