How We Met
Sean and I first met in the fall of 2014 during my freshman year at the University of Mary Washington and Sean’s freshman year of adulting. I had become fast friends with Sean’s sister, Cierra, who was also a freshman at UMW. Cierra and I went on to live together sophomore year, so Sean and I continued to get to know each other through Cierra (and our helpful friends, iMessage and Snapchat). Whether we wanted to admit it or not, I began to really look forward to talking to my roommate’s brother and Sean started to really enjoy hanging out with his sister’s roommate.
Fast forward to August of 2016. Cierra and I and several of our friends from UMW were going to an Orioles @ Nationals baseball game. I slyly suggested that Cierra invite her brother and sister who both lived in the area. Sean agreed to come and challenged me to a bet, since I would be rooting for the O’s while he rooted for the Nats. He was very vague about the stakes, saying only that the loser would have to “do whatever the winner says.” I was obviously a little wary of this, but Sean promised it would be no big deal. “You’ll just have to make me cookies or something like that.”
The O’s lost that game (but took three out of four against the Nats that year) and Sean won the bet. It wasn’t until two days later that I found out my “punishment.”
I spent the majority of the day on August 27, 2016, moving into my new apartment I would be sharing with Cierra and our friend Dara for our junior year at UMW. Cierra and Dara told me that they wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate the first night in the apartment. Honestly, that was the last thing I wanted to do after a long day of unpacking, but they were relentless and I gave in. As I was in my room getting ready for dinner, someone knocked on the door. It was Sean! I assumed he was just coming to dinner with us. It wasn’t until Dara said, “No, Marleigh, you’re going on a DATE with Sean,” that I started to realize what was happening.
I hopped onto the back of Sean’s new motorcycle (one of only two times I have ridden it to this day) and off we went on our first date as Sean cashed in on winning his bet. We had dinner at Soup & Taco (after finding out that the restaurant he planned on going to had moved) and got custard at Carl’s. At the end of the night, we shared our first kiss.
After several more dates, Sean decided to make it official. After returning home from another Orioles game (the O’s won in extras) on September 23, 2018, Sean *tried* to ask me to be his girlfriend. But instead of just asking me that, he said, “So…uh…do you wanna make this a thing?” I said yes and was pretty sure he was now my boyfriend, but it was a little fuzzy for a little while.
After clearing up that confusion, we fell in love hard and fast. And the rest, as they say, is history!
How They Asked
As the end of the summer of 2018 approached, I was finishing up my summer job as a camp counselor and preparing to head back to UMW for grad school. My cousin Delaney was home from physical therapy school in Miami for a few weeks so my aunt suggested that the cousins go over to the family farm to take some pictures while everyone was home.
Sean and I had been discussing marriage and both knew that they wanted to spend forever together, but I thought that engagement was at least six months away. So when August 10, 2018, the day of family pictures, arrived, an engagement was the last thing on my mind. But for some reason, as the day went on, I was hit with this overwhelming sense that the pictures were a setup and IT was going to happen. Even with my gut saying this, I was CERTAIN that there was NO WAY that IT was happening that day. I spent my whole drive home from work telling myself to chill and get over myself because IT was not happening and I could not get my hopes up and then be disappointed because I knew that IT would not be happening any time soon.
I was working so hard to ignore my gut that I didn’t catch on even when Sean walked out from behind the barn while the cousins were taking pictures. I was so focused on telling myself that IT was not happening that I still didn’t catch on even as I noticed that Sean was wearing a button-down, instead of his Belikin beer tank top and paint shorts. It was only when Sean’s parents walked out from behind the barn that I began to let myself listen to what my gut had been telling me all day and actually realize what was happening.
Sean took my hands, told me that he loved me (and my “stinky farts”). He asked me once again, “So, do you wanna make this a thing?” But this time, that was followed with another, even more, important question. “Will you marry me?” I said, “YES!” (But only after asking if he was serious.)