Mace and I go back…. way back.
Make that our junior year of high school; 2005 to be exact.
We both attended the same school, but knew nothing of each other. If anything, we were both athletes and Samoan (sah-mow-en; emphasis on the SAH). These were the only two things we had in common… literally. There was nothing that sparked interest of us to approaching one another. Mace wasn’t going do it…. Heck, I sure wasn’t going to do it. My game at the time was premature and not up to par (honestly, I was just shy… like really, REALLY, shy). Mace and I were definitely not ready for any type of relationship. We were in two different worlds… Luckily, there was someone else who felt different.
Back when MySpace and Razor phones were hip, Pina (aka Mace’s Ride or Die/ROD) had seen potential in Mace and I as a couple. Why? She thought we looked cute together (seems like a pretty substantial reason). From there, Pina pressed the issue to Mace for us to date. Like… seriously pressed the issue. I think what was most funny about the situation was that Pina didn’t even go to the same school as us and was playing matchmaker through MySpace. So thank you, Pina (and MySpace), for all your efforts.
Here’s where the gray area starts. We’re not sure who messaged whom first or how that occurred, but after a couple weeks of communicating during the summer of 2005, we finally decided to meet up in real life. WOW. I kid you not, that first time we met, we probably spoke for about 2 minutes given the fact that I was on my way to a football meeting and she was just leaving volleyball practice (plus my game was still developing a.k.a. I was still shy). Through all our weeks of communicating previously via MySpace and text, we acted like we were in 3rd grade that very first time. Sounds like quite the romance, right? HA. Any who, to keep a long story short, I asked her to homecoming that year and on the same night, I asked her to be my girlfriend… Well, not really. Here’s how the dialogue went:
Me: “So… I really like you… like… really, REALLY, like you. A LOT. And I was thinking… like… you and me could… like (makes weird hand gestures pointing back and forth). You know? Like… you know?”
Obviously, my nerves took my words captive and had me acting like that 3rd grader again. But hey, she got the message! So on Friday, Nov. 4, 2005, I asked Mace out to be my girlfriend without literally asking her to be my girlfriend… And we’ve been falling in love ever since.
“When man plans, God laughs.”
And He was laughing, all right.
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, I purchased an engagement ring with the intentions of proposing three weeks later on Christmas day. My plan? I didn’t have one. Advice? I didn’t seek any… Not from my parents, her parents, my friends, or anyone else. Most importantly, I didn’t seek God… And that backfired on me like crazy. Although Mace and I had been together for eight years at the time and had just finished doing long distance for six, it was evident that we were still not ready for marriage. Yes, we loved each other dearly, but our spiritual life was on the rocks… and it wasn’t until we decided to build our relationship with a foundationof Christ that I knew in my heart she was the one.
3 weeks until I propose? PSH. Try 5 months.
Remember how I said God was laughing? Well He was cracking up. As bad as I wanted to propose to Mace, my timing for everything was off. My engagement checklist of proposal dates were shot down one by one:
- Christmas? Nah.
- New Year’s Eve? Nope.
- How about New Years day? Womp.
- Valentines? Cliché.
March was dead to me, and April was about the same until midway through. I kept in contact with a good friend of ours who was a film student in the school of cinematic arts at USC during this time by the name of Dannyboy (aka Tamairie. Check him out: https://www.youtube.com/user/debonair5150). We spoke vaguely throughout the past months of the proposal and how I wanted him to capture the special moment using his oh so fancy videography skills. He was the one who actually prompted the idea of doing something for Mace’s birthday. And wallah! Although Dannyboy did help by sparking the idea, I was saddened to find out that the same weekend he had a business trip to attend to elsewhere and couldn’t be there to film (I still appreciate you bro! All love). So yes. That was it… Her birthday. Well, the day before her birthday to be exact: Saturday, May 17, 2014. So why did that take so long to plan?
“God’s plans are different from ours.”
Different is an understatement. His plan was WAY better than mine.
Mid April, I began contacting her family and close friends of throwing a surprise birthday party for Mace, with a proposal on the side (that last part made them go nuts). After setting the date, I had more thing left on my agenda: ask her parents for their blessing. This part was hysterical.
Two weekends before the big day, we decided to visit her family in San Diego. I had Mace’s older sister, Lusi, take her out to the mall that Sunday afternoon while I “stayed home to do homework.” We had all just came from eating at a restaurant, and as soon as Mace and Lusi left the house, I went in for the kill… Actually, I vividly remember waiting five minutes to settle in. And then I went for the kill… To my dismay, those five minutes were costly. As I walked up towards her parent’s room to speak with her dad, he was on his recliner KNOCKED OUT. I’m talking feet up in the air and mouth wide-open type of knocked out. And when I came back to the living room to see her mom, she was sleeping like a baby. They were literally just walking three minutes ago. So there I was, at home with her parents both asleep while I sat in their living room thinking about those five minutes. I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation while I “did my homework.” Fortunately, from where I was sitting, I could see her dad’s foot on the recliner, which was my trigger that he was still sleeping. After about a half hour, I looked up and saw his foot gone: he was awake. I fought the urge to leaving her mom napping as she laid so peacefully in a state of REM sleep… But it was GAMETIME. I woke her mom ever so softly and asked if I could meet with her and dad in the room: Mission Accomplished.
I mentioned earlier how Mace and I are both Samoan (sah-mow-en; emphasis on the SAH). However, I never grasped the ability to understanding and speaking the language fluently. I can understand general statements and a lot of words (i.e., action verbs related to chores), but when you’re talking with two seasoned veterans (her mom and dad) who speak the language forwards, backwards and upside down, that’s when I begin to misinterpret things. So I asked her parents in English for their blessing in having their daughter’s hand in marriage. Yet, when her dad replied, he spoke both English and Samoan. With all honesty, he could’ve spoken Japanese while he was at it. All I wanted to hear was a yes in any way, shape or form. He then asked me in Samoan if I already spoke with Mace about it (The topic of marriage…at least that’s what I interpreted). And I said yes. That’s when he asked to meet again that same evening with his daughter to speak of our wedding. At first, I was confused, but at the same time I was forever grateful that her parents had just agreed to offer their daughter’s hand in marriage. I was overjoyed.
Later that evening, Mace and I were called to meet her parents in their room. As we both sat on the floor, her dad began to speak in Samoan of what had happened previously that day. He shared with us how I had asked for their blessing in having her hand in marriage and when the most appropriate time would be for us to wed. As Mace was in tears, I was halfway lost trying to interpret his entire message into one sentence. After about 15 minutes of going through the motions with her parents, Lusi (another AP Samoan scholar) approached me after eavesdropping our entire meeting… No literally, here’s a paparazzi photo of that meeting.
Lusi asked with a look of confusion, “Why did dad say you proposed already?” I thought to myself: Is that what he said? I was so lost in lala land that it didn’t hit me until the next day. Lusi met with her parents after we left and said that her father asked me if I had proposed already, and I said yes. That’s why he wanted to ask for us to meet with him that evening: He thought we were already engaged. WOW. She then mentioned how I didn’t even tell him about the secret surprise birthday proposal video I was trying to set up for Mace since they would be out of the country during that time. Overall, this was a hot mess. Luckily, Mace still had not clue about the surprise birthday, but she obviously knew a proposal was in the making since I dumbfoundedly told her parents we were already engaged.
*Note to self: Learn Samoan.
For the next two weeks, Mace was a child detective. A child for how happy she was to know about her parents giving their blessing and a detective for all the harassment I went through about the entire situation:
- Are you going to propose soon? Did you get a ring already?
- Did you talk to any of my best friends? Let me see your phone.
- How did my sister find out about this? When? Did you call or text her? Did you delete it? Blah blah? Blah blah? Blah blah blah blah blah?
Those two weeks seemed like forever. All the secretive planning with her close friends and family had built up so much emotion for the day to come. To my surprise, when the day had finally arrived, Mace didn’t snoop or check anything on my phone. It’s like she knew something was going on, but she didn’t know how or what was going to happen.
For as calm and collective the day was panning out to be, there was a slight moment of panic when I found out that Mace had gotten off of work 3 hours earlier than expected. Instead of rampaging out, I called one of her best friends, Denesa, for advice and she had me cracking up. I think she was trippin’ more than I was at the time. She went from hectic crazy to the sweetest advice ever:
“OH. MY. GAWSH… Amos, you CANNOT, I repeat CANNOT, come down right now. YOU HAVE TO KILL TIME… If you come right now this would RUIN EVERYTHING… EVERYTHING.”
2 minutes later:
“Okay, so on the way down, maybe tell her that you want to go to the beach? And walk around? You know? Kill some time over there and be romantic and enjoy the scenery…”
After we got off the phone, I said YOLO. I went to pick up Mace from work and everything just fell into place. We got her eye-brows threaded, grabbed some food to eat, and I pulled off an Oscar winning act by faking a toothache so we could head over to Wal-Mart and find a cure for my pain… The things you do for love. As we finished packing and getting ready for our trip to San Diego, everything seemed so surreal, as if it we were going in slow motion, but not… does that make sense? Also, Mace seemed so calm and gracefully responsive to everything, which is pretty rare…. Anyways, on our way down, Mace was exhausted and had fallen asleep for the first half of the drive, and that’s when I began rehearsing my proposal over and over in my head. All my nerves and jitters were nowhere to be found. I was as calm as can be until we made our exit off the freeway.
Her brother Liki (aka Koi) had called earlier to see where we were at the time to have everyone set up for the surprise. Speaking of surprise, when I had sent the mass text messages to everyone about the event that week, I SPECIFICALLY asked for all vehicles to be parked on the side streets and NOT in front of the house… Guess what was the first thing we saw when we pulled up to her parents’ house? About 7-10 cars out front straight posted… REALLY? In my head, I was like, “No they DID not just ruin the entire surprise like this,” (All of y’all are hella fired for that one). And then Mace surprised me even more when she didn’t recognize any of the cars (Thank you, Jesus). Continuing on, when we stepped out the car, she began to question: “Huh?” “What’s going on?” “Whose cars are these?” Apparently, she was talking to herself cause I didn’t say a word. And as we walked inside the house, the video speaks for itself…
The first half is Mace greeting each guest with a hug, and if you notice, she is extra emotional to the umpteenth power. The two people (Denesa and Maninder) at the very end that she hugs in the living room were purposely dodging her the entire time and sat on the couches in front in order to get Mace to stand front and center for the proposal. When the video of her parents played out, and the beat dropped, that was my cue to step on in. The rest was history…
That night was filled with so much joy, laughter, and unconditional love from all our family and friends. And honestly, I could not have done any of this without their help. It was beautiful.
Big shout out to Denesa, Maninder, Jaenee, and Lusi for their assistance and input on the Pinterest inspired décor.
They actually created a Google Doc for the event and shared it with one another on all the goodies. It was titled, “Ina love fest,” (FYI, Ina is Mace’s nickname). Awesome… Also, thank you Lusi again for the wonderful red velvet birthday/engagement cake (aka chocolate cake with red dye) as well as being our photographer.
Huge shout out to my sister Jaenee who was the one who recorded the proposal and took the lovely photos AND the one who provided Mace with the Feyoncé sweater and Beyoncé snapback! Quick story behind that:
Mace is a huge Beyoncé fan. So much so that I asked her a random question one day, “If you had to fight anyone in the world, who would it be?”
“Beyoncé… so I can hug her (*flutters her eyelashes).”
Thank you to my boy Gene for providing us with refreshments (*wink). And I can’t forget sister Tuna who came in the CLUTCH with the homemade Chamango fix (if you’ve never heard of or had a Chamango in your life, I recommend you do so at Ocean Rainbow in Oceanside, CA and nowhere else. Bomb). Also! Thank you Geminelle for singing her number and covering Alicia Keys – Unthinkable (She did that! Check out her music and blog at http://geminelle.com). And thank you to everyone who made it through that day and gave a helping hand. You guys made the night that much more special. I also know some of you had called off work and traveled from afar, and I deeply appreciate your time and efforts in doing so. And for anyone that I left out, please know that you are appreciated… Lastly, I give all thanks and glory to our Heavenly Father for His guidance and provision throughout the entire process. Without Him, this would not have been possible.
Thank you all & God Bless.
God is good.