How we met
Although Tommy and I attended different schools until high school (he went to Saint Elizabeth Catholic School until that point), we lived in the same community and met through friends when we were young. We attended birthday parties together since we were about 10 years old, and I even “asked him out” during a friend’s birthday party in 6th grade. As with many 12 year old relationships, ours didn’t last long, but we continued to be friends and see each other regularly until starting 9th grade together at Thomas Jefferson High School. Although we already knew each other, he tells me that seeing me on the first day of school was like “love at first sight.”
I vividly remember walking down the hallway that year with my best friend discussing who we wanted our senior year boyfriends to be. I told her definitely Tommy McCafferty because he was cool and sweet and funny, and it just feels like we should be together! Still, we dated other people throughout high school. He would help me come up with romantic songs to put on mixed tapes for my boyfriends, and I would talk with him in study hall about how he should ask girls to dances. Naturally, I would dislike any girl he dated and tell him it was a bad idea.
At the end of our junior year, we finally wised up and started dating in time to go through all of our senior year milestones together. I would cheer him on at Friday night football games, and we were forced to dance in front of the school at the Homecoming pep rally while he wore an “Erin is my Queen” t-shirt. He would deal with my anger and frustration as he tried to help me study for Trigonometry tests, and I would do his sewing for Home Ec. He invented the prom-posal by asking me to senior prom using a path of candles and rose petals down to his basement (I said yes then, too!), and after we graduated together in 2004, we went with friends on a senior trip in Marco Island, Florida.
When it came time for college, we started the on-and-off stage of dating. We visited each other a few times, but distance and immaturity made it difficult to stay together. We broke up for good in the summer before our senior year of college, but we kept the same friends and we would see each other any time we were home for breaks.
I had a couple of serious boyfriends after college, but we always ended up breaking up because it didn’t feel right. My friends and family always loved Tommy, so whenever I was single they would inevitably ask why I wasn’t with him. They would bring it up so often that I developed a habit of brushing them off. This went on for years until one night around Thanksgiving I met my friends for some drinks and, as it typically went, they asked me about Tommy. I brushed it off and we continued with our conversation as usual, but on the way home that night I stopped for the first time to think about what a habit it had become and I started to wonder why I always acted that way. I realized after 9 years of being stubborn that I needed to stop and I began looking forward to the next time I would see Tommy and be able to hang out as usual without acting so distant. Of course, after I made this realization he was never around. I anticipated seeing him at Christmas parties or get-togethers thrown by our friends, but he always had other places to be. Finally I knew I would be able to see him at a surprise party his family was throwing for him in January. Much to my surprise, he showed up to the party with his new girlfriend (this realization led to several glasses of wine that evening!). After that, the next few weeks were more of the same – me wanting to run into him at events where he never showed. So I finally decided that I needed to let him know how I was feeling and I sent him a message asking to talk. After I laid everything out, we talked for a few weeks and then decided that we should get back together.
We still wanted to keep it quiet for a while to make sure it was a good decision. It had been a long time, and with all of the people in our lives that had been hoping this would happen for years, we didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up to only let them down shortly thereafter. However, it only took about a week for us to realize that this was meant to be and we had finally figured it out. Nine years apart seems like a long time, but to us the timing feels perfect, and we know those nine years were what we needed to love each other for the rest of our lives!
how they asked
About 4 months after we got back together, Tommy had a busy week of client meetings and I was away for the weekend, so we hadn’t seen each other in about a week. He suggested we have a date night on the Tuesday of the following week after everything settled down, so I went to his apartment that night and waited for him to get home from work. When he got back he said he was pretty tired and suggested something easy for dinner – maybe we’d just go across the street to Six Penn and have dinner on the roof deck. He called to see if there were tables available and told me that they were reserving one for us. When we got there it was a nice table under a cabana filled with lights. There were other cabanas on the roof, so nothing seemed out of the ordinary to me yet. There was also a TV hanging on the wall across from us, but because it was a restaurant this didn’t seem odd to me either.
We had dinner and as it started to get dark and people started to leave, he pulled a remote control out of his pocket. My friends and I had put 30th birthday videos together for each other with pictures, videos, and our favorite songs but because Tommy and I weren’t together when they made mine he wasn’t in it as much as I wanted. I told him that once, so he said that he made me one himself! He made the video with current and old pictures of us, our families, and our friends. The first song, “My Best Friend” by Tim McGraw, was our song in high school. The second song, “Home to You” by John Michael Montgomery, was the song I had always told him I wanted to dance to at my wedding. The final song was “American Love Story” by LANco. Our friend Jess had found the song a few months back and sent it to us when she found out we were back together because the lyrics pretty much spelled out the story of our lives (Tommy said he started planning this night as soon as he heard the song).
The end of the song is essentially a proposal, so as the video was playing and that part of the song came on he came over to me, got down on one knee, and quoted the final lyrics. When the song was over he asked me to marry him and showed me a ring more beautiful than anything I could have ever picked out! The final surprise was that he had our friend Dave come down and film the proposal without me knowing!
Dave came over afterward to congratulate us and take some more pictures, and by the next day he had taken the proposal video he had recorded and inserted it into the end of the video Tommy had made for me that night. He did such an incredible job, and it is so amazing to have all of the memories from that night captured forever!