Ted Riley and I were matched on e-harmony August 28, 2009 (which also happens to be his birthday). We went on our first date a few weeks later, on September 13th. It was about as close to love-at-first-sight as I think any relationship could be. Ted said later that he knew by the second date he would never find someone else like me again (haha… he was right on that one… such discernment.) :)
Well we hit the ground running in September and haven’t looked back since. He met my parents two weeks later, and I met his family about a month later, when they came to town to visit (they currently live in MS). He helped me move my piano (that’s when I knew he was a keeper!), took time off work to take care of me when I was sick, camped outside Target, in the cold, for 4 hours the day after Thanksgiving so I could buy DVDs for next to nothing… over the past 5 months, he has constantly sacrificed over and over… whether it was money or time or just effort he’s given to encourage and help me. I have grown to love this man in a way I never knew was possible.
Over the past few months, we’ve talked about wanting to be married to each other. Financially, I didn’t think it would happen any time soon, since his car died (aka committed suicide by throwing a rod through the engine) shortly after we met. I’ve spent many nights learning to trust God with the timing when everything in me wanted to push (ok, there were also many times i dropped not-so-subtle hints too). :) Knowing my lease was up this coming summer was a source of struggle for me… Where would I go? What do I do then? I’m a planner by profession, i wanted to plan the next few months and years… and I couldn’t. I just had to trust that this WAS in fact going somewhere and it’d all be okay.
Well, enough blabbing… on to the real reason ya’ll are reading this… the STORY! :)
For Valentines day, Ted told me he had an entire day of surprises planned. He mentioned he’d pick me up before lunch and I would need a dressy change of clothes for dinner. He seemed a bit nervous about the whole day but I figured that was simply because it was our first Valentines day together and i know he had planned so many details (being the sappy romantic that he is) that he just wanted it to be perfect. I was also wanting the day to be perfect… and was kind of struggling with that… Ted was very helpful in reminding me that its not all about the hoop-la of the holiday, its about us enjoying each other and enjoying the time we got to spent together. That was such a helpful stress reliever and I was really just able to relax and enjoy the day with no expectations other than enjoying the day with my sweetie. Being the romantic that he is, he planned the day as a “trip down memory lane” … complete with little gifts and cards throughout the day. He came to pick me up and had flowers (really BEAUTIFUL ones) and a card. To anyone who can’t handle “sappy” you might want to stop reading now… its gonna get a little (or a LOT) mushy!
Each “surprise” was introduced with a card and a poem. This was the first poem that was in the card which came with the flowers:
1. “And now… we’ll start the day of Valentine’s
with flowers and a kiss from me
and then a walk down memory lane
with a trip for lunch to Rafferty’s.”
We first met at Rafferty’s on September 13th, exactly 5 months prior to the day. So, we sat there at lunch and just laughed about how nervous we both were that first date and how we both over-analyzed everything… from what we wore to what we said… to how many times I had to get up and pee because I was so nervous (but anyone who knows me knows that this had nothing to do with me being nervous) :) sigh.
On the way to Rafferty’s he gave me another “clue” card and a gift bag:
2. “And for the ride, you may enjoy
A song or two that rings out true.
And if you listen carefully,
You’ll hear the hope that lies in you.”
The CD is called “the hope that lies in you” by the Glorious Unseen. It was one that I had wanted to get for a while. So, we listened to that in the car as we drove around town for the rest of the day.
After lunch, another card, which read:
3. “And now that we have reminisced
And shared a meal and memories
The next location is your guess
And what you guess I want to see :)
To aid you in your figuring
I’ll offer you a simple clue:
I’d love to see you choosing stripes
But solids seem to be your due.”
We then headed to Bailey’s (where we had our second date) for a few rounds of pool, where Ted once again consistently won every game (except for the one where I cheated!) On the way there, though, came another gift:
4. “And on the way I have a gift,
Another sliver of my plan.
I hope you have a pleasant “knight”
When next you journey to Catan.”
The gift was the game “Cities and Knights” an expansion kit to Settlers of Catan (one of our favorites games). I read the instructions in the car when we were on the way to Baileys for the pool I mentioned above.
After pool (where Ted wiped the floor with me), came card #5:
5. “By now you no doubt know my plan
And what is next you clearly see
But join me if you will, my dear,
For a cup of Underground Coffee.”
On our second date, after Baileys, we went to Coffee Underground and sat there and chatted for a while. We “recreated” that date this day, except I got coffee instead of tea :)
After coffee, came card #6… and another note that had no card:
6. “Another gift I have for you
As we are heading place to place.
This gift will hang from both your lobes,
And frame your pretty, smiling face.”
The gift was a pair of silver and pearl lotus flower dangly earrings. The next note read as follows:
6b. “Another card I do not have
But somewhere else I’d like to go
But first let’s change and freshen up
Then see a bell tower lined with snow.”
So, we went back to his house to change and get dressed up for dinner. After getting changed, we headed out to Furman for a nice (albeit cold) walk around the lake. He brought the final 2 cards and one gift bags with him for our little stroll. Card #7 reads:
7. “To end the journey of today
The final stop is just ahead
If you can guess the restaurant
Then be you proud, and be well fed
The choices there are plentiful –
Exotic meats and fish and fowl
A glass of wine would go well too
So guess the place, we’ll head there now.”
Dinner was at Saskatoon, an exotic game restauraunt. Before we headed there though, he had one last gift. I opened the bag and there was nothing but a big red bow inside. With a goofy grin, he put it on his head, and then told me to open the last card:
8. “And now the day is nearly through
With only one gift left to see.
I’ve saved the best for last, of course,
And want to offer simply …ME!”
While I was looking at that and just laughing at the goofiness of Ted standing there with a bow on his head he said something to the effect of “I meant that… I really want to offer you all of me. And there’s another part to that gift.” He then got down on a knee, and at the same time, my jaw hit the pavement. I was like “what are you doing… you don’t even have money for the ring yet… where’d that come from… ??” (there were multiple thoughts going through my head all at the same time.) I mean, i KNEW what he was doing, but i just didn’t believe it! I had really convinced myself that it wouldn’t be for several more months, and was just blown away by him keeping it a secret so well (but looking back, WAKE UP EMILY… ALL THE CLUES WERE THERE!!!!) :)
He said that though he had planned the entire day, he didn’t plan what to say at this point. Being that my mind was a pile of happy mush at this point, I don’t exactly remember what he said… but I think somewhere in there was “will you marry me?” I started bawling like a fool, still in shock that he was actually proposing to me! (again, probably not a surprise that Emily started crying at a moment like this… note to self, buy a wedding dress with pockets for tissues) :) I’m assuming I said yes, being that I have a sparkly ring on my finger now. :)
We ate dinner at Saskatoon, but to me it felt more like a cloud. I am honored and humbled to have his affection and love. I look forward to soon becoming Mrs. Edward Riley and beginning our lives together as husband and wife. Stay tuned for wedding updates… :)