Sunday, February 5, 2012
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
How We Met
As far as meetings go, the first one was by chance, and the second, divine intervention.
It was January 16th, 2006 and I had just graduated from college. I was very excited about my first day of my third time working at Walt Disney World on the College Program. I arrived very early eager to check in to my apartment at the legendary Vista Way. Being young and single, of course I immediately began checking out the girl situation.
However, I wasn't the only one who was excited and eager to begin a Disney adventure. A young Elizabeth Ashley Long was also there at the Vista Way Pavilion that day, checking out the boy situation, one boy in particular, as it turns out.
Ashley and I would meet for the first time on that day. She was in the registration line right beside me and I made fun of her for forgetting her social security card in her other purse, which as anyone knows, is my way of flirting. We soon parted ways without exchanging any information. I knew she was living in a different apartment complex and fully expected to never see her again.
Thankfully, the story did not end there, because Ashley had miraculously befriended one of my roommates who was also in line, and a few days later she mysteriously appeared in my living room. That night, we went out to dinner together with a group of friends to Market Street Cafe in Celebration, Florida. After dinner we sat out by the lake, basically ignoring everyone around us, engrossed in conversation and marveling at all the things we had in common.
We decided it would be a great idea to go to the parks together and watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot. With the romantic atmosphere of World Showcase and my...I mean her amazing personality, it didn't take long for sparks to fly.
Ashley and I spent an amazing few months together in Orlando before it was time for her to go back to Mississippi. After a tearful goodbye, I knew that there was something special about this girl and I could imagine spending the rest of my life with her.
It wasn't easy maintaining a relationship long distance for such a long time. My wanderlust certainly did not make it any easier for Ashley, But she stuck by me. It's been a long, winding road to get to this point, and right now we couldn't be happier.
How It Happened
A Surprise Proposal
Ashley and I had been dating for the better part of three years. We started discussing the possibility of marriage a long time ago and we had even gone to the mall to look at engagement rings. Needless to say, achieving the element of surprise for a proposal was going to be a rather difficult challenge. I wasn't going to be able to, say, get dressed up and take her out to the nicest place in town, or take blankets and candles to the beach or lake without suspicion being aroused.
Ashley's step father's birthday party was to be on Monday night, April 27th. I had been invited and it seemed like perhaps the perfect opportunity to "pop the question" without Ashley having any idea that it was coming. I approached him and asked if it would be okay if I proposed at his birthday party and if he and Ashley's mother would help. He said, and I quote, "Do it".
Ashley's mom made a big deal about the party we were going to have that night. It was originally meant to be a simple occasion with pizza and Diet Coke. However, she decided it was to be a more formal affair and made everyone dress up, got out the fine china, made a nice meal, and got out the video camera.
After dinner and a wonderful cake made by Ashley's sister, it was time for Ashley's dad to open presents. From the dining room we moved the party into the living room and got comfortable. The family had gotten him a Starbuck's gift card which they had placed into a larger box to kind of throw him off, or so they thought. What Ashley, Dru, and Rachel didn't know was that the box also contained a ring that I had bought a few days earlier. After thanking the family for his gift card, He said "Is that it?", and rifled through the tissue paper.
Upon finding the ring box, he pulled it out and asked what it was. The girls started laughing and saying things like "Oh great!", and "Good job mom!", Thinking she had somehow dropped a block of wood or something into the box. "Did you get this for me Ben?", he asked. "Actually, that is for Ashley", I said as I walked over to take the ring from him.
It was at that point that Dru, Rachel, and Ashley realized what was going on. I walked over to her and asked her to stand up. I told her that one of the few things that I was certain about in my life was that I wanted to spend the rest of it with her. I dropped to one knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes.
Ashley's dad also had brought home her first two bridal magazines.
So it wasn't the most romantic proposal but I was able to surprise her. She tells me that I did a wonderful job and that she thinks the ring is the most beautiful thing she has ever seen. I hope she is not just trying to spare my feelings, but I think she really means it.
We are both very excited.