Jeff moved away when we were freshman in high school, and we remained phone-pals throughout our 4 years apart. We wrote letters every few weeks and he would visit every summer.
(Jeff's note in my yearbook freshman year, 2003.)
"...The year would have been empty without you. It's gonna be real hard leaving you. We gotta stay in touch ok? You're awesome and I'd hate to lose touch with you. This is redundant but o-well. Before I go I want a picture of you AIGHT. Have a great summer and life. I love you. -Jeff S."
In retrospect, I'm so glad my hoarding teenage ways had me keep all the notes and letters Jeff wrote. To look back now and know how much he loved me then, brings such faith and hope to the future that has presented itself.
(Snail-mail letter from 2005)
"I cherish every second I get with you. You'll find Mr. Right soon. Everything happens for a reason right?...I'd love for you to be my wife...The spots open for you!"
We decided we should be 'boyfriend & girlfriend' in the summer of 2005. I figured, what have I got to loose? He's a great guy, good at sports, and he's pretty cute, too. We can totally do this long-distance thing. Within six months, we decided we would go to college together.
As the saying goes, we've been together ever since. Over the years, Jeff has become my very best friend and the love of my life. He has made me a better person, a confident woman, and an absolute believer in true, unfailing love. He is thoughtful and gentle. He is painfully funny and too witty for his own good. He tells me I'm beautiful every, single day and likewise tells me when I'm being entirely too dramatic. He listens when I need him, and believes in my talents and dreams. I know he will take care of me for the rest of his life and I will do my best to be the wife he deserves.
A few days prior, Jeff promised me dinner somewhere nice on Saturday night. After work and a little shopping, I headed home to be ready for 7. I called Jeff to tell him I would meet him at his place since he had mentioned his parents wanted to go with us. He said he'd rather pick me up in case we wanted to do something after. I wanted to see the movie Lincoln so I assumed that would be our after-dinner plans.
At 7:10 he arrived at my apartment and told me we were meeting his parents at Rips Restaurant on the lakefront. We parked a little ways from the restaurant. His parents were 'running late' so we had some time to kill.
Years ago, on a night after ice cream we stopped by the lakefront and came up with a genius (and dangerous) idea of walking out on one of the narrow, stone docks off the lakeside. (Picture below is a good example of what I'm talking about). I'll never forget how nervous I was that one of us would slip, but Jeff held my hand all the way to the post at the end. We had one awesome kiss and I scurried off the ledge as fast as I could!
So as we were walking to dinner, I brought up that very moment and we both reminisced on my 'scardy-cat' ways. As we approached the restaurant Jeff stopped me and simply said,
"I need to be honest with you. The other weekend when I told you I was going fishing, I didn't"
In my mind, I'm thinking..."Ok, buck-o. Where were you then?"
"I was in Memphis because I had to ask your dad a question."
My heart dropped to my toes and my breath slipped away from me.
"Now, I have to ask you a question." He dropped to one knee and said the most beautiful words, "Emily, will you marry me?"
Through my excessive shaking and borderline hyperventilating, I said "Yes!"...followed by..."Is this real?"
Then he turned to the restaurant and said, "My family isn't the only ones here either, yours is too."
It was perfect. Everything was flawless. The love that filled the evening was insurmountable and I am beyond blessed and thankful. Jeff has truly made me the happiest girl in the world.
My family on the balcony of the restaurant
Doing my happy dance!
So proud of my beautiful ring!
The next day we decided to take a few pictures of the engagement spot. Thank you Shelby Wilson for being our photographer!
The exact spot he proposed!
Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. It is a day Jeff and I will never forget and I am excited to share our planning journey with you! Get ready belles, this blog is about to blow up!
Future Mrs. Songer :)