There is a reason why you haven’t seen new posts recently. It’s been non stop! In the last few weeks, I’ve taught a cooking class A Twist on Florida Favorites at Fairchild Tropical Garden, judged a high school level culinary competition: The Fairchild Challenge in partnership with NASA, celebrated my girlfriend’s birthday, and got ENGAGED!
Spoiler alert: She said YES!
So I hope you’ll forgive the lack of posts, life was happening.
The Story to March 3, 2018:
She will tell you differently, but I’ll say that I’ve loved her for two years before we ever decided to go on a first date. She’ll tell you it started with a spoon on Thanksgiving 3 years ago, when our friends were celebrating together and I was cooking dinner. I handed her a spoon to try the sauce to go on the turkey- a red wine and coffee reduction to complement the meat. I’ll say I was flagrantly trying to make conversation.
Then she ignored me…..for two years!
what I didn’t tell you I was in a relationship that I was trying to make work that Thanksgiving, and she had just ended a 10 year relationship, so none of us were ready. And she would not be responsible for ending a relationship, no matter how much she liked me, this I came to know waaaaaay later!! Much to my chagrin.
Ft. Lauderdale Airport Shooting
I was going to New York with my mom to see my brother. He had just started school and we were going to catch up seeing the city. One of the first vacations we would take as a family.
On January 6, 2017, near the baggage claim in Terminal 2 at Ft. Lauderdale Airport, where we were flying from, a shooter killed five people and six others were injured. We had taken off 20 minutes prior. When we landed in NYC, my phone blew up with calls and texts asking if we were ok. First of which was her!
It was the first time we spoke since that Thanksgiving 2 years ago. And the first thing I thought was, she cares about me!! She knows I exist!
At baggage claim in Newark, I swallowed my nervousness and texted her, “Life is short, have dinner with me!”
After the longest two minutes of my life….she said yes.
A week of First Dates
We went to Nunzio’s. Her favorite italian restaurant with a perfect tomato sauce over pasta. I was so scared of scaring her away! I’m not a love at first sight guy, I like slow and cautious, but after that first date, I knew she was the one I couldn’t let go of.
That first date led to a week of first dates I feel. I was only in town for a week, two of my longest friends were getting married, and I was officiating their wedding.
We went out three more times that week, and the attraction and appreciation for her only grew. She was the last guest at the wedding! As a special favor to me, the bride allowed her to be my guest for the wedding.
And after a week, we said I love you
It took me 3 weeks to get her dad’s approval though. I had to cook for the family, and have a formal conversation to ask his permission. It was one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve done, and after he agreed, it was right. It felt good ask her father’s blessing. I know it’s a very formal thing in this day and age, but things have their order, and this needed to happen.
Why I’m marrying her
I’ve seen the quality of the woman she is, throughout the year, I lived with her and her family through her dad’s cancer. I’ve seen her work relentlessly hard through nursing school, and pass her tests.
I remember the nights where she came home at 2 am from the ER when her dad had health emergencies and go to school the next morning without a complaint. She has shown an incredible amount of integrity, grace, and resilience- and she thinks she’s the lucky one….
She’s the kind of woman that cries at Kleinfeld’s Bridal because it was her dream to be there one day. The woman that wants to be married and be a mom one day. Who loses her mind over the first dachshund she sees and thinks baby cheeks are “delicious!!!”
I’ve seen her put others before herself and sacrifice immediate comforts for her responsibility. She takes all my flaws and loves me beyond them.
As I tell myself, she is the kind of girl you don’t let go of.
I promised her parents that when I would propose, I would take them. That was a running joke throughout our relationship. The story goes that as she was growing up, Robert would say that if any bonehead came to ask for her hand, he would first say “show me the ring” and if it wasn’t good enough for his baby girl, bonehead would have to try again.
I just wanted to get it right the first time.
We went during work, when she had no idea where we were and what we were doing. I had the ring custom made to her tastes and saw the jeweler craft it for over 2 hours. It was a team effort! Her mom, dad, and grandparents were in on it, we were all working to make sure she had no idea, trying to hide our behavior as preparing for her birthday.
The ring is special, solitary cut, 2 carats, on a thin white gold band. I’ve been taking notes on that ring since the first week we were together.
I was so intent on keeping it a surprise that, on the few minutes before we left for her birthday dinner, the night I would propose, I was asking her to show me on Pinterest the kind of ring styles she likes. Anything to throw her off the scent.
I chose to include our families into that moment. With everything that has happened with her dad this year, and so much that was lost because of his health, I felt it right that our families should be witnesses to this declaration of love. The happy moments should be celebrated with the ones you love. And to have my mom there as well means so much to me.
Having an audience did not make it easier however!
It was one of the most nerve wracking moments of my life. I did not think that she would say anything other than yes, I believed in the strength of our relationship and I knew we both wanted the same things. It was more the momentousness of the occasion, of taking the next step in the relationship and formalizing what I knew in my heart to be true.
That I want to spend the rest of my life with this woman.
Thank you for reading and sharing wonderful moment with me! We’ll get back to recipes soon!