As told by Darick
To my future children and anyone who has about 15 minutes to spare, this is how I proposed to Sophia on a hot, summer day.
Proposing to Sophia has by far been the highlight of my life. Pulling it off, on the other hand, was one of the most difficult things I will ever accomplish in my life.
I promised Sophia that prior to moving into a house from our apartment, we'd be engaged so that our relationship would be equally as committed as our living arrangement. Knowing this, I began looking for engagement rings at the end of 2013 to give myself sufficient time to find the right ring.
A note to my future son and any of my fellow single homies: looking for a ring ain't easy. There were cuts, colors, clarity and carats I had no idea existed and soon I was underwater in a sea full of diamonds and confusion. I reached out to my close friends, Sophia's close friends and began diligently taking notes on research I'd done myself. I arrived at Judith Arnell's doorstep on a (very) rainy late winter day. My socks were soaked and my pants were dripping from the rain but, hey, at least I was ready to buy a ring.
Judith kindly told me she was going to be attending a diamond show the following week and assured me that she'd find the perfect diamonds for me. I thanked her, put my rain-soaked notes back into my pocket and smiled as I headed out the door.
A few weeks later, I went back to Judith's shop and saw the bounty she returned with. I didn't know much about diamonds but when I saw the one she showed me, I knew it was the one.
I did it. I found a ring.
I grew many gray hairs keeping the ring secret from Sophia.
Sophia and I had already began looking at potential houses and apartments to live in with the assumption that it'd take at least a month or two before we could actually find a place.
We ended up finding the perfect place (and signed the lease) within 2 days.
While some may look at this as a sign of relief, this meant I needed the ring. Pronto.
I can barely remember the few weeks that came after as it was a faint blur of long list of emails between Judith and I as well as getting insurance for the ring, planning the actual proposal itself, telling my mom about the proposal, getting her family's blessing and, oh yeah, packing up our apartment and moving into our new house.
By the time the ring arrived, I grew many gray hairs keeping the ring secret from Sophia. I slept with my backpack next to me, turned on a security camera to watch my bag (no joke) and was never further than 3 feet from it for almost a month.
Another note to my children and single homies: Hire a photographer. Preferably one that your significant other has never met. Maybe someone like Levy Moroshan. People, to this day, love hearing that the photos I have of the engagement are of the actual proposal and not posed or staged.
Levy and I headed up to Hoyt Arboretum the day before the day of the proposal. We determined all the areas that would give us optimal lighting and designated a a few zones that would a gametime decision.
I told Sophia that we were going to have dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date and follow it up with some bird watching since the weather was going to be so nice. She was hesitant on the bird watching but eventually agreed. My plan was slowly being green-lighted.
(Cliff Notes to the people reading who don't know much about my background: I studied animals in college and spent a lot of time studying birds, their plumage patterns and behaviors. I still keep my Sibley's nearby whenever I need a quick bird reference.)
The big day finally arrived. The insurance paperwork for the ring was approved the day before and with a set of binoculars, my trusty Sibley's Field Guide To Birds of Western North America and an engagement ring, I was well-equipped to ask the woman I loved for her hand in marriage.
I got off work early that day and picked up Sophia. She had just gotten off a long night off work but came out of the house in a nice dress. Being dressed so nicely, I thought she knew I was going to propose. My plan was ruined, I thought (I later found out that she had no idea).
"Do we HAVE to go bird watching? It's such a nice day outside."
"Do we HAVE to go bird watching? It's such a nice day outside," Sophia said after a delightful dinner at Lovely's 50-50.
I smiled and said she should at least give bird watching a chance.
Seeing that Sophia was wearing sandals and not shoes that could get her through some of Hoyt Arboretum's bark dust laid trails, I texted Levy and told him that we will be taking the photos at a place we previously designated as "Location 1," the closest location to the parking lot.
We got out of the car and talked about how beautiful the drive up was and about how my brother's wedding was a year away. As we approached Location 1, I told her to look through the binoculars and toward a group of trees at a bird (There was no bird.).
As she struggled to focus the binoculars, I got down on one knee and pulled out the ring from the cuff in my jeans.
She soon looked down, frustrated at not finding the bird I'd told her to look for.
"Will you marry me?" I asked.
And the rest is history.
If there was one lesson I learned from proposing to Sophia, it's that nothing else really matters except the person you love. Sure you'll have your ups and downs but when you find that one person you want to spend your life with, nothing else matters. I just chose to make things a lot more extravagant so I could have something to put on my wedding website. When you find that one person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you just know it.
When you find that one person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you just know it.