Sorry guys, this is going to be a sappy post. My best friend just got engaged!
Meet Lizzy. She is one of the best people I've ever known. Lizzy is driven, passionate, talented, smart, beautiful and genuine. She's determined, independent and sassy. She is my best friend and soul sister. I've known her since I was going on 7 and she was going on 4, which means we have known each other for nearly 18 years. I grew up at her house, with her family, and her with mine. We grew up telling everyone we were cousins, even though we easily could have passed as sisters.
She lived in Johnstown and I in Gahanna. We didn't go to the same school, and were easily a 20-minute drive apart, but that didn't stop us from seeing each other at least once a weekend. We did everything together. We grew up going to Johnstown football games together, riding horses together, going to school dances together, planning our future houses together. And yes, even talking about boys together.
So it was a no-brainer when Ross stumbled into the picture that he would be talked about. Lord, he didn't know what he was getting himself into... He fell in love with a firecracker; a girl who knew what she wanted in life and wouldn't let anyone get in her way; a country girl whose family could easily have scared anyone away because, to put it simply - they are one of a kind (in the best possible way) - but he got them, and even fit right in.
Lizzy and Ross have been together for almost 7 years, and I honestly can't remember a time when Ross wasn't in the picture. He became Uncle Ross to Lizzy's nieces and nephews. Lizzy became the daughter that Ross's mom never had, but always wanted. Together, Lizzy and Ross became one... there wasn't ever a time they weren't together.
When they both graduated high school and it was time to go off to college, everyone thought they were following each other to the same school: University of Findlay. That wasn't the case, but I'm sure glad they did. Lizzy chose UF to pursue her teaching career, and Ross to chase after his football dreams. They became the couple on campus that everyone loved and admired (once again).
Then the questions started rolling in... "You've been dating HOW long?! Where is your ring?!" "When are you getting married?" "Why hasn't he gotten you a ring yet?" Well, my friends... They do say that good things take time. Lizzy and Ross took nearly 7 years, and they're the greatest couple I know. Likewise, with a ring... Ross waited, and waited, and waited until one day he saw it and he just knew.
Shortly thereafter, he took Lizzy's parents to lunch (like any good gentleman), and for the first time in his life was nervous in front of her parents! With their blessing, plans began for the proposal. I got a call shortly thereafter and all I have to say is thank God they live 2 hours away. If I would have seen Lizzy more than two times, I wouldn't have been able to keep my mouth shut for as long as I knew about Ross's plans to propose.
The day finally came when Ross was going to ask Lizzy to be his wife (I seriously can't get enough of "these words!"). Strategically, Ross chose the pumpkin patch where he and Lizzy had their first date nearly 7 years ago. I arrived first (Wisma family -- put this date on your calendar. It will go down in history as the only time I was early to a Wisma family get-together), followed by the Franklin caravan carrying a very nervous Ross. From the car, he pulled a fake pumpkin out that had the words "Will you marry me" written on it. On the reverse, it read "Check Yes or No." He had the ring box in his cowboy boots and a sharpie ready for her response. He hid the pumpkin in the pumpkin patch and waited for his future fiancé to arrive. Lizzy and her parents arrived shortly after and then we waited for Lizzy's sister, Whitney to get there before we began the search for the BEST pumpkin... To say that the anticipation killed us would be an understatement.
After some meandering around the pumpkin patch, Ross finally led Lizzy over to where he had placed the pumpkin. He said "Look, Liz! How about this one?" Glancing at it quickly, Lizzy replied "No, that one has something written on it." Ross egged her to come closer. As she slowly read what the pumpkin said, she turned to Ross and he was getting down on one knee. Lizzy started to smirk, and look around at the rest of us, realizing that at this point we all had our cameras pointed straight at her. Finally she understood what was happening. She kept saying "No you're not! No you're not!!"
After a few short and sweet words, he finally asked (using her full name), "Lizzy, will you marry me?" She screamed "WELL DUH!" That was a good enough "YES" for Ross.
We spent the rest of the night grilling out and celebrating at Ross's parents house in Johnstown. Pictures were taken, gifts were opened and toasts were made. It couldn't have been a more perfect day. Every time I glanced at Lizzy, she was staring at her left ring finger, smiling from ear to ear. I have seen that smile many times for many different reasons, but I always thought to myself the day a man made her smile like that was the day I would be okay with giving her up. Today was that day.
Lizzy, I am so happy for you. You deserve the world and more, and I'm so glad you've found someone who not only wants to give you the(ir) world, but wants to share your world with you. Ross, thank you for taking care of my Lizzy these last 7 years. Thank you for supporting her dreams, for comforting her, for cherishing her, for sacrificing things for her, and for continually chasing and pursuing her. Not a day goes by that I wonder if you love her, because you make it so clear to everyone around you that it's her and only her. You have been a dream for Lizzy and it makes me so happy to know how much you love her. You two were made for each other and I can't wait to stand up there with you on your big day.