Since this is the week of Valentine’s Day, last night at youth group we played our favorite game..you guessed it, Whack ‘Em with Love! Our first time playing it as a married couple though, it was awesome. Enjoy (our friends at youth group know just how many times we had to try to take) this Photobooth picture of the two of us where we first met, absolutely stoked on life…with pool noodles.
Isn’t Drew just an amazing writer? Gosh, he had better write a book someday. Here it is! The long awaited part 2!
A year and a month and a day go by, we’ve had many experiences at this point, many difficulties faced together, and many beautiful, spontaneous, artistic adventures together. It’s November 11th, 2011 (11/11/11). We went downtown on the MAX, but instead of going to Stumptown this time, we went to another coffee shop that we love called Public Domain. You see, over the years, Portland has developed into a new sort of third wave coffee culture, some call it the coffee capitol, some say that still belongs in Seattle. We’ve been there too. So, as the art of roasting, brewing, and drinking coffee in Portland matured, we matured right along with it, always going to the newest, best coffee shops in Portland.
After 19 months of dating, Tiffany and I came to Public Domain with an important topic to discuss: the future. We had prayed, budgeted, and thought for a long time about it and decided to get our thoughts out. We brought notebooks and promised not to discuss it until we were at Public Domain. With coffee in hand, we sat down at a window seat and proceeded to tell each other the same thing, “I want to have a future with you.” I talked about my thoughts, she said she had the same thoughts. A lot of thoughts. And then she reached over and hugged me. And told me she loved me and had the same thoughts.
Another year and month and day go by. At this point, Tiffany and I have been together for 32 months. That means lots of trips downtown to coffee shops and lots of talks, but very few of “the future.” We decided to keep it ambiguous until we were officially ready for marriage, hopefully looking at the summer of 2013, but ready for whatever comes and keeping our hearts open.
It’s December 12th, 2012 (12/12/12) and I planned a birthday party for my girlfriend whose birthday was later on that week. The party was scheduled to start at 7pm, but I needed help getting the place decorated for her birthday. I asked her if she’d want to get together earlier on in the day for lunch and then to decorate. She said yes.
I arranged with my dad to borrow his old Honda again and he said that would be okay, so I picked up his car at my parent’s house and drove over to pick up my girlfriend for the last time. I had a plan. A big plan. A big plan that would change everything forever. But it was a secret and I was sick all week from keeping it in. I drove over to Tiffany’s place, parked in the same spot as I did the first time I picked her up (turns out it’s her neighbor’s spot and they get really upset when I park there, but I had a big plan). I turned on Passion Pit’s album Manners, the album I first played for her when I first picked her up and we drove off. As we were driving, I asked if it’d be okay for us to stop at the church that I worked at (the same church we met at!) to pick up some paperwork. She said yes. So we went to the church and saw the place we first met, I wanted to play basketball with her, but the sanctuary/basketball court was occupied. I grabbed some random papers from the church office (not the reason we actually went to the church) and we drove. As we were driving, she asked me where we were going, I told her it was a surprise. I love surprises.
We drove past “The Real Starbucks” and to the MAX stop to go downtown, just like our first date. We got off at the Skidmore fountain stop and walked past the Stumptown we went to on our first date and headed to a bistro that she’s told me she wants to go to pretty much every time we go downtown.
At the bistro, we ordered an incredible brunch and as we were eating, five meaningful songs in our relationship came on the radio consecutively. Tiffany asked if I had my iPod playing or something (I think she had suspected something was happening here), but I hadn’t. It was beautiful.
After brunch, we went to Stumptown and got coffee. We walked to Skidmore Fountain and took our third picture as a couple there (one for each year of our relationship, this one was a bit premature, but today was a special occasion, so I figured it was probably okay to bend the tradition a bit). We walked to the end of the waterfront where I first asked her to be my girlfriend exactly 32 months ago (almost exactly by the hour too) and talked about birds and how much we’ve grown in our relationship.
Tiffany was cold, but I wouldn’t let her borrow my jacket. I always put my jacket on her when she’s cold. She thought it was a bit suspicious, but let it go when we began to walk again.
From there we walked along the waterfront backwards from the way we did the first time and passed a couple taking wedding pictures (again, not on purpose, but perfect). Then we stopped at the place along the waterfront where we had our first kiss and we kissed and talked about how we have come so far and are excited about the future (she still had no idea what was going on; I’m sly). Then, we walked on the Hawthorne bridge, coming East, rather than heading West which we had done for all of our dating relationship. I planned it this way to hint at moving in a new direction, a new horizon, and a new destination. I pulled out my old, old Rumor cell phone and read Tiffany lots of text messages that she sent me over the years and concluded with a text that little Tiffany wrote me almost two years ago that said, “Drew, you’re so funny. Why don’t you just marry my sister already?!” (She began to suspect something now).
We made it to the end of the bridge and took a left toward a beautiful dock. I had my friends line the dock with candles in mason jars and my guitar case (as well as our good friend hiding on the bridge to take pictures). As we were nearing the bridge, she noticed the guitar case and asked me whose it was, then she noticed my stickers on it and began to tear up. I told her it was my guitar case, that I’d been waiting 32 months to sing her a song, and asked if it was okay if I sang her one now, she said yes.
I began to sing a song by a band that has touched my life in an amazing way. I vowed to myself to never listen to them with anyone but my future wife when I was 14 and Tiffany understood that vow, because I’d told her that they were my favorite band, but that I couldn’t listen to them with anyone but my future with. When I began to sing, we both began to cry. I combined a few different meaningful songs of ours, two from this favorite band of mine and one from Tiffany’s favorite band. The song was long, but felt short. The tears streaming down our faces spoke of 32 months of memories, the love we have for each other, and the plans we’d discussed 13 months ago.
After I’d finished my song, I told the girl who could change the color of the ocean with her smile that I had a question for her. She began to cry again. She knew what was going on.
I told her how incredible she is, how much she means to me, and how I want to spend the rest of my life by her side. I told her that I wanted to have a wedding with her, to have a house with her, to have kids with her, to mature together, to grow old together, and to die together. I told her that she is the closet thing to perfect that I’ve ever met. I told her all this, but much more simply when I kneeled down on one knee, pulled a ring box out of my coat pocket, opened it, and asked, “Tiffany Rochelle Cates, will you marry me?”
She said yes.
She said yes.
And jumped and then hugged me. And kissed me. And then said yes again. And then jumped and then hugged me. and kissed me. And then said yes again. Over and over and over and over. She didn’t even let me get up from my knee for a long time. It is perfect (notice the verb tense here, I still feel this way).
[Tiffany: You can tell I had no idea what was going to happen that day by my overdue manicure. Haha. It was funny how quickly he gave me his coat after the proposal. ;) ]
Even though I’m not good at basketball, I strongly believe that I’ve won more by a game of basketball than anyone else who has ever lived. I got married this summer to the woman I’ve always dreamed of and I couldn’t be more happy.