Derek and I didn’t know which legs we were running for the Ragnar Relay until this past October. Kelly-Ann, our SUPER amazing and well organized team captain, assigned all of the legs based on abilities and preferences. It was completely random that I ended up as the last runner since I didn’t request it but, when Derek saw it, an idea began to come together for a big finish.
I’m not going to lie. I was suspicious that he was up to something. My sister always said she had an idea that Anthony was going to propose before he did because he started acting funny in the weeks leading up to the event and Derek started being the same way. Certain stories didn’t match up and I could tell he was hiding something. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when.
And, if he wasn’t being obvious enough, he was even posting cryptic Facebook messages the entire race.
While I was on my last leg, the rest of my teammates were rushing to the finish line for their traditional group finish. I didn’t know it at the time, but they were all in on the surprise and had been since we left Miami.
And they weren’t the only ones. Derek’s parents traveled from Tampa that morning for the surprise as well.
I came up on the finish line after my last turn and, at first, couldn’t see my team. Then, Kerri and Dana grabbed me out of nowhere and brought me to the sea of pink where everyone was standing. I saw Derek and immediately let out a giggle over his ridiculous get up.
He was wearing one of my black hats and a fuzzy scarf we had picked up from Target two days before. I wasn’t sure if he would go through with the whole costume thing since he had been fighting it since the beginning but, there he was, looking ridiculous and grinning.
However, he was the tame one. Two of my other male teammates immediately began stripping down to the leopard thongs they had been planning to wear for the big finale. It. Was. Hilarious.
At this point, I was on cloud nine. I had a great run along the water. We were about to finish an amazing race and I didn’t even think to grab the camera from Derek to take photos of the finish. I just wanted to run and be in the moment. I would worry about photos after we crossed.
We held back for a couple of minutes so that another team could finish and then our team took off. I’m not even sure I was near Derek at this point. I was just running.
We crossed the finish line and I hear Derek yell, “MEGHANN!”
I turn around and for the first time I notice this silly stick-on mustache he was wearing. I laugh and poke at it with my finger.
He smiles back, grabs my hand, then drops to his knee.
Here’s where things get fuzzy.
This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that I had pictured in my head a million times. The moment when Derek proposes. The moment I knew I would say yes. The moment where the only thing that mattered was the two of us. The moment where I go into shock.
My ipod was still playing in my ear. The crowd was loud with excitement. There were hundreds of people surrounding us.
And none of that mattered.
Derek was on one knee with the biggest, goofiest smile I had ever seen, wearing a stick-on mustache, saying something I wish I could hear, and holding a ring. Nothing mattered. He mattered. We mattered.
I didn’t know it at the time, but he was saying “I want to keep running with you. Will you marry me?”
I stared at him. Shocked. Unsure if this was really happening. It felt like an eternity before I could finally remind myself he probably needed an answer. The waterworks started pouring out before I could stop them.
My voice wasn’t working, I could only shake my head to ensure he got the proper yes. Of course, YES!
YES! YES! YES! YES!
Everything else happened so fast. The race announcer grabbed us and asked for our names.
The rest of the team poured in for congrats.
And Derek’s parents popped out ofno where.
I watched the video later and noticed his Mom tapped me on my shoulder three separate times before Derek finally pulled me around for a photo and I finally saw them. I have the funniest “What the heck are you doing here?” face in all of the photos. I think I was still in shock!
I wasn’t walking in these moments, I was floating. My first thought was to call my parents, my siblings, and everyone else that mattered, but really all I wanted to do was be with Derek. It was like something slipped in the back of my mind and I forgot about everything else.
Derek and I met back in college. He tagged along with my best friend Emily and I as we hit up Flippin’ Tuesdays at AJs on a random Tuesday night. We spent the entire night dancing to 80s music and made a pact to turn Flippin’ Tuesdays into a weekly tradition; a pact we kept until he graduated that spring.
After he graduated we sort of lost touch. There were the random phone calls and Facebook messages, but nothing tangible.
Then, in November of 2008, I had a random text message from Derek on my way up to Tallahassee for the homecoming football game. Derek was on his way too and wanted to meet up at Bullwinkles. It was raining and I almost didn’t go, but just when we were about to leave, the skies opened up and we decided to take our chances at the open air bar.
And I’m so glad we did.
Because that’s the night Derek and I reconnected. That’s the night I re-met my future husband. That’s the night I re-found the love I thought I had lost. That’s the night I told Derek yes to lunch the next day.
The rest is history.
Derek doesn’t know this but I’ve loved him since 2005. He’s the love of my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him!
WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!