Aaron had planned to travel to Durham for Kelly’s 30th birthday, on Friday, October 21, but little did she know that there was much more that Aaron had planned!
Aaron drove down from Pittsburgh and arrived late Wednesday night to spend the weekend with Kelly for her birthday. The weekend prior Aaron had asked Kelly if she wanted to go to Duke Gardens to have a picnic lunch. Thinking that idea was so cute and romantic she was thrilled. Unbeknownst to her, Aaron was picking out a ring and had called and talked to her parents and asked her father’s permission to marry her. What an incredibly long 4 days it must have been!
On Thursday morning it was cool but sunny, and the rain from the previous day had stopped. They went to Foster’s, one of Kelly’s favorite Durham eateries, to pick up food for the picnic. When they arrived at the Gardens, Aaron decided to leave his phone in the car, and though she thought it was odd, Kelly didn’t think too much of it at the time, but was thrilled with his gesture as having the smartphone around all the time is one of Kelly’s pet peeves.
They walked through the gardens on the beautiful fall day, and Aaron suggested a clear area in the Japanese garden by the pond. They sat and talked and enjoyed the weather, the food, and the company. After a little while Aaron suggested that they walk around the gardens and go explore the beautiful bridges. Kelly said, “Sure.”
While walking, Aaron suggested they stop and take in the beautiful pastoral scene on the top of a bright red Japanese bridge. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity for two ladies to move off the bridge, Aaron was standing behind Kelly holding her and admiring the beauty when he told her that he had an early birthday present for her, but that in order to receive it she needed to close her eyes. Very intrigued Kelly did as she was told and closed her eyes. The next thing she heard was “Kelly, I’ve been praying for you for a long time, and asking God for you. I want to tell you that I love you, and want to ask you, ‘Will you marry me’?”
During his speech, Aaron had pulled out the engagement ring, and was holding it out in front of Kelly, so that when she gasped in surprise and opened her eyes — there was the ring! Seeing it, and hearing the beautiful question, Kelly immediately turned around to look at Aaron and said “YES!” They kissed, and then Aaron realized that she hadn’t put the ring on and exclaimed, “Aren’t you going to put the ring on!” In her excitement in hearing Aaron say “I love you” for the first time, she had forgotten about the ring! Laughing, the ring made it to the right finger, though Kelly was so excited and surprised that she was shaking!
After getting over the initial shock and Aaron explaining everything that he had planned for her up to this point, they enjoyed savoring the moment and walking around the beauty of Duke Gardens as a newly engaged couple.