“hey dad – don’t ask why, but i need you to call me back and leave a voicemail. say something like ‘hey you two. if you don’t have plans for this saturday morning, mom and i have a little surprise planned. around 9:00? see you then.’ or something like that. sound good? thanks! i’ll fill you in later.”

and a few minutes later, he called, left the perfect message, and set in motion a plan that would result in me asking the most lovely girl to spend her life with me. this was a week ago tuesday.

i’ll preface this post by saying this: she figures out EVERYTHING. i’m pretty sure i could think about what i’m going to buy her for her 50th birthday and she’d already know what it’s going to be. she’s that good. so i had to think of a way to get her up to my parent’s house without her getting suspicious, and a voicemail from dad seemed like the perfect way – he calls quite a bit, i share his quirky messages with her regularly, and we visit my parents often. nothing about it was really out of the ordinary. for the rest of the week, we chatted about what the surprise could be, and nearing the end of the week, i could see she had taken the bait. ‘perfect’ i remember thinking as i went to bed friday night. little did she know the following day we’d be driving up to something i’d been planning with both my and her parents for weeks.

i think i knew i wanted to spend my life with stell about a month after we started dating. i’ve racked my brain for a way to express why i felt this way, but i just can’t seem to find the words. i just knew it. so for months i looked for the perfect ring, yet site after site, store after store, i came up with nothing. sure there were some pretty rings, but they just didn’t seem right. they didn’t mean anything to me. they had no soul. it wasn’t until i met up with my mom for a dinner a few weeks back and told her i was going to ask stell to marry me that she offered me my great grandmother’s ring. immediately, i knew my search was over; even though i only had a vague recollection of what it looked like, i knew the ring would be perfect. to be able to give her something that has been in my family for nearly 90 years meant everything to me, and i could see it meant a ton to stoob as well. and a few nights later when i was saw it, i fell in love. it was perfect.

fast forward to the day after the voicemail from my dad, i stopped and chatted with randy at evolutions to order some flowers: six small bouquets and one large one.

“make them look like i just picked them from a field,” i said. “that’s her favorite.”
“you got it”, he replied, and i left knowing he’d make them perfect. he always does.

i hopped in the car, drove up to my parent’s place, and for the next few hours walked the fields behind their house planning out the perfect spot to ask stell the most important question i’d ever ask anyone. it was raining, dad and naughty dog joined me, i was walking around my favorite place on earth, and mom had lunch cooking back in the house. over lunch, i painted a picture of how i hoped the morning would go. i told them i was going to drive her up saturday morning and when we arrived, ask her to join me on a stroll in the fields. the path we walked would be marked by the small bouquets and by each, a small picture frame holding a picture from our time together thus far. i wanted to tell her what each picture meant, what it represented in our relationship. things like trust, togetherness, family, sharing our time together, understanding and patience, date nights. and at the end of the path, a large bouquet with our favorite photo. there i’d tell her what she meant and that i wanted to spend my life with her. afterwards, we’d walk back to the house to a second surprise – my and her parents waiting to celebrate with us. our parents mean the world to us and we both adore each others, so it was only fitting they should both be there. mom said she’d make a wonderful breakfast for us all to enjoy afterwards, and after telephone calls to stell’s parents to make sure they could make it, the plan was set.

i couldn’t eat or sleep the rest of the week. i tried so hard to hide my enthusiasm. i must have called my parents a dozen times, and i texted her best friend endlessly. yet none of it was out of nervousness or uncertainty. i’ve never doubted i wanted to be with her. not once. not for a second. like i said earlier – i’ve just always known she was my person, that one you always hear about. friday, mom and dad picked up the flowers, and the following morning, i found myself smiling at the thought of our four parents tromping through the wet fields in their knee high barn boots, likely laughing, taking photos, and feeling such joy as they laid out the flowers, pictures, and rocks along the path. and while they were doing their part, i was doing mine by hiding our boots in the car, putting on a shirt and tie, doing my hair, and playing it super cool as we drove north (sweating like crazy having hid my outfit under a large winter jacket mind you). while on the outside i may have played it perfect, on the inside my heart was racing. i kept thinking about starting my life with her, sharing all that we’d be able to share if she’d have me, giving all my love to someone who has changed everything in my life for the better.

i pulled in the drive, parked the car, distracted stell, and as i walked around the back of the car, ditched my jacket, pulled on my boots, half-ass straightened my hair, and rounded her side of the car.

“wow. you look nice babe”, she said.
“care to join me on a walk in the fields?”, i asked.
“sure! what about your parents?”
“they’ll be okay”, i reassured her.

and then we walked. and i told her all the things that made me love her. and with each bouquet, she smiled a bit bigger and her eyes welled a little more. near the back of the land, we reached the seventh bouquet. it was there i asked her to share her life with me and there hasn’t been a second since i regret speaking those words. we cried. we hugged. we laughed. we took it all in. and then we cried some more.

fearing she was likely frozen with the wind and cool temps, i asked if she wanted to head back to the house. reluctantly, she said sure, and as we walked back hand in hand, i again found my heart racing knowing that in a few minutes, our parents would join us with hugs, happiness, and more tears. moments later, just as our feet found the backyard, we were greeted with laughter, applause, and cheers. it couldn’t have been more wonderful.

breakfast was served, and for the next few hours we shared old stories, we laughed, we made amazing memories. and since then, i’ve replayed the day over and over in my mind. it always brings a smile to my face, and i have no doubts it will for years to come. i think about how amazing it is that one person has changed how i feel about so many things; how i feel about love, what it means to be happy, and how special it feels to share your life with someone.

and to stell: i can’t wait for you to be my wife. discovering new things, waking up to you each morning, hearing your laughter, sharing everything we are going to share – it all can’t come soon enough. i love you, and i’m so grateful you chose me.










Published by septastic

i'm sep, a 35 year old photographer / volunteer / storyteller / traveler / nice guy living in rural Wisconsin.

7 thoughts on “stell

    1. what can i say – we’re a family of nicknames! stell is something her mom’s called her since she was little, and for as long as i could remember, my mom’s been stoob. probably the same as mark being called trouble since way back when…;)

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