About a month ago my brother CC texted me an image of an engagement ring with the message “What do you think?” I believe my response was something along the lines of “Squeeeeee” followed by a long stream of questions. “How was he going to ask,” “Could I photograph it… I was willing to hide.”…. on and on and on. He had a few ideas, but would have to get back to me. About a week later he came to me with a plan…
I was to invite Clairee to visit Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens to spend the evening with my family. We told her a friend of ours was a member and gave us her free visitor passes that were about to expire and that the only day we could make it work before the expiration day was on the 13th. CC lives and works out of state and we had to get her to commit to a specific day so he could get off of work and make the trip up. Kevin, the kids, and me were going to walk her around the gardens, eventually steering her towards the Asian gardens where CC would be standing there waiting for her.
The plans were finalized. Everything was set into place. CC had thought of every detail and was meticulous about the plan and the parts that each family member was going to play. He was on his way up from North Carolina… and then I get a text from Clairee that she was scheduled for a meeting and was going to be late meeting us. We had to regroup. However I believe it all happened for the better. We got to Lewis Ginter, found CC, and got to spend time picking the best spot possible for him to stand. We were looking for the location that would have the most dramatic effect… and I think we found it. And then we waited…
As we “patiently” waited for Clairee to get off work I received texts from everyone who anxiously awaited the news. Every time my cellphone went off CC would practically leap out of his skin. Finally, I hear from Clairee. It had gotten late enough that we decided that instead of throwing her off by walking her around for a while, I would just go get her alone and bring her straight back to CC. I stood at the front, getting a text every few seconds, worrying that Clairee was going to somehow see that I was texting CC and think something was up, because as far as she knew he was in a whole other state. After all of this planning I did NOT want to be the one to mess it up.
Clairee walks into the building with her big, beautiful smile and greets me with a big hug. I tell her that I left Kevin and the kids in the Asian Gardens where the kids were looking at the fish and turtles in the ponds and start walking her in that direction.
We talked the whole, long, walk back to where CC stood. We walk around the corner and there he was! Clairee stood there stunned. I took the keys and wallet out of Clairee’s hands and took a step back. CC had planned this whole big, sweet speech, but according to the time stamp on the images it was exactly 12 seconds from the time that Clairee walked up to him to the point he went down on one knee. Both were crying at this point and it was one of the most beautiful moments that I have ever witnessed.
I am so honored that I was able to be a part of such an amazing moment. CC, you have chosen well and I am so proud of the man my baby brother has become. You are going to make an outstanding husband and a wonderful dad one day. Clairee, I am so glad that you will soon be my sister and my children are very lucky that they get to call you their auntie. You are an amazing, loving, happy, sparkling person. Thank you for making my brother happy.