Before I go into the details of my engagement, I feel it is crucial to explain Chris and me as a couple. Chris Parker and I met back in December of ’09. 18-year-old young love, I suppose. How did I meet Chris? I was dating his friend. Yup. His friend. In my defense, the friend and I had only dated for a month, and I wasn’t into the relationship from the get go. After I broke up with his friend, Chris and I talked more and more, and it was apparent that we were just head over heels for each other. Yes, gag worthy, but I never felt this way about a guy before. Ever. Call my 18-year-old self naive, but I knew that meeting and dating Chris was going to be incredibly special.
Fast forward to about 13 months after we first made it “official” as a couple: In January, 2011, I found out I was pregnant. Chris and I were both 19, both in college, and struggling with money. But, he was my rock. He helped ease my anxiety, and we were both looking forward to meeting our new baby. On September 15, 2011, I gave birth to Chris’s mini me, a beautiful little girl, named Elena. After Elena was born, Chris and I certainly hit our ups and downs; we let our stressors get the best of us. But through it all, we made it. We knew we loved each other and our daughter immensely, and we wanted more than anything to make our new family work. And we are. Every day.
Fast forward to December 31, 2013: I had a feeling that something “major” was going to occur this New Year’s Eve. Chris did not really try to hide the fact that he was going to propose to me; rather, he said, “You’re a smart girl. You know what’s going to happen. But how it’s going to happen is going to be a complete surprise.” We reside in Maryland, and Chris thought Harbor East (wealthy area right next to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore) was a romantic place. However, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. He bought tickets to a movie to see at 7:30–it was the very last showing. We finally found a spot in a Harbor East parking garage (that had heating, thank goodness!) and we ran together to the movie theater–only to discover that our 15 minute tardiness costed us, and we were thus locked out. Chris paid $20 for nothing, essentially. My heart broke. Yes, he has a wonderful job, now, but seriously?! $20 is $20! Chris did not want the night to go sour, and it was FREEEEZING outside, so he took my hand and took me to Starbucks. We could not find any seating in Starbucks (of course), but man, that peppermint hot chocolate was hitting the spot! So, with our Starbucks in hand (YES, we were THOSE people), we meandered throughout Harbor East, looking at the lit up Christmas decorations, admiring the beauty of Baltimore while simultaneously trying not to be hypothermic. We found a pizzeria place that happened to open, too! “Alas!,” We both thought. We ran across the street to the pizzeria place to keep warm and eat delicious food. We stayed in the pizzeria for about an hour, until it closed, and Chris said, “I want to kill time before we go outside to see the fireworks.” It was 9:20. The fireworks start at midnight. That’s 2 1/2 hours to kill! In the cold!
But, I was with him. Alone. And Elena was at home, sleeping in her cozy bed. That was enough peace of mind for me. I suggested we go back to the car, sit inside, and listen to music. He agreed. We listened to his playlist, and I won’t forget when “Sunday Best” by Augustana came on. It made me reminiscent of our road trips we took together long before we were parents, how we drove everywhere around Maryland just because. I remembered when we first kissed. I remembered when I first saw him, and how I thought he was the cutest guy I’d ever seen.
And here we were, 4 years later, and the cutest guy I’d ever seen is still mine. The butterflies have always been there. It seems cheesy, but talking to Chris alone and not having to worry about any distractions, it was just like our first date all over again. Except, we were in his family car now (Subaru Impreza!), instead of his snug Honda Accord.
Finally, 11 pm made its appearance, and we decided to go outside…again.
We just walked around and I repeatedly asked Chris, “Beb, what are we doing? It’s really cold out.” He just said, “You’ll see.” We finally decided to sit on a park bench after walking around aimlessly (again) sightseeing Baltimore. It was 11:38 pm. Chris said we can get up at 11:50. I thought that was peculiar, but this is why I remember the times because they were the longest 18 minutes of my life. Sitting there in the freezing cold, watching people, even police officers pass us, giving us strange looks as to why a nice looking, young couple, doesn’t have anything else to do in Baltimore but just sit on a park bench at 11:38 at night? I didn’t know why, either. I just remember letting him take control, and trying not to freeze to death.
“It’s 11:50!!” I exclaimed after looking at my phone for the zillionth time. “Ok, let’s go.” Chris said. “Where are we going?” I asked innocently. “You’ll see,” he responded.
And there it was. Katyn Memorial Fountain (WWII Memorial) at Aliceanna Street. Right in the middle of the traffic circle. At night. Everything was lit up. It was just spectacular. I felt my heart racing, just beating faster and faster.
Chris said, “Nina, I love you. You know I love you so much, right?”
I nodded my head. I was beginning to feel sick to my stomach. I know it’s coming.
He kneels down to “fake tie” his shoe (just like how Jim proposed to Pam from the sitcom, The Office).
Then his knee props up more, and whips out the ring (he went to Jared!!), and said, “Will you marry me?”
I immediately nodded my head yes and started bawling my eyes out. Only to realize that I hear screams of “YEAH!” and “Woohoo!” I turn around, and see Maria (one of my best friend’s)‘s boyfriend, Allen, doing the screaming, and right behind him, Maria and my daughter’s godmother, aka my soul sister and best friend, Daisy, pop out and hug me. Daisy took candid shots of Chris and me right after I said yes. It was awesome.
11:53. Daisy suggests we go to James Joyce, an Irish pub, which is right near the Memorial. We went in, and it was a packed house. Daisy went up to the Irish singer and told him to give us a congratulatory message. The singer asked for Chris and me to come up, and he gave a toast, as well as everyone else in the pub, towards a wonderful and healthy future together as a family.
I felt as if I was in a movie. It just didn’t seem like a real life. Right after the beautiful toast, the TV showed that the NYC 2014 New Year ball was about to drop. We all counted down to the last second in that pub, and Chris and I shared our first New Year’s kiss together as an engaged couple!
After we kissed and danced a little to Irish music, we went outside and looked at the fireworks together, and we have a pretty awesome picture together as a newly engaged couple, with a big firework right behind us. Magical to describe this night is an understatement.
Though Chris’ initial plans “failed,” I believe they happened for a reason. Instead of wasting some time to watch a movie and stay warm, we found that we still have so much to talk about and converse with each other; our love is so strong, pure, and genuine. Our love for each other isn’t going away. And I cannot wait to officially be Mrs. Nina Parker!
Their special dates
Nina Glose & Christopher Parker were happily engaged on 12/31/2013 .