The secret is out! It’s been in the works for months. Quiet calls from Seattle to Georgia and visa versa. First, a call to ask for Hannah’s hand. Then, a call with the plan. All throughout the pandemic, calls and secret conversations. Always waiting for things to open up so we could come. Always waiting for the vaccinations so we would be safe to fly. Always waiting so we could be participants. I am so grateful to Jimmy for his determination to include us. He knew it would mean the world, to Hannah and to us. He was right. It did. And he was sooo patient while we scrambled around trying to get vaccinated ASAP!
Now, we are here In Washington watching this amazing couple continue their journey together. Seeing them love each other well fills my heart to overflowing. We arrived and conspired with George and Nancy, Jimmy’s parents, to keep the fact that we were here a secret. It was the perfect day for a short hike. After a five-hour flight and a two-hour drive, we were happy to get on the trail. The weather was perfect. The breeze was singing to us as we walked. The forest was lush with pine needle carpet, keeping out foot falls muffled. The powerful river rushed with us all along the way. The spring waters were high because of the snowmelt in the mountains towering over us. The birds flitted from tree to tree. The wild flowers at our feet smiled as we walked by. It seemed all of nature led us to our secret spot.
We sat and waited. And waited. And waited. The wind kept us company. The sun warmed our faces. Four anxious parents, hoping our kids made the right turns on the trail. Imagining all the things that could go wrong with the plan. Sharing our own proposal stories and their mishaps. Laughing nervous laughter and checking the trail every 3 minutes. Then around the curve, through the trees, we caught a glimpse of the couple coming our way. My heartbeat picked up, tears filled my eyes, and my smile rushed up to catch them before they rolled down my cheeks.
Confusion, then recognition crossed Hannah’s face. “Is that my parents talking to George? Wait, how did you guys get here? What are you doing here?” Hugs. “Surprise!” During the misdirection and happy reunion, Jimmy goes down on one knee behind her. She turns and he says, “Hannah, I love you. Will you marry me?” She says, “Yes!”and a kiss follows. Then, more tears, all around. Lots more hugs. Champagne, that George carried in his pack. Toasts. Lots of laughter. Stories of lies and secrets being kept for months. Hannah amazed that Jimmy pulled off getting us here without her knowing. Amazed that yesterday I told her we were cleaning our basement this weekend and she believed me. Lots of pictures taken. Happiness overflowing like the river rushing beside us.
On the hike out, we all had laughter and conversations. We actually pulled it off. The relief of letting the secret out of the bag was joyously hanging in the air. The wind and water conversed with the birds and the trees and confided that all heaven and earth played a part in this glorious day. We couldn’t be more thrilled.