Airplane Banner Proposal

How We Met: Mike and I both attended the University of Michigan, but it was during a fall football weekend in Chicago that we first met.  Several of my Tri Delta sorority sisters were from Chicago, so we planned a road trip to watch the Northwestern vs. Michigan game.  We were staying at one of the girl’s parents’ house, when a group of guys walked in.  Apparently, these guys were from Long Island, NY, and they lived behind our Tri Delta sorority house on campus.  To be honest, I barely remember meeting them, but Mike remembers me shoveling Gold Fish into my mouth during a game of beer pong and thinking I was crazy – standard.

After that weekend, we were always hanging out at their house before going out, whether we were playing beer pong on their front porch or in their basement, or playing power hour or century club in their living room.

I fell in love with Mike’s family over the course of our Junior and Senior years.  One day, I remember sitting on the porch with Chris (Mike’s Mom) and telling her that I [platonically] loved her son and thought he was the nicest guy ever (foreshadowing).

In May of 2005, the Tobin’s traveled in for our graduation weekend, and my roommates and I were throwing a combined birthday/graduation bash on our front lawn.  By the time the Tobin family showed up, I was tipsy.  Mike R. was taking pictures, and I was posing for the camera, until I realized he was taking a video.  What he was able to capture on tape is another moment of foreshadowing that I will never forget … I turned to the Tobin family and said, “The Tobin family is such a great family to be in! TO-BIN FAM-I-LY!”

How We Started Dating: When I first moved to New York in June 2005, Mike was one of the few people I knew, born and raised in New York.  He invited me out to Long Island a few times, and whenever he was in the city we would hang out.  My family made their first trip to see me in New York that summer and we went out to dinner with the Tobin and Lehman families.  After that dinner, my parents started asking me about Mike and why we weren’t dating.

One summer Friday, I made plans to check out the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), and Mike asked if he could join.  We really enjoyed each other’s company, and Mike actually appreciated the art, who knew?  When the Fourth of July rolled around, Mike invited me to his parents’ house in Long Island for a BBQ celebration.  After a few drinks, I was convinced I could take on Nikki’s and Katie’s friends in a game of 2-on-2 basketball.  I remember screaming across the backyard, “To-bin, I need a partner!”  We ended up dominating the Fourth of July series, and I noticed that I was starting to feel a little differently about this guy.

One night, I was getting ready to meet up with my roommate downtown, when Mike called to see what I was up to.  He came over with a bottle of Captain Morgans, and we finished it within two hours or less! (We saved that bottle and it’s still sitting on top of our fridge.)  We took a cab down to meet Lyndsey, and the rest is history.

But we didn’t start dating then.  Mike helped me celebrate my 22nd birthday, my first in New York.  And when the first Michigan football game was coming up, our group of friends made plans to travel back to Ann Arbor.  I invited Mike to come home with me and stay with me and my family for the Labor Day weekend.  We had a blast at the game, and we celebrated my birthday with my family – my Dad even let Mike drive his red hot convertible to dinner!

Later that month, Mike made it official by asking me to be his girlfriend.  Almost six years later …

How He Proposed: On Saturday, July 23, 2011, Mike proposed to me in the most AMAZING way …

My parents and my younger sister were in New York City for my mom’s birthday weekend.  It was the HOTTEST weekend on record, but fortunately, Mike’s family offered to host my mom and Mike’s Aunt Barbara a joint birthday BBQ in their backyard.  We took an early train to Long Island and immediately hopped in the pool to cool off.  It wasn’t even noon when we started setting up the beer pong float.  Mike suggested we play Szczerba Sisters vs. Tobin Sisters, and the drinking ensued.  The Tobin Sisters (Nikki and Katie) were dominating, so we eventually took a break to drink on land and nosh.

Over the course of the afternoon, there were cigars, shots, a water-aerobics class (which I led), more beer pong, and a lot of dancing (and cursing) to Cee Lo Green.  At around 4 p.m., we somehow all found ourselves sitting around the Tobin’s new patio table.  Mike came and sat next to me to avoid blowing his cigar smoke in my face from across the table.  All of a sudden, I heard a low-flying, propeller plane circling around their house.  When I looked up, I saw a plane carrying a banner that said, “I <3 You Lauren! Will you marry me? Mike!”  I honestly had to think for second to connect the fact that I was “Lauren,” and he was “Mike.”  I turned to him and said, “Are YOU the Mike?!”  At that point, Mike was down on one knee with an open ring box in his hand.  I immediately buried my face in my hands and started sobbing with joy.  It took a few minutes, and a few nervous laughs from Mike, for me to look at the ring and say “YES” to his proposal, but as soon as I did we were hugging, kissing (in front of the family), and smiling from ear to ear.  Mike’s mom Chris brought out champagne and we started popping bottles.  We all toasted, took pictures and made jokes about the fact that we were all half-naked in our bathing suits.

I couldn’t have asked for a better proposal, and I will be eternally grateful to Mike for including both of our families in the special day!

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