Amy and Parker
How We Met
In June 2016, I moved to Hendersonville NC to complete a 6-month full time 1200 hour unpaid music therapy internship. (It is part of the requirements to become a board-certified music therapist.) This was the first time in my life that I moved somewhere where I really didn’t know many people nor was I placed in an environment like high school or college, where you have the opportunity to meet people through various classes, clubs, organizations etc. My friend Emily came to visit me over the July 4th weekend and suggested two dating/friend meeting apps. I decided to join Bumble. I felt safe with this app because it was up to the girl to make the first move and message if we wanted to connect, otherwise, the match disappears if the girl does not make a move/message within 24 hours of the match. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would join a dating app never mind find the man of my dreams! Over the course of the next few weeks, I went on a few dates. Parker, my now fiance and man of my dreams, matched after a couple weeks. I had decided upon matching with him that he would be my last date and I shut off my profile from any new matches. I felt it was time to stay connected with those that I met and see what the future had in store. Parker and I matched on a Tuesday. I was drawn in of course by his handsomeness, including his reddish beard, shaved head, tall height, twinkling eyes, and outgoing personality that I sensed through his pictures. His pictures also showed that he snowboarded so I sensed his adventurousness and love of the outdoors. Since I snowboard too, of course, my opening line was something like, “Hey, I see you snowboard, I do too!” Now I laugh because he is basically a professional snowboarder, in my eyes, and here I am just getting down the mountain.
We connected in our messages through our love of music. We are both musicians, singing, and keyboard for me and singing and guitar for him. We talked about our love of “old school” music, such as his growing up from his mom on the Eagles. He set up a date for Sunday and throughout the week he checked in with me to see how things were going and if the date was still set. We decided to meet in a grocery store parking lot for a hike, hence our love of the outdoors. As I pulled in to meet him, there he was in his red Chevy truck, black sunglasses, and a backward hat. I had said to myself before I arrived that I would follow him in my car to the hike, but as we met something felt so genuine, real, authentic, and different. It was what it was supposed to be. So I hopped in his truck and off we went. (He was a little unsure of my quickness to hop right in, as he checked in with me to make sure I was good to ride with him.) He took me to hike The Narrows on the Green River.
It was a pretty intense hike with ropes and ladders. As we reached the river and were exploring on the rocks, my heart almost stopped and my breath was taken away, not by the view, but by the fact that Parker slipped on a wet rock and off he went being taken away by the rushing waters. I felt scared beyond words. I didn’t have my phone or anything on me because he was carrying our stuff in his backpack. Two kayakers with helmets came walking up past me and checked in. Parker had grabbed hold on the other side of the river and was soak and wet walking up the other side to a more steady part of the river where he could cross back to my side of the river. I asked the two kayakers to check in with him on their way past.
Parker and I sat down on a rock as he attempted to dry out and catch his breath. We laugh about this now, that he almost died on our first date, but it was serious and scary when it happened. As we sat on the rock, we got to know each other. We shared likes and dislikes, hobbies, jobs, etc. But it went even deeper. I had done my digging before I met him to ensure my safety (because we all know that women are the FBI) and found out that he had a 2-year-old son. I kept hoping throughout the date that he would bring it up and he did, which meant the world to me – openness and honesty. Dev, Parker’s son, has been such a blessing. It was unexpected that I would find a man with a son, but it fits who I am, who we are as a family perfectly, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
On our way back up the hike, we continued to chat about family, life, favorite things etc. and he invited me to get dinner. We decided on Mexican and this is still our favorite food to eat to this day. I knew at the moment that the date was continuing as he invited me to continue the date with dinner that we were the right people at the right time for each other and it was the beginning of something special.
How He Asked
I believe something that has made our relationship stronger over the past 26 months (a little over two years) is the physical distance that we have experienced. From our initial date, we were 45 minutes apart. After the completion of my 6-month internship, I returned to college to complete my Master’s degree for three semesters. While I was completing my Master’s degree, Parker and I were 2 and 1/2 hours apart. In addition to me pursuing my degree and enduring a crazy graduate school schedule, Parker works full time and year-round for a ski area. While in season, he works 6 days and over 50 hours a week, so there was more often than we would have liked we did not get to see each other. Although this has been tough at times, I believe the physical distance has drawn us even closer to appreciate and cherish the time we are together.
Parker came home from work in June 2018 and presented his idea to have a “real vacation” this year. He has an uncle that lives in California and had asked us to come out to visit. He said he also wanted to celebrate our two year anniversary. At first, I was hesitant due to my budget conscious mind and just finishing graduate school, but then I thought to myself if he wants to take me on a trip, let’s go! So off we went on July 30, 2018, to California. Our two year anniversary was on July 31st. We had the opportunity to visit Simi Valley, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Ventura, and more! We rode up the Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey CA to spend the weekend. Parker made arrangements to stay at an Air BnB that he thought was on the beach based on the photos online, but as we pulled up the beach was to the left and the GPS took us a few miles away to the right. Parker was frustrated and disappointed (little did I know at this point it was part of THE plan), but I just encouraged him that everything would be okay and we would spend our time away visiting the sights!
On Saturday, August 4, 2018, we adventured and explored. (It’s funny because earlier in the day we witnessed a proposal at a very public tourist location and I had a comment of when I get engaged, I do not want it to be somewhere out in the public. I want it to intimate. And little did I know… ;) ) As the later afternoon approach, we explored for a spot to put up a hammock. I was giving directions and as we came across to different spots, Parker said, “No, that’s not what I am looking for.” (Of course, I was still oblivious.) We decided to drive back down the Pacific Coast Highway to explore some areas and pulled over in Garrapata State Park, Carmel by the Sea.
We hiked out along the cliffs, with the crashing waters, and the sun shining. We found a spot where we were able to hike down into the cliff and our own private beach area. Parker set up an Eno between two cliffs facing out to watch the sunset. We collected shells and snuggled up in the hammock. We continued to collect shells as we laid in the hammock and shared a beer. My back was leaning against him and he kept reaching down and showing me shells, saying “What do you think of this one? and What do you think of this one?” Well, eventually, it was not a shell, it was a beautiful, stunning ring open in a black box as he said, “What do you think of this one?”
My jaw dropped. I was left speechless. Then, I said, “Does my mom know?” (My mom is my best friend besides my husband to be of course!) He responded, “That doesn’t matter right now.” I started to cry, sob, weep all while laughing at the same time. Parker said he wasn’t quite sure what to do with my reaction. He expected the tears, but the laughter was a shock. It was just such pure joy that I was overwhelmed with that all signs of emotion were responding. I just felt so undeserving that he chose me. A little while after the “yes,” he told me, “And to answer your question, yes she knows.” We snapped some pictures together before the sun set completely and packed up for our hike back to the car. I had no idea I would be hiking back as an engaged lady!! As we got to the top of the hike, he got down on one knee and officially asked from his knee for my hand in marriage! I said, “yes, a thousand times, a million times, yes!”
And remember how the Air BnB didn’t quite work out. Originally, he had planned to propose on the beach outside the Air BnB, but things got turned upside down. The hike down into the cliffs and along the coast with the beautiful sunset worked out just how it was meant to be. It was the perfect fit for who we are and what we love to do!