Annaliese and Benjamin
How We Met
Ben and I first met in the fall of 2011 on my parent’s front porch. A mutual friend was picking me up for a night out in DC, and he was in tow. I was rushing to get ready so my Mom answered the door to greet them before I came down. Coming from a military family herself, she had a lot of questions for me about the fresh faced “Navy Boy” later that night.
I was in a relationship at the time, but Ben and I became fast friends. Both working in IT, we would talk shop and bounce technical issues off of each other from time to time. It wasn’t long before he was fully integrated into our little group of friends.
In December of 2013, Ben deployed to Japan. The distance from everyone was hard, but he managed to reach out often. Due to the difference in time zones, he was the perfect friend to talk to if you couldn’t fall asleep. He made it easy to stay close, although he accuses me of ghosting on him often (oops!).
Ben was able to come back to DC for holiday leave in December of 2014, and while both single at the time, our friendship finally sparked. We only had a day and a half together before he was flying out again, but that was enough time for me to decide to wait for him to come back home and to see what could be.
We dove into long distance, and less than a month later, he told me he was going to marry me one day.
By May of 2016, he was out of the Navy and finally home for good.
How He Asked
Two weeks before Christmas, my Mom found out that she had to have an angioplasty, a rather routine cardiac procedure with relatively low risk. Well things ended up being a lot worse than expected, and that angioplasty turned into an emergency quadruple bypass surgery. My siblings and I rallied to be by her side and once she was ready for some space, we decided to pull together at my parents’ house to set up a Christmas tree and make sure everything was ready for her arrival back home.
Gathering the family is always chaos—as one of five siblings, events like this are never small. We got the tree started and whipped out decorations before taking a quick break for dinner. As my dad, 3 sisters, 2 brothers-in-law, and 2 little ones started to dish up, Ben took our dog Charlie out for a walk. I started to get concerned about how long they were gone, but kept getting tasked with more and more things to do. I should have known that something was amiss when my brother-in-law asked me, the only vegetarian, to cut chicken for his 2 year old son…
After about 20 mins, Ben rushed in to the kitchen with a terrified look on his face. He told me that Charlie had what looked like blood in his poop and that I had to come outside right away (Thanks, Babe!). We’ve only had our pup Charlie for about 5 months, and he is known to get carried away when playing with his toys, so needless to say, my heart sank. I ran to grab a flashlight and sprinted to the door with my whole family following behind.
As I flung the front door open, I saw the driveway covered in candles spelling “WILL YOU MARRY ME.”
(He ran out of time for the question mark…)
With so many people around us, I barely heard him as he told me I could put the flashlight down. Ben dropped to his knee in the very place we first met 5 years earlier, and asked me if I would be his wife. With my dad directly behind us, sisters jumping up and down in my periphery, and Charlie running around, it was a big old beautiful mess, but a beautiful mess that ended with an obvious “Of course!”
Note: As it turns out that Ben had been planning this evening for bit but wanted to reschedule due to my Mom’s health. He secretly called her the morning before her surgery to tell her that he had the ring and she asked him not to change his plans. We laugh about it now because if my Mom had been there, she sure as hell would have made everyone stay inside, but sharing the experience with the rest of my family made for an incredibly special moment.