Brittany and Jerry

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How We Met

Jerry and I met through marching band in high school. I was a brand new freshman and he was assigned to be my senior to “show me the ropes”. We had a rocky start, to say the least; I don’t know if it was the age difference or my unwillingness to meet new people, but I was not interested in being friends with this guy. Eventually we developed mutual friends and I realized that marching band and high school in general was a lot easier when I knew some people who could drive. Well, Jerry and his best friend would occasionally give me rides to and from school or marching band and we started hanging out more and more. We were best friends by the end of my freshman year and remained close. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that we started dating.

How He Asked

As anyone who knows me can attest, my life revolves around friends, family, food, and travel. I love to explore and go on adventures wherever a plane will take me. A year and a half ago I finally got my boyfriend to travel with me to my favorite place in the world – our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. I had been to D.C. a handful of times – I love the museums, the architecture, the people, and the history. We planned our trip to D.C. because our favorite hockey team from our hometown, the Chicago Blackhawks, were playing the Washington Capitals in the annual Winter Classic.

Like me, Jerry fell in love with D.C. as well. We experienced everything that I enjoyed about the city. A year and a half later, we were planning yet another trip to our favorite place. We planned the trip for the week of the 4th of July, mostly because I got a great deal on roundtrip flights, but I also knew Jerry would love D.C. for the 4th. Really, who wouldn’t?

We arrived in D.C. the week before the 4th, going to museums, eating tons of food, and taking it slow because we had seen so much of the city the last time we were there. We had an itinerary for the trip to do all the things Jerry had never experienced. We had big plans to see the 4th of July parade, A Capital 4th performance on the steps of the Capitol building, and then watch the fireworks from the lawn. Little did I know that Jerry had much, much bigger plans.

I woke up on the morning of the 4th groggy and tired, in no hurry to get up and going. Jerry was “antsy” as he called it, which didn’t surprise me; I had been the same way the day before – ready to get out and get going practically as soon as the sun rose. I got out of bed, showered, and slowly got ready. The weather wasn’t the greatest, but we took the train to the Washington Monument to watch the parade. I wasn’t convinced he knew where he was going, and I had other plans to stand in the same place I stood for the parade in years past. He played it cool, not tipping me off to anything; I had no idea of any plans, and he was acting normal. Cranky, but normal.

He eventually guided me to an area just outside the grass of the Washington Monument. We weren’t able to easily access the lawn because of security checkpoints for all the special events. I sat down on a bench to take pictures, sprawling out for a better vantage point. As I was getting up, I put my hand in a big, fresh pile of bird poop. Well, that was his chance. We needed to find somewhere, anywhere that I could wash my hands. Lucky for Jerry, the nearest bathroom was just inside the security checkpoint, exactly where he was trying his hardest to get me to go.

We entered through the security checkpoint, I washed my hands, and we began walking towards the Monument “for pictures”, as Jerry said. He tried to stop me from walking further, but I insisted on continuing closer to the Monument. Suddenly Jerry reached into his backpack and shoved a large box at me, explaining that this was the reason he had worked so hard to get me into the fenced area around the Monument.

I opened the box to reveal a beautiful heart necklace with a map of Washington, D.C. There was a small diamond in the exact place we were standing. It was gorgeous and I eagerly tried to put it on. The chain, however, was just a bit too short, so I put it carefully back in the box, handing it back to Jerry to put it back in his bag. Jerry took his time putting it in his bag and I continued to take pictures of our surroundings.

I put the camera down to tell him something. Turning around to face him, he was on one knee before me with a much smaller box, displaying a beautiful ring.

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“Brittany Erin Mirkiewicz, life has its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t want to go through them with anyone else.” Almost instantly I began crying, something I was sure I wouldn’t do. He quietly whispered that there was a photographer behind me, capturing every moment. For the next hour and a half, we walked around our favorite city taking pictures with our photographer.

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I cannot wait to see what other adventures life has in store for us!

Special Thanks

Patricia del Carmen
Patricia del Carmen Photography
Samantha Schumacher
Bella Cosa Jewelers