Carissa and MacCalvin

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How We Met

MacCalvin and I met during our freshman year at Boston College, in the fall of 2007. He was on BC’s all male step team, and I was on the all female step team. In late September, our two teams had a bonding night. We did a quick round of speed dating so we could meet everyone on both teams. When he slid into the chair in front of me, he said his name really quickly. I shot him a confused look and I said, “Did you say, ‘Um… Calvin?'” He shook his head no and patiently responded. “MacCalvin. Like ‘Mac’ and ‘Calvin’ put together. You can call me Mac.”

I couldn’t tell you what we talked about or if I felt particularly moved after our conversation, but several weeks later I ran into him as I was crossing the street to upper campus. We were headed in different directions. He recognized me instantly. He waved and called out my name. And I tossed him the, “Oh heyyy!” He looked at me, unimpressed, and said, “You forgot my name didn’t you.”

It was true.

He made fun of me a little bit and we went our separate ways. One night weeks later, we would spend hours and hours talking until the sun was about to come up. That’s when he asked me on my first date. And even though I unintentionally stood him up because dance practice ran over, we somehow made it through graduation and beyond. And now… I can promise I won’t ever forget his name again.

How He Asked

The Fourth of July is my absolute favorite holiday. Not only is it just a week before my birthday, but it’s also the epitome of everything summer. The sun is out, everyone is ready to drink and grill, and fireworks top the whole thing off. 

For the holiday, my best friend, her boyfriend, and my boyfriend MacCalvin decided to go home to see my family in Connecticut. My family celebrates every holiday with a gathering at my grandma’s house which always features lots of food and drink. My grandma is the epicenter of our family, so her house means a lot to every single one of us. Though my grandpa passed away a few years back, it’s always great to spend holidays in the house they built together.

All day MacCalvin had been acting strange. He lagged behind on our family hike, didn’t say much at my grandmother’s house and mostly kept to himself. But he brushed it off by saying, “I didn’t sleep well last night.” (I later found out he paced around the perimeter of my grandmother’s house when I wasn’t looking).

During the Fourth of July celebrations at my grandma’s, my sister gathered the family to take our customary holiday photo. It’s always nice to look back on the family as we’ve changed through the years. As we gathered the in the front yard, I picked up my three-year-old cousin to hold him in my arms. My sister started to pass out the sparklers that I had purchased excitedly the day before. Annoyed, I told her that the sparklers weren’t as affective during daylight hours, but she ignored me and started to pass them anyway.

After we took the photo, MacCalvin pulled a lighter out of his pocket. He said we should light the sparklers because my little cousin, whom I was still holding, would think it was awesome. Already annoyed that we were burning up my sparklers during the day, I begrudgingly said yes.

MacCalvin held up the lighter once, then dropped it. After kneeling to the ground to pick it up, he dropped it again. As he was reaching to pick up the lighter for the second time, I was just about to catch an attitude… and then I realized that he wasn’t coming back up. That the lighter was a distraction. And that he was down on one knee.

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With a toddler in one hand and an unlit sparkler in the other, I stared down at him as I smiled uncontrollably. I could hear my mother screeching in the background. My family came to a stand-still and apparently so did I… afterward he told me that he said the words, “Will you marry me,” several times before my brain finally caught on and I squeaked out the word, “Yes!” I guess you can tell by the look on his face in that photo that he was waiting for a response for awhile (sorry babe!)

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There, in front of my grandparents’ home, I said yes. My grandma was elated.

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And I knew my grandpa would have been, too. For MacCalvin to propose in front of the home where I spent all of my summers, all of my holidays, and countless hours with my grandma was so special, and he knew it. With the help of my sister, he had planned the most meaningful proposal I could have imagined. 

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We had been dating for eight years, and this was his way of treating the entire family to a surprise. And at the end of the night, I finally got to light up my sparklers surrounded by my amazing friends, my siblings and my newly minted fiancé. :)

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