Kayla and Anthony
How we met
Growing up, my mother took care of my Aunt Em, who had Multiple Sclerosis. Each weekend my mother and I would go to her house to spend time with her, grocery shop, and clean. Aunt Em happened to live next door to Anthony’s family. We first met when I was four and Anthony three. Anthony and I were only one year apart, exactly to the day! April 4th was our birthday and I was older… not only by a year, but for most of our childhood I was about 2’ taller as well! I remember going to Aunt Em’s house every Saturday and everyone telling me “Kayla, Anthony wants to play with you…,” let’s just say I was not trilled at all. I gave the “Kayla face” every time, which consisted of a slight eye roll and glance to the sky with a “whatever, fine” attitude. We played all kinds of sports, ran around the neighborhood and spent many tireless Saturdays together.
In addition to the time I spent with Anthony, Aunt Em greatly surpassed that as she was one of Anthony’s biggest mentors throughout his younger years. Em was as sharp as a whit, she pushed him, challenged him, and helped form him into the gentleman he is today. Even at a young age she would say “Anthony, do you want to be a good man, or an a** hole!?” HA! Growing up, Anthony was an elite football and baseball player; with Em being exceptionally sharp and indulged in those sports disciplines the two of them became inseparable. Each day after school Anthony and his 2lb poodle, “Pebbles,” brought in her mail and made sure she was taken care of. However, as Anthony and I got older, and Em’s condition worsened, she was moved to a care facility that my mother worked at so she could be closer to us. Anthony’s family continued to visit but we never managed to be there at the same time. We would glance at pictures of one another that Em showed us during our visits. She had said from a young age that we would end up together, but I never believed it…
As the years went by, Anthony no longer looked like the little boy that I remembered. He was now a very handsome young man. Years continued to pass by, I graduated high school and was getting ready to move away to college when Em passed away in 2011. It was the night of her memorial service and I noticed Anthony’s parents making their way into the funeral home line. When they got to me they gave me a big hug and assured me that Anthony was running late due to his baseball game, but he would be there as soon as he could. It wasn’t but ten minutes later that Anthony walked in. He gave me a big hug, we reminisced on childhood memories and then went our separate ways. Anthony found me on Facebook and asked for my number to keep in touch. I continued onto college and Anthony made certain to always check in on me every once in a while with a simple “Hey, how are you?!” He always made sure to keep himself in the back of my mind. It wasn’t until a year later that Anthony was heading off to college himself to play football, that I texted him to check in and see how he was. We met for lunch the next day, and the rest was history.
How he asked
Anthony and I were blessed to meet a beautiful family after moving to South Carolina. Knowing that we have a small zoo (3 crazy dogs), we frequently watched their dog, Daisy, from time to time. The wonderful mother and talented professional photographer of this family gifted us with a couple’s photoshoot in thanks for loving on Daisy while they were away. Little did I know that this couple’s photoshoot had been in the works and under strategic planning to be the perfect surprise proposal for months.
Friday November 18th at 3:45, we met Kendra at Milliken Park in Spartanburg, SC. We spent a half hour taking photos all over the beautiful land –the leaves were a million different colors, breathtaking lines of trees, sun shining on the lake, and on top of everything, the weather was a perfect 68 degrees. As we were taking pictures Kendra had us play games: dancing, laughing, seeing which one could kiss the other first. We moved to a new spot and she requested a new game. She explained that she takes special photos for couples where they each get a chalk board, face away from one another and write “one thing they love most” about the other person.
So we turned around, she photographed each of us writing our statements and then she took the chalkboards away and said we couldn’t see what the other said until we got the photos back. She then told me to “wait, turn around and hug Anthony.” I turned around to find Ant down on one knee.
It was then that time stopped. The beautiful words, the warmth, the tears, and the love put me in shock; I was speechless and then I’m pretty sure I screamed yes and tackled him with that well deserved hug.
After many hugs, tears and congratulations we then took engagement photos. The day we had both dreamed of was real. Anthony and Kendra did an AMAZING job. The day was absolutely perfect in every fine detail and I could not be more grateful to have this story to share with our family. Much thanks to Kendra for being the biggest part of making this new chapter in our lives happen.