Kaylee and Sidney
How We Met: Because we already had a friendship as a foundation, and our relationship grew out of that friendship, and we kind of fell into a total and complete honesty with each other.
I didn’t hold back from telling him if I didn’t agree with him or if he was annoying me. That kind of honesty served in many ways, although in some ways it made our lives harder… but I wouldn’t do it any other way.
Let’s start here: Way back when, in high school, we took a co-op Biology class with our church. This was my first encounter with Sidney Horne, and he jumped into our classes with both feet, taking the lead part in our Pilgrim’s Progress play, and quickly becoming friends with everyone.
He was friendly, but not my type. Also, we were babies. A year and a haircut or two later, my parents took my brothers and I, and our chosen friends, on vacation to
Amelia Island. At this point in my life, I was naïve and very close friends with another boy. (I was a complete idiot when it came to guys, and shamelessly crushed all the time.
Sidney, being precious and sweet, was a constant friend to me throughout my idiocy, and loved me as a friend would while I broke relationships and hurt people, including my family.)
On this family vacation, my parents taught us all how to swing dance, which really launched our friendship, as we continued to practice with this group of friends for a while. I remember feeling so awkward when we danced, and I felt bad because I was not interested in the long-haired musician-boy.
I was blessed by his friendship, and loved to spend time with him, as we grew closer, but still thought of him as just a friend. I had no romantic interest, because I was busy being sneaky with my family and spending time talking to my long-distance friends.
He later told me,”About THREE YEARS ago (yes, three freaking years) I pulled your dad aside on a Sunday evening and asked him if we could go out to lunch to talk about some stuff. He knew what it was about. He picked me up from school one afternoon and took me to Ryan’s, we exchanged some of the most painful small talk of all time (I was quite nervous ). Finally, we sat down and ordered our food, and your dad gave me that “alright, now its the time to say whatever you want to say” look, which in his case was the most friendly, excited smile. I took a deep breath and said, “well Mr. Merwin, I’m very interested in your daughter.”
That was quite possibly the most life changing thing I’ve ever said. You know the story…he had a long list of things for me to take home and think about…kinda caught me off guard, but it was really cool… For the next year I met with him from time to time, once a month or so, just to see how things were going. He would say the same, most horrifying statement: “it’s gonna be a loooong time before we take the next step.” These and other similar statements were also spattered with the many “ifs”…as IF you might not be the one God has for me.
But I was pretty sure you were…and I was right. We had been friends for quite some time by now…we were dancing, playing music together, making coffee for each other, sitting next to each other, walking around at school, praying for each other, and YouTube messaging a lot. We were best friends. Some of our other friends were starting to notice this and were not quite happy…at all, but it didn’t stop us from growing stronger in our friendship.”
I went through a prolonged season of impatience as I waited for things to begin. But one day, we were sitting on the couch with some friends, and we were laughing so hard at something, and he just reached out and grabbed my hand.
“Then, one day, I made another life changing move. I was so so deeply attracted to you, and I couldn’t bear one more day without expressing some of my love for you, so I grabbed your hand. When I realized that you didn’t pull away but held mine firmly, I knew that you really did like me too. It seems so silly now to think that the simple act of holding hands was such a huge deal, but I remember it perfectly. Everything I had hoped and dreamed for the past year was finally coming true. I was in a relationship with you.
Those two weeks held some of the best moments of my life. Just being at school with you, holding hands, lying down in the grass…I was in shock. We didnt even need to talk about it–I just knew that you and I were “a thing”, finally, and that brought me the greatest joy I had experienced so far in my life. You liked me, maybe even loved me, and I was certain–or at least i thought i was at the time–that I loved you with all my heart.
Then we told our parents. That was scary. But they were so gracious toward us and allowed us to start a relationship, even though the timing wasn’t exactly what they expected. Life. Was. Good. We went on our first date at Ossorios, and went on to spend lots of time enjoying each others company and growing in our new relationship. It seemed so perfect, for a while.”
That moment launched us into dating. Because I had a pretty good feeling about this marriage happening, I invested my time immersed in sermons and books to prepare my heart and mind. I was scared, because everybody tends to tell you about how hard and miserable marriage is.
“We continued to grow closer and closer. The new desire to kiss started to develop, and that was very difficult for a few months. I remember so many times walking you out to your car and thinking about how beautiful you were (and are!) with the light shining on your face. This new desire became unbearable as well.
One night, when we were sitting down by the river, I started to get very nervous. I asked you questions….trying to figure out if this was going to be the night it would happen. It was. I told you I loved you, and we kissed.
It was the most beautiful, pure, kiss I think we’ve ever shared, and quite possibly the most beautiful moment of my entire life. It was at that point I realized that the “love” I thought I had for you was really real. I was 100% certain that I LOVED you.”
How He Asked: On June 24th, Sidney met with my parents and his parents at Ossorios in Cocoa Village, for coffee and to show them a ring he had purchased. He surprised them by asking for my hand in such a busy season, but he won them over and got my parents’ permission and approval to marry me. He said, “Then, I went back to where we had our first date, but this time you didn’t come with me. I sat down at a table with all four of our parents and asked the biggest question I’ll ever ask anyone. I asked if I could have your hand in marriage. Somehow, they said yes. I still don’t understand how, but it happened. Then, I asked you to marry me, and you said yes.”
The weekend that he proposed, I was miserable. My parents were asking me to pull back from spending so much time with Sidney and I was in a season of almost constant work and school and spending time with my boyfriend was the light at the end of the tunnel. I spent the Friday and Saturday before he proposed, crying to him, complaining about my overprotective family, and having an enormous pity party. Nonetheless, Sidney asked me to go out for a fun, fancy date in Winter Park. It rained, and I cried on the way there because it was raining and we were supposed to have a fun date. I had no earthly idea that he had a ring in his pocket…
We walked up and down Park Avenue, he held me close as I whined some more, and we made our way to the rose garden. As we walked, he kept talking about wanting to show me a youtube video he found, “It’s a really cool car that drifts around this track…” He was rambling, but I didn’t catch on to anything. We sat down on a bench, facing the garden and looked at a few things on my phone. Finally, he got up and asked me to dance under the brick and vine covered arbor. I laughed at him as we gently swayed back and forth, and we talked about how we started to fall in love over swing dancing. We turned, and I saw one of my best friends with a camera, and instantly it clicked in my mind. Today. Was. The. Day.
The rest was a blur of laughter and excitement. He got down on one knee, looked at me, and for the first time that weekend, I wasn’t crying! He asked me to be his wife for the rest of our days, and promised to love me and commit to our marriage. I think I did a little hop, and said yes, and then he got up and we hugged. I don’t know why, but a hug just seemed the most appropriate in the moment… We had worked so hard, kept our hearts committed, and finally made it.
It was like a team effort and we had just won. We kissed and laughed, and then he took a step back and said, “But wait, I have one more question. Will you marry me this year?” I squealed and said yes again! My parents had been adamant that we wait until I was out of school and established in a job before we got married, but in that meeting with our parents, Sidney swayed them with a budget and a plan for our finances. He proved that we could do it earlier! We were getting married THIS YEAR!
All of this went by very quickly, and our friends popped out from behind the corner for hugs and a celebratory cigar. As we walked to a dinner of burgers and fries, I called all of my extended family and best friends, my cheeks were sore from smiling, and I couldn’t stop laughing and staring at this beautifully simple, elegant ring. The love of my life just asked to spend the rest of his life with me! I don’t know why, but we are extraordinarily blessed.
I think we communicate really well with each other, and the time we’ve had so far has been challenging but good. We have had to talk our way through hard things and as corny and dumb as it sounds, we are made for each other! There will always be stress and there will always be struggles, but being married has relieved some and added others. We love being married, we loved dating, and we loved being engaged. There is joy in every season.
Photos by: Deanna Taylor