Hey folks, Daniel here, Diana’s husband. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you know something of Diana and how wonderful she is. She is a blessing in my life, beyond what I could have ever imagined. I’m thrilled to share my life with her, blessed to call her my wife, proud of all her accomplishments, and amazed by her daily. Today, I’m happy to have the chance to recount for you, the story of the proposal that led to us being husband and wife.
Diana and I spent our first three years at Christopher Newport University building friendships, growing in our faith, studying hard for classes, and falling in love with each other. Okay, I was definitely more concerned with the falling in love bit than the studies… As we learned to love each other more deeply, we discussed our hopes, fears, and dreams. We talked about our plans for the future, and it became clear that we both planned to spend the rest of our lives together. I bought the ring in the spring of our Junior year at CNU, planning to propose in the upcoming fall semester. Now I just had to figure out how I was going to pop the question. During our years of dating, I had gone in for a lot of traditionally romantic things. With regards to the proposal, I wanted it to be a romantic gesture, but I also wanted it to be something unique, something special for Diana that wasn’t borrowed from the internet, or a scene from a romantic comedy or teen soap opera. So I had to think of a big romantic gesture that was off the beaten path, and could be uniquely us. Luckily for me, Diana answered that question without even knowing it.
The summer between Junior and Senior year I worked at a daycare program run by my home church in Richmond, while Diana had returned home to Chesapeake. The distance was a bummer as always after being able to see each other every day at school. But we talked almost every night, and told each other about our days, and what was happening at work and home. When I told her about the short story unit I was teaching the kids at the daycare, and told her I was working on an example story alongside the younger group, she suggested that I should write a story about a zebra who did not want to have stripes anymore. You can probably see the obvious self –acceptance theme taking shape for a children’s story. What may be less obvious is how this translates into a proposal.
I didn’t write the zebra story with the kids at the daycare. But when I got back to CNU I started to write it. And illustrate it. And self-publish it with the help of an all-in-one printer/copier/scanner. After hours of work the story about the zebra who learns to love his stripes, with the help of a pretty girl zebra, was finished, including a very important “About the Author” section on the back flap. Yes, the story was far from high literature, and the romantic interest would make it a dubious premise for a children’s story, but the key was in the back flap where I described the author, Daniel Gordon, college student, etc., “pictured above with Diana, his girlfriend of three years, with whom he hopes to spend the rest of his life.”
After many late nights with a makeshift tracing table (I’m far from an artist), the book was ready, the final copy printed and wrapped, and the ring box bulging a glaringly obvious square in my pocket. I stashed the wrapped book in a potted bush by the sitting wall around the fountain (which has since been relocated). I planned to take Diana on a walk around campus after lunch at the dining hall, stopping at my chosen location to have her read the book and pop the question. I even had a friend cued in to hide and photograph the proposal happening. Well, I forgot I had work early that day, and ended up having to sprint mid-lunch, leaving the proposal un-proposed. I didn’t get to do it the next day either! Finally, on Friday September 30, 2011, I was able to execute my plan. It was a clear, warm early fall day, so the suggestion of the walk was sensible. I had planted the book in the potted plant for the third time. Nic was in place with his camera for the third time, my final chance to not become the boy who cried “Proposal!” when we reached the fountain, I suggested we sit, and pulled the book from its hiding place. As she read it, I shifted, trying to nonchalantly remove the ring box from my pocket. When she looked up after reading the About the Author, I was down on one knee and I got to ask the love of my life to be with me for life. She said yes, and has been the most amazing blessing and example of God’s love to me I could ever imagine.
Pictures by Nic Conde