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The Story of Us, Part 5: A T-Shirt Quilt

Feb 5, 2021

Have I made you a little nervous since the last post?

Go to the links below if you don’t know what I’m talking about:

Part 1 | The Final Stretch

Part 2 |The Long Way Around

Part 3 | Trust in Letters

Part 4 | The Long Distance Game

Yes? Great! We made it to the airport totally fine. Got through security with no issues and found our gate to wait until it was our time to board. An hour had gone by, and I all of a sudden got a message from my parents saying they noticed the flight was delayed and asking what happened. At that point, I had no idea. I checked the boards, and sure enough, the flight read delayed. There were issues with our plane that needed to get checked.

And quickly another hour went by.

And then another. All we knew was that our plane was delayed and being checked out. We were supposed to land in The US in the afternoon. Instead, after four hours of delays and an 8 hour flight, we finally landed at about 7pm eastern time. My parents had planned for all my family to be at the house waiting for me to come home with a surprise party, but instead, they had to push it back until the following day. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t still have surprises up their sleeves.

And trust me, there are several to come!

All I knew when I landed was that my parents were going to be the ones picking me up. That was it. As I come down the hall to where they were waiting, all of a sudden I recognize someone that definitely was not supposed to be at the airport. My best friend had come along with them to surprise me! I was in complete shock running over to her and giving her the biggest hug! She slowly turned to me as we were hugging, and I literally didn’t think anything of it.

Well, I was supposed to!

She looked at me and said, “Didn’t you notice anything?” I was so confused. I was in total shock that she was there that I didn’t notice anyone else standing around us. Slowly, I scanned the area again. Then there, standing with the biggest smile on his face, was Joel!!! I had completely missed him in all the excitement of being home, and that was truly the cherry on top. I couldn’t stop smiling the entire drive home.

We were finally finished with being apart, again!

I also couldn’t stop talking the whole way home! I wanted everyone to know about everything I did! Luckily, my parents, Joel, and my best friend had all come to visit me at different times throughout the four months, so they heard a good amount of the stories, but still, I had so much more to say! It was the fastest trip home in my opinion from the airport! But little did I know, there was still another surprise waiting at home.
At this point, the party with my family had shifted to the following day, May 5th. (Now take note of this date.) So no one was supposed to be there. Well, that was wrong of me to think. Because waiting back at the house, because they just couldn’t wait a whole day, were my grandparents. Ready with arms open wide! The surprises just kept on coming! They didn’t stay for too long, since everyone would be coming over the next day for dinner, but it was a perfect way to be welcomed home!

Oh wait, little did I know, there was more to come!

The next day came around, and the jet lag was hitting me a little. I was super excited to see everyone, but I just wanted to hangout in comfy clothes and just chat with everyone and show all of my pictures. Several times, my mom kept asking if I wanted to change into something a little nicer, and every time, I just said no. I couldn’t understand why she was so pushy about it. Finally, about an hour before everyone was coming, she told me to go put something a little nicer on. It wasn’t a question anymore. So, unhappily, I complied and just did jeans and a nice-ish shirt.
People slowly started coming over, and I quickly forgot about the whole outfit ordeal. My parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin, and Joel all came over for dinner and a “show” of all my photos. I was literally in my glory! Telling every story and showing all the places I had been. At one point, my uncle kind of asked how much more there was because they needed to head out soon. I just kind of ignored it, but then my parents the asked about wrapping it up soon. At that point, I was surprised but that was about it. So I quickly finished up, and that was it. I remembered I wanted to show my Mama something that I had left upstairs, so quietly I went up there to grab it.

Well I don’t think I was supposed to.

Laying up all spread out on my bed with a custom t-shirt quilt Joel had made for me while I was away! I had mentioned it to him before I left but didn’t know he had done it. I was sooo excited, I went sprinting downstairs to tell everyone. Well, they covered it up good, but my parents and Joel were a bit thrown off because I definitely wasn’t supposed to have gone up there.

And you’ll learn why soon 😉

Quickly, Joel reigned me in and wanted to take me back upstairs to the quilt to look at it together. I definitely fought him on this because I had already seen it, and my family was getting ready to leave, so I wanted to hangout with them a little bit longer. But just like my mom earlier in the day, he was insistent, so I finally just went.

Now that I look back, I guess it was worth it.

When we came back down, I slowly started to hear music playing. As we got closer, the words became clearer, and it was our song! I rounded the corner and there, standing in a long line, was my family with the biggest smiles on their faces. Each holding several images of Joel and I from our years dating. Joel lead me through the house past each of them. Some smiling, and others, like my mom, just bawling! (Hopefully, you can figure out where this is going).
Once we passed everyone, Joel lead me out to my parents front porch. If you remember, back to the spot where we shared our first kiss. He started saying a whole lot of this, but to be honest…I couldn’t tell you want he said at all. I was in complete shock. And then…

He got down on one knee!

Joel was asking me to marry him! And I of course, said yes!!! It was the craziest 48-hours of my life. To add to it, all of a sudden my best friend popped out of the bushes with a camera in hand. She had captured the entire thing and was there to share in the celebration, too! I was so emotional and just so ecstatic! It was exactly how I wanted it, with my family and friends all around me! So many people had guessed he would do it in Paris, but he knew, that wasn’t how I wanted it! He completely nailed it!

We were engaged!

You’ll have to stay tuned for the final part of our story (for now…) coming soon! I think I hear the wedding bells!!
XOXO ~ Heather Marie


  1. Mom says:

    Awe what a fun surprise – although there were definitely some bumps in the road getting it to all come together ❤️

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Photographer, go-getter, and ice cream lover
Based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania