they were both elected as student body president at their respective campuses, so they were sent to six conferences at various locations throughout the year. At the second conference, they really hit it off, and for the last two years they’ve had a long distance relationship. While they both knew it wasn’t ideal, they were able to visit each other on the weekends and stay in school to earn their degrees. While they are now doing their medical rotations at different schools, they’ve still found a way to maintain their relationship despite the dreaded distance. This September, they both planned to attend a conference in San Diego, and my wife Julie and I decided to make a quick trip down to see them. A couple weeks before the trip, Julie received an email from Mark asking if he could meet with us to talk about he and Natalie’s relationship. As parents, Julie and I immediately thought, “Uh oh. We know what he is going to ask us!” On our flight to San Diego, we made a list of questions to ask him to find out everything we needed to know about him in as little time as possible. As we sat down for coffee prepared to pepper him with questions, he simply said, “I love your daughter, and I would like to ask her to marry me. I respect both of you, so if you think this is too soon to ask, I would understand. But if you support this decision, I’d like to ask for her hand and for your help in planning the proposal.” As Mark asked us this huge question, I was again transported back to the moment I held Natalie in my arms in the hospital. While I thought it would be an emotionally difficult
HOW MY BIGGEST FEAR AS A DAD BECAME ONE OF MY FAVORITE DAYS EVER
As a father, I’ve noticed that whenever my kids reach new milestones, I can’t help but remember them as babies. I imagine this happens to lots of parents; seeing your kids earn their driver’s license, graduate high school, and go off college is bound to dredge up some intense feelings of nostalgia. During these last couple months, I’ve had several flashbacks of my first few moments as a new father, standing in the hospital holding my daughter Natalie in my arms just after she was born. I remember looking down at her beautiful face and having countless terrifying thoughts swim through my head: “I grew up in a house full of boys; I can’t raise a girl!” “What happens when she has her first boyfriend?” “Some guy is going to ask to marry her someday; how do I know if he’s good for her?” Despite my early fears, Natalie has, of course, grown up to be a smart, capable, and ambitious woman. Just this January, she accepted a marriage proposal from her longtime boyfriend, Mark, a decision that has overjoyed our entire family. Natalie and Mark met while they were in medical school, but the most interesting part of their relationship is that they attended school in different places. Natalie was in Pennsylvania, and Mark was in Kentucky. Ironically,
question, Mark’s character made the whole process easy. What I initially thought was going to be a nightmare ended up being a good dream. I knew Natalie loved Mark and that their relationship made her happy, and that was all I needed to know. In fact, the hardest part of the whole situation was keeping the plans a secret from Natalie, and while I almost goofed and let her in on it once or twice, in the end, the proposal went flawlessly. Julie and I sent Mark pictures of some of Natalie’s favorite places here in Folsom, and he picked a beautiful historic bridge by Lake Natoma. Our son Jeff hid behind the slats on the bridge to snap pictures of the momentous event. We all wish Natalie and Mark the best, and we can’t wait to see what their future brings!
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