This was something that I was working on for a while, especially after we looked at engagement rings earlier in the year. During Christmas, I asked her parents for their permission to marry her, and then I moved ahead with my plan. I wanted to catch her off guard because she is a person who can sniff out a big surprise from miles away. She didn't know that I had been planning to spring it on her during my annual college media conference held at the Marriott in Times Square that March. I had the ring in my possession for over four months, but she had no clue.
All I talked about leading up to the conference was work and presentations. I arrived in NYC on Saturday, March 15, checked into the hotel and got all of my students settled for the conference. I had made a video called "Derick and Priscilla's Great Adventures," which was an assemblage of when we met, all of our dates and our travels, and I planned for it to end with a special message. After calling Priscilla to let her know I checked in, she told me that she was going to be late. She arrived after midnight, and even though I was exhausted I sat down to watch the video and asked her to give me her opinion of one of my presentations for the next day.
I started the video, and she was tickled when the screen flashed our picture with a giant brush stroke behind the title. While she was sitting in a chair, I said that couldn't see so I got down on one knee next to her to make her think I was watching the video. I started fumbling with the ring box because it was stuck in my pocket, but she was tearing up at the pictures of us as it moved through the chapters: 1.) Before we met; 2.) The meeting; 3.) Traveling; 4.) The family; and 5.) Voulez-vous m'epouser?
Playing in the background were songs from John Legend, and it ended with our song, "Because of Who You Are" by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Then, the 10-minute video was ended with the screen flashing words in different languages. The same words translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and then finally in English, big bold red letters: Priscilla, will you marry me?
She turned toward me. I was on my knee with the ring, and she hugged me so hard and looked into my face and said, "You want to marry me?" in the high pitched tone of a third-grader. I said, "YES, I want to marry you, Priscilla!" and then she said, "YES!"
I placed the ring on her finger, and she hugged me like she never wanted to let go.